Sunday, September 20, 2015

Manhole Sewer Covers and An Autumn Beef Stew

A first for me on Pinterest was finding someone's board labeled: sewer covers. And here I thought I was the only one fascinated by the variety of sewer/ manhole covers out there. Sometimes I think we spend so much time looking ahead or up we forget to look down. 

Manholes are required so that people can clean, inspect, or repair the subsurface utilities. Manholes can be quite shallow or as deep as 70-stories in the third New York City water supply tunnel. Manhole covers are the round iron plates sunk into streets and sidewalks that keep passers-by from falling into manholes.

Manhole covers must be a minimum of 22 in diameter, but can be as much as 60 in diameter. The average cover weighs between 250 and 300 lbs. It is important for sewer manhole covers to be heavy as sewers can produce methane gas that could push lightweight covers out of the way, letting noxious gases up into the street.

My fascination with manhole/sewer covers began on a visit to Bratislavia on the way to Budapest several years agop. 
The most famous statue in Bratislava Slovakia is probably a bronze statue entitled "Cumil". The statue is of a man peeking out from under a manhole cover. 
Then in Budapest there was this ornate one and 

let's not forget Prague.
So it should not surprise you that when I was on Florida trip walking around the neighborhood I discovered this one. I was staying with friends who had lived on this street for several years and never even noticed this manhole cover until they saw my photo.
In closing you might want to rethink your walks around the neighborhood or on a trip. Pay attention-don't forget once in awhile to look down as you just never know what you may find. 
Autumn Beef Stew with Apple Cheddar Bread 
Cook's notes: This recipe was adapted from Midwest Living. The stew is healthy, flavorful and packed with vegetables. The butternut squash and wine add a a bit of sweetness to the dish. The secret to the stew is searing the floured beef cubes and simmering the stew so the meat does not get tough. Julia would approve of this recipe-it has wine and all her favorite ingredients.
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 strips bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • oil
  • 1 large onion cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 TB. tomato paste
  • 5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups less-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 TB.snipped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 TB. dried parsley flakes and 1 TB. brown sugar
  • 4 red potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 cups butternut squash; peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced into 1/2-inch thick

  • In a large plastic bag, combine 1/3 flour, salt and pepper. Add beef and shake to coat evenly. In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot, cook and stir bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon. Add enough oil to bacon drippings to equal 2 tablespoons. Add half the beef to pot, shaking off any excess flour. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove beef with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining beef.
  • If pot is dry, add in 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onions; cook and stir for about 4 minutes or until starting to brown. Stir in garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste. 
  • Return beef, bacon to pot. Stir to combine. Add 1/3 cup flour to chicken broth, whisk to blend and add to pot. Add in beef broth, wine, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, paprika, brown sugar. potatoes, carrots, celery and squash. 
  • Bring to a slow boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered on low for 1- 1/2 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaves before serving. 

1 comment:

  1. Stew is one of my favorite fall recipes to cook. I have a family favorite we call Hunters Stew that I could all the time. Its fun to find new variations to try!