Friday, March 19, 2010

Rafters and Corned Beef!

The last two days have been very busy so I only had a few hours this evening when I was able to work on the coop - but I got another part of it checked off the list! Today was my first time using a Skill Saw and I think I did OK - I was able to make the cuts needed for the rafters - and I only cut into the saw horses once! I have to say Skill Saws really kick up a lot of sawdust. I don't have safety goggles so I just wear my sunglasses - but I would be willing to bet that is the first time someone has worn Prada sunglasses while running a Skill Saw!

I'm having some friends over for my annual St. Patty's Day bash tomorrow - so probably no coop work until Sunday - but I am hoping to get the roofing on and MAYBE some of the wire on - but it all depends on how fit I am for work after a night of Guinness and Irish festivities! In case anyone else is going to make their Irish dinner this weekend - I have a great Corned Beef recipe to share that is adapted from one found in Sunset magazine many years ago.

Recipe (Serves 12):

  • 2 very large sweet onions
  • 8-10 large carrots, peeled
  • 2 heads green cabbage (enough to cut into 6 wedges each)
  • 3 Lbs small (2 in.) thin skinned potatoes - I like red potatoes for this
  • 6-8 Lbs Corned Beef
  • 2 c. malt vinegar
  • 2 large cans Guinness (the kind with the nitrogen cartridge in the can)
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seed
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seed
  • 1/2 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 Tbsp dill seed
  • 1/2 Tbsp whole allspice

You will need a very large stock pot - 15-20 quarts. Using a sharp knife cut away as much of the fat on the outside of the corned beef as you can - this keeps the dinner from ending up very greasy. Put the prepared meat into the pot. Coarsely chop up enough carrots and onion to make 1 cup chopped of each and add it to the pot. Add vinegar, Guinness and all the spices to the pot. If the liquid does not cover the meat you can add water to cover - but I personally like to add more vinegar and Guinness - sticking to roughly the same proportions listed above. Cover the pan and put it over high heat (it will take about 20 minutes to come to a boil). Simmer for about 3 hours until the meat is tender.

While it is cooking, cut the cabbage and onion into wedges so that you have at least one wedge per person. Cut the carrots into 3-4 inch long pieces and scrub potatoes. Once meat is tender - add onions, carrots and potatoes to the pot and put the cabbage in on top of everything. Bring back to a boil (about 20 minutes); reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the cabbage and potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Remove everything to a platter, cut the corned beef on the diagonal across the grain and serve with coarse grain or Dijon mustard (some people like both - I prefer coarse grain).

SLAINTE!! (cheers in Irish)
On the chick front they are growing so fast it is hard to keep up! They nearly empty a quart feeder full of food and also a quart of water a day - its really amazing they can eat so much. Of course, some of it gets spilled into the bedding in the brooder, but I think they eat the majority of it. I put the last food in today so I HAVE to go to Tractor Supply tomorrow and get another (bigger) bag than the one I got when they arrived a week and a half ago.
I did some checking on the backyard chicken forum and everyone seems to think the chicks being skittish is still pretty normal - they said we just need to keep at it and do our best to make time to hold each one for a little time each day.
So tomorrow I am off to the farmers market in Leon Springs to check out the produce, then Tractor Supply and then the whirlwind to prep for the party begins. I should have more coop pics by the end of the weekend!

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