Sunday, October 24, 2010

Autumn Meal

This was originally from Jamie Oliver, but I found guiness a bit strong for us. I used a dark Dos Equis. Any dark beer will do.
3 onions
1 rib of celery
3 carrots
3 potatoes (sometimes I use a mix of sweet potatoes and white)
3 large cloves of garlic, minced (don't use the stuff in the jar)
1 sprig of rosemary, oregano, thyme, minced.
1 pound of beef cubes, lean
6 baby portabella mushrooms
4 TBS unsalted butter (real butter, don't use margarine)
1 beer, dark (one 8 oz bottle will do, I found that too much liquid made for a watery stew.)If you find it dry after cooking for an hour, just add in more beer.
Salt, Pepper to taste
2 TBS flour
1 cup cheddar cheese(I used a sharp cheddar)
Beef Broth (enough to just cover the stew, not too much)
2 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg beaten with a little water

Cook all ingredients in a pot that will go into the oven.
Melt butter in pot, cook sliced onions. Let onions cook until clear,add garlic after onions go translucent. Do not cook on too high a heat, you will burn the garlic.
Add carrots, celery,potatoes (that you have cut into same size chunks.)
beef, salt and pepper, flour and 8 oz. of dark beer. Stir and add beef broth.
Place pot in oven with cover for 2 hours at 350 degrees.
While stew is cooking prepare crust:
A sheet of puff pastry rolled out to cover the bottom of a pie plate.
I do not cut around the edges, in Mr. Oliver's recipe, he just folds it around the top cover pastry.
Place pastry in fridge, (roll out top when stew is done.)
When 2 hours of simmering is up, uncover and check for thickness of stew.
If you find that it is still a bit runny, you can always add cornstarch
in cold water to thicken. (about 1 TBS in 1/3 cup of water)
Put back into oven uncovered for about 15 minutes.
When stew is ready, grate 1/2 cup of cheese and mix into the stew.
Pour stew into pie plate that you refridgerated earlier and roll out the
top.(he scores the top of his cover pastry,and it makes a very beautiful
Before you cover the pie, grate another 1/2 cup of cheese
and put on top of stew.
Use an egg wash on bottom of pie crust lip to seal the top.
Place already scored top crust on pie and roll the bottom pastry around the top, sealing as you go.
Cut a few slits on top crust to let steam out. Use rest of egg
wash on top pastry for color.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.(or until the top crust is golden brown)
You may want to place a cookie sheet on the bottom rack in case it bubbles over.

I love to make this in the fall, and often throw some root vegetables
in with the carrots and potatoes. This recipe is a great October meal and makes the kitchen smell heavenly with autumn aromas!

Have the rest of the beer with the lucky person that gets to eat pie with you!

I'm making a pumpkin cake for dessert with cream cheese frosting.
My husband had a very stressful week at work and I wanna spoil him today.

Friday, October 22, 2010

i can't speak...

this is so amazing...

We got the loan. Can you believe it? After living off a farm for 2 and 1/2 looks like our life on an herb farm is ready to begin.

I think the contractor is ready to start next month.

can't speak, too shocked.

the pantry will be enormous..the cooking island will be the size of a small boat...oh yea.....

the herbs in spring will take over my life again. oh my...

i get to drive the little john deere tractor....WOW

oh my
oh my
oh my....

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cook Book Winner

Just a quick note about the winner of the cookbook. No one came forward to claim "Martha Stewarts Cupcakes" at the time of the drawing, but I am holding on to the winning number until someone says "that's me!!!!!"
Here is the winning number: 20847302.
Thanks to all the kind and wonderful people who came to my little herb booth and bought all of my products. I had a great time talking to all of you.
Not sure if I'm doing another fair or festival soon, but if anyone needs a product, just send me an email or leave a comment on this blog.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

going to festivals

The Rice Festival is only 2 days away now and all I have left to do is make the lemon balm cookies. Its a nice recipe, one that I have been making for years. I'm sure all of you could follow it, its a basic Mexican Wedding cookie with the addition of lemon zest, and lemon balm in the dough. When they come out of the oven (just slightly underbaked)I roll them in confection sugar that is laced with lemon zest. It makes a beautiful little cookie. I love selling them, my repeat customers buy me out on the first day. (its a two day festival)
I try to make extra every year, but we always run out of them.
Here is the final rundown of all our products this year:
Homemade marshmallows:Chocolate, Rosy Vanilla, and Lemon Coconut.
Tea balls and various types of tea strainers.
Fresh apple butter.
Herbal teas: Stress-Less, Autumn Morning Mint, Winter Dreams, Summer's End.
3 Herbal Extracts: Echinacea, Valerian, and a Calcium rich blend.
Elderberry Syrup.
Rosewater Facial toner.
Bees wax lip balm: Chocolate, Rosy Peppermint.
Italian Seasoning
Live plants: Spearmint, Chocolate mint, St. John's Wort, Yarrow, Comfrey, Lemon Grass.
Freshly picked herbs: bundles of basil, bundles of Lemon Grass roots.
Bath Salts: Lavender, Rose, and Lemon Grass Chamomile.
We will also have various dried roots and herbs for serious herbies.
Whew, thats enough for this year. Too bad this festival isn't in the spring, not much to bring in the way of fresh.
Bartered with a friend for help setting up booth this year. She wants a herb and vegetable garden in the spring,so I will help her design and plant it.
Good trade I think.
Now...if I can turn my brain off, I will try to sleep.
Good night.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

little elderly woman

If you are like me, your garden probably attracts a lot of pedestrians who love to browse and smell your herbs. Yesterday I was very late coming home from my day job. (the job that really pays the bills) A small elderly woman walked into our driveway and started touching, and smelling the basil. (Isn't that one of the reasons we plant it close to the sidewalk?)
My husband, who loves to talk to little wise women, told her she was welcome to wait for me. She must have been very deaf because she responded only with "Well, I don't need to give you any basil!", then proceeded to go down the walkway touching and smelling everything. She appeared to have a good time, made little remarks to him about different herbs. She then turned and hobbled away with her cane. She told him "goodbye" as she walked away and he watched her until she turned the corner. (I drove up 5 minutes later.)
I always seem to miss these little wise women. I love talking to them. The trend in our new culture doesn't have much time or use for women unless they are young and beautiful. This little mother probably could have given me very valuable information about herbs and flowers.
I could have offered her a cup of tea.
We could have talked about all our favorites.
How nice it would have been.
My day job, as a social worker in a long term care facility, has made me so appreciative of all elderly folk. I have been blessed by getting to know them and have never regretted my decision to continue this career.

She probably knew more about herbs than I will ever learn.

I hope she comes back today. What a wonderful conversation we could have!