Finally, a day I don’t actually “work”. I am still getting oriented to the new job, so I’m working 24 hours this week in addition to my usual hours at work in Boston. Yesterday was Friday, AKA “Haymarket Day”, so I stopped by after work. There were slim pickins to be had at the fair.
I wanted to pick up some amazing-yet- inexpensive veggies to have on hand. I’d hoped to buy in bulk for canning. The best deals yesterday were: sweet corn (3 for $1), tomatoes (3lbs for $1), and limes (10 for $1).
Last night I decided to can the corn, as my kids weren’t in the mood for it on-the-cob (If I weren’t a nurse I’d check their temperatures. Being a nurse, of course, I don’t actually own a thermometer). Then I figured, as long as I was in the kitchen, I’d make some salsa. I always used to buy it in bulk, but after the first use it sat in the back of the fridge and got fuzzy. This time I would can it in 8oz jars (one use with our family).
I also sliced up 3lbs of onions that were at that “eat me or send me to college” age. I put them into a crock pot with 1/2 a stick of butter. After 24 hours (yup- just keep cooking them on low) they are just the sweetest, brownest, tenderest things you ever ate. The finished product came to almost 3 pints. They last well in the fridge (well they would, if people didn’t eat them up). They are amazing on pizza.
Today, on my day of rest (while I did some laundry), vegetarian daughter (Avery) asked why I hadn’t canned something more useful. She said ” I like vegetables, but it would be more useful if you’d can some stew or chili so we have whole meals ready”. Hmmm…”you mean the vegetarian kind?”. She looked at me as if I were slow (13 year olds are wizard at that look). Then she patiently explained “Mom, you can things so we will be prepared. For emergencies, like a zombie apocalypse, you know? Obviously in an apocalypse it’s every mammal for himself!“. How could I be so silly? Why hadn’t I canned beef products for just such an event? Well, dd and I went back to the Haymarket. We still weren’t able to get anything terribly great, but did buy a case of (14!) mangoes for $5, and 3 lbs of strawberries for $2. She ate 3 (yes-3!) mangoes on the way home. Then I quickly started what I hope will be life-changing beef stew. Last fall we bought 1/2 a steer from farmer Kevin (another nice neighbor). My kids call him Merlin. The steer, I mean. They name everything. The pig was Henry (and, yes, I did check to be sure their future therapy was covered by our insurance). Anyway, back to Merlin. He’s at freezer camp in the basement. I fetched out some Merlin (?) shin slices for the stew. After slow cooking them in a roaster for a few hours at 300f, I put them into the crockpot with the pan drippings and some of the carmelized onions. I filled it with water to stew overnight. Tomorrow I’ll skim the broth, chop the meat, roast some carrots, add potato and some herbs to the whole thing and can up some hearty zombie-thwarting beef stew. But first, I’ll be going to work. Because my day of rest is over. Where did it go?
Addendum: After work today (Sunday), I called on the way home to see what they’d had for dinner. Hubby said that after smelling the beef all day he thought he’d wait for me to make the stew. Really. It was already 745pm. I wish I were kidding. He was able to cope and cook up some sausages instead. I’ve roasted the carrots, filled 9 pints with these and some raw diced potatoes, beef and broth. I still haven’t decided if I should thicken it for stew, or leave it as is for soup. It can chill until tomorrow when I’ll skim to remove fat and process in the canner.