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Recipe: Kima

When we got married, we were given a copy of More With Less. It's a great cookbook. It's where we got the original recipe for carrot cloud. This is our variation on the first thing we cooked from that book. Papa-Bug pointed it out as a favorite from his childhood. It has since become a favorite for our family.

The original recipe calls for ground beef, but some Deck Family Farm ground lamb is awesome in this… And to really make it the best, find some ground goat.

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Kima

2-3 Tbl. Cooking oil

1 onion, diced

3 cloves minced garlic

1 lb. ground meat. Like I mentioned, lamb and goat are our favorites for this.

1 1/2 T. curry powder (adjust for your own spice preference)

1 bay leaf

A dash each of cinnamon, turmeric, and powdered ginger

3-4 cups of canned tomatoes (I use one quart jar)

3-5 potatoes, diced to a half inch of smaller

2-3 cups of frozen peas or green beans

Salt & pepper to taste

Sauté the onion and garlic, add the meat and spices and cook the meat through. Add the potatoes and tomatoes and cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer on medium low for about 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are done. Add the peas and warm them through. Adjust the seasonings, add the salt and pepper. Serve over brown rice, or as a stand alone meal. We pass some red chili flakes with it at the table for those who want to heat up their dinner.

Even our very picky eater has enjoyed this, and my kid who fears tomatoes eats it up. It is a true crowd pleaser.

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Recipe: Bacon Waffles

It's not often we have leftover bacon just hanging out – not the way our family loves those tasty strips. But occasionally a recipe will leave me with 3-5 strips. This is just too few to truly satisfy my family – especially Sister-Bug who has a song about how much she loves bacon.

My favorite items from Deck Family Farm are the variety of bacons. There is plain pork bacon, maple bacon (pork), Canadian bacon (also pork), lamb bacon, and beef bacon. I'd never had beef or lamb bacon before I saw it at the market booth. They are both amazing; richer and darker flavors than regular bacon and really worth trying if you are a bacon lover.

Usually I throw those extra strips in to a scramble. Once I put some extra ends into a batch of muffins. The other morning, though, I wanted a sweet breakfast. But there was good beef bacon, just a little, in the fridge. What to do?

Bacon Waffles

3-6 bacon strips, cooked crisp and minced – reserve the cooking grease!

1 cup regular flour

1 cup fine cornmeal

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbl sugar

3 tsp. baking soda

3/4 cup yogurt mixed with 3/4 cup water OR 1 1/2 cups plain kefir

3 eggs

2-3 tbl. bacon grease/butter/coconut oil

Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients, except the grease Make a well in the dry and slowly add the wet, mixing well.

Measure out the grease – I ended us with about a tablespoon of cooking grease and added another tablespoon of coconut oil. The recipe I based this on called for 3-4 tbl. of butter or oil, but there was still a lot of grease clinging to the bacon, so I reduced the amount originally required. Mix the grease thoroughly into the batter.

Mince the bacon fairly fine and mix into the batter. Cook as you would any waffle. These were simple and so rich with just butter and maple syrup, and a little bacon in every bite. Apple or pear sauce would also make an excellent topping.

 

 

In The Stock Pot

In the autumn we make broth. And I don’t mean we enjoy some brothy chicken soup. Nope. We have been saving bones for the past year and we make a lot of canned broth to compliment our soups in the coming year. We eat about one soup each week, so that means I need around 50 quarts of broth. That is 12 1/2 gallons of broth. And we are up to the challenge.

One of my favorite aspects of making broth is that it is almost free, made out of scrap and what would otherwise be trash or compost. This gives me an especially warm and thrifty feeling when I see the cans and boxes of broth in the store for dollars. I have to pay for jars…but less and less every year as I acquire more and more jars. I have to pay for the heat to can them and the water to make the broth, but these are negligible expenses. When we buy meat by the side, we often get soup bones or “dog bones not intended for consumption”. Those cost a little.

These instructions are based on filling a 5 gallons stock pot. You can make adjustments for your own family if 5 gallons seems like a lot. From a 5 gallons pot, you will end up with between 2-3 1/2 gallons of actual broth.

The boiling of the beef broth…thank goodness for 5 gallon brew pots.

Meat (Bone!) Broth:
Simple. Save all your bones. Beef in one bag, chicken in another, pork in a third (I usually add lamb or goat bones to the beef). Label your bags! If I have the slow cooker out I will cook my bones with a quart or two of water over night to pull out the really deep nutrition and make an almost jelly-like bone broth. Then I throw this broth and bones in a labeled bag for the next broth day. If the slow cooker is not easily available or I am in a rush, I just toss the bones in the current bag. I use about 3-4 bags of bones per 5 gallons stock pot.

Vegetable (Compost!) Broth:
This is so thrifty it almost hurts. Save your old veggie ends. Nothing moldy, manky, or rotten of course, but anything old (wilty carrots and celery, just past gone potatoes, etc…). Store them in a labeled gallon ziplock bag in the freezer. When you are cooking, throw your vegetable ends in the bag (mushroom stems, celery tops and bottoms, onion and garlic ends and peels, kale stems, whatever…). When you steam or boil veggies, cool the water and add that to the bag. To fill the 5 gallon stock pot, I use 3 bags of frozen veggie ends.

Broth Day!!
Make one batch in a day. It’s a low, slow process for most of the day. At the end of the day your house will smell warmly of your broth of choice, which I find very comforting.

Put the contents of your broth bags into the stock pot. Add water to about 3 inches from the top. For veggie broth, do a quick check of the fridge for anything that could go in the broth instead of being wasted. For meat broth, add 4-6 firm potatoes (I prefer smallish red ones and I will explain why) to increase the potassium content. Bring the stock to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Leave it simmering for 2 or more hours. It really can’t cook for too long; in the case of bone broth, the longer it cooks the more nutrients you get out of the bones.

I don’t add any herbs or salt. I can always add those at a future time. What I want is plain broth that I can fix up later, depending on what I am cooking.

Once it’s cooked, I pressure can my broth in quarts. My freezer is usually packed, and I don’t want to wait for broth to defrost anyway. I want to pour it into the soup pot and get it going right away. I use the reliable instructions from Ball Canning. You must use a pressure canner when canning meat or vegetable products. If you don’t have a pressure canner, freeze your broth in freezer bags.

With bone broth, I cool the bones and pick them over for meat scraps. I always fill at least a quart freezer bag with “pulled meat” for later. I also pull out the potatoes that have been cooked full of brothy-goodness for frying up with dinner or breakfast…or just eating right there as I pick the bones over. This is an entirely optional procedure, but I hate to waste any part of our meat. Sister-Bug’s favorite part is sorting the bones and she’s getting pretty good at it for a 2-year old.

This all takes time, but it’s mostly down time while I wait for the broth to cook down or the canner to vibrate at pressure, and having ready-to-pour broth of all kinds at hand is more than worth taking a couple of days to make our broth.

And it tastes SO much better than the broth from the store.

Recipe: Sweet Potato & Beef Stew

Here’s the thing – I’m not usually a huge fan of your standard beef stew. It’s okay, but the flavor combination never enthuses me. So I set off a couple of days ago to do something different. And I did – it is still stew and has many of the qualities of stew that we all know and love. But the flavors are new, to me anyway.

Sweet Potato & Beef Stew with Caramelized Onions

2 onions
1/2 stick of butter
4 cloves of garlic
1 pound stew meat (or chuck cut into cubes)
1/2 cup flour
1 leek
1 large parsnip
2 sweet potatoes or yams
4 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
Rosemary, salt & pepper to taste

I used my slow cooker for this, but it should be easily adaptable to stove top.

Night before: slice the 2 onions and toss into the slow cooker with the butter. Set on low for 8 hours. Wake up to Caramelized Onions. This is a good thing.

In the mid-morning: cube parsnip, sweet potatoes, and slice leeks. Mince the garlic. Dredge the stew meat in flour and brown in a skillet with the garlic. Place veggies, meat, herbs, and beef broth in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with crusty bead and salad.