Becoming a Farm Girl

img_6717A year ago this month, we moved into our house. We built on three acres nestled into a rolling hill bordering an apple and pear orchard. I can be at the grocery store, Starbucks or the library in less than 10 minutes but we definitely feel like we live out in the country.

Aaron’s family has property where they raise cows for beef and my husband has been enamored with farm and ranch life for as long as he can remember. When it became clear a few years ago that we would not be moving back to the hometown where we grew up, we started looking in earnest for a piece of property.

Fast forward to today and we have 6 chickens, 4 sheep and 3 cows (who will have babies in the spring). Marriage is a funny thing isn’t it? Two people with separate dreams and aspirations spending a lifetime figuring out a shared vision. My immersion into farm life has been in fits and starts…two steps forward one step back.

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But every day that shared vision becomes a little clearer, has a sharper edge; the reality doesn’t seem so overwhelming. As I write this I can see all those animals out my window, and I realize more and more how glad I am to have them. The kids are learning so much and as much as I’m not much of an animal person, I care very much about where our food comes from, it’s probably what I love most about my town, I can literally see my food growing everywhere I go.

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And because we’re talking about beef, how about a recipe for pot roast?  A recipe for braised short ribs in my favorite cookbook, Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes, became the inspiration for this delicious and easy dinner. It takes 15 minutes to prep and a couple hours to cook and the leftovers are maybe even better the next day.

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Pot Roast with Tomatoes, Wine and Herbs de Provence

  • 4-5 pound bone-in chuck roast
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 14ounce can organic tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1-2 cups beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence (Italian seasoning works just fine)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large dutch oven or oven-safe pot heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Liberally salt and pepper chuck roast on all sides. Sear the chuck roast on both sides, cooking for about 2-3 minutes each side. Remove meat from the pot and set aside. Saute the onion, carrots and celery in the pot, scraping up the little brown bits. Salt and pepper the veggies, cooking for 5-8 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and bay leaf. Add chuck roast back into the pot. Turn heat off. Add wine, beef stock and herbs de provence to the meat. The liquid should cover the veggies and about half the meat. Cover the pot with the lid and put in the oven. Cook for 3-4 hours until the meat is tender and pulling away from the bone. Pull the meat off the bone, serve with the veggies it cooked with and if you’re feeling really generous make some mashed potatoes. Watch your family devour their plates and ask for more.