Slow Cooked T-Bone Steak with Red Wine Reduction

One of the amazing things about being on this farm is the semmingly endless supply of humanely raised meat. And by humanely raised, i mean these are some of the best treated cows ever. They get as much grass as they want, are fed grain twice a day, and love to come up to people to be pet and scratched and then frolic away. And then we eat them. Kinda strange, but I try not to think about that too much. Right now they are just happily living their cow lives.
So anyways, we have a freezer full of home raised beef that we are allowed to use at our will, and tonight I decided to take advantage of that. Slow cooking meat makes it unbelievably tender, moist, and flavorful. It takes about 4 to 5 hours to be ready, but prep only takes a very small amount of that time. All you have to do is plan ahead a little. And then of course, making the sauce and side dishes takes some time, but not more than a regular dinner . The red wine sauce turned out delicious, but was very strong and overpowered the meat flavor, so try some meat without it too to see what you like best. I chose to make oven roasted potatoes and steamed chard, all home grown, to accompany my tasty cow :)

Ingredients serves 2
1 T-bone steak
Handful of fresh thyme
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Red wine
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper

-Defrost the meat if necessary. Poke lots of holes in it to let in the marinade, then rub in the thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. I try to push some of the garlic and thyme into the holes in the meat. Pour the wine on top and let sit for about an hour, more if possible.
-Preheat oven to 250 and put in the steak. According to Darina Allan, at 250 or below, the meat should be able to cook for a long time without deteriorating the proteins.
-Cook for 2-3 hours, and take out of the oven and eat!

Red Wine Reduction Sauce
1 large shallot, finely chopped
Mustard seeds
2 cups red wine
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs flour

-Sauté the onions, marjoram, mustard seeds, and pepper for a few min, then add the red wine and reduce until it is mostly evaporated.
-Add the mustard, sugar, and some salt. Add some flour if you want it thicker.
-When the meat is done, add a few tbs of the drippings. Mix together and Adjust salt and put on the meat when ready :)

20130414-195240.jpg The steak marinating in wine, oil, and herbs

20130414-195404.jpgReducing the wine for the sauce. Smells so good :)

20130414-195450.jpgAdding some drippings to the sauce. This steak had lots of fat on the edges, so lots of drippings and the meat cooks nice and moist!

20130414-195739.jpg The amazingly cute, smiling, slug-shaped potato that we found :)

20130414-195821.jpg And the meal put together… Mmmm, so tasty and so richhhh

Till next time :)


Deviled Quail Eggs

Ok, so you are probably thinking “Why the hell would I want to do that? Sounds like a major waste of time, and who has quail eggs lying around???” Legitimate questions, and here are some reasons to make them anyways.
1) Quail eggs are delicious. If you haven’t tried them before, they are creamier than chicken eggs, and oh-so-tasty.
2) They are so cute and fancy looking when laid out on a tray to serve.
3) If you are really bored, this will kill 1-2 hours depending on how many you make and how much help you have.
4) They are so tiny, you can eat a bunch of them without getting full!
If you still aren’t convinced, you either don’t love food as much as I do, or you have more interesting things to do with your time than I do ;)

2 dozen quail eggs
Wild onions- these tiny onions grow all over the south, and are perfect for tiny quail eggs
Chili powder

-Hard boil the quail eggs. This takes 4-6 min. You might want to test boil one first to get it right. Run the cooked eggs under cold water to loosen the shell.
-Very carefully peel the eggs. Cut them in half and scoop out the yolks into a bowl. Place the egg white halves on a plate.
-Mix the egg yolks with some mayonnaise, mustard, chopped wild onions, salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of chili powder and nutmeg. Taste as you go to adjust seasonings, but don’t eat too much or it will all be gone :) seriously, it will.
-Use a knife to scoop the yolk mixture back into the egg white halves. If you want to be fancy, you can take the time to round the egg yolks. I mean, if you are making this, at least half the reason is for the looks :)
-Arrange nicely on a plate and sprinkle each with some chili powder and chopped wild onion.

20130319-195405.jpg pick one up and nibble on it daintily :)

Whatever’s in the kitchen Hummus


What was in there:
4 cups garbanzo beans
3 cloves garlic
Black pepper
Sesame seeds
Sunflower seeds
4 leaves chopped kale from garden
Olive oil
Garbanzo bean juice
Possibly some wild onion greens?
Fresh cilantro

The seeds were chopped in the blender first, with olive oil, 1-2 cups beans, garlic, and bean juice (enough to get the blender working)
Everything else was added after that, to taste/until it reached a good, smooth consistency.
Not bad for having no tahini:)

Toasted Chickpeas


I first enjoyed these in a restaurant in my hometown in Norcal, and then came across them again in Mississippi…
They are delicious in anything from salads to vegetable dishes, or just plain.
To make some up, pour cooked chickpeas with some olive oil in an oven/pie pan, sprinkling with salt, pepper, curry powder, cayenne pepper, and whatever else you can imagine. Then, bake them at 400 F until they are crispy and popping at you when you open the oven door. Enjoy!

Pickled Turnips


Made from an excess amount of turnips in the garden, some garlic, wild onion, salt, and water.
I chopped the turnips thinly, packed them in a mason jar, throwing in some chopped garlic and wild onion greens for every inch or so of turnips, adding a sprinkle of salt over each layer as well. When the turnips were an inch or so below the top of the jar, I poured water mixed with a pinch of salt over the entire thing, until the turnips were submerged. Then I covered it loosely with a lid, and left to sit under my bed.

I made a smaller jar with ginger instead of the garlic and onions. It took longer to ferment, but was really delicious.

Fermentation time: almost two weeks, or until tasty.

Madeira Nut Cake

I think you will like this one Momsy :)

I am reading The Pearls of Lutra, one of the books in the Redwall series, and, the exciting story aside, I love this book because it has descriptions of food that sound sooooo deliciousssss. If you have ever read one of those books, I’m sure you know what I mean.
So I was reading along, and Mr. Jacques starts to describe the most delicious cake that a few character, namely a hedgehog, hare, and barn owl, are making. It has fresh cream, honey, hazelnuts, chestnuts, beachnuts, dark beer, dried fruit, and is toped with marzipan, honey-soaked rose petals, and whipped cream. Mmmm.
Normally I don’t particularly like marzipan or dried fruit cakes, but this one sounded so delicious that I decided to recreate a modified version with the ingredients I have on hand. It turned out absolutely delightful! The crumb of the cake is firm but very light and fluffy, and the nuts and raisins are so scrumptious :) I had to bake it an extra ten minutes to get the center to cook, so it turned out a little drier than I would have liked, but I think adding beer to the recipe would fix that!
So make yourself a cup of tea, drizzle honey on a piece of this cake, put some fresh whipped cream on top, and your eatin’ Redwall style :)

I used the Madeira Cake recipe from The Forgotten Skills of Cooking, and added some chopped almonds, pecans, and raisins.
I cut the recipe by 2/3 when I made it because I am going to be eating it solo, but here is the full thing…

3/4 cup soft butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 organic eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups al-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbs milk or water
1 large cup roughly chopped almonds and pecans
2 tbs raisins

-Preheat oven to 350f. Butter and flour a 7″ wide by 3″ deep cake pan.
-Cream the butter and sugar together with your fingers (Darina Allen claims this is faster than using a spoon and makes the cake fluffier). Then, if you are unsatisfied with the extent of your creaming, as I was, whip it until it becomes lighter in color :)
-Whisk the eggs and vanilla together, and slowly add to the butter mixture, whipping in well as you go.
-Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and fold into wet mixture. Add a little milk or water if necessary to make the batter smooth, but not liquidy.
-Gently fold in the nuts and fruit. Put batter into prepared pan and bake 50-60 min, or until a skewer in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan before serving.

20130318-121238.jpg creaming the butter and sugar by hand. The heat of your hand should speed up the process.

20130318-121406.jpg I wasn’t sure if the hand-creaming was getting it fluffy enough, so I whipped it with a whisk until it turned lighter in color and I could see small holes when I spread it. My baker-friend told me that mixing the butter and sugar properly is the most important part of making a fluffy cake!

20130318-121800.jpg whip in the eggs and vanilla

20130318-121826.jpg fold in the nuts and raisins

20130318-122442.jpg mmmmm, smells so good…

20130318-122518.jpg and tastes so good too :)

Allison’s Delicious Fluffy Bread

This is a classic home-made bread recipe that produces a delightfully fluffy crumb! I will always be fond of it because it is the first bread that I managed to decently recreate on my own. I learned to make it from Allison, who was the cook for a small community in the Wrangles St Elias National Park in Alaska. It was so nice to have an actual human being who I could ask questions, instead of following an online recipe by myself. One thing I specifically asked about was how warm the water should be when dissolving yeast. This may sound like a stupid thing to be confused about, but I had previously made the mistake (more than once, I’m afraid) of seeing a recipe call for ‘100f’ water and thinking ‘100c’ and using boiling water. (I was studying a lot of chemistry at the time…) Needless to say, the bread didn’t rise. At all. So imagine my surprise when I learned that the water should just be luke-warm :)

Another thing I remember is Allison saying, “People always say to me ‘Wow, how do you get your bread to be so sweet?’ And I say ‘I put a lot of sugar in it…'” And be careful, the slight sweetness can make it addicting; after Allison’s lesson, when the loaves were still warm from the oven, I ate half a loaf by myself. You can decide how much sugar you want to add, but keep in mind that it helps the dough rise faster because it makes the yeast happy :)

2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tbs yeast
2/3 cup sugar (I only use 1/4)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
4-5 cups flour- at least half should be white to keep it fluffy, but the other half can be whole wheat. You can also add oats or other grains.

-Dissolve the water, yeast, and sugar together, and let sit until it foams, ~5 min. (This checks if the yeast is alive. If you use your yeast a lot and know its alive, you can just wait until it dissolves.)
-Stir in the vegetable oil, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Add 1 cup oats if you want to. Slowly add the last 1-2 cups flour to make sure the dough doesn’t get too dry- you want a dough that slumps on its own before kneading, not one that holds its shape.
-Knead on a floured surface for ~10 min. You should see and feel the dough change and become more elastic and less sticky.
-Put the dough in an oiled bowl covered with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for ~1 hour, or until it has doubled and keeps fingerprints.
-Punch down and knead for 1 minute.
-Preheat oven to 350f. If you have a bread stone and/or a cast iron pan, put them in the oven. (Putting large rocks in your oven can also help your bread if you don’t have a bread stone.) Be sure to preheat your oven at least 30 min in advance it heating stones or a pan.
-Divide dough in half and shape loaves. Put them on a baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise ~30 min. They don’t have to double.
-Put loaves in oven on the baking sheet, or slide loaves onto bread stone and put 1 cup water in cast-iron pan. Test if the loaves are done by thumping on bottom and listening for a hollow sound.

20130316-231328.jpg the dough before kneading…

20130316-231352.jpg after kneading…

20130316-231425.jpg let the dough rise until it has doubled in size and keeps fingerprints

20130316-231459.jpg bake until golden

Try not to eat it all at once :)