The meaty shank soup bone has long been one of my favorite cuts of meat. It is a thick piece of beef with a marrow bone in the middle. It can be boiled to make a delicious broth for soup. It can be sauteed and then simmered with veggies to make Osso Buco. The flavor comes from the marrow fat in the middle of the bone. Here are the recipes for Beef Barley Broth and my rendition of Osso Buco.
Each package of meaty shank soup bones are 2.50-3.00 lb. each. The cost is around $25.
This is a simple broth, simple to make, simple to eat. It is more broth than stuff. It is good with a hearty bread.
2poundsmeaty beef soup bones,can use beef shanks or short ribs
6whole peppercorns, opt
1cupchopped turnips (or 1 cup other veggies)
1/4cupmedium pearl barley
In a large soup kettle, combine soup bones, water, peppercorns and salt. Cover and simmer for 2-1/2 hours or until the meat comes easily off the bones. Remove bones; remove meat and marrow from bones; dice and return to broth. (Yes, dice the marrow and add it back into the soup. The fat gives the flavor!)
Add the veggies and barley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 1 hour or until vegetables and barley are tender.
Typically, I put everything in the pot about 2 hours before we are going to eat. Then about 15 min. before we are going to eat, I remove the bones, take off and dice the meat and marrow, and return them to the broth. Both ways work.
This is the season to use spaghetti squash. It looks like this:
If you look online, most folks recommend cutting it in half lengthwise from the stem end to the blossom end. But here is the secret that I learned thekitchn.com. If you want the strings to be longer, cut the squash around the middle this way:
Notice that the strings start in a swirly pattern from the bottom and circle around coming up. When you boil or bake this, and then let it cool, the squash strings will come out sort of like circles. I cut them in half and mix them with the topping for the day. I have used both a traditional spaghetti sauce and a veggie-chicken-sour cream mixture. Both tasted good and were well-received by the family.
I haven’t posted about the local food challenge since June. So for September, we will allow you to have up to 3 comments/entries. They can be about your choice of locally grown chicken or vegetables. The food can be from my farm, from a farmers market, from your garden or from your neighbor’s garden. It just needs to be locally grown (to you). What have you made this summer? Any salads, grilled veggies, chicken soup? Comment below OR email and let me know.
On and around our property this year was the eruption of the 17-year cicada. We moved here 18 years ago, so we would have been here the last time they erupted. But it was our first year here and the time of their eruption was also the time of the birth of my twins. I don’t have any recollection of the cicadas.
This June we knew the cicadas were here by seeing the hard locusts shells on trees and clothes lines and items sitting near trees. About a week later we started hearing a background hum or buzz. The Farmer described it as an other-worldly noise. (Think outer space other-worldly.) If we were in the city and coming home, there was no buzz up on LaFayette Rd. But as we came to Graham Road, the buzz started and continued until we got to our home (and probably beyond).
I think the noise was temperature dependent and perhaps daylight dependent as well. It would start around 9-10 a.m and stop around 4-5 p.m. This continued for about 2 weeks. We were able to record the noise of the cicadas. At first you will hear the hum of the cicadas. Then at about 10 sec. you hear the hum of 1 cicada. From our internet and book research, we found that only the males make the noise.
One day during this time as I took a walk on Kennedy Rd., I saw that the cicadas were covering everything – trees and weeds – everything. Of course we had seen them flying around. But I didn’t realize they were hanging off everything. Here are some pics of them:
Our monthly local food challenge is a freebie month. Find a local food and enjoy it. Maybe you like local fish, or perhaps you have spinach or lettuce in your garden. Maybe you grill local chicken or steaks, or you collect wild edibles and use that for food or as herbal remedies. Or you like local honey! (See this story on how we collected a bee swarm.) June is the month of comment on that. Any comments enter you in our January gift certificate drawing!
This is what pork is all about. The flavor! Whether it is smoked or spiced or roasted, the flavor is what you remember from a good piece of pork. And what makes the flavor? The fat. As Julia Child has been attributed to say, “Fat gives things flavor.”
The fat is what is left in the pan after you cook your bacon and what gets drained into a container to be later used to flavor veggies or rice or potatoes. It is what mixes with the barbecue sauce of Sloppy Joes made with sausage or with the sauce of the pulled pork and what you sop up with the bread or boiled potatoes at the end of the meal. The fat of a smoked ham slice or pork chops melts and flavors the potatoes or rice it is cooked on top of.
We cook pork either by itself or on top of something: such as, bacon cooked first and then eggs cooked in the grease; smoked ham slices, pork steaks or chops cooked over rice or potatoes; pork roast, first pan seared and then roasted in the oven. In the last scenario, the fat is saved for a later use OR the bones and fat are boiled to make a broth for rice or for soup. (This makes an excellent bean soup broth!)
Sausage is used to flavor things. It is added to soups; it is the spice of sloppy joes – 1 part sausage, 3 parts hamburger, spaghetti or barbecue sauce for the sauce; it can be added to a stir fry or to an egg dish.
The local food challenge* for May is pork. Pork comes from pigs. It includes steaks, chops, roasts, spare ribs, sausage, bacon, smoked hams or smoked chops, and feet and lard.
Pigs can be raised a variety of ways. Just as cows can be raised in feed lots, pigs can be raised indoors on grain. OR just as cows can be raised on pasture, pigs can be raised in a grazing setting. Walter Jeffries of Sugar Mountain Farm has set a defining standard for how to do this well. His website has a wealth of information about the whole process of raising, slaughtering, and processing pork.
We raise our pigs in a manner closer to Jeffries than to the feed lot. Currently, we purchase our piglets from a farmer who raises them in a manner similar to us, using non-GMO grains and letting them root and be outdoors. Once they get to us, they are raised outdoors, getting fresh air and sunshine, being allowed to root, eating grass and vegetation. They regularly get non-GMO grain, day-old produce from the local food co-op, kitchen scraps, and weed and grass clippings from the garden. We keep their hut in an area for several weeks, expanding their grass areas before moving their hut to a new area. During the time that they are with us, we may move them to an area that we want to garden on eventually, letting them do the initial work of tilling and setting down their manure as compost. 6 months to a year later we would then plant in this area.
During May our pork is on sale – $5.75 / lb for non-smoked items and $6.75 / lb for smoked items and sausage. If you would like some, email us, and we will let you know the cost and will set it aside for you.
Find and enjoy some pork this month! Then email me about how you liked it OR comment in the comments below.
*Each month we have been having a challenge for different local foods to find and eat. Any comments about what you ate and how it tasted can be posted at that month’s blog post. Each comment entitles you to 1 entry in a drawing for a $50 Treasures of Joy Gift Certificate. Limit 1 comment each month. Comments for that month close at the end of each month. Drawing on January 1, 2019.