Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
An interesting treatment I tried is called "wet sock therapy". It involves putting damp socks in the freezer to get them nice and cold. Right before bed take a hot shower and then put the cold, wet socks on with another dry warm pair of socks on top of those. Sleep though the night like this and by morning the socks should be dry. This may sound like torture, but it really does work. It increases blood flow and immune function.
My inspiration for making gumbo was originally because I have sausage in my freezer that needs to be used. The fact that its Mardi Gras season and a recent episode of Top Chef, sealed the deal. I was a little bit nervous about making the roux. My patience only lasted until it looked like coffee with cream. My only issue in the end was that I didnt make enough roux, so it was not as thick as I would have liked. The combination of chicken broth, cayenne pepper and garlic was great for my sore throat, making this a good thing to make for sick people. I am pleased with how it came out and will definitely make it again.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
2 tablespoons + 1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 lbs raw chicken cut into small piece or thighs on the bone, skin removed
1/2-1 pound smoked sausage, such as andouille , cut crosswise 1/2-inch thick pieces
1 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 celery ribs, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
About 10 crimini mushrooms, chopped
salt and pepper
1 quart chicken stock, low sodium
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
Cover chicken with 1/4 cup flour. In a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven , heat 2 tablespoon of the butter. When melted add chicken and allow to brown for about 3 minutes on each sides. Set chicken aside. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Add remaining butter to pot and when melted add 1/4 cup flour, making a roux. Stir constantly until mixture turns dark brown.
Add onion, garlic, celery, bell peppers and mushrooms, salt and pepper. Allow to cook until wilted about 5 minutes. Slowly add broth until you reach desired thickness. Add creole seasoning and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Add reserved chicken, sausage and parsley and cook for 1-1 1/2 hrs.
If using chicken on the bone remove pieces and allow chicken to fall off bone back into gumbo. Serve over rice with hot sauce on the side.
Last weekend as I was starting to get sick, I thought it would be a good idea to go snowshoeing. I actually didnt feel that bad at that point and Rachel and I had been planning this weekend together for awhile. It was great exercise and wonderful to get out into the woods. The weather was perfect - sunny and clear with plenty of fresh snow on the ground. We went to Adams, MA and snowshoed near Greylock Mountain/Thunderbolt.
Monday, February 23, 2009
When he came out we could tell he has been there for a little while because he had pooped in the placenta and broken the blood vessels in his eyelids from straining to get out. For a second there I thought he was dead, which would have been pretty traumatic. Well he wasn't dead, but he was very weak. We had to rub him all over with towels to dry him off and get his blood flowing and his muscles working. After rubbing him for a while and ruining a few towels he started kicking his legs and making little lamb noises. It was pretty clear that he was going to pull through but he was still to weak to stand and suckle the teat. So again I got the mom in a headlock and Diane held Ben Jr so he could get a lock on the teat. Once he got a little milk in his belly and some more rubs he was able to stand up and inch his was around the barn stall. He was still a little shaky when I left, but he looks like he is going to be a big strong boy when he grows up. When he does get big he probably wont remember me and I will have to beat him on the head with a crook until he realizes who is boss.
I had to do this once before because the ram could smell my manliness and was feeling inadequate so he decided to charge me- over and over again. The whole thing must have seemed pretty funny except that I was getting scared. I couldn't go anywhere because he kept charging me and Deborah could not hear me yelling to let Tess through the gate. The whole thing must have been a riot for Tess and Deborah. Finally Diane came down to the pasture and let Tess in who promptly ran that stupid ram off. I thought I was done at that point, but Diane gave me a crook and told me I had to go after the ram and beat him on the head. Well that was a riot too apparently. Between laughing hysterically Diane and Deborah were yelling at me to hit him harder and that I hit like a sissy and that I have a limp wrist until I had enough rage that I beat him into submission. I felt a little bad, but also a strange sense of pleasure in taking revenge on that stupid ram. He never messed with me again after that. Hopefully Ben Jr doesn't try to pull any of that crap with me, but if he does you can bet I will beat him silly- namesake or no namesake he will have to learn who is boss.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Teal on 02/20/09 This is my idea for how to keep a log of how fast she is growing. Eating is the only time she is still long enough for me to take a picture.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Adapted from recipes by Emeril and Cooks Illustrated.
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup sherry/red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves (optional)
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons shallots
- 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, garlic and shallots. Pulse until well blended, scraping down sides. Add salt, crushed red pepper and water if needed. Remove 1 cup of the chimichurri sauce from the processor and transfer to a non-reactive bowl, and reserve at room temperature for up to 6 hours.
With Grass Fed Rib Eye Steak......
This recipe is designed for the winter. In the summer grilling would be the preferred cooking method.
Season the steak salt and pepper on both sides. Marinate with remaining chimichurri sauce and refrigerate the steak for 2 to 4 hours.
Once the steak has finished marinating, remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Brush the excess chimichurri sauce off the steak.
Heat a heavy bottomed pan and sear the steaks for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare to medium. Once cooked, lay the steak on a clean cutting board, and allow it to rest for 5 to 7 minutes before slicing across the grain into 2-inch wide strips.
Serve with remaining sauce and sauteed vegetables on the side. I used kale and mushrooms.
About Chimichurri (according to wikipedia)
Chimichurri originated is a popular sauce used with grilled meat and bread in Argentina and throughout South American. One story recalls that the name comes from 'Jimmy McCurry' from Ireland, who is said to have first prepared the sauce. He was marching with the troops of General Jasson Ospina in the 19th century, sympathetic to the cause of Argentine independence . The sauce was popular and the recipe was passed on. However, 'Jimmy McCurry' was difficult for the native people to say. Some sources claim Jimmy's sauce's name was corrupted to 'chimichurri', while others say it was changed in his honor.
The preparation is likely a mixture of Spanish and Italian methods, a general reflection of Argentine society as a whole. The essential elements of chimichurri are common to both Spain and Italy. The overall compositions, taste and preparation are clearly derived from Genovese pesto, and is also similar to French persillade.
This is the best way to store fresh herbs. It looks nice, especially if you have a variety to display.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Friday was a crazy day. My flight out of Seattle was delayed 2 hours. Then after waiting and sitting on the plane for 5 hours I drove from Newark, NJ to Central Mass, four hours......for a flyball tournament. I would have driven back to Mass anyway, but Friday was followed by two very long days of flyball. It is a lot of fun, but it is not the least bit relaxing. Its loud and non-stop. It is always difficult to sleep too. I was so tired, I was tempted to crawl into one of the big dog crates with thick cushions and take a nap. I wonder if other people find flyball tournaments as exhausting as I do?
Chase and Hunter dressed up for Mardi Gras
Indy's team mate Slingshot getting wrapped
Our sad Mardi Gras decorating attempt
The winning Mardi Gras set-up. They won a free entry to next years tournament
adorable parson jack russell puppies
Sue and Joe's crew of dogs
Indy raced with the same team as usual. We came in last place of division 1, but we had fun and the dogs were happy and tired. Indy very much enjoyed the intense competition and ran several times below 4 seconds with a passand got her FM title. We are going to put her in start position at the next tournament for a few heats to see if she can break 3.9 seconds.
She either decided that she would prefer lower jumps or that she hates waiting after a false start, so she busted through 3 inches of jump slats. Our other mishap involved me putting her leg wraps (protects her legs) on too tight...ooops. She decided to sit out the last race because her legs felt too tingly.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
It turns out that the xray and examination showed the doctor that he is not a current candidate for the TPLO because there were no signs that he had a tear. This is good news, however he did have some fluid build up in his knee. His diagnosis will be more clear after the pathologist looks at this fluid and a radieologist sees the xrays. The worst case would be that he has a very minor tear that will eventually tear all the way depending on how hard he plays. We are also hoping that he does not need NSAIDS for the rest of his life to feel good enough to play.
I am in the process of looking into how to heal him with crate rest, or to find out if that is an option. To speed Ari's healing Ben will be giving him a few supplements that help with different things. He is getting: fish oil, arnica, glucosamine, probiotics, and dog gone pain (Feverfew, Celery Seed, Wheatgrass, Boswelia, Bromelain, Papain, Corydalis Root, Cayenne, Turmeric, Shark Cartilage).
Teal's first sheep exposure. Good thing Tess has them under control!
The house dogs - Tess, Rainy and Nan
Teal didn't seem to notice the sheep at first, so we helped her out.
We need to get our border collies some Jolly Balls- they love it!
One of the reasons that Diane is the best- she let our puppy herd her chickens!
Another reason - she gives us eggs!
Teal in her first crouch, watching movement
Ducks are the cutest
Diane cleaned the kennels and let everyone out to play
Tess working hard for Ben - practicing for next weeks trial
You can sort of see Ben trying to close the pen and one sheep getting between his legs.
Frank is watching out for his sheep
Kuro is all grown up now, we watched him when he was a pup.
Crazy muddy baby border collie
Anson is my favorite. He is a handsome boy and Tess's puppy.
Tess is the oldest and most treasured dog on the farm and will be Ben's partner in the trial on Sunday.