Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Recipes: Corned Beef

St. Patrick's Day is only 4 days away. If you haven't planned your evening meal yet, consider the traditional corned beef as your entree. Below are several different corned beef recipes, hopefully enough variety to find something that suits you!

If you have a favorite Corned Beef recipe you would like to share, please let us know! Or maybe you have some great leftover ideas!

click recipe name for printable version

4-5 lb corned beef brisket
1 medium clove garlic
1 medium yellow onion, halved
2 whole cloves
10 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp mustard seed
1 medium head cabbage, cut into wedges

Wipe corned beef well with damp paper towels. Place in a large pot, cover with cold water. Add all ingredients, except cabbage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Skim. Cover, continue to simmer 3-4 hours or until fork tender. Add cabbage the last fifteen minutes.

Remove corned beef and cabbage from liquid. Slice corned beef and arrange on platter with cabbage wedges.

Crockpot Corned Beef And Cabbage
click recipe name for printable version

1 can corned beef
1 sm. onion, chopped
1 sm. cabbage, sliced thin
1 (6 oz.) can tomato sauce
2-1/2 c. potatoes, cubed
Chili powder to taste
Pinch sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown corned beef and onion. Add tomato sauce, cabbage, potatoes, and sugar. Cover and simmer until done, about 1 hour. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, and stir well. Remove from heat and let sit about 5 minutes to blend flavors. Serve with cornbread. 

NOTE: Can be prepared in skillet or dump all ingredients in crockpot, set on low and cook for 6 to 8 hours. Serves 4.

Corned Beef And Cabbage in the CrockPot
click recipe name for printable version

2 medium Onions, sliced
2-1/2 pounds Corned beef brisket
1 cup Apple juice
1/4 cup Brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons Orange peel, finely shredded
2 teaspoons Prepared mustard
6 Whole cloves
6 Cabbage wedges

Place onions in crock pot. Trim away any fat that might be present on the brisket. If needed, cut brisket to fit into crock pot; place on top of onions. In a bowl, combine apple juice, sugar, orange peel, mustard, and cloves; pour over brisket. Place cabbage on top of brisket. Cover; cook on low setting for 10 to 12 hours or high setting for 5 - 6 hours.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
click recipe name for printable version

4-1/2 pounds Corned beef brisket
2 medium Onions, quartered
1 Cabbage head, cut in small
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
3 tablespoons Vinegar
3 tablespoons Sugar
2 cups Water

Combine ingredients in removable liner with cabbage on top. Cut meat to fit, if necessary. Place liner in base. Cover and cook on low 10-12hours; high 6-7 hours or auto 6-8 hours.
Servings: 6

Crock Pot Corned Beef
click recipe name for printable version

1 ( 2 1/2 to 3 pound) corned beef brisket with pickling spices
1 medium chopped onion
1 carrot, peeled and coarsley shredded
1 clove of garlic, minced

Place corned beef in crockpot. Top with pickling spices, onion, carrot and garlic. Add enough water to cover meat. Cover and cook on Low 8 to 9 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove meat from crockpot, slice and serve.

Share your favorite Corned Beef recipe by leaving a comment below!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reader's Questions and More Tips

May you have warm words on a cold evening,a full moon on a dark night,and a smooth road all the way to your door.~An Irish Blessing

Today I have a couple great questions, and tips that were sent in by readers.

I've recently bought a beautiful Edwardian parasol. It's beige linen, with a wooden handle and tip, metal fittings. Unfortunately the parasol is stained in the folds, almost looks 'tea dyed'. I'd like to clean it and get it back to it's basic creamy linen. Do you happen to have any guidelines for me? I was thinking of using either Oxiclean or Bix, in a big galvanized tub on the patio - soaking the parasol, then rinsing with hose and putting in the sun. But I don't want to ruin it, or make it worse than it is. Can you share a bit of your expertise with this vintage novice?


I'm going to say, since it seems to be made of linen, to follow the same directions in caring for vintage linen, which I have on OFL: Be sure to test a spot first, before doing the entire umbrella.

I think you could carefully clean the wooden parts with Murphy's Oil Soap or another gentle wood cleaner. I'm a little concerned with soaking the entire umbrella because you'd have to soak the wooden pieces too, but it may be the only thing you can do.

I need a plant hanger for the topsy turvy tomato plants that I want to grow. I can't put them on the porch because there is no sun or rain for the plants and I am looking for a metal plant hanging stand for the tomato plants. ~Sue

I know many people hang them from metal clothes line poles, or make wood frames to hang them from. If you look closely at the pictures in the article about growing tomatoes upside down you can see the wood frame the author used:
As far as the clothes line poles, you may even be able to find one or two by asking around. People will often have them sitting around unused if they are no longer drying clothing outside. Another easy thing to use for upside down tomatoes are shepherds hooks. You will need the tall variety, but they are sturdy and should easily hold the tomato plant. They also have the ones with a hook on each side, which would work great.

These are tips sent in last week by our readers:

Ah Yes, SQUIRRELS! One was caught in my chimney. It had slipped below the baffle. It was a baby and the mother had evidently been dropping food to it. She was too big to get in the baffle. I had to hire a critter catcher, who had to tear off part of the chimney to get the baby. Well that was not too good.

I had everything repaired and painted, and as workers were doing that job, they had a big critter jump out of the chimney. Scared them half to death and they nearly fell off the 4 story scaffolding that was their work area for the repair. Yes, I do have workman's insurance, but they were okay, just scared. I have had squirrels get in my attic, more critter catcher $$$$$. They can really chew through anything. They have chewed up TV cables and phone lines. I have a backyard that is all trees, and they just bounce all over. I hate to admit but sometimes I let the dogs out to chase them, but it does not deter them. Chihuahuas somehow do not seem to evoke the fear of being eaten in critters, and the squirrels will sometimes come right up against glass door, as dogs go into frenzied lunging against door, and hysterical barking...Squirrels, turns around, gives a flip of its tail, and is gone. Do you think the tail flip is like a human giving the Jimmy Carter 1 finger wave that he talked about? ~Isabelle in Atlanta

Friends of mine just completed a complete rebuild of an exterior wall of their two story house. They had a squirrel feeder on a second floor deck as the Grandmother used to love to sit in her "office" up there and play solitaire on the computer and watch the birds, squirrels and hummingbirds at the various feeders. Little did they realize that all the seed knocked off the bird and squirrel feeders onto the ground below as being eaten up by rats. With an ample food supply, the population of rats soared although no one was aware of it. In order to be close to the never ending food supply during the cold and rainy winter months, the rats began chewing through the foundation and walls of the first floor library. This continued until the inevitable day when rats were seen running throughout the first floor rooms and the resulting close inspection of the foundation and walls revealed an enormous warren of rat runs. Needless to say, there is no more feeding of squirrels and the work is just about complete on the rebuild of the affected first story walls and floors. I suppose the best lesson to learn from this is that squirrels are best fed well away from the house or barn. In winter there are all too many creatures vying for those bits of dropped seed! ~Jacqui in California

Just wanted to let you know that Walmart and some hardware stores sell a product called "Just One Drop" that eliminates odors on or in anything. I've heard that it works by breaking protein bonds that bind the odor to the plastic, vinyl, cloth, etc. ~Jacqui

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kitchen TIp Tuesday: Hodge Podge of Tips

Today I have a variety of great tips that have lasted over the years. No particular theme today, just a hodge podge of great ideas!

Handy Clothespins: Forget the laundry, try using clothespins (the spring type) in the kitchen. they work great in place of twist ties for holding bread bags and chip bags closed. Pretty much any bag that needs closing, such as cereal or even frozen vegetables. Try gluing a magnet to the back of a clothespin and hang your shopping list on the fridge. Here's some fun decorated clothespin magnets you can make!

Easy Freezer Storage: Place a zipper freezer bag inside a coffee can or large mouth jar and fold the zipper edge back over the lip of the can or jar. Fill the bag with sauce, gravy or other food, this also keeps the zipper edge clean. Now, lay the bag flat in the freezer by placing on a cookie sheet, a flat pizza box, or anything else you have and let it freeze. Once frozen, this can be stood up and stacked in the freezer for better storage room.

Salad Shaker: If you're like me you don't like your salad drowning in too much dressing. Place your salad into a gallon zipper bag and add the amount of dressing that you prefer. Zip the bag shut leaving air in the bag. Shake the bag until your salad in evenly covered. This can also be done in a plastic storage container with a tight fitting lid.

Homemade Pasta Sauce: All you need for a basic pasta sauce is a 7.5 oz can of tomato sauce and a 6 oz can of tomato paste. This will serve 3-4 people. Make your batches as large as you want simply multiplying the ingredients by the number of batches you want. Combine the two ingredients and add 3 tomato paste cans of water (or 18 oz water). Add whatever seasonings you like such as basil, salt, and pepper. Play around to find your favorite, suggested herbs are oregano, basil, and marjoram. Onion and garlic are a common ingredient, and a teaspoon of sugar helps tone down the acidic nature of the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, simmer and separate into portions right for your family. Store in the freezer in zipper storage bags (use the flatten method above!) and thaw when ready to use.

Value Packs: Sometimes the value packs of meat at the grocery store can be a great deal. When you come across them, bring them home and immediately break them into meal sized portions. Freeze so they are ready to use when you are.

Lumpy Gravy: If you gravy has lumps, toss it in the blender for a few spins until smooth!

Homemade Pastry Bag: Fill a plastic zipper sandwich bag and squeeze out excess air. Push everything to one corner, twist the empty end of the bag and snip off the bottom corner of the bag with scissors. Voila - instant pastry bag!

Zest it First - Before peeling an orange or slicing a lemon or lime, zest off the rind first and place in a zipper storage bag. Pop the zest in the freezer to use the next time you need zest!

No Peel Mashed Potatoes: Instead of peeling the potatoes first, cook the potatoes in the microwave skin on, then cut in half and scoop out the pulp. Save the skins for a tasty appetizer. Slice skins into strips, spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and place under the broiler for a few minutes until crispy. You can also add shredded cheddar and bacon bits!

Do you have any great kitchen tips? We'd love to hear from you. To share, click on "Post a Comment" at the bottom of this post!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Garden Tips: Sowing Tiny Seeds

When the time is ripe for certain things, these things appear in different places in the manner of violets coming to light in the early spring. ~Farkas Bolyai

Today I have some tips on sowing very tiny seeds.

For planting tiny seeds in small peat pots keep a small glass of water and a pencil next to your work area. Simply dampen the end of the pencil then use it to pick up the seed and deposit it in it's pot. This is much better than picking up several on your finger:)

Washing out tiny seeds: Buy the cheapest tissues you can find and separate a couple of the tissues into 2 pieces (they are usually 2 ply). Prepare your container (remember, the salad or deli containers with a clear top work well after washing) by placing in seed starting mix. Carefully lay down one layer of tissue, then place your seeds down as if it was the top of the dirt. Now place the second tissue on top of the seeds, then water. The seeds will stay in place each time you water and there is
no reason to remove the tissue!

Sowing tiny seeds outside: Place your seeds and 3-4 tbsp. of cornmeal into a paper lunch sack. Shake well and sprinkle the mixture over your prepared area. Water carefully with a hose attachment that waters just a little heavier than mist until all is moistened. This helps space the tiny seeds so they don't clump together.

Covering seeds: It's always important to note how deep seeds are suppose to be planted. Some barely need covering. Pick up a strainer at a yard sale or thrift store and keep it handy. When you need a very light covering throw a handful of dirt in the strainer and shake over the seeds.

We have tips for growing Bleeding Hearts on OFL: