Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ground Beef - A - Rama!!

Greg and I did our bi-annual clean out of the chest freezer and I was pleased to see that there weren't any big surprises this time (I've been a little more dilligent than in years past!) But we did have a ton of ground beef since we received hamburger patties as well as ground beef in our summer CSA meat share. Inspired by the cooler fall weather I decided to pull out 3 lbs and get to work on creating some meals that I could freeze.

The first was a "Tandoori Chili" from my 'Company's Coming: Ground Beef' book (I don't know about you, but I really can't get inspired by ground meat in quite the same way as a tenderloin or chop, so I bought this book to give me some ideas - and it's quite good!) My girlfriend Michelle absolutely loves this, and since having some of mine, makes it all the time for her family! The second dish was a "Butternut & Beef Chili" from my own stash of recipes and the third a "Fiesta Strata". These were all made within 2 hours and contain ingredients that I had on hand ~ always a bonus in my books!
2 tsp cooking oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp grated gingerroot, or 3/4 tsp dried ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp paprika
2 tsp crushed red chilis
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
19oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
14 oz can of diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup water
7 1/2 oz can of tomato sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
  • Heat cooking oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add next 4 ingredients (beef to garlic). Saute until ground beef is no longer pink.
  • Add next 9 ingredients (paprika to cinnamon). Heat and stir for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  • Add next 4 ingredients (chickpeas to tomato sauce). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
  • Add yogurt. Heat and stir for 10 minutes until heated through.
  • Serve with either naan or pappadums!!



1 lb lean ground beef

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped bell pepper

3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

3 cups peeled, seeded and chopped butternut squash

3 cups water

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp each: dried oregano, ground cumin, chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 16oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup small pitted olives

2 to 3 tsp seeded, minced jalapenos

6 tbsp thinly sliced green onions

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

  • Combine the first 3 ingredients (beef - peppers) in a lagre Dutch oven. Saute over medium-high heat until beef is browned and onions are transluscent.
  • Stir in the next 10 ingredients (tomatoes - garlic). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  • Stir in olves and jalapenos and cook 5 minutes.
  • Ladle into bowls and top with green onions and cilantro (I actually incorporated these into the chili before putting it into my containters for freezing).



2 tsp cooking oil

1 lb lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup roasted red peppers, drained, blotted dry and cut into 1/4" strips

4 oz can of diced green chilis, or 3 tbsp freshly chopped and seeded jalapenos

1/2 tsp chili powder

6 - 9" flour tortillas

4 large eggs

2 cups milk

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 cups grated monterey jack cheese

  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium. Add ground beef and onion. Saute until beef is browned.
  • Add the next 3 ingredients (peppers - chili powder). Heat and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from heat.
  • Place 1 flour tortilla in a greased 3 quart (3L) round casserole. Fold eges if necessary to fit into casserole dish. Spread 1/2 cup of the beef mixture over top. Repeat, layering remaining tortillas and beef mixture, ending with a tortilla.
  • Whisk the next three ingredients together in a bowl (eggs - cumin) and pour over top the tortillas in the casserole.
  • Top with the grated cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavours to blend and the tortillas to absorb the liquid.
  • Bake uncovered in a 350F oven for approximately 1 1/4 hours until puffed and golden.
  • Cut into wedges and serve with salad and salsa!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


There really is nothing like the sharp tangy smell of a tomato as it is freshly picked off of the vine. Bright red and warmed by the sun; hidden under mounds of bright green leaves. This is how I was waxing lyrical as I was filling my bushel basket at "Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze" ~ they've now opened up their tomato, strawberry and potato fields to u-pick!! The Cooper's Roma tomatoes are a particular type that are supposed to be optimal for canning ~ frankly as this was my first time ever canning tomatoes, I chose to believe Steve as I knew no different! 1 bushel of tomatoes, 3 quarts of strawberries and a 1/2 bushel of russet potatoes later, we headed home. Carrying the bushel basket was a little tricky (didn't seem so heavy when I was out in the fields with the sounds of bees and crickets filling my head!!!) but I finally wrestled it into the kitchen and began the monumental task of preparing the tomatoes for canning...

With the giant cauldron of water boiling, my sinks filled with ice water and my favourite tunes on the ipod, I peeled and diced 1/2 the bushel. Once those 1L jars were in the canner, I decided that perhaps some whole tomatoes would be nice too ~ some I packed with water and some in strained tomato puree. Then at around the 5th hour of preparing tomatoes, I decided that perhaps some tomato sauce was also in order! The last 1/4 of the bushel was devoted to sauce, and I added some tomatillos that were part of my CSA basket, for good measure.

The whole process really made me appreciate the amount of work that our Grandmother's went to in order to ensure they had items such as fresh tomatoes, all throughout the year as nothing else was available to them. I also like knowing that I am preserving produce that is sustainably raised, and is canned using only a couple of tablespoonfuls of fresh lemon juice!
This is DEFINITELY the best part of living in a farming community and being affiliated with a CSA program!!