Saturday, January 22, 2011

Buttercup Goes Rogue

Last week I spoke about Buttercup the Magical Cow.  If you remember, there was more to the story of our dear Buttercup.  You see, I had never actually seen a cow at the farm next door.  That's where the story gets a bit murky and creative license has to take over.  The last sighting of Buttercup had been about a month prior to my move to Oregon but on clear nights, the kind where sound can travel far, you could still hear her calling and it seemed to echo from the forested area behind the house.  Here's a brief account of how I think her last night at the farm went down....

Long long ago, in a farm not to far away....

It is a period of unrest over the hay rations. Buttercup the magical cow had won a small victory by sneaking out of the borders to run a few scouting missions. All was thought to be lost when she was discovered, but new unlikely allies were made that day. Other sections of the rogue farm animal army were able to gain secret information on how to operate the artificial outside lights and electric fencing; hope was in the air that all could make an escape. 

Armed with this new information, the band of misfit farm animals makes their first attempt to break free of the oppression...

Dog: The lights.. they're out. And the fence is dead...
Cat: Keep your eyes on the farm behind us. Watch for humans.
Buttercup: Watch it. They're coming in fast. Three bipeds at 2 and 10.

Fluffy the cat is seen first and shooed back to the house. He goes back but coughs up a hairball on the front steps to show his captors the power of his fury.

Meanwhile, Buttercup has slipped through the fence with her agile grace. Skippy the dog makes his attempt.

Dog: It's no good. I can't maneuver.
Buttercup: Stay on target
Dog: I'm too close.
Buttercup: Stay on target.
Dog: I can't loosen up!

Skippy the dog is seen and the humans once again enslave him by attaching the pink leash of shame with the dancing purple dogs on it. How humiliating.
Buttercup backs slowly into the shadows of my father's rows of Christmas trees. 

Buttercup can still be heard on clear nights calling out to her fallen comrades.  Letting them know they are not alone in this rebel war against the bipeds.

In honor of Buttercup's sacrifice, I will allow no part of the meat I buy go to waste.  Last week, I made beef stock in a pressure cooker and gave the instructions for canning it.  This week, I'm including instructions for how to make Vegetable Beef Soup and how to can that as well.

Good luck and... well... I have to now....

May the force be with you.

Canned Vegetable Beef Soup

1 1/2 quarts of homemade beef stock
Any reserved bits of meat, carrots, and celery from the homemade stock cut into pieces
2 parsnips, cut into 1" pieces
1 potato, cut into 1" pieces
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, with juices
1 Tbs Tomato Paste
2 cups of corn (fresh or frozen)
2 cups of green beans (fresh or frozen)
2 cups frozen peas
2 cups of cooked or frozen spinach or other greens

Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes to blend the flavors.
Follow the steps for canning beef stock from my previous post (click here) with the following exceptions:
  • You will probably only need 5 quart jars for this recipe but having an extra one ready can't hurt
  • The pressure cooker needs to be brought to 11lb of pressure and held there for at least 85 minutes.  If in doubt it's better to over-process than under-process.

  • When you remove the jars from the canner they may be bubbling for a while.  The contents are and will remain very hot for longer than you may expect and this is normal.  I was freaking out over this one and looked all over the internet for answers.
  • This recipe gives a base for the soup.  When I actually serve it, I add various spices to make it hotter, saltier, Italian flavored, etc.  That's also when you would add any rice or pasta you may want in your soup.
  • You may loose a bit of liquid in the canning process.  As long as the jars seal, it's fine and will not affect the longevity of the soup. 
  • Just to be totally safe, when I prepared a can of soup a week later, I brought it to a boil and let it simmer for several minutes.  We're still alive and kicking!


  1. Ummmmmm yum. This looks delish. I must try this. Even if I have to save it and only eat it out of the jar!

  2. You were almost there on processing times - if the jar had only been 1/2 full of solids you would process quarts for 75 minutes. You definitely had a full jar of solids, so you should have used the process time for the ingredient that requires the longest time - in this case, corn. Quarts should have been processed for 85 minutes. Glad you chose the 80 minute time :) I think you're fine on this batch. Looks good!

  3. Thanks for the advice! I've updated the site. I was wondering why there was a discrepancy in the times.

  4. Ha! I love the story! And, of course, I now have the song 'My Little Buttercup' from Three Amigos stuck in my head ...

  5. I generally have that going through my head.... but maybe I shouldn't share that out loud...




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