Monday, October 4, 2010

A good day for the garden turns into a hearty autumn meal.

Last week, I was on vacation. I worried (not too much, though...) that the fall crops I'd planted were withering away all last week. Luckily, we got some rain and some cooler temps, which was perfect for the beets, raddishes, chard and carrots I planted. Neat little rows of sprouts were coming up when I got back. Yay!

Yesterday, I went out to see what else was in the garden and how the new sprouts were doing up close. I found a cucumber! I thought I pulled up the whole vine when I planted the fall crops. And, there were also 3 more little cukes on the end of the stub of vine I left. Amazing. I might get them before it gets too cold, as they generally grow fast. I also picked a ripe tomato from one of the pots on the porch. It was a Pink Ponderosa. There's another green one, too that will hopefully ripen in the next week or so. I also pulled up some of my carrots out of the cold frame. All in all, I am pretty pleased with the carrot crop this year. In the cold frame, I made a mix of sand, potting soil and compost, since carrots like really fine soil. This worked much better than last year, when I planted them in my garden. Last year, though, I did get the Short N Sweet variety, which are specifically for heavier soil, but they still were gnarly little knots of carrots. This year, I grew Danver's Half Long. The only change I am going to make for next year, is I am going to move my cold frame down beside my garden. Right now, it's beside my house. I thought that would be a good place, as it will stay warmer during the winter months, but it was shaded for half a day by the house. The carrots should have been ready a long time ago, but because of the limited amount of sun, they are short and late to the party. They were still beautiful, though...

The weather yesterday was cold and misty, and perfect for braised short ribs. I'd never made braised short ribs before, but somehow, I ended up with three packages in the freezer from the Monroe Farm Market. Everything I've read about making them raves about the delicious results you get from minimal effort. Sold. Now, I can attest that is true. I looked at several recipes, and settled on this one from Epicurious.

So. Freakin'. Good.

Putting the short ribs in my dutch oven with veg, stout and stock.

Delicious and ridiculously easy. Basically, marinate meat. Brown meat. Add vegetables, broth and stout. Bake for 2-ish hours until meat is falling off bone. Serve with buttered egg noodles. If you are a lazy cook and you want to invite peeps over for dinner and impress them, this is your recipe. I am soooo glad I have two more packages of grass-fed beef short ribs in the freezer. These will be even tastier the colder it gets outside.