Stocking Up

Once upon a time, back when my mother was a tuck driver and lived in Texas, she was also vegetarian. (I don’t know if all these things happened simultaneously but, they were in close proximity with each other.) She has since returned to her carnivorous roots. I don’t know why but I’d bet a skein of yarn a fair bit of money that it had something to do  with my father. He’s a meat-and-potatoes-on-a-plate sort of man. She still has, however, a vegetarian cookbook.

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It is from 1981 and it looks like it. Pages are falling out and there are stains on some of the pages. The recipes are gold, though. I especially love the soups, my favorite being curried peanut soup. It also has two recipes for making the vegetable stock needed to make the soups. Of course, one  can always use a bouillon cube but, I prefer to make my stock. It just tastes better I think.

The drawback is that it adds another hour to your soup-making time. The university I am (which shall henceforth be called ‘the U’) attending has new kitchens, one in each ‘residence hall’ (the politically correct term for dorms), and you can rent and pots and pans or other cooking utensils from the RAs. I fantasize about taking full advantage of them making bread and soup. To cut the time needed to make soup I decided to make up stock at home an take it up and put in the freezer of the mini-fridge our room

The two recipes for making stock making stock are similar. One is for cutting up vegetables specifically for the stock and the other is designed so that only scraps such as peelings and ends are needed. I make a combination of the two recipes; I save up saps and ends but I prep in it in the way called for in the other recipe. some the scraps even came from where I work. We sell side dishes like potato salad and pasta salad and my boss is more than happy to let me take home the celery ends and carrot skins that are left over from making them.

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Celery, carrots, tomatoes, purple green beans, onions…

To make the scraps recipe a quart of veggie by-products are needed. I only had half of a quart so I cut up the green beans I was going to steam for lunch ahead of time and threw in he ends of those along with a leftover half of a gargantuan tomato. I did wash the seeds out though because they would have been impossible to strain from the stock at the end.

Here’s where I deviate. I like to cook my veggie scraps with a little butter. This is what you do with the normal stock recipe whereas in the scraps one you just boil them. Once they were soft I covered them with about one-and-a-half quarts of water and seasoned.

 

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Parsley, salt, 1/2 a bay leaf, and thyme.

Then I brought it to a boil, covered and let simmer for about thirty minutes. After the stock had cooled I strained it and separated it into quart bags. I had just under a quart and a half of stock. Somehow I forgot to take a picture of the finished product… I’m sure you’ll get to see it in a later post going into some soup.

I’ve tried to write this so that, if you want to make some stock, all you have to do is follow the post. I had a little of almost every kind of vegetable recommended for the stock but the compete list of acceptable veggies is as follows:

tips of green beans

ends of zucchini

crookneck squash

mushrooms

carrots

asparagus stalks

parsley stems

tomato trimmings

pea pods

wilted celery stalks

outer leaves of lettuce

spinach or card stems

you can also save up the water from steaming vegetables to if you want to get really thrifty.

Hope I didn’t bore you with this rather long blog post about extracting the essence of vegetables. 🙂

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