I didn’t feel like going full on Alton Brown on the little bit of ground lamb I had so I just added a ton of garlic, cumin, ginger, and a store bought Greek seasoning powder and fried it up like a basic burger. I very nearly ruined the tzatziki. Never use a stick blender if you think the cukes are not diced finely enough. Just don’t.
Well it’s been a whirlwind of activity here and I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress with the house and garden. Lots of cooking going on for friends and family because I love working in my new kitchen. It hasn’t left a lot of time for blogging. But dinner is in the slow-cooker and I have a moment before it’s time to walk Bixby, so tonight there is a recipe exchange.
JeffreyW and I once again had a mind-meld moment and both made a batch of Beef and Barley Soup this week. His yummy photo is pictured above. My recipe is here and JeffreyW’s recipe is here, accompanied by great photos.
Chuck roasts were on sale this week, so I stocked up. I love a good pot roast and have a few recipe variations. I have a recipe for a Tangy Pot Roast here. For a more traditional take on a yummy Slow-Cooker Pot Roast including a full menu and recipes, click here. My new favorite ingredient is a dash of good whisky to deepen the flavors. One of the roasts will be cut up and frozen for soup or stew.
The garden is still producing an abundance of ripe tomatoes, so I made a batch of Tomato-Spinach Soup, recipe here. For a vegetarian version, just omit ground beef. I make it both ways depending on my mood. Serve with grilled cheese sandwich on Easy Slow Rise Crusty Bread, pictured below and recipe here.
Another batch of tomatoes, along with zucchini, green peppers and eggplant (all garden fresh) went into a fresh dinner for guests this week, Garden Fresh Pasta, recipe here.
What’s on the menu tonight? Any fun plans for this first weekend of October?
Tonight’s featured recipe is what we’re having as part of a get-together tomorrow night. It’s simple, hearty soup that we can put together earlier in the day for a quick dinner. Then we’ll be heading out to the local historical farm for Wildlife Night. There will be owls.
Cranberry beans are usually easy to find, but if not, substitute cannellini white kidney beans – you can use dry or canned.
Turkey Bean Soup
- 1 lb smoked turkey sausage, diced (or ground turkey, browned)
- 1 lb dried cranberry beans (soaked overnight, drained)
- 8 cups of water (or 6 cups water, 2 cups chicken broth)
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 tsp dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Chili powder
- 1 tsp Cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to the slow-cooker and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low. Serve with fresh hot bread and salad for a complete dinner.
That’s it for this week. I’m heading out to buy paint…starting on the living room this weekend. Have a great weekend – TaMara
Yesterday’s bounty from my yard and some bonus homemade salsa
Tomato season is in full swing. Every meal has tomatoes in one form or another. This is a nice combination of flavors to shake things up from the usual pasta salads:
- 10 oz dry rotini pasta, cooked, drained, chilled
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp Dijon or stone-ground mustard
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 oz fresh basil
- 4 oz fresh spinach leaves
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
- 4 oz Kalamata (Greek green) olives
- 4 oz shredded parmesan
- 2 oz crumbled Feta
- 8 oz diced ham (opt)
serving bowl, bowl, saucepan
In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, pepper, garlic & basil. Slowly whisk in oil. To serving bowl, add pasta, fresh basil, spinach, tomatoes, olives, parmesan, opt. ham and toss with dressing. Garnish with crumbled feta.
I think ten is the sweet spot when baking the King Arthur bun recipe, not too big, not too small.Just the right size!Made some tuna salad today, we’ve been giving that bread slicing gadget a workout. Tuna salad on toast is another good way to use the tomatoes we have coming on strong. Probably going to boil down some more juice soon.We are starting to grow fond of leaf lettuce on sammiches, it doesn’t have the same crunch as iceberg but it does lay nice and flat and uniform.Gabe goes from 90 miles per hour to naptime in about 6 seconds flat.I have a better photo of the eggs in that nest I first posted about a week ago. We tried to get a video of the little bird flying from the nest but failed to get anything useful. I did get a little better look at the bird but just confirmed that it was a wee brown birdie. It might be a house finch but a tip from a commenter over at Balloon Juice pointed me toward the Chipping Sparrow – the wings of our bird are darker than the belly.Here’s another cold cuts and cheese sammich with a few sides.I’ll wrap with a picture from the archive. I’m tickled by the balancing act this dragonfly is putting on, and I think the colors are pretty.
This is on a basic wheat flour crust. I suppose if you were to go all in on one of these you could make a crust with masa but I chickened out. I spread refried beans over the crust as a sauce analog.A good measure of roast pork was laid down over the beans along with tomato slices and fresh jalapenos (on my half only).My first thought for cheese was sharp cheddar but I opted for queso quesadilla. It’s a good melting cheese. Quesadillas are named for the cheese, not the other way around.I gave the pie an overall sprinkle of my favorite Tex-Mex seasoning and baked it for about 20 minutes at 350. I added a little hot sauce to mine just to kick it up.
JeffreyW makes mouths water with this photo of his Beef and Barley Soup (with bonus foccacia recipe here)
It has been unseasonably cold here. Today was the first day that I could actually open the windows. So soup seemed like a good idea over the weekend. Chuck roast was on sale for the amazing price of $2.99 lb. So I bought several large pieces, cut them up to dinner size and a couple pounds up for soup and stew. First up was this soup.
Beef & Barley Vegetable Soup
- olive oil
- 1 lb chuck, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 6 to 8 cups of water
- 12 oz sliced carrots (frozen ok)
- 12 oz green beans (frozen ok)
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup barley
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (more as desired. I use salt-free canned tomatoes, so I usually add more salt)
- 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
Heat oil in saucepan, sauté onions for 1 minute, add beef and brown on all sides, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute making sure not to burn the garlic. Add remaining ingredients** and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until barley is tender. Serve with biscuits or cornbread.
**Alternately – I blend tomatoes, and 6 oz of the carrots, 6 oz of the green beans, 2 stalks of the celery, 1 cup water into a smooth puree, to make a hearty base for the soup. Then I add the remaining veggies as directed above. I like the hearty stock.