Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

SOUP- it's what's for dinner :)

I started this post off a few days ago, so sorry if it seems time strange. I'm finding myself doing that lately, running a draft or two for a bit, then finally pulling it together for one posting.

The other night, I'm really cooking, Made a chowder, dunno what to call it.. But it uses a lot of stuff that I've dried for the pantry and stock I made. Maybe Porky dried veggie potato chowder?

Pound of bulk Italian sausage
1 quart of frozen pork stock concentrate- add to that 2 quarts water
1/3 cup of dried from fresh celery
1/3 cup dried from fresh carrot
3/4 cup dried from frozen corn
3/4 cup dried from fresh corn
1/3 cup dried from fresh shredded sweet potato
1/3 cup dried from fresh kale flake
1/4 cup parsley flake
1 tablespoon dried chopped garlic
1/2 tablespoon dried tarragon
1/2 tablespoon dill
3 golf ball sized yellow onions, diced
2 pounds russet potatoes, skin on, 1/4-1/2 inch thick slice
3 cups whole milk

To the frozen stock and water I added the dried celery, carrot, and dried from frozen corn and set it to defrost/heat up on medium heat till it came to a rolling simmer, then I turned down the heat to a low, barely disturbed burble, and let that go for a while. All this under cover.

While this is going on, in a separate pan brown up your sausage. Make sure you break it up and completely cook it now because it does not finish cooking in to the soup. Once your sausage is starting to brown up and has rendered fat, toss in your onions, and continue to cook till the onions are slightly translucent. Stir in the parsley, garlic, tarragon, and dill, cover, and set aside off heat.

So, back to the stock pot. Check to make sure that the dehydrated veggies are fully rehydrated. The celery should be stuctured but not hard, the carrots should be not tough... The corn should be cooked. If all this isn't going on, keep checking.. The kitchen should smell like you have been burbling up stock for a while. And if the dried are veggies are at that point? Kick the heat back up to medium high and once it's rolling, stir in the sliced potatoes. Let it come up to a boil, covered... then go down to a gentle medium heat. Then stir often and the potatoes will just start breaking up, at the first sign of this- turn it down to very low.  You are going to stir a few more times at intervals till they really start breaking up. You are kind of making your own creamy starch base during this, so low and slow.
After the potatoes really start bustin up.. 
Add in your dried from fresh corn, sweet potato, and kale, and stir in well. Add in your set aside sausage bits, and stir in. Add 3 cups milk and keep on low, but bring up to full steaming heat. Now stir every 3-5 min or so on low to warm heat till everything really becomes a whole soup.
Let sit at least 10 minutes covered stirring 2-3 times before serving.

Notice that I didn't mention salt or pepper through all of this? That was on purpose. After killing the heat on the soup, TASTE it before adding anything. Add in one Tablespoon each of salt and pepper if you feel it needs it. Let it rest then add in more if you think it's needed. I used one salt, two pepper making this, and the pepper is too much, but the salt is good. I would even say lower it all down to half T each of salt and pepper for people sensitive, and it still tasted pretty good.
In retrospect, I would have added another two cups of water at the beginning. I had enough liquid to cover the taters when added, but I think having enough water to cover it by an inch would have worked better.

But the chowder came out thick and creamy. Almost like a really runny mashed potatoes with all sorts of chunks of veggie and sausage goodness. 

We had it for dinner one night, and again a couple nights later. The last of it is now in a container awaiting freezing if I don't eat it up tomorrow :)

I've got enough scrap built up again that I need to make another batch of pork stock. Man, that bone in ham I got for super cheap sale really went a long way. Enough meat for 4-5 dinners from the fridge, and another couple of dinners worth frozen up- and a ton of yummy boned and fatty goodness to cook up, hooray! The stock from roasting the ham turned out so well and gelatinous, that got tossed into a quart bag and into the freezer :)

I gotta say, if I had to choose only one kind of meat to eat, pork would be it. I could give up beef and water critters, it would be hard to give up chicken but... Yeah, I would have to choose pork.

Nifty recycling... A while back the store had those little dry pasta one person meals on sale, so I picked up a couple to try. They were ok, not really work keeping on the shelf IMO. However, the packaging was pretty neat and I figured I could reuse them.
Today I cleaned out the fridge and wanted to put in some baking soda, but I never have the little boxes- I always use so much of it I always get the big box. So, looking around I spied these containers and thought rock on, perfect. It had a fill line, the lid snaps on tight and has lots of holes for venting. It's clear so I can see that it's just baking soda sitting at the back of the fridge.

I have currently called a halt on the tin can recycling. I am having a pileup that really needs to get sorted out and put into their places before I do anything else. A bunch of the big ones and such I will be starting up with seeds soon, and I think I might know what I might want to do with a bunch of the rest. But right now, I don't have a clear plan on what else to do with them. A lot of other stuff is piling up too and needs to be sorted out. I got piles of bottles that need to go down to the pole barn for gardenworking. And a couple piles that need to go to recycling- once the shittier weather hit, I stopped with the regular turn ins. My love is being great about keeping up with the current stuff, I just need some nicer days for me to chase bottles in.

And holy fuckatooie, we are getting married in two months. Super yippie, but pttht planning stuff, lol. Right now the Farmers Almanac is saying the end of April is going to be very unsettled, so now I'm starting to worry more about bad weather for the wedding.

Nova is going into the vet on Monday to get his balls snipped. I have to say, it's been a little odd seeing a cat running around with little furry jinglers. Last time was when Pooks was a kitten, and I took him in young and over a decade ago. Nova is now on 10 months old- so I am not too sure how much of his behavior is because of this or not. Haven't seen him spraying, caught him peeing twice, fairly recently, and parts of the house are starting to get male stinky. Since he just recently started doing this, we are rather hopeful snipping Monday will correct the behavior.
But the poor little bugger, this is gonna suck for him. He's been cozy here since October, and it's a late snipping. And hes my shadowmeeps- he is going to be bummed not to see me for a couple days.
We drop him off Monday, he gets fixed Tuesday, we bring him home Wednesday.

In the meantime, I'm starting to tackle the odor ick. Lots of natural advice says cats are less likely to do that when baking soda and white vinegar are used. So I mixed up a batch of natural deodorizing spray and started spraying all the non-washable fabrics. I will be going through the house next week while Nova is gone and doing a serious baking soda and vacuum on the house.
I stirred up this recipe today. I squirted it all over in the library, some in the great room, and all over the recliner in the living room and all the kitchen chairs. I also sprayed the living room couch with fabreeze.
So far, the library smells good, but not too much like I did anything to make it smell good, just kind of fresher. I have seen the cats on the recliner and kitchen chairs since I sprayed too.

So.. I used a 22 oz squirt bottle for this.... 
1 cup hot water
1 cup white vinegar
2 T baking soda
several drops to a teaspoon of whatever scent you like, though this can be omitted, I used a nice green tea and cucumber scent. You can use pure oils to soap and candle scents, just stuff that comes in small bottles with droppers, don't use stuff in big jugs that you pour it out of. Use drops if you are using potent oils, you can use up to a teaspoon if you are using thinner scents.

Mix the baking soda with the hot water and dissolve. Slowly and carefully pour in the vinegar- this will foam up fast. Drop in your scent if using. LOOSELY cap the bottle, enough so that shaking it won't really leak, but air can escape- and shake well. Set aside and let the bottle sit till no more bubbles perk up, then tightly cap and start spraying.

Through my own, heh... I didn't wait long enough before tightly capping, and started up the spray in my kitchen sink to get the bottle going. Glad I did, after several pumps, suddenly the liquid jetted out and wouldn't stop till I loosened the cap.

So, onto more soup..
I did a nice pot of herbed potatoes between chowder nights. Served up up with some smoked sausage and corn.
I diced up about a pound of taters- filled up my vintage pyrex dish
Added in a palmful of parsley
couple tablespoons dried minced garlic
a tablespoonish of rosemary- dried from my garden
one teaspoon of kosher salt
two teaspoons of black pepper.
a goodly drizzle of butter oil. That's from our local http://olivecart.com/ They take olive oil and infuse it with butter flavor.. and they are fucking awesome.
two golf ball sized onions, chopped up
Cover and bake at 400 for 45-1 hr- till you can start smelling it. Then turn down to 300 for 30 minutes. Then kill oven and let sit for at least 15 minutes and pulling out to serve.

Got upstairs and did some cleaning... Been so blech since we lost power before Christmas everything has just been.. blech. No creative nothin, didn't even want to face the short jaunt upstairs. 
So today I finally hauled the new fake christmas tree I got on super clearance after the holiday upstairs. It just kind of sat in a corner of the great room forever.
And shit, faced the workshop music. Put away a bunch of stuff, cleared off the workbench and..

Inspiration struck. Creativity started flowing.
First I tinkered around with my great Japanese beading books for a bit... Figured out the ingredient list and how to make a really frigging sweet armband. I really wish I knew how to read Japanese, or at least knew what font my craft books are written in. That would help a lot in my very slow figuring out basic stuff.
Anywho.... I think I might have a nice idea of whats going on in that project now that I figured out what the eff the symbols meant fishing line.
And then I pulled out a nice handful of lovely bits that could work into it.

Then it just went on... I was poking around bead boxes, and pulling out bits and pieces of stuff. I was thinking about wedding pulling of this and that...

Ended up making a bracelet of old gold filled in with aqua green glass. Cheered me up, had two beads left over and thought about earrings.
And rummaging around, thought about stringing up a neat pile of glass beads that are colored and striped, very much in reminding of bees, but not bees. It came out as a high choker, not sure if I like that or will end up restringing it a smidge.
Played around a crapton with notions of other oomms and hmms, mostly for other folks.
Came across three strand of these awesome glass beads I picked up for super cheap sale. The were kind of reminding me of bees and leaves, clear yellow with black pinstripe along the edges, in a swirly leaf shape. Those got strung up into a necklace and earrings with silver findings.
Got back to those two gold and green beads, those ended up becoming pendants suspended from delicate chains off barely there gold wires.

Ended up making ( will insert pics here soon!)
Bracelet and earrrings in gold and green
Choker necklace with gold findings.
Swirly yellow necklace with silver findings. 

Oh, and I lined a new cigar box for my new pile of sparkley. Used a scrap bit of thin microseude in chocolate brown. Clings great to the wood and the sparkley looks great on it.

So, time to post up and tune out :)

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