Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday, Monday

My morning started out on a sour note since I was out of coffee. Just enough for 1 cup, not near enough to get me through, as today my "to-do" list seemed exceptionally long. And it is raining. Again. Bummer.
So as I savored my 1 small cup I started at the top of my list. Freeze pumpkin. Easy enough. I had been badly whipped by said pumpkin last week when I tried to cut him up for Thanksgiving pies. Seems he liked being a porch ornament. However, win I did, and now the rest was going in the freezer except for a small amount I am saving out to try in new goat milk soap. I also stirred the seeds that are almost dry that I saved to plant next year and share as small gifts with friends for Christmas.
Next on the list was soap making. We are running low and it needs at least 3-4 weeks to cure before using so another "must do". Making soap is not hard, it is just gathering all the ingredients, measuring, ect. take a bit of time. I managed to get 2 double batches done and then realized I am almost out of frozen milk. Since I have already dried the girls up and no one is due until February this might be a problem. Good grief.
So, I cleaned up my mess and headed to the garden to fill CSA orders that are due for pick up tomorrow. Not a huge order this week, just kale and lettuces all easily picked and the rain was just a sprinkle at this point. As I picked, I noticed all the cabbage is starting to split so I guess I will be making sauerkraut later this week. (note to self--add cabbage to list). Orders filled, weighed, bagged and in the fridge. CSA done, check.
Next on my list was to head to the feed store and grocery store. I can't pick up all the feed I need because it is still raining and I just have my truck today, so I will get the necessities. Off I go and on the way pass the deer processors house. Darn!! I forgot that he had called Friday and I needed to pick up the deer my son shot. Will do that on the way back. Feed store, check. Pick up deer, check. Now I must take deer back to the house before I go to the grocery. 45 minutes later, after arranging 2 freezers to make room for the deer I am now headed to the grocery. As I pull out of the driveway for the second time I slammed on brakes. Those sheep are not supposed to be in THAT pasture. Obviously there has been a confrontation between the rams and the fence is down some where. Everyone looks to be okay, no blood or guts. I will check when I get back. Grocery store first, must have coffee for tomorrow!
I made the trip and got what little I needed. It is only 4:30 but it looks like night time it is so dark. Just as I put the cart up the heavens opened up and it began to pour. Lovely.
Back home as I pulled in the drive I am greeted by the 3 LGD's. The apparently found the fence break and are so happy to see me. They are also VERY wet and muddy and now so am I. Groceries unloaded and off I go to the barn to feed and check the fences. The fence break is fairly minor, I wedged it together enough to keep the dogs up for the night until I can see better during daylight hours. I will have to separate the sheep tomorrow as well. Feed unloaded and critters tended I trudge back to the house dripping wet and muddy only to find a hungry hubby standing in the kitchen. Shower first I muttered.
I will be so glad to go to work tomorrow. My days off are exhausting!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Corned Beef

Our winter garden has been a huge success and as I pondered how to fix cabbage in yet another way, corned beef and cabbage popped into my mind. I love corned beef but haven't eaten it in years because of all the ugly preservatives they add to it. My sister also informed me that it is expensive, that I wouldn't know since we don't buy meat! Being that I have an over abundance of roasts in my freezer this seemed like a plan.
After doing some reading I realized how easy it would to make at home. I absolutely love Penzey Spices and they have a premixed corned beef spice. I know I could have mixed my own or used regular pickling spices but....
I thawed a rump roast and put it in a brine of 1 cup salt to 8 cups water that had cooled. I used a glass bowl and weighted the roast down with a plate that fit inside the bowl. I let it brine for 5 days. There seems to be mixed thoughts on the length of brining, anywhere from 3- 7 days so I just chose 5! After 5 days I took it out of the brine, washed it with cold water and put in in a heavy pot with the spices and water to cover. I simmered it for several hours. When it was almost done I added big chunks of our potatoes and carrots. When they were tender, I added wedges of cabbage. Wow! It was a huge success. Everyone just raved over it. The veggies cooked in that broth were heavenly and the roast was falling apart tender. I had hoped to have enough leftovers to make Reuben sandwiches. Not so. Will have to make another!
Now that being said, I would make a few changes. I would probably only brine 3-4 days. The meat was fairly salty, I know it should be but will experiment on that. I would also put the spices in a bag or tea ball to eliminate crunching down on a piece of bay leaf. The other seeds and spices cooked down but I think I would probably still do this. All in all it was a grand success. I just don't know why I never thought of it before. Happy corning!