Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One, Two, One, Plus an Owl Football Game!

An artsy look at the fall leaves.

Last Thursday Bob and I finally made it back down to Danny and Kathi's farm in Nebraska.  We were going to help process chickens and go to Skyler's football game on Friday.  On Saturday Kathi and I would go to the farmer's Market to sell her chickens, beef, eggs and baked goods. Sunday we were going to church and then can pears and on Monday we would hit it hard and finish processing all the really big (10-13 lbs.) chickens that had been waiting for us most of the summer!

We did process about 20 chickens on Friday and then got ready for the game.  Morrill has not had a very good run of luck the past 2 years and has not won a game.  We got there in plenty of time to get some food for dinner--my usual is nachos and these were smothered and I mean smothered! with taco meat, cheese, and sour cream.

  The game began and we knew it was not going to be pretty for Morrill.  The boys on their line are not very big and the big boys from Imperial could just plow through the line at will!  But Morrill's team is plucky and they battled hard.  With about 3 minutes left in the half and Imperial knocking on the door of the goal line with the score already 21- 0, the lights suddenly went out!  Not a light was showing all over town!  With the announcing system down we all just sat there and you could see cell phones lighting up all over the crowd.  It was so dark you could not see the players on the field or the referees.

  The cheerleaders and school kids from the crowd had gathered on the field and some people had pulled cars up on the track and so there was some light on the field.  The kids were playing Red Rover in the dark on the field!  The players were sitting on their sides of the field stretching and resting.  We heard (via people in the know who had made calls) that Mitchell was also out of lights as well as Henry.  The lights at Danny's farm were still on but, of course, we remained at the game to find out what was going to happen.

  Finally the ambulance pulled on the field and announced over their speakers that the game was moving to Torrington, Wyoming!!!!  Torrington High School was playing on the field and we would play as soon as the game was over!  The drive over was probably about 20 miles!  Imperial is about a 3.5 hour drive in the opposite direction but they did not want to come back to finish the game.

  We had been joking that the 2 teams should line up and play Red Rover to decide the game but no, we all got into cars and made the trek over to Torrington. We also wondered if they shouldn't just double the score and call it off, but I guess records needed to be made so the game went on.

  We all stood around watching the final minutes of the Torrington game and then piled into the stands for the rest of the Morrill game.  They did not start at the half.  They played the final minutes of the first half starting near the goal line.  They took 3 minutes for the break at the half and continued to the bitter end.  Final score, Imperial 48, Morrill 0.  But, who can say they played One football game in Two states in One night?  It will be a game these kids will be telling their grandchildren about!  By the way, an Owl flew into a transformer at a substation between Mitchell and Morrill that caused the whole event.

I will talk about chicken processing and Farmers Market in later blogs.

  Today I am making Argyle Chili Sauce which we use for catsup among other things.  You need about 15 lbs. of tomatoes which is 1/2 box.  I got mine at the farmers market.  I also got my peppers  and onions there.  Here is the recipe and I will use some quotes from the author of the book to help you.  I must have made a half recipe last year and loved it so much I went for the whole recipe this year.  I got the recipe from The Only Texas Cookbook  by Linda West Eckhardt.

The cookbook I found this recipe in.  It has a lot of great recipes for Southwestern cooking.
     " This is an enormous old recipe from Argyle Cookbook of 1942.  It may look like a lifetime supply to you, but you'll find more uses for it than you might first imagine.  Tomatoes for a sauce do not have to be picture perfect."

  You can get funny looking tomatoes that grocery stores and restaurants don't want for pretty cheap.  Check out Farmer's Markets for these.  If you are picky you may want to slip the skins on the tomatoes but when you see 15 lbs. of tomatoes you may change your mind.  I also just put my onions and peppers through the slicers of my food processor.  It saved me loads of time.

  " I also discovered that an old sock makes a good spice bag."

Yes, it does!  Cut it in half -- I did it just below the hole in the heel--fill it with the spices and tie it shut.  You can throw it away when you are done.

Warning!!!  This is a huge recipe and needs a very big pan!  I think mine is about 4 gallons and I had to start the cooking down in 2 pans.  See my picture!  If you don't have a big enough pan you may want to cut this recipe in half!  Also plan on cooking this all afternoon in order to reduce it to proper thickness.


15 lbs. ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
12 large white onions, cut fine
12 large green and red peppers, cut fine
2 pints (4 cups) apple cider vinegar
4 cups sugar
Note:  I could not fit all those onions and peppers into the pan.  My red peppers were huge so I left out 3 of them and my onions were huge too so I left out 4 of the smaller ones.

This is what didn't fit in my pan!  It looks like some stuffed peppers with newly made chili sauce are in order!
Tie in a bag the following spices:
2 tbsp. celery seed
2 Tbsp. whole cloves
4 Tbsp. whole allspice
2 large sticks cinnamon
1 Tbsp. mace
4 Tbsp peppercorns
2 dried red Jap peppers, crushed*
1/2 cup salt**

*  I used what I had,  3 arborol (tree) chilies crushed and about 1/4 dried California chili crushed.
** Since Bob is on a low salt diet I don't use any salt in this.  Even I like the taste without it!  All the other spices give it a rich taste.

Cook slowly in an uncovered kettle*** until thick.  As it thickens, stir more often so it does not burn on the bottom.  Reduces in volume to about 1/4 the original (I think I like mine a little juicier).  Seal in hot, sterile jars process in boiling water bath 15 minutes ( check Extension instructions for times at your altitude--I think ours is more like 30 minutes at 8500 ft.)  I actually put mine in freezer containers and freeze it.

*** Be very careful not to let it burn on the bottom.  Stir it every so often to be sure it is not sticking and keep the temperature low.  My old enamel pan did burn but I caught it before it scorched the whole thing or I would have been mad!  I did not scrape the bottom but just poured the whole thing into a new Calphalon pan without scraping in the last little bits and it was fine!

My burnt pan.  Thank goodness I caught it before it ruined the whole batch!  I now remember why I hate using enamel pans to even boil water!
 This sauce is good for Thousand Island dressing or Swiss steak or stuffed bell peppers.  I put some in the blender and use it as catsup.  Use it any place you'd use tomato sauce and spices.

15 lbs. of ripe tomatoes.  These are the other half of the box I used.  They are fresh from the farm and taste wonderful as is!

Here are the 2 pans I started with.

 When this pan boiled down enough--in about an hour-- I put the rest in it.  Several hours later I caught it burning to the bottom!

Here's what I had to take out so the pan wouldn't boil over!

The new pan I poured everything into so it wouldn't burn!

Still bubbling away but I am stirring it quite often.  About every 5 minutes as it gets close to the end.

Here's the sock filled with all the spices in this recipe!  There are wonderful layers of taste in this sauce.

As I am writing this and stirring my sauce which still is not reduced enough, Bob is having a fit over how great it smells and when do we get to eat it!  I must say the house smells wonderful.  A very fall-like smell!  No pictures of the final product but it is red and chunky--he he!


  1. That is a wild FBall story, like you said Skyler's grandkids will hear that one!

  2. Crazy!!! Onlt Nebraska football would be that dead set on finishing a game.

    Hope you used aclean sock for the Argyle sauce. I noticed it was not an Argyle sock!!