Beef · Canning and Preserving · Chicken · Clams · Gardening · Musings · Okra · Potatoes · Stock

Notes From Yesterday and Today So Far

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Okra! 

We’ve never grown it before, so I had no idea what to look for in terms of the actual ripening fruit.  But here’s what it looks like.  Pretty interesting, no?

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I have no idea how much of a harvest we’ll get.  They were off to what seemed a slow start, but maybe that’s just the pace they have. 

We’ll see.

~~~

Bill took the kids out digging for clams yesterday, and they came home with 33 in assorted sizes.

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Julia counted them.

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Then Bill cleaned them and steamed them.

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He’d decided to make chowder.

Fortunately for us, we had EVERYTHING we needed on hand.  Much of it was either grown or produced or dug (the clams) by us….

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In the picture above (Bill was nice enough to mise en place everything JUST so I could take a picture), we’ve got the broth from the clams, and the clams themselves…a bag of frozen corn from the corn I blanched and froze last summer, salt pork that we made, butter (if only I had my own cow…) and lemon juice (in that terra cotta dish) (no lemon trees here), salt and pepper (okay, didn’t grow them), chopped dill, thyme, parsley, and chives (we grew them all) and a bay leaf (didn’t grow), four onions from the garden,  a few red pepper flakes (didn’t grow, but we COULD HAVE), and – oh, hey, what are those things in the middle?  Potatoes!

We dug some up just for the chowder.

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One of the Red Pontiacs…

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And two “Superiors.”

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Aren’t they beautiful???!!!

Anyway, we’re leaving the lower potatoes in the dirt a bit longer so they can continue to grow.  Once the green plant part has completely died, we’ll go digging for all the buried treasure.  It’s so hard to wait – it’s like Christmas.

Julia helped a bit with the chowder-making.  Here she is browning the salt pork…

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And here’s a picture of the final chowder, which we had for lunch.

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It was very good. 

And there’s enough left for lunch today.

~~~

While everyone else dug clams and made chowder, I made a huge pot of chicken stock.

We save up bits and pieces from chicken and put them in the freezer, and eventually we have enough to make a big pot of stock.  I had wing tips, leftover skin, thigh bones, and at least two carcasses.  I browned all that in the pot first, then browned three roughly chopped onions (skins still on), two roughly chopped carrots (scrubbed but not peeled) and two roughly chopped celery stalks.

Then I covered everything with water, brought it to a boil, dropped it to a slow simmer, and left it going for a couple of hours.

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The smell was incredible.  Intoxicating.  Cruel.

Then I strained it twice.  First – to get out all the big stuff – bones, vegetables, pieces of skin.  And then through a fine mesh sieve to get out little bits of meat and stuff.

I put the remaining golden liquid in the fridge to chill.

Today I’m making beef stock.  Same deal – we save up trimmings in the freezer for a while.

I browned all the meat…

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Chopped up my vegetables…(this will be a smaller batch, so I’ve got two onions, one carrot, and one stalk of celery)

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Once all the meat had browned, I had all this wonderful flat and flavor left in the bottom of the pan.  The bits of meat stuck to the pan are called the fond, in case you were interested.

I’m awfully fond of fond.

Sorry.

Anyway, I poured the chopped vegetables to the hot pan and browned them a bit to bring out the flavor…

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And then I dumped the browned beef back in,

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Covered everything with water…

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Brought it to a boil…

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And, finally, reduced it to a simmer.

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I’ll skim off foam periodically, but other than that, I’ll leave it alone for a couple of hours.  Then I’ll strain it and put it in the fridge.

Tomorrow is the big exciting day – I bring both stocks to a boil and then PRESSURE CAN THEM!

Yes – tomorrow will be the inaugural batch of pressure-canned goodness! 

I’m very excited.

And now…I’ve got to go move laundry along, wash some dishes, make some fermented dill pickles, maybe some pesto, and a recipe from my early adult days of cooking.  My friend, Ralph, might remember it – the beans.

We’ve picked wax beans and, just this morning, a pair of red noodle beans.  So it’s time to do some cooking with them.

Are you cooking anything special today?

One thought on “Notes From Yesterday and Today So Far

  1. I’m so proud of myself that I know what mise en place means now! 😉

    Jealous of your garden! We are talking this week that we might be able to make bruschetta with all homegrown/homemade materials: tomatoes, herbs, bread…feels like such a feat!

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