Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I haven't been cooking

I really haven't been cooking much at all.  Two reasons: I'm sick of doing dishes and Mads asked me to knit her a black and fuchsia hat.  With ear-flaps.  I've never made ear-flaps before and I'm a little freaked out.  (When I finish it, I'll post a picture.)

But today my new silent Bosh was delivered, and I am giddy with relief.  My cuticles are singing Alleluias, and I have retrieved my rings from the dish beside the kitchen sink.   Tonight I will finally roast and simmer those chicken bones that have been sitting in my freezer since January for stock.  I'm going to saute broccoli with garlic and broth and a touch of lemon and toss it with cherry tomatoes and Orzo pasta.  I'm going to make several loaves of bread, one to eat, the rest to freeze, and for dessert I'll whip up a three berry crumble.  If I have any energy left over, I'll make muffins.  Every darn pot and dish (with the exception of my All-Clad saute pan) will go in the dishwasher.  I might not even pre-rinse.  Ok, I'll probably pre rinse.  After all, my dishwasher is new and I don't want to mess anything up this early in our relationship.

  I think I shall call her Betty.

Yummy Chicken Stock, With 2 Secret Ingredients:

Left over chicken carcass, including bones you've snatched your off plates before they could be tossed into the trash. (The bones, not the plates.  Mixed modifer, sorry)

Olive oil

1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered

1 leek, washed well to remove grit and cut up a bit.

3 Carrots, just washed and snapped in half

3 Celery ribs, same as above

1 Parsnip (if you don't have one, just leave it out)

1 bay leaf

1tsp of whole pepper corns

4 cloves (This is one of the secret ingredients!  I saw this in The Cooks Bible published by Cooks Illustrated -- these 4 little cloves add unbelievable depth -- Bless you Chistopher Kimball!)

a few sprigs of parsley (or cilantro, also good)

32 oz of Swanson Organic Chicken Broth (the other secret ingredient -- makes very intense broth!  However you can leave this out, and just use water.)(I'm using a lot of !s -- still giddy about dishwasher, I guess)

Water to cover chicken and veggies. (about 4 cups if you are using the above broth, 8 or so if not.  Or what ever your pot will hold -- six cups is fine as long as all the bones and veggies are covered)

Set oven to 400.  Plonk the chicken bones, the onions, carrots, celery and parsnips and leeks on a baking dish and swirl with a bit of oil.  Roast for for 20 min, or if you have the time, up to 45min.

Then, heat a heavy stockpot over high heat and swirl in a bit of olive oil.  Toss in all the roasted stuff, as well as the pepper and cloves.  Let this saute for a second or two and then pour in the store bought broth, as well as the water.  Bring to a boil, then turn it down and let it simmer for an hour, then throw in the parsley.  Let it simmer another hour.  

All these cookbooks tell you to skim the foam, but I never skim because I'm too lazy. Plus, its gross. Once my stock has simmered 2 hours and it looks all goldeny and delicious, I use my skimmer to scoop out all the solids along with any foam that may have accumulated. (If you don't have a skimmer, use a ladle)  I put the solids in a strainer and smoosh them so that any yummy juices goes back into the stock.  

Then I strain the stock itself by putting a piece of cheese-cloth in a colander and setting the colander in a very large bowl or another stock pot. (This also gets rid of any foam.) I'm a spaz,so I never pour the stock from one pot to another because I have actually burned the tops of my feet that way.  (Yes, my feet. Another story, for another time) Instead I use my 4 cup pyrex measuring cup to scoop the stock and pour it into the colander.  This is not as tedious as it sounds, and is preferable to burned feet.

Let the stock cool until you can comfortably stick a finger in it. Then pour it into a glass jar, or pyrex or, if you must Tupperware. I never use plastic because I'm convinced plastic leeches into our food.  Freeze (it's fine for 3 months) or if you don't freeze it, use it in 3 days.

Another little trick: Instead of freezing it all, I measure out 1 cup, 2 cups and 4 cups of stock into different containers and freeze it that way.  Some people like to freeze stock in ice cube trays so you have a table spoon or so at a time.  I never do this because I just wind up making a big mess all over my counter.  

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