Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Early breath of Autumn

The full hot of summer has completely snapped, and now the warm days and cool breezes of autumn are coming in. Now it's finally come time again when I'm willing to spend time outside and not keel over.
With the coming of autumn has been coming of some rain. Farmers Almanac is saying it should be wet this month and next, but I fear it comes too late to save crops, and might come enough to spoil some of them. But on the bright side, the water table around here is indeed inching up- the pond at the far end of the road finally has visible water standing in it. A slender heron was standing in it earlier today too.

Got some more fresh mushrooms on clearance for 99 cents- this time baby portabellas that normally sell for 2.50. The first two cartons of them are already sliced and in the dehydrator.
Over the last week or so, I've been loading the dehydrator wit herbs. Lots of sage, tarragon, winter savory, rosemary, marjoram, and pineapple mint are now in jars in the pantry. Still have much more herbal goodness to pick once this round of mushrooms are done.
Also picked up sweetcorn, 12 ears for 3.50. Not the best price, but considering how corn is doing this year, not too bad either. Reamed them all and now those sweet kernels are roasting to dryness in the oven. Already simmered up a batch of corn stock, and now it's cooling on the counter so I can chill it overnight before it goes into the freezer. Got about 3 quarts of stock off the 12 cobs, not too bad for something that otherwise gets thrown away by most folks. Just chopped the cobs in half so they fit into the pot, and covered with water.. that's it. The stock smells really good, I'm sure it will make for excellent chowders as the weather turns colder.
Hardings also had an excellent 10/10 on Campbells condensed soups- you bet your ass I stocked up on cream soups for cooking through the winter. I might even go back and pick up a few more cans. That kind of deal saves 69-99 cents a can!

Tonight is chili for dinner. I wanted to do it a couple weekends ago, but one of the boys had just gotten braces, so I figured hot and spicy was out. Both the boys were bummed. But this weekend he's healed up enough that chili is a go. I kind of do chili on the fly, but this is how I did it this time...

2 lb ground beef
2 large yellow onions- coarse dice
1 head of garlic- peeled, and cloves left whole
3 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can each light and dark kidney beans- normally I do 2 each, but that's what we had on the shelf- undrained
1 small can of tomato paste
red pepper flakes
kosher salt
chili seasoning- homemade kind

Brown up the beef, but don't get too fine chunking it up while browning. Once it's really started to yield up some liquid and fat, toss in a small palmful of red pepper flake- 1-1 1/2 Tablespoons. 
Once the beef is brown and is just starting to steam off it's liquid, add in the onions, garlic, and a small palmful of salt- again, 1/1 1/2 Tablespoons. Stir it all in well till some of the onion starts going translucent.
Dump in the tomatoes, beans, paste, and a large palmful of chili seasoning- 3-4 Tablespoons of it.
Stir well, then stir some more, all on high heat.
Cover, and when the pot gets to a boiling, drop the heat down on low, just enough to barely maintain a bubbling.
The let it cook for a couple hours. About halfway through, taste for seasoning, and add more if needed. The tomatoes should break down, the beans should be tender cooked, the beef should not look freshly browned, the onions are just bits of stuff. The whole of the liquid should be thick, rich, tomatoy, and spicy- and it should taste like a homogenous whole instead of it's separate ingredients.

We like to serve ours with gratuitous amounts of shredded cheddar, dollops of sour cream on top, and lots of corn chip scoops to eat the chili almost like it's a dip.

Now it's also finally cooled down enough that I can get back upstairs again and do stuff. It just was too uncomfortably hot to do anything for quite a while there. So I will hopefully be able to get upstairs in the next week and get some serious cleaning done prior to getting some work done messing up the place again, hehehe.

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