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Bone Broth

bone broth 1 After the round of sickness that swept through school and a few long days traveling by air and automobile, I came down with the inevitable cold. This time of year is hard on the body, and I often struggle with doing my best to take time for myself while all the world around me seems to be going mad. It’s easy to check out, order Indian food, and pledge to cook another day. In all honesty, we’ve been doing a lot more of that than I’d like to admit the past few months. But when a that first chill in the air (and fogginess in the chest) hits, my reset button switches. I pull myself up out of the muck of late summer and get back in the kitchen. An act that, inevitably, feeds much more than the body.

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The first thing on the menu this week was a generous batch of bone broth. Bone broth, like chicken stock, is a simple combination of vegetables, water, and beef bones, simmered for an extended period of time. This batch had beef bones (labeled “soup bones” in the butcher’s freezer department of the market), oxtail, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, and carrots. The bones were roasted, the vegetables were chopped, water was added, and the broth simmered for over 24 hours.

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For the past few months I’ve been lamenting the end of summer, complaining to anyone who would listen that I wasn’t ready for the seasons to change. And I wasn’t. This summer was amazing- full of adventure, excitement, and opportunity. I loved every second of it and I was not willing to let go of long afternoons at the beach or boat rides or saying yes to everything because who cares, it’s summer! Finally, however, this week, I was ready. I got home from another big trip with a cold and a messy house and I just knew it was time. It was time to settle back in for fall. Time for long evenings on the couch with a book and a cup of tea, for pots of soup simmering for hours on end, time for roasts and root vegetables. And when I get sick of all that, it will be time to dream of watermelon again.

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Bone Broth

4-6 pounds beef bones & oxtail

4-6 pounds root vegetables- potatoes, carrots, onions, etc

1 head garlic (leave cloves whole)

1/2 stick butter

Salt

In a 425F oven, roast bones for 30 minutes.

Melt butter in a large soup pot. Add bones to the pot, along with onion, garlic, and remaining root vegetables. Fill pot with filtered water. Bring to a boil. Stir well and reduce broth to a simmer. Simmer with the lid on but slightly cracked, for 12-24 hours. Strain and freeze the broth.

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Lovely Internet 10.11.13

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Someone wise recently told me that lists and links are a great way to connect with your readers on a personal level and to give accolades to the people on this internet who make your heart happy. So I thought I’d jump on the Friday link roundup train and start a weekly link list of things I’m loving, both Southern food related and a little more general; a series that I’m calling Lovely Internet. Here are this week’s ten things from around the web that put a smile on my face.

1. Glad I never stopped eating eggs!

2. How amazing is this? I’ve been reading Anne of Green Gables to my students and I have to say, I might need that tote.

3. Hot Cocoa Popcorn. I’ll be trying this immediately.

4. Just a few short days until this girl is ours.

5. Happy Columbus Bartolome Day.

6. I continue to be impressed by the weekly installment of The Bitter Southerner.

7. Bourbon Chai. I’m not usually a big fan of hot booze but this sounds enticing.

8. Muscadine Rose Hand Pies. I’ve had hand pies on the brain, and a jar of muscadine preserves already in the fridge…

9. How much do Kaylee and River probably need homemade dog coats? It will get cold here for my two short haired dogs. (see also)

10. The Difference Between Baking Powder and Baking Soda.

Also this week Psychology of Eating included me in a list of its top 100 “Foodie” websites. Thanks guys!

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitter, instagram, pinterest or facebook. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

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Tangy Grouper Salad

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Last weekend I headed up to Morehead City for a photoshoot. I’ve been doing a lot of photoshoots lately, totally booked solid, which is amazing. Amazing and also a little disorienting because I can’t for the life of me tell you what month it is, let alone what day. For the first time in my life I’m excited for the slow melancholy of January. A trip to Carteret County also means the opportunity to visit with the parents who are the bests hosts because they’re always willing to have us, they always have wine, and they usually send us home with fish. This trip it was a cooler full of freshly caught grouper.

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In addition to raw grouper steaks for grilling (yum), the Capt’n packed us a container of cooked pulled grouper, ready to be tossed into grouper salad. So when I got home and was putting together food for the week I mixed the grouper with a bit of mayonnaise, a cubed red pepper, spices, and a few spoonfuls of chow chow. The finished salad was light and tangy, full of flavor and a quick and easy lunch.

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This salad could work with pretty much any combination of shredded fish, fresh vegetables, fermented vegetables, mayonnaise, sour cream, or yogurt, and spices. I loved the way the chow chow lent a sweet and spicy flavor with a punch of apple cider vinegar, but I’m also thinking of doing a salmon, kimchi, and snow peas twist.

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This weekend we headed to Bald Head Island to celebrate our anniversary. Today I leave for Louisiana, and then when I get back we head to Maryland for a wedding. Later this month I’ll be in Durham, New York, and Lake Waccamaw. Tomorrow this blog will mark 5 years in existence. As I look back on the past five years, I can’t help but to be amazed at how far we’ve come. How far I’ve come as a writer and photographer, how far I’ve come in the kitchen and as a recipe developer, how far Dan and I have come together, how many recipes have been posted (more than 350!). It’s been an incredible run, and I feel so excited for what is to come as I look out over the next few months and the next few years. Thanks for being here for the ride!

grouper salad

 

Tangy Grouper Salad

4 cups shredded grouper

1/2-3/4 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt (to taste)

1 red bell pepper

1 red onion

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

Dash of garlic powder

3 generous spoonfuls of chow chow

Chop vegetables. Mix with fish, spices, chow chow, and mayo. Adjust spices and mayo to taste. For a creamier salad, pulse in food processor until blended. Serve chilled with crackers.

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