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The Ugly Green Pot


By Becky Hoff

Fri, Oct 18th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

An ugly, enameled green dutch oven sits in a place of honor upon my stove. It sits rather heavily, for it is made of cast iron. In this one cooking vessel roasts are seared, sauces stirred up, chickens roasted, soups simmered and on rare occasions it has even been used as a mixing bowl. Were I to pare down my cooking pots and pans to just the bare essentials, the ugly green pot would stay. Truly is a most versatile vessel.

The colder it gets outside, the more frequently the ugly green pot is put to use. It is the perfect container from which to serve warm comfort foods. Soups and stews reign supreme from October to March in my household, and are generally served once or twice per week.

The basis of any good soup is a good stock, and with that in mind I am sharing some tips for making homemade soup stocks. As you probably already know, soup stock is the lovely liquid we get when simmering leftover meat bones with vegetables and herbs for several hours. The solids are then strained out, the liquid cooled, and the fat skimmed off of the top. Then the stock is put to use! The most common stock used in my household is chicken or turkey, but a nice beef or ham stock is always a welcome change.

Tip One: Keep it simple! You don’t need to add a lot to your bones to get good flavored stock. Typically I will add carrot cut into chunks, a rib or two of celery, a quartered onion, a few peppercorns, garlic cloves, sprigs of parsley, and a bay leaf. A splash or two of vinegar and some salt are added to this at some point along the way.

Tip Two: Don’t add too much water. Add water to cover your bones, and not much more than that. I don’t use more than a gallon of water, and sometimes less than that when making stock. Remember you can always dilute a strong stock, but weak stock is just...weak.

Tip Three: Save those pan drippings! The juice leftover from a roast of beef, the drippings you didn’t use for gravy from the Thanksgiving turkey- these are excellent additions to your stock pot. They may be a bit fatty, but if you strain and cool your stock before using it, you can skim all that fat off of the top and out of your stock.

Tip Four: A gentle simmer is all that is required. Bring the pot to a boil, but then lower it to a simmer for long cooking. Boiling will overly reduce your liquid volume and may destroy some of the more delicate flavors in the stock.

Tip Five: .....
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Tech Bytes

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Oct 18th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Brace yourselves avid Twitter fans, this form social media is going through a sort of a rough patch. What all free social media sites depend upon for sustainability would be revenues from advertising. So, what happens when your advertising revenues ..... 
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Cheesey Butternut Macaroni Bake

By Kathy Little

Fri, Oct 4th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

I’m not a “Pampered Chef” (pun intended) or a Tupperware Queen with many plastic containers that burp on command. I have to honestly admit that these are good products (and also on the advice of my lawyer), but I am too cheap to buy many of th ..... 
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Country Coffee Talk - September 30, 2013

By Jeanette Schmidt

Fri, Sep 27th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Morning coffee days on the porch are numbered, sad to say. But as I enjoy one of the last, my mind travels back to a few weeks ago, when 10 college friends met for a 50 year reunion of our senior trip to Colorado. We traveled there in a nine passeng ..... 
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Yum-m-m - Planning a Wedding? Trying to Be Frugal?

By Katie Van Sickle

Fri, Sep 20th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

You probably have attended many weddings this summer or maybe your invitations will start coming in the mail for fall weddings. I love the fall colors for decorating my home and it is a great time of year for decorating for a wedding as well. My ..... 
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Becky's Food Tales - A Taste of Changing Seasons

By Becky Hoff

Fri, Sep 13th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Leeks and carrots arrived in the CSA box today. These lovely vegetables were accompanied by equally lovely warm weather chili peppers and tomatoes, but leeks and carrots are... fall vegetables. Fall vegetables? Is it really that time of year alrea ..... 
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A View From The Woods - Why Garden?

By Loni Kemp

Fri, Sep 13th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Most mornings I grab a small bowl and walk out to the little ever-bearing strawberry patch I started last year. I make my way around the edges of the bed, plucking red berries that apparently like our hot and humid summer just fine. Pushing the co ..... 
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Yum-m-m - September 9, 2013

By Katie Van Sickle

Fri, Sep 6th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

This dessert recipe is over 30 years old, but a great one to fix ahead. I got it from my sister-in-law (I have five) while we were living in Bismark, North Dakota. The most I ever made at one time was eight. Our youngest son was a senior in high sc ..... 
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Becky's Food Tales - September 2, 2013

By Becky Hoff

Fri, Aug 30th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Tomato Season - A Tale of Irrational Gardening Tomatoes are easily my favorite thing to grow in the garden. Every year I have to try new heirloom varieties in my quest for ‘The Perfect Tomato.’ This year I have no less than 11 varieties plant ..... 
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