I took my morning walks to new locations the past two weeks, one being the local upscale grocery store. An old hand at couponing, I watch the sale ads and check the clearance items carefully, which stretches my fuel budget even at upscale stores.
This week, to my delight I found one large portion of boneless beef ribs in the Manager’s Special (the day-old) section of the meat case. Soup makes coming home through the thunderstorms wonderful this week. With the package of rib meat I wandered on down the isle where I found some marrow bones.
At the checkout, I was pleased to have spent less than $5.00 on enough protein and nutrients for the family and company. As I walked my prize home between cloudbursts I thought through the contents of the refrigerator and pantry. While the deluge continued to flood parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I cooked. In the end, the soup warmed us all.
Beefy Pepper Cabbage Soup
Makes 4 – 6 servings
3 – 6 large marrow bones (knuckle bones or neck bones are also fine)
1 large onion
2 large whole cracked (slightly crushed) cloves fresh garlic***
1 Tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 – 2 pounds. beef; rib meat (boneless ribs) or stew meat cut into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning blend
*** when fresh garlic isn’t available, add granulated garlic to meat.
3 peeled (or carefully scrubbed) sliced carrots
3 sliced celery ribs
1 red bell pepper – chopped
1 orange or yellow bell pepper – chopped
1 large bay leaf
2 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoon chopped parsley
3 cups chopped cabbage
Place marrow bones, onion and ***fresh garlic in a large, deep saucepan or a small stock pot and cover with water. Bring to boil, then reduce to a slow simmer for approximately 2 – 3 hours (depending upon sizes of bones).
While bones simmer, cut meat and vegetables into bite-sized pieces and chop herbs finely. Refrigerate an hour or so, but take out early enough to allow everything to warm to room temperature.
Once marrow cooks from the bones and they are hollow, remove bones and garlic (garlic if preferred) and discard.
In skillet, season and sear meat pieces, stirring to brown outsides, being careful to not burn or scorch the drippings. Add meat to stock pot and let skillet cool till warm to touch. Once skillet is cooled sufficiently, pour 2 cups hot water into skillet, stir to loosen browned bits from bottom and sides. Pour liquid into stock.
Stir bay leaf, cilantro, parsley, carrots, celery (and potatoes if desired) into stock and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer 8 – 10 minutes. Stir in peppers and cabbage.
If stock is not level with meat and vegetables add enough ** Beef flavor Better Than Bullion (or beef bullion) stock (I needed 2 more cups) to not quite cover. Bring to a strong simmer for another ten – fifteen minutes until all vegetables are just tender (you can cook longer if you like your vegetables cooked into mush ; ).
Bullion tends to be salty, so I don’t add additional salt and there’s sufficient pepper in the Montreal blend. Add additional salt to taste if you prefer.
Wonderful served with crusty rolls or toasted garlic bread.
*** OR add 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic or garlic powder to meat as it browns
** 2 teaspoons beef soup base (or bullion cubes) to 2 cups water.
* 1 large white rose, yellow gold, or red potato cubed if desired. Note: russett potatoes tend to break down in stock.
My story today is a scenario between two of my dear, long-time friends.
Marah left her pill bottle in Sophie’s car when they’d each traveled a day to get together. Neither realized the problem until Marah was home unpacking her bag.
Sophie eyed the strategically placed bottle every time she passed by it. She realized Marah can feasibly go a couple of days without if she must, but she won’t replace the bottle until her payday over a week away.
The following day, Sophie stuffed the bottle with cotton to keep the contents from rattling around, put it into a bubble mailer, made a label and headed to the local shipping office.
At the business counter Sophie asked her friendly, neighborhood customer service guy if she could overnight the flat for less than $10. He politely said no. Because she was slightly on edge, she blabbered on that ” My friend left her “meds” behind.” Immediately realizing she may have just blundered, she added, “but for $10 she can get another bottle at Walmart.”
The savvy employee deliberately said, “I must ask, are there prescription medications in the package?” Amazingly, Sophie didn’t think, but immediately responded, “Without a BATF license number on a [specific type] label, shipping a controlled item or substance would be illegal.” She later told me she also immediately looked around as if to see somebody else actually said that.
Not certain why, she felt nonetheless relieved when the guy surprised her with a similarly relieved look, smiled and said, “That’s what I was hoping to hear, Ma’am. Slide your card… here’s your tracking number… Have a nice day.”
Both the customer service guy and Sophie realized she didn’t actually deceive, and yet as she told me the story she had been uncomfortable with that gray area for longer than she wanted to be. Since the package arrived the following day, Sophie, the guy and I are the only ones that actually know about her fast footwork. Granted, she could have put herself under some degree of scrutiny. But I feel much better about the actual scenario than I felt about the image of Marah, semi-lucid, flailing and drooling on the concrete floor at work, somewhere in the back of her mind wishing she hadn’t left the bottle behind.
Days later after Sophie shared the story in friendly conversation, I recalled a scenario where Jesus advised a plaster saint to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God’s.”* Though I’d probably trip much the same as Sophie had, I too am often thankful for amazing grace. I suggested she confess any perceived wrong, embrace the greater good – and of course, torment Marah with the story whenever appropriately convenient; i.e.: the bill for lunch arrives, reaching for the tray Sophie says, “Marah, remember that time you left your pill bottle in my car…”
*The Bible, Mark 12:15-17, King James Version (KJV) by Public Domain
LENTIL, SAUSAGE AND KALE STEW
Food is not my first passion. That would be relationships. I spent many of the happiest hours of my lifespan in kitchens, around campfires, grocery stores and farmer’s markets, mostly exploring great new foods. All typicaly within a very restrictive budget.
Recently a friend from Chicago-land shared a recipe from Eating Well *1 for a Lentil, Sausage and Kale Stew.
She had me at Lentils. Dietary restrictions during the course of overcoming diverticulitis (without medication), sent my cholesterol counts crazy. After recovery, still unwilling to pollute my body with cholesterol medication, I researched and targeted my diet and exercise habits toward changing those numbers – and that right soon. #
Legumes, especially lentils, and oats are nature’s blood scrubbers, so every day I eat at least one portion of one, the other or both and power walk (breathing too hard to sing) for a minimum half hour to an hour every day, rain or shine. Also, since I also recetly discovered I was not lactose intollerant, a portion of yogurt and cheese also became a mainstay to keeping diverticulosis under control.
This wasn’t easy at first. My body and subconscious screamed in rebellion while I refused to return to my nice, comfy bed and pull the covers over my head. But within 2 weeks the routine became second nature.
I search constantly for variety, keeping a portion of oats or legumes part of my daily diet. Within four months both cholesterol counts returned to very healthy, normal levels. Two years later, keeping this as a base line, I can also eat pretty much whatever else I want in moderation without pain or upset.
Lentil, Sausage and Kale Stew – my variation, of course, of the Eating Well Recipe *1
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
At least a pound of chicken or turkey sausage, casings pierced several times with a toothpick (the more the better when official taste samplers lurk nearby)
1 large onion, thickly sliced
2 Tablespoons minced garlic (or more per your taste)
pinch of crushed red pepper, (or more to taste) *
2 ½ cups water (have more on hand in case needed)
1 ½ cups red wine (or 1/2 cup wine and 1 cup chicken or turkey stock. have extra on hand in case needed)
1 cup green lentils, washed
8 cups finely chopped kale leaves, tough stems removed **
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
¼ teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
Prepare by thoroughly washing kale, cutting away tough stems, and chopping (set aside separately), onion, mince garlic, and sage (also keep sage separate). Wash lentils. Measure wine (and broth if desired) & water.
1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add sausages and cook until browned on all sides. Remove, set aside.
2. Add the remaining oil and onion to the pan and cook until clear, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper *and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute.
3. Add water and wine, bring to a boil, stirring constantly with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits from the sides and bottom of skillet. Add lentils, stir in and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for approximately 60 minutes until lentils are cooked through (some altitudes may require more time). Check occasionally for sufficient liquid for stew to be saturated, but not covered over. Add more warm wine, water, broth as needed.
4. Add kale, sage and salt, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and kale are tender, about 20 minutes more.
5. Cut the cooked sausage into 1/2 inch slices and stir into the pan along with ground pepper. Cover and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Spoon into bowls or crocks, serve topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt and crusty, toasted slices of sourdough bread.
Also delightful with your favorite salsa (I especially like salsa verde), pico de gallo or pesto and sprinkles of fresh herbs (like cilantro). Be creative!
Provided by: Eating Well
Per Single Serving / Serves 4 Total
Calories 500 17%
Calories from fat 99 20%
Total Fat 11gm 28%
Sodium 665mg 64%
Cholesterol 60mg 19%
Total Carbohydrates 58gm
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
# This may not be sufficient for some with different, more severe cholesterol counts, or other health complications. Consult with your experienced primary care physician and a licensed professional dietitian.
* Our family likes a hot/piquant palette, so I add a jalapeno and a Serrano peppers with the crushed, red pepper flakes.
** Though popular, some tastes (like my sister, Roan’s) don’t take to kale, even when well cooked. Substituting 10 cups chopped spinach provides additional folic acid with a milder flavor.