Martini Stew, Bitter Cold, and the Throwaway Kitten

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Do you see this sweet little critter?  On one of our most bitter cold (minus 15°F) nights, with over a foot of snow, my daughter pulled into her driveway and saw this little kitty run in front of her car and under her barbeque grill.  Really hoping that it was indeed a kitten that she’d seen, she stuck her hand under the grill and came out with the poor thing.  Once she got it inside, she cuddled right up, purring like crazy but full of bugs, debris, and smelling like a ripe garbage bag.

Knowing that she couldn’t keep her (landlord doesn’t allow pets), she still decided to clean her up and give her a little food.  Little did she realize that once the kitty was soaking wet, there was barely any kitten there just skin, bones & fur.

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By the way, that’s food on the towel…trying to get some nourishment into her.  Based on the picture and what my daughter told me about how she was eating, my guess is that the kitten is only about 8-10 weeks old.  She had a hard time getting broth in her so my thinking is that she was separated from her mother before she was properly weaned.

After a little cleanup and tiny bits of food, she settled in for a purring sleep for the entire night.photo (51)
The next morning, Niki packed her up and brought her to work with the intention of bringing her to the MSPCA (Massachusetts Society for prevention of Cruelty to Animals) with a check for her care.  Of course, bringing her into the office was the best thing she could have done since she was adopted by lunchtime by a young lady who took her home and brought her to her vet.

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Even Chloe isn’t too sure that work is fun

The vet was very surprised that Chloe (her new name) was alive and certainly never would have made it through that bitter cold night.  In addition to being severely malnourished, and infested with parasites, she’d been bitten on her hind leg.  They  immediately gave her IV fluids, put on her 2 antibiotics, and she was given initial shots – happily she’s doing well and has a loving home.

I’m glad that Niki has good eyes and a kind heart and can’t speak highly enough about the MSPCA.  They do fantastic work getting animals into good homes but also helping people who can’t afford to keep a pet due to financial problems get connected with organizations that will assist them.  What I can’t understand though is how anyone, even someone who doesn’t like cats, could do this to such a sweet little creature.  If you can’t take care of a pet or don’t want the one you have, at least take 20 minutes to bring the animal to a place like the MSPCA so that they have a chance.  This is just my own imaginative story for Chloe, but my guess would be, based on her age and the time of year, that someone thought she would make a great Christmas gift.  Only problem is, sometimes with the best intentions, springing an animal as a gift on someone does not always work out the way you intend it to and that the receiver just threw the kitten out thinking “cats can take care of themselves”.  Except kittens…and especially not in a busy city in the dead of winter.

I’m thrilled that this story has a happy ending and it’s time to move on to complaining about our New England weather.  The past couple of days have been a veritable heat wave (just above freezing)  but prior to that we set records for bitter cold and biting winds.  Days like that deserve a nice hearty stew – and why not a martini?  This is a recipe that’s been sitting in one of my cookbooks for decades until I happened upon it.  It doesn’t have to be frostbite weather to enjoy, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have some on hand just in case.

MARTINI STEW

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2 lbs. Beef – I used a nice thick New York Sirloin and cubed it
1 Small Onion, diced
1 Cup Carrots, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
Sprinkling Italian seasoning
1/2 Cup Ground peeled tomatoes or ketchup (I think my husband prefers ketchup)
1 Cup White Vermouth
1/2 Cup Gin
1/4 Cup Beef broth

– Layer cubes of beef in a casserole dish then top with prepped onions, garlic, carrots.
– Sprinkle Italian seasoning on top
– Pour ground peeled tomatoes or ketchup on top
– Pour, vermouth, gin, and beef broth on top of tomatoes

Cover and bake in oven at 325° for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. This could also be cooked in the crock pot and served over noodles.  Excess gin and vermouth should not be thrown away.

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35 thoughts on “Martini Stew, Bitter Cold, and the Throwaway Kitten

  1. I am so happy that someone took the kitty. Thank goodness that Niki saw her. You have some fancy cooking going on in your new fancy kitchen. This reminds me of a dish that my mom makes with beef and tomatoes but adds green beans and it goes over rice. Looks so tender. Stay warm.

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    • I had a feeling that the kitten wouldn’t get as far as the MSPCA and I’m so glad that she went to a family who could take care of her medical expenses and will give her such a good home.
      Fancy cooking? Me? I like the green bean idea with this dish & will have to try putting that in next time instead of the carrots. Also, rice would be great with this too.
      I’ll try to stay warm – I hear we’re coming into another cold spell.

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  2. Agreed people are incredibly stupid when it comes to pets – in my road (all little terraced houses) some have got these dogs that are enormous slathering beasts now but sweet little puppies a year ago – one woman got thrown out of her house by the council because the dog that had been a tiny little squishy thing ended up as a massive rottweiller that made every attempt to kill anything that went near it. My experience of pets as a child (a menagerie of cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters and even goldfish) put me off keeping pets for life!

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    • Why do people do that? It’s bad enough they don’t think through the responsibility and work of taking care of the animal but to not think of neighbors just doesn’t sound like someone who’s bothered putting a lot of thought into it. I hate to generalize about specific breeds of dogs but rottweiller’s need someone who can really train and handle them.
      I’m surprised you haven’t dropped your guard though with 2 kids who usually end up talking parents into getting pets.

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    • I know Anne, I know. Sometimes I think I’d like to work at an animal shelter because I do love animals but if the idea is to adopt them out, I’m afraid I wouldn’t work out. I’d be the one at the door saying “nope – you look like an idiot, no cat for you”.
      I use vermouth sometimes in risotto but for a stew, I think tossing in a little gin makes the meat nice & tender.

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  3. What a beautiful kitchen, so happy it has a home. Your stew is interesting, I never knew you could add gin. BTW what are ground peeled tomatoes? Is it like tomato puree or dried tomatoes ground?

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    • Glenda – I figure, why not add some gin? If I had more time I think I might have let the meat tenderize in it although just stewing it all together, the meat was very tender.
      I used ground peeled tomatoes for all of my pasta sauces. They’re just peeled tomatoes that have been chunked up a bit so it’s much more liquid than say a tomato paste & not a dried tomato. The brand I always use is Pastene which comes in a big yellow can with red lettering.

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  4. Why stop at the martini ingredients just in the stew – and not in You? LOL! I’d be like this…add one to the pot,….drink one…add some more to the pot…drink another one…before you know it, you’d be keeping that ‘lil cat instead of sending it away for adoption…!!! Glad indeed for the happy ending. Hang in there, as Spring can’t be far away…heard that the bugs will be wiped out in a good way due to the overly cold winter across the US.

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    • In my kitchen, if you open a bottle you can do whatever you want with it – some for the pot, some for the cook, company…whoever’s around. I’ll tell you the truth, when my daughter called me about the kitten I did think of taking her but I have this other little stray named Moe who does not play well with others. We’ve got our hands full keeping a 90lb. dog safe from him so I didn’t think it would be a good match – but it was close.

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  5. Such a sweet and uplifting story!! Thanks for sharing it — it’s heartwarming even to those of us in the warmer parts of the country (I’ll spare you the details). I love the unusual (and boozy 🙂 ) stew recipe, too! And *amen* to your reminder that the extra libations should not be wasted!

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    • I’m so glad that she found the poor kitty. I’m always amazed at how strong the will to survive is & this one is definitely a little scrapper but such a sweet pet.
      You know it would not be good to be wasteful with food or beverages.

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  6. I’m glad that there was a happy ending for the kitten. It sounds like there was also a happy ending at home with a good stew to warm the night. It did feel balmy when it reached 40 and some of our snow melted. No more melting now…oh well, such is winter in New England. Hope you are feeling better.

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  7. Oh how cute is that kitty! I’m happy there are people in the world like your daughter, also that she happened to be on the right place at the right time…. The boozy stew must be divine 🙂 And btw, my sister just got a doggy – another little one with a good home and loving people around 🙂

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    • I guess my daughter takes after me when it comes to a soft spot for animals but you’re right, she was lucky to even spot the kitten. It was pitch black and she only caught a glimpse of motion which is why she was happy that it was a kitten hiding under her grill and not a rat or some other nasty thing. I love hearing that another animal got a good home too – that’s wonderful news.

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  8. For starters, your daughter is the bomb. I’m not some tree-hugging bleeding heart, but dang. My town just made national news because some jerk kept his dog tied to a tree in 15F weather (and it froze to death). Not good. Evil. — The stew? Looks like it’s right up my alley!
    I hope all is well. I miss you over in my neck of the woods.

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    • Well there you are Adam – I’ve been thinking about you and wondering why you weren’t posting. You had me worried but I thought you might have taken a break over the holidays. When I clicked back, I only got to your last post in November, then did some scouting around and realized that you’re still writing away but somehow I got left behind. I’m going to be heading over to re-sign up and catch up on my reading. Glad to see you’re still going strong.
      But seriously, what’s up with people? Evil is right but idiotic jackasses comes to mind also. If you can’t take care of a pet, find someone who will. I’ll tell you though, the kitten was lucky to be alive & found by Niki. If you were on the streets hungry & cold, she’d be the one you’d want to find you.

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  9. I am so glad this story has a happy ending as so many do not…Your daughter is a gem. Now on to the dismal weather…sending some warm breezes your way. I do not think I have ever eaten a martini stew and this sounds like one of those perfect dishes to cook low and slow all day and warm you from the inside out.

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    • Well, you know New England weather – wait a minute and it will change but please, send as many warming breezes as you can spare.
      You’re absolutely right about this stew – definitely something to toss in the crock pot and let it brew all day.

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  10. Diane, I’m sorry I missed this post – WP seems to have unsubscribed me from a stack of blogs that I was following! I’m so glad Niki was able to save the wee mite and that she went to a good home. It’s sad how many people view pets as a disposable commodity.. 😦

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    • I’m so glad we got reconnected Celia. I had the same thing happen to me on a couple blogs that I follow and it’s very frustrating because it shows that I’m still following but I’m not getting notices.
      I’m glad too that this little critter found a home and I just get so mad at the people who won’t assume responsibility after they’ve taken an animal in. We have so many shelters around the Boston area that there’s just no need to not bring them in and give them a chance with another home. Makes you wonder if they think of their kids in the same way.

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  11. That is wonderful that you daughter took the kitten with her and was adopted right away — I would have wanted that cute little fur baby as soon as I set eyes on it. Your sounds delicious and love that you served it with noodles. Yum!

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    • I had a feeling that by taking it in to work, the kitty would have a home by the end of the day. And the great thing is, it’s a wonderful home where they’ll really take care of her. My daughter was getting very attached to her so it was hard for her to let go, but not easy trying to hide pets from a landlord.

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