Monday, September 15, 2008

Garden Stew

There are few things in this world that make me feel the way I felt about my Garden Stew the other day. It was a delightful mixture of satisfaction with a (hard) job well-done, joy that everything was completely free of dangerous chemicals, -- and that with a minimal pricetag -- and the happy tastebud-dance-inducing deliciousness when I sat down to eat with my family.

To make it, I spent a few hours digging potatoes, picking corn, carrots, and onions. That was hard work, lemme tell ya. I need a potato harvester, but I'm pretty sure I could buy organic potatoes for sixteen decades for the price of one, so I probably will do without. Then, I removed a couple packages of grass-fed stew meat (beef) from the freezer.

I did not put the tomatoes in it, but they looked nice for the picture. :)

I made it in 2 pots, because I'm lusting after a new, GOOD stockpot, but I have to drive to town to get it on a weekday, which I haven't done. Maybe Thursday. My current stockpot was $11 or less, and the bottom is approximately the thickness of tin foil. It bows outward when heated, and causes the center 1 1/2 inches to burn. Even if all I'm cooking is water, it'll burn. I swear. So - I've had it. I also don't like using 2 pots. It's hard to make sure all the meat is fairly apportioned, let alone the salt and potatoes and whatnot.

When I was done, after patting myself on the back enough to make myself choke, everything in it was 'good' for me, and except for the beef and seasonings, it was all grown right here. I was really impressed with myself, which is probably not a good thing. It's not like my toilets get scrubbed, or the floors mopped while I'm tending to my silly garden for months. And it's only by God's grace that plants actually grow and all. And that they didn't succumb to the wind.

This corn had an interesting kernel. I'm not sure why. This is a hybrid sweet corn. It was planted somewhat near my open-pollinated popcorn, though... And bizarre kernel or not, it was SUCH a wonderful addition to the stew. I'm all inspired to go make more today.

I'm not even sure what to say about this carrot:

Peeling it wasn't exactly a job well done.


annie said...

jealous jealous jealous!!

most of carrots came out kind of like that, except smaller, which made them totally useless. according to my husband's gardening book it was because we didn't dig the holes for the seeds deep enough for the carrots to grow into. kind of weird!

Meghann said...

yum! that looks absolutely delicious...and like annie say's - i'm jealous too! i want to grow food and cook some yummy meals like this. good for you!! :)


EllaJac said...

Annie, Most of our other carrots are normal, but a few are squirrely and forked - I've heard it can be excess nitrogen that can cause that. Or some imbalance of fertility, anyway. I'm sorry to say this one was dismembered before peeling. Tasted great, though. :)

Meghann, it WAS very delicious. I'm simmering beef bones as we speak - in a giant electric roaster - to make a BIG BUNCH of it - only better, because it will be bone broth, which is SO DARN GOOD FOR YOU, as opposed to ... other, none-bone-broth things. We wanted baked potatoes for dinner, so I went out and dug up some reds. I love doing that! It's back-breaking work, and they're not going to last us very long (at this rate), which saddens me. Potatoes are HIGH on the list of 'very toxic additives' and I love just munching ours with abandon.

But - You can do it! Find out what grows well in your area, find some dirt to put it in, and add water. And pray for it. While you're at it, pray for my tomatoes to ripen... :)

p.s. my littlest turns 1 on Sunday - is yours going to make an appearance anytime soon?

Anonymous said...

Do you live in Tx? I love your blog... another someone who tries Sally Fallon's foreign approach to food! We live in DFW area. I have many of your same interests! Keep it coming!
Rachel Cornell

EllaJac said...

Rachel, thank you for visiting and commenting! And while I'm wildly paranoid about posting anything 'local' - until we've surrounded the property with flood lights and electrified razor wire - I'll disclose that we are not in Texas. There is much to admire about the Lone Star State, but I fear their large and many bugs may forever keep me away. :)

Also - YOU should write a blog, so I could come and have all my crazy interests reinforced! :)


MamaJ said...

Ha, you're skeered of our Bugs, eh? I am skeered of your manic snow drifts!

annie said...

Ah....nitrogen! I vaguely remember him mentioning something about that, too. That's probably it, since our strawberries (not in the same bed) are also rather stunted. He recently made what he calls a "compost tea" and said that should help our berries and root veggies. I'm hoping it does! I still have yet to figure out how to know when the root veggies are ripe for the pluckin' but I'm very anxious to find out!

And long ago I surrendered and decided Texas will have to be the one state I will just never visit. I can barely handle the size of creepy crawlies here in Florida.

EllaJac said...

MamaJ, it's a trade off: Our cold KILLS bugs - we like that.

Annie, My 'root' stuff is basically carrots, onions, potatoes.. Onions kinda sit on the ground, and are fine whenever. Carrots I thin as we go along, so that helps me know their status. Again, they're good pretty much any size. Taters I dig when the vine dies, or I get hungry. :)

annie said...

Helpful. Thanks!

The organic vegetable gardening book says something like you'll know your onions are ready to be harvested when the little stalky things that poke out of the ground begin to fall over. Oh really? What about when the stalky things are bent because of the massive amounts of rain that lasted for nearly a month? How do we know THEN, O Gardening Book??

EllaJac said...

Hahaha.. yeah, they don't cover every contingency, do they? I should clarify that the onions I planted aren't intended (at least, by me) to be the dried and stored kind. They're from seed, intended as 'green' onions, but of course I don't follow most rules, and they've gotten a bit big for 'green.' They're purple (red?) on the bottoms too, and some as big as 1.5" diameter in the bulb area. I pick and use immediately, whether their tops are bent over (they're not) or not. If I were planning to cellar store them, I'd have to do more like your garden book recommends. I think. Haven't done that, really.