Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Spring Veggies

I'm starting to harvest some Veggies from the Spring Garden now.  I've got my first Cucumber of the year today.  The Tomatoes look great, and this year have no critter damage because I have the garden surrounded by fencing, and have all the holes covered.  Harley can't get in to graze at will.  I'll let him in every once in a while, but not unsupervised.  My green salad today will have Cucumber, Tomato, and Parsley fresh out of the garden.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Spring Garden 2014 part 2

I'm finally starting to get some vegetables out of the Spring garden.
These are Better Bush II Tomatoes.  I'm letting the Tomatoes sprawl on the ground this year.
Here you can see the Cilantro has bolted, falling all over everything.
These are Sugar Snap Peas, and a really good straight off the vine.
These are one of the varieties of bean I planted, don't know which is what when they are green.
There is Harley over by the Tomato Patch.
Here are a couple Purple Kohlrabi.  They might be the weirdest vegetable I grow.
This is a narrow leaf Kale, called Lacinato Kale.
Here is the Cabbage Patch, there are some heads up too about four inches.
This is a Bhut Jolokia Chile Plant, burn your face off hot...
This one is a Cayenne Chile Plant, with some young Chiles.
Finally this is a flowering Lavender, with its long whispy flowers.

Beer Braised Beef Shanks

Mmmm, totally nomlishous Beer Braised Beef Shanks...  There are those who love teh Beefz.  Shanks are leg slices, a tough cut with lots of connective tissue,  They need to be slow cookered to be good.  I'm gonna add lots of aromatic vegetables to bring the the favor up.
This is a cheap cut of beef.  It has to be spiced up, then cooked low and slow to bring out the goodness of the cut.  This is something that is familiar to me, take a cheap cut of meat , and make it nomlishous...
There is a lot of marbling, and connective tissue in a leg shank.  This makes it flavorful, but it has to be cooked right to be eatable.  If you were to grill these pieces they would be very tough.  They need to be stewed.  They need to be cooked low and slow to cook down the connective tissue, and bone marrow...
This relatively boring cut of meat needs a lot of seasoning.  I use Tony Chachere's Season Salt, and Black Pepper to make it Mo Betta.  Let the seasoning pull the moisture out of the meat for about half an hour.
Then we'll add flour to soak up the meat juices, and make a Roux for the Stew part.  Braised meats are stewed, and that is the good part.  Think of Pot Roast, or Salisbury Steak, the Beef Shanks are going to be stewed in Beer and Vegetables to make a savory main dish.
First, we are going to fry the Beef Shanks in Bacon Fat.  Get a nice sear on both sides over high beat.  This gives the flour the chance to absorb the fat from the Beef, brown the flour, and make the Roux.
Then we are going to add Onion, Tomato, Jalapeno, and Garlic for the Vegetable part.  You can add all the vegetation you want.  I like southwestern flavors so I'm going to add Salsa, basically.
Al of this goes into the pan, around the Beef Shanks to give it a chance to cook.  This will stew a while so don't worry about cooking the Vegetables by themselves much.
I'll add everything but the Garlic to start stewing.  The Garlic goes in last, right before we add the stewing liquid.
 This is really starting to look good now, and smell good.  What could possibly make it better? Beer!
 I'm adding a 16 ounce can of Ale to be the stewing liquid.  Reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and prepare for nomlishousness...
This is the stewing part where everything comes together.  I'm gonna lets this simmer for around half an hour.
The meat is slow cookered, extra tender.  The flour has incorporated into the liquid making a spicy gravy.
I made some Egg Noodles for the Gravy to stick to.  Sliced the Beef Shanks into thin strips to make them extra tender.  This is Sunday Dinner Prima Vera.  Om nom nom nom...