The garden has been pretty much taken in and pulled out, except for a few tomato plants, which I’m still hoping will have some time to ripen up their last remaining fruit. The garden was a much bigger success this year, thanks to planting less late and having learned a thing or two about our gardening space. Peas and tomatoes do better in the front yard, lettuce and beans in the back yard.
Our carrot crop was pretty underwhelming. We planted some in the front garden and some in the back garden, but in both plots we grew the tiniest carrots ever! I’m told we planted them too close together, but I think they may have liked to have had a little more water on them as well.
And from what didn’t disappear via snacking, green beans have already been processed away into spicy pickled green beans. We’ve also been tossing some of the tiny carrots we grew into the jars with the beans, hopefully they’re tasty spicy and pickled too!
What I’m really overjoyed about, though, is our tomatoes! Remember last year, when all of them were still green when frost started to threaten? Not this year! The tomato crop has been almost everything I could ask for. One of the plants we had was labelled a yellow polish tomato at the greenhouse, which from my googling seems to be of the Azoychka variety, and they were particularly interesting because they were so fruity tasting compared to the red ones we grew. Delicious! If you’re looking at branching out into new tomato varieties next season, I would definitely try to get ahold of some of these seeds or a plant.
Also, another one of our tomato plants, labelled a Tiny Tim, grew the most lovely, tiny cherry tomatoes. Their skins were a little thicker than I am used to encountering in a cherry tomato, and I’m fairly certain it was that thicker skin that gave them such an intense nightshade flavor. They had the flavor of the way a tomato plant smells, bitter-sour-almost medicinal along with the regular delicious sweetness a tomato brings. Just gorgeous!
Did you grow a garden this year?
Provençal Beef Stew
1 kg stewing beef
salt and pepper
5 fist sized potatoes
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 Cup sun dried cured olives
1 Tbsp herbes de Provence
1/2 Cup Dubonnet (you could use red wine if you wish)
1 1/2 Cups beef stock
- Season the stewing beef with salt and pepper, a little more heavily handed than you would be inclined to. Don’t go crazy, but don’t be afraid to really season it. The beef is the base of the flavor base of the stew, don’t skimp!
- Sear the pieces of stewing beef on two sides using a skillet over high heat. A person could skip this step and just braise, but as was stated above, we’re building flavor here!
- Set the seared beef pieces aside (in your slow cooker’s crock if you’re using a slow cooker, in your dutch oven or pot if you’re making your stew on the stove top).
- Peel and cube the potatoes, adding them in with the beef.
- Peel the carrots, and then cut them lengthwise so that you can slice them into half moons. These slices can be pretty coarse, the carrots have a long time to soften in the braise! Add them in with the potatoes and beef.
- Remove the stems from the tomatoes, and remove the seeds. Dice them up too, and then into the pot they go!
- Next prepare the onion and garlic, chopping fairly coarsely.
- Pit the olives if they didn’t come pre-pitted, and then cut them in half.
- Add the onion, garlic and olives to the pot, sprinkling the herbes de Provence over top of everything.
- Next, add the wet ingredients, the Dubonnet and beef stock.
- If you are making your stew on the stove top, simmer the contents of your pot over low heat until the vegetables are all soft, and the beef is so tender it s falling apart (2-4 hours). If you are using a slow cooker, set it to low and cook for 6 hours.
This stew is delicious on its own, hearty and rich and soul warming for a blustery fall afternoon. But, you could also serve it up with some fresh, warm biscuits and I’m sure it could only get better!
Mr says: “I approve this chunky message.” 😛
This time last year: Grasshopper Pie
And the year before: Deviled Eggs
And the yer before that: Gourmet Macaroni & Cheese