Winter Stew

Did any of you make it to the Fulton Winter Market on Saturday? I was there from 11-2 and there was a steady stream of people coming through the whole time. We even had to turn away a few people who stopped in after the stands had started to come down. Since it’s the off season, I wasn’t sure what there would be to choose from so I didn’t come prepared to buy much. After about 5 minutes I was regretting that choice. The market seemed larger than last year’s winter market with plenty of canned goods, hearty root veggies, fresh mushrooms, hot food and cold beer. I made a few notes on where I’ll want to return for next month.


I did come away with a bag of goodies from Wise Acre, a restaurant that features local food year round.  They had ready made bags of stew mixings which, with another polar vortex coming on strong, sounded perfect. It came with a few carrots, shallots, celery root, cabbage and sprig of rosemary.  I picked up some cubed beef from the Co-op and seared it a dutch oven before removing the meat and adding in the veggies with the exception of the cabbage.  Once the shallots started to brown and get translucent I poured in a few good glugs of red wine to pick up all the good brown bits from the bottom.  I let that reduce a bit before adding in canned tomatoes, beef broth, and meat.  Once it comes up to a boil, I added in my bundle of herbs and let it sit on low for a few hours until it smells too good to ignore.

I’ve never really done much measuring with this recipe.  It’s truly whatever sounds good or what we have on hand at the time.  We’ve done carrots, onion, celery and mushrooms as well as potatoes and peas.  Herbs have ranged from just generous salt and pepper and a bay leaf to the fresh rosemary, sage and thyme from this last weekend.  It’s really easy to make it your own and any combination goes well with a buttery roll.  Hope you enjoy!

Garden Update – July

Hope you all had a happy 4th of July weekend!  Between the holiday and my brother’s wedding (Yippee!) I ended up taking a bit more time off from the blog than I planned.  Big Congrats to Chris and Sara though, beautiful wedding with plenty of fun and dancing to be had at the reception!  Couldn’t be happier for them!

While we were gone, the garden finally started to take off.  We have plenty of lettuce and chard.

garden update-lettuce and chard

Squash is doing pretty well, we had to re-plant half of it so that’s why we’ve got a couple of different sizes right now.

garden update-squash

Cucumbers are starting to need something to climb, that’ll be on the to do list this weekend.

garden update- cucumbers

Tomatoes are looking much better too.  They finally look sturdy after a pretty spindly start.

garden update-tomato

Potatoes are doing awesome!

garden update-potato

The regular white potatoes are doing a bit better than the blue, we also noticed that the flowers are color coded for us just in case they were all the same size.

garden update-potato flower

Radishes and carrots are doing well.  We’ll need to harvest them this week and we’ll still have time to re-plant before fall.

garden update-radishes and carrots

Peas are starting to climb but still have a ways to climb.

garden update-peas


Garden Plans 2013

Well, we have a winter storm watch/warning later this week with accumulating snow, awesome.  In spite of the lack of spring, we’ve finally gotten our full garden planned out.  We’re expanding a little on to our patio with the herbs and trying to grow some new veggies on both sides of the yard.  We cut out the summer squash and switched some for Butternut squash.  We’re also trying a couple different varieties of potatoes, the basic white and some cool blue potatoes, both of which will be in the large garbage cans like last year.  We’re going to give salad greens and swiss chard a try too.

garden layout 2013

It’s hard to believe some of my Facebook friends have already been out in their yards with full garden beds sprouting.  I’m definitely a little jealous about that.  We’ll keep doing what we can in the meantime, we start our tomatoes in doors this week and are ordering the remaining seeds we need this week.  We’re supposed to get up to 50 this weekend, cross your fingers for me that it sticks around this time!

mmmMinneapolis Thanksgiving

Hi All!  I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving weekend!

I hosted my first Thanksgiving meal this year and took care of the majority of the meal.  Our Moms helped us out with a couple of salads and appetizers but I was pretty insistent about trying to do it all myself (I’ve got a bit of a stubborn streak I suppose).  I did the usual turkey and mashed potatoes but updated some of the other side dishes, courtesy of Bon Appetite’s Thanksgiving inspiration slide show.  Seriously, look through the pictures on the site and try to not get hungry.

Check out that Turkey!  The bird was ordered through Clancey’s where we usually get our meat for the week.  It was about 14 pounds, free range from a local farm.  It was a great bird but I was thrown off a bit by the giblets and such that were left in the bird.  I remember growing up with the organs and all that wrapped neatly in a plastic bag inside the turkey so you didn’t have to look at it if you didn’t want to.  Long story short, we used a flashlight and shook the bird a few times over the sink to make sure we got everything out.  I’m sure it was pretty funny to see us shaking this huge turkey over a sink:)

We brined the bird for about 6 hours before cooking.  We used one of Hub’s brewing pots to fit the bird, you use about a cup of salt per gallon of water.  You need enough water to cover the bird.  To cook the bird, I followed the advice of a friend at work that used to work in a professional kitchen.  Low heat, overnight, wake up to a finished turkey.  You add in some veggies and butter to the cavity of the turkey to help with the flavor and the juices.  I’ll have to OK it with her before I hand over the full details, but I can tell you it made for a juicy turkey that was perfectly done!

And now for the sides!
First up, Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes, we’ve made similar versions of this in the past.

Maple-Braised Butternut Squash with Fresh Thyme

Spiced Glazed Carrots with Sherry and Citrus

Slow Roasted Green Beans with Sage

We also had Creamy Corn following a family recipe but somehow I missed getting a close up of it

Now, if that wasn’t enough for you, dessert!  We made a chocolate and apple pie from scratch.  I didn’t get a photo taken of the chocolate before it was dug into, but I’ve got one of the apple for you.  I got the recipe here.  It was the first time I had a successful pie crust on the first go.  I was pretty pumped.  I made the pie the weekend before and froze it for the week raw.  Then that day I took it out and let it bake while we were eating the rest of the meal.

It was a great day and it was a fun experience to do the hosting this year.  By the end of the day we were all stuffed, as we should be.  I’m pretty sure my face looked like this kid’s.

Hope you have a good week and good leftovers!

Garden Update- Sprouting *Update*

Where did the last week go?  I had a busy/late week at work and then my parents were up over the weekend.  The week went by in a flash and all of my best intentions of posting got passed up for dinners of popcorn and frozen pizza at 9pm while watching a bit of TV just pooped.  Things seem to be slowing down a bit though so hopefully we can get back to business as usual.

Since it’s been a couple of weeks I thought I’d show you how our container veggies are doing…

Huge onions

Potatoes well on their way

Carrots are sprouting too

Tomatoes aren’t quite doing as well as we’d hope.  A couple might be ok to plant but we’re debating on whether or not we should bite the bullet and buy some plants at a greenhouse.  We’ll see how they look toward the end of the week.

Hope you all are getting to enjoy some warm spring weather!  See you soon!


UPDATE: Sorry for posting without pictures.  Had a few issues on the tech side of things.  To make it up to you here’s a friendly visitor we’ve had in the backyard since the pups have been banned while we’re re-seeding.  Isn’t he CUTE!  He didn’t like me sneaking around the yard to take pictures of him, I promise he’s not stuck inside our garden  just outside the fence:)

So Long April

Hi All,
I hope you’re having a good start to your week!  I have a bit of catching up to do with you.

I went back to the farmer’s market and picked up more asparagus, morel mushrooms, radishes, rosemary and wisconsin cheddar cheese.  It was a good haul and the number of vendors easily doubled from the last time I was there.  I’m going to freeze more of the asparagus and keep some fresh for dinner tomorrow too.  I’m undecided with the rest of the haul.  Do I make another pasta dish with the mushrooms?  Radishes in a salad?  Or dipped in vodka and salt like I had at my photography class?  Do I eat the block of cheese all in one sitting or shred it over tacos or burgers.  Decisions, decisions….

All day Sunday the Hubs and I worked in the yard.  I’m talking 6-7 hours of work.  We planted almost all of the herb garden.  The final piece will be some mint plants and one more  rosemary to finish it out.

The container veggies are also all planted and ready to grow.  2 potatoes, 2 onions, and 2 carrots.  Don’t they look exciting right now?

We also transplanted our teeny, tiny tomato seedlings into some larger pots to get them better established before we put them in the larger garden.  They’re looking pretty spindly, I’m hoping their new homes will encourage them to pick up the pace a bit.

The largest chunk of our day was spent doing a combo of mowing, picking up sticks, picking up dog presents, weeding and re-seeding the lawn.  We’ve got a lot of watering to do over the next few weeks between the different gardens and lawn.  We’ll keep our eyes on things and hopefully we’ll get some herb sprouts soon and some strong tomato plants.

I’ll be back tomorrow to fill you in on what I did with the eggs I bought last week.  Time to start the sprinkler!