Saturday, September 25, 2010

Garden to Table Challenge - September

I decided to change the title of these posts to make it easier on myself if I want to search for recipes or ideas later on - plus, adding the month instead of the week fits my goal of eating what's fresh. Right now, I'm a little obsessed with kitchen appliances. After years of neglecting the small appliances section of Bed, Bath, and Beyond due to a lack of kitchen counter and cabinet space, I've decided (duh) I can simply store appliances on the shelves in my laundry room. My latest acquisition - the sloooooow cooking crock pot! Below, the perfect choice for my inaugural slow cooker meal...

My brother-in-law who stayed with us over the weekend (and who is a crock pot bachelor), was making fun of me because I hovered over the crock pot, basically staring at it for about 7 hours. I kept feeling like I needed to stir. I took my kid to the park and broke out in a cold sweat suddenly thinking that I was burning something. I'll need to make a better effort to tell myself that I really can "fix it and forget it".

I'm not certain where credit belongs because I just have the clipping now, but this recipe probably comes from Bon Appetit magazine.

Braised Short Ribs - 4 1/2 pounds beef short ribs, coarse salt, 2 cups dry red wine, 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (I used fresh tomatoes), 1 6 ounce package sliced button mushrooms (I used baby portabella), 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 6 peeled garlic cloves, 6 fresh Italian parsley sprigs, 2 bay leaves, crusty bread (I substituted mashed potatoes).


Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Place in even layer in slow cooker. Add next 7 ingredients, cover, and cook on low heat until meat is tender, about 8 hours. Using slotted spoon, transfer ribs to serving bowl. Discard parsley and bay leaves. Spoon fat off top of sauce and pour sauce over ribs. Serve with bread.

What are you cooking this week? Let's see by linking below!! ***By the way, I'm posting on Saturday, but feel free to post whenever you can during the week!

***BTW - be sure to stay tuned. I'm going to have a quick "Identify This" contest with prize later this week...


Can we change subjects for a brief moment? I know we're among gardeners here... I found this guy in my garden this afternoon (in the spot where I need to plant my new fall perennials asap). Any spider experts out there know if this is something I want or don't want in my garden? We don't typically have spiders this...colorful (scary) around here.

Top of spider...



  1. I LOVE my slow-cooker. It did take a while to get over the idea that it would set the house afire, but it's great with both of us working, to come home to hot dinner ready to serve.

    What you've got there is an Golden Argiope spider, - they're excellent garden spiders, although they do particularly focus (like most orb weavers) on flying insects, and may catch the occasional butterfly. This is also called a 'writing' spider, because they often have stabilimenta in the web that look like cursive writing. We have one that I call Charlotte (and it's always Charlotte, year after year, with a new actress playing the role... ) and you can see her change her skin here:

    With her swollen abdomen, your spider looks like she should be laying her eggs soon; these will hatch in spring and spread around the neighborhood by ballooning.

  2. I am a true fan of crock cookery. It has been a lifesaver on those busy chauffuering days. Your ribs look delectable!
    I wish I was joining in but I am off kitchen-duty for a while til my sink is installed. Can you count soap making as cooking?

    The spider photo is just too real. I had one of those crawl across my bare foot in NE. ( Although it didn't hurt me at all!) I still have the creeps.

  3. I've been thinking about getting a slow cooker myself, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. This might just put me over the edge! The ribs look really yummy.

  4. I don't use my slow cooker as often as I used to, but have gotten it out a few times lately. Friday, the 17th, I cooked a roast with carrots, potatoes, and onions. It was great! I made some soup in my Vitamix with the potatoes, carrots, onions, and broth because I am eating a soft food diet right now.

  5. I forgot to say I used to see that kind of spider in the veggie garden, but haven't seen any lately. I miss seeing them around.

  6. You should check out The Italian Slow Cooker cookbook by Michele Scicolone for some great recipes for your crockpot.

  7. Wendy, those short ribs look so yummy! I'm so hungry now!! LOL!

  8. I love the spider photos. We were out today looking at all our busy spiders and their huge webs. Haven't seen a spider like yours around here.
    I love my slow cooker. Great on those busy days. Only problem is having to smell it all day long, makes me so hungry.

  9. I'm still sort of in shock to learn you just now started using a crock pot. WOW! My crock pot becomes a permanent fixture on my counter right about this time of year. Love being able to make an entire pot of something cozy and warm without any effort, and having lots of leftovers. I hope you come to truly love it. A love affair with a crockery cooker is perfectly acceptable. :-)

    The spider? Ew. We've been growing all kinds of creepy spiders lately too, but none of ours are as pretty (scary) as that one!

    Sorry for missing last week, we were gearing up for a week of camping. I posted my (painfully simple) garden meal this week though!

  10. The cooker is great
    the recipes grand
    This spider is
    a friend to man

    around here there
    seems to be a slew
    and they'll eat
    a bad spider or two

  11. I love to stew dried mushrooms with pork ribs in crock pot. Usually, I will put star anise and cinnamon stick as added flavour. Maybe you can do the same for this recipe ;-D

  12. You can't beat a slow cooker for when you have a busy day. I like things like chili in it - makes the house smell so good.

  13. Dinner sounds delicious, I tend to stare at my pots while they boil and cook too.:)

    Most spiders are not poisonous and do a lot more good than harm, eating all sorts of bad insects. I have never seen that one before but we sure do have a lot of wierd little green spiders hanging about the broccoli patch this year.

  14. I am not a slow cooker but this looks delicious, Wendy. I do have one pulled pork recipe that is great for summer when we are playing in/on the lake. I should really do more.

  15. I saw your post on Sat. and then today went our and saw this same kind of spider in my garden. What's up with that? Anyhow, glad Micheal had the answer. I love my slow cooker and will be using it in the upcoming GTTC.

  16. Hi Wendy, thank you very much for the big packet of seeds that you sent to me. Your thoughts and generosity moved me! Thanks a lot.

  17. geez Michael are you ever helpful!! Within 5 minutes of posting too! Charlotte (I see why you name yours Charlotte) is doing well and enjoying life in my garden. I do need to keep checking on - just so I know her whereabouts at all times!

    THanks for commenting everyone!

  18. We have either this spider or a closely related species with the paired legs. They seem to really come into their own in the late summer and fall. They're totally huge and spin the most gorgeous webs.

  19. love the poem by desk49 :) Your photos are great- those are exactly the spiders that I always see in my September garden. and even though I use a crockpot, I've never made shortribs (shhh, don't tell). The recipe looks tempting- so maybe there is a first time for this one.

  20. Ooooh, thanks for sharing this recipe! I love love love braised short ribs. I also love my slow cooker. I will have to try this recipe for sure!

  21. Oh, Lord. As much as my spider tolerence has grown over the last few years, I would still run screaming like a little girl being attacked by a giant hairy monster if I ran into that thing unexpectedly. Good luck keeping your eye on her!

  22. Wendy, that spider is a beauty! And thanks to whoever gave the link on identifying her. I have never seen a spider shed its skin before, so that was really cool to see the pictures. :)


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