Phaedra's 2023 Adventure

Phaedra

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Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs
Thomas Keller / MasterClass

It really took me literally three days to make this dish happen. Well, but it's worthy.
Served with Polenta (also my first try). The flavor profile is wonderful.
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Last mile before serving - to reduce the red wine sauce, cook the beef through again, and glaze them.
The beef really shrunk a lot, oh my.
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The funny part is that we started with the main course and then moved to the appetizers. Freedom!
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Dahlia

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The classes are going on. The best thing of online learning is, especially culinary courses, you can pause anytime and run to the kitchen when you have just everything you need at hands. I made two items last night while watching the videos - smoky marinated feta

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Confit garlic
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So, I have both elements ready for my first trial on the Mezze (appetizers) -
Pea Spread with Smoky Marinated Feta
Muhammara
Hummus With Confit Garlic and Tahini
Yotam Ottolenghi / MasterClass

Pea Spread with Smoky Marinated Feta
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Muhammara
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Hummus With Confit Garlic and Tahini
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I love their vibrant colors, aromas, rich flavors and textures - and most of the ingredients can be grown in our own gardens. I just fall in love with all of them.
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I wish I could be your "tester" and sample all of your newly learned recipes! 😊
 

Phaedra

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Côte de Bœuf
Maître d'Hôtel Butter
Sauce Vierge
Thomas Keller / MasterClass


I was wrong, medium is too old, medium rare would be much better. It's also our first time trying blow torch - a lot of fun, DH and I love it.
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Sauce vierge (which translates to “virgin sauce”), technically a vinaigrette
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Maître d'Hôtel Butter (classic French compound butter that contains butter, salt, garlic, lemon juice and parsley) and the Red Wine sauce are perfect partners.
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Well, the last items from this Cooking Techniques II: Meats, Stocks, and Sauces
I don't want to see any beef in the coming two months. 🤣
 

Phaedra

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I didn't buy new seeds for 2024, yet, and spent very little time in the garden - mostly for feeding chickens.

Anyway, I started to cleaning up the greenhouse and would ensure all utensils are ready for the sowing in late Jan or early Feb. This year, I kept several plants in the greenhouse where they should be able to smoothly overwinter - snapdragons, geraniums, lisianthus, mums, and some herbs. So far, young plants like honeywort, lupine, sweet pea, coriander, and even nasturtium that I sowed only to check the viability of homesaved seeds - are also doing fine.

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Snapdragons, I know that they are fine with colder weather, but no idea how far they can endure. I brought two pots inside the greenhouse, and there are about 10 plants staying outdoors. I cut the outdoor ones back to just 2-3 nodes above the ground, and will do the same for those in the greenhouse later.
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To my surprise, lisianthus is pretty frost-resistant, far more than I imagined. I left some outdoors but found them survive from the two-week frost+snow in late November and early December. Both the dwarf variety I bought from the discounter and the tall variety that I grew from seeds made it, after the snow melted.
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I mean, if they can stay healthy and overwinter, why it's necessary to repeat the process every year? Of course, my prerequisite is they have to make it in the unheated greenhouse, and now I am pretty confident about them.

MUMs, the new growth already starts from the base.
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Onions from sets - they are staying outdoors in 5cm mini pots.
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A few weeks ago, I got this miniature rose from a discounter and brought it back with less than 1Euro. I didn't have time until today.
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It's a potted plant that in fact includes 4 tiny plants propagated from cuttings.
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I divided them, checked the root health (pretty nice!), trimmed the stems and leaves that might block ventilation, and then repotted them into individual containers.
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Stay healthy and let's decide the next growing location next spring.
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Phaedra

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Made another bed with tulips, majorly Ballerina and a bit of candy corner - then covered with about 3.5" homemade compost. Still one more bed to be completed tomorrow~
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Japanese style croquette - the ingredients are simple - potatoes (steamed and smashed), minced meat and chopped onion (pan-fry and then mix into the smashed potato). The mixture can be seasoned accordingly and shaped into balls or patties. The preparation is done - when it's time to serve, just coat them with egg and bread crumps then fry until crispy. It's a very popular street food in Japan, and we all love it.
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It's the end of a year again. When I read this thread from the first post, I realized that how many things I have tried along this wonderful year. More lovely moments are waiting in 2024, I believe.

Our Christmas plates - I bought them on the first Christmas Eve I moved to Germany, and we use them usually only during Christmas time. This year, we are using them everyday since Dec-23 and maybe till the first day of 2024. I love to take photos of the household utensils sometimes - it's our daily life.
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The freshly roasted pecans, and the very clean cake dome from the dishwasher
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A lettuce (with root) we bought this morning in Lidl - it's just like a flower.
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Phaedra

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We emptied one of the compost heaps (800L) and filled two raised beds, can't believe the compost can be consumed so quickly.

The good weather (no rain at all) will stay for one more day, so DH and I will keep renovating and piling up some small raised beds (80*60*20cm) for growing berries - will be much easier to pick/manage in the future.

I am also considering to give up some plants, like citrus. At the end of the day, it's just not practical to keep everything you want at once.
 

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