Showing posts with label potato. Show all posts
Showing posts with label potato. Show all posts

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Frying all the Potatoes

I may have mentioned a few weeks ago that the boyfriend got me a deep fryer for Christmas. This was both a great gift for me and a self-serving gift for himself. I think he really just wanted some french fries!

I have always been nervous about deep frying. Heating a giant vat of oil to over 300 degrees just seemed like a dangerous proposition. My new deep fryer takes away all the fear and I've been having a great time frying everything! Chicken tenders, chicken wings, donuts and of course, french fries.


I have finally been able to put my French Fries cookbook to good use. I've tried a few methods to get the perfect golden crunch on my fries, the frying method from this cookbook delivers the most delicious and consistent results. I'm thinking of making my way through this cookbook, cover to cover.

I may put on twenty pounds this year...

In other news, I'm putting my gym membership to good use!

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Soup Season & it's a Giveaway!!!

It's fall. Which means it's time for apple cider, miniature candies and soup. There is just one problem. Right now, my kitchen looks like this...



The boyfriend and I moved into our new house about six weeks ago. We have been painting, renovating and generally making a mess since the moment we got the keys. For this reason, I was so excited when I was contacted by Swanson Broths and asked to try out some of their new soup starters.



I got a sample of their Thai ginger broth soup starter last year (from the boyfriend who works in CPG sales) and absolutely loved it. Rather than having to add dozens of herbs and spices to create the necessary flavor for a Tom Yum soup, Swanson had taken care of it all. The Thai broth is currently out in grocery stores and totally worth a try. The new broth starters for this year are Tuscan Chicken and Louisiana Cajun.



I decided that yesterday was the day to finally make something in my new kitchen. We have been eating out just about every meal since the move and I was getting sick of it. Even with my kitchen in shambles, I was able to cook up this amazing soup for lunch. All I had to locate was a knife, cutting board and stockpot. Rather than going with one of the broth based soup starters, I chose to make a heartier potato soup and I used the traditional cream soup starter.



Out of sheer laziness and mild curiosity, I decided to use the recipe on the back of the carton. Generally I would have had everything I needed for this recipe in my house. However, since we are living in a construction zone and I haven't done a serious grocery run since August, I had to go to the grocery store. We needed everything except thyme, salt and pepper.



Even with my grocery run, this soup was done in under 90 minutes and oh my god was it amazing! It was a new sensation to have the house smelling of bacon, rather than paint. So good. Topping the soup with sour cream, cheese and more bacon made it unbelievably filling and the perfect lunch for this crisp fall day. I can't wait for my leftovers tomorrow!



Not only am I bringing you this delicious-looking recipe today, I've teamed up with Swanson Broths to bring you a "Soup-er" giveaway! (Ha! Sorry.)  Now it's your time to try out the new Swanson soup starters and get something gorgeous to serve them as well!

The first entry is just for stopping by today and finding this giveaway! Leave a comment in the usual place and let me know your favorite fall meal. You can earn additional entries by following the directions in the rafflecopter widget.  One lucky winner will receive the following...



One elegant, white soup tureen
Four white soup bowls (the same style as you see in the photos above)
Four chevron cloth napkins
One carton of each of the following Swanson products
   - Swanson Chicken broth
   - Swanson Chicken stock
   - Swanson Cream Starter traditional
   - Swanson Cream Starter, 25% Reduced Fat
   - Swanson Flavor Infused Louisiana Cajun Broth
   - Swanson Flavor Infused Tuscan Chicken Broth

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run from today (October 27) through November 3rd at 11:59pm. Rafflecopter will randomly choose a winner and I will contact the winner via e-mail. Swanson will ship out the goodies directly to the lucky winner! Sorry, this giveaway is only open to US residents.

Good luck everyone!

And BTW, our lunch may have looked lovely and serene. 



But pull back from the table and you see the chaos we've been living with! Yes, we're eating on a table that is meant to sit outside on our patio. And also yes, those chairs are completely splattered with paint. I can't wait until the house is finished!

Disclosure: I received a sample of these Swanson products for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. Swanson is also sponsoring this soup season giveaway. 

One Year Ago: Halloween Mallomars
Two Years Ago: Cheesy Polenta with Sausage
Three Years Ago: Povitica
Four Years Ago: Butternut Squash Soup

Loaded Potato Soup
Adapted from Swanson Broths

I started off planning to use the traditional cream starter. After I cooked up my bacon and saw how much grease they produced, I went with the reduced fat cream starter and cut it with some of the chicken broth. You can use vegetable broth if you want to keep the recipe vegetarian.

8 ounces thick cut, peppered bacon
3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large white onion, diced
3 stalk celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon thyme, crushed
1 carton (3 cups) cream starter, 25% reduced fat
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/4 cup sour cream

In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute bacon until crispy. Remove bacon from the pot and lew drain on paper towels. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease.

Add potato, onion, celery and salt and toss to coat in bacon grease. Cook for 5 minutes, until potatoes pick up a little bit of color. Add garlic and thyme and saute for an additional minute.

Add cream starter and chicken broth and stir until smooth. Reduce heat to low and cover pot with a lid. Maintain soup at a low boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove lid and add half of the cheddar cheese and half of the bacon. Stir and let simmer for 2 minutes.  Portion out heaping ladles of soup and top with cheese, bacon, sour cream and chives. Serve with a chunky piece of bread for scooping up every last drop of soup!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

CTB 2014 - La Tartine Gourmande

With all of this traveling, I definitely miss a home cooked meal. So does one other person - the boyfriend! After I returned home from my most recent trip, he complained that he was tired of trying to figure out what to have for dinner. I'm thinking of leaving him with a bunch of casseroles and freezer meals when I leave for my next trip.


Something that makes for a perfect make-ahead meal is a quiche. I'm a fan of fresh quiche, cold quiche the next day for breakfast and microwaved quiche for dinner later in the week. It's such a versatile meal too! Go meatless and add all of the vegetables from your crisper drawer. Make it manly and add sausage and hunks of cheese. The quiche is one of my favorite - Empty out the fridge - meals.


This quiche comes from La Tartine Gourmande cookbook, with a few minor changes. The recipe called for Jerusalem artichokes and I just couldn't find them at the grocery store. I'm pretty sure it was also supposed to be a frittata, but I don't have a large non-stick pan. I did however have a pie crust and no one is going to complain about a buttery pie crust.

One Year Ago: Granola Cookie Wedges
Two Years Ago: Cookie Dough Fudge
Three Years Ago: Cookie Dough Egg Rolls

Potato, spinach & asparagus Quiche with Cumin
Adapted from La Tartine Gourmande

1 pre-packaged pie crust
10 stalks of asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
Olive oil
1 cup packed spinach leaves
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
7 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, sliced thin
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon cumin

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Roll out pie crust into a deep-dish pie pan.  Line pie shell with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake pie crust for 10 minutes.  Begin preparing vegetables while the pie crust bakes.  Let it rest on a wire rack while you finish prepping the veggies.

Blanch asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes, until they are bright green.  Drain water and rinse with cold water.  Place in a large bowl while you prepare the remaining vegetables.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add spinach and cook until wilted.  Remove and add to the bowl with the asparagus.  Add 1 tablespoon more oil to the pan and add red onion.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are softened.  Add the potatoes and spread evenly over the pan.  Add 1/2 cup of water and cover with a lid.  Cook for 15 minutes, remove lid.  Cook until potatoes are tender.  Add contents of the pan to the asparagus and spinach.

Add eggs and cumin to the vegetables and stir to combine.  Pour vegetables and eggs into the pre-baked pie crust.  Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the center of the quiche is set and no longer eggy.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Wrap the quiche tightly.  Quiche re-heats really well and will be a great meal for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spice-rubbed Chicken & Gratin Dauphinois

It's officially summer around here and it finally feels like it!  We've been hovering right around ninety degrees here in the tri-state area all week.  And I love it.  Love!  Of course my hair has been all sorts of crazy in this high humidity, but since I don't have a job right now, who cares! 

I've fallen into a pretty good routine through my unemployed weeks.  Generally Monday is my cleaning house day.  I'll do the laundry, vacuum and dust the apartment, run boring errands and cook the fanciest meal of the week.  By Tuesday I've run out of task-oriented things to do and tackle projects that have been sitting around for a while.  I'm talking scrapbooking, closet organizing, de-cluttering.


When Wednesday rolls around I don't really have much to do around the house, so I text some OSI friends and get together for brunch or lunch.  (This week we're heading to Clinton Street Bakery for brunch and then shopping for interview clothes in SOHO!)  Wednesday night used to be Boyfriends night to cook, but since I'm home already and he doesn't really like to cook, I've taken it back.

By the time Thursday comes, I'm starting to get a little bored at home.  I usually will jump on my bike and head to the local park for relaxing and reading in the sun.  Thursday usually also means I've run out of fruits and vegetables and a Whole Foods run is necessary. 


Friday is Treat Yourself! day.  This week that consists of an orthodontist appointment!  Thrilling.  Generally it means I hang out at Starbucks then head across the street to the nail salon.  Mostly I'm just excited for Friday because it means the weekend is here and I get to spend time with BF.  It's his job to entertain me through the weekend!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Keeping it Simple

Is it me, or has this been the longest week ever?  Usually I'm pretty excited once Wednesday rolls around.  After lunch on Wednesday, I'm cheerful and happy to be on my way out of the work week.  How different this is from my thoughts just a year and a half ago!  When I first got my job, I was just so happy to have weekends off, the work week flew by.  How quickly you get used to things!


I think this week has felt super long because nothing has been going right!  Reaction after reaction failed this week.  Thankfully I was able to figure out what was going wrong late last night.  Here's hoping I can parlay that bit of good science into more success today and tomorrow.


Today I've made you something super simple and delicious.  Roquefort potatoes!  Fingerling potatoes, Roquefort cheese and Bartlett pears.  Add a a little salt and pepper and you've got an amazing side!  Just be sure to watch your fingers when working with a mandoline.  My thumb is a little worse off after making these potatoes!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Restaurant Wars 2013 - California Pizza Kitchen

First off today, I have to say Happy Anniversary!!! to Boyfriend.  It's been ten years since our first date.  Ten years, seven cities, nine different apartments, over twenty different countries, we're like our own little Amazing Race.  That's right, BF and I have been a couple for a whole decade.  You might ask why we aren't yet engaged or married.  My answers generally vary from 'We've only been living together for 2 years' to 'We're really busy' to 'If I get engaged, then I have to plan a wedding.'  We'll get around to it before all this food blogging catches up to us and I can't fit into a size 4 wedding dress!


Now, back to the reason for todays post - Restaurant Wars 2013!  It's been almost a month since my last RW post because I've been out of town so much recently!  March and April found be travelling to my hometown for a long weekend and to Washington, DC for a work conference.  I also spent my weekend mornings training for my half marathon.  I reorganized my RW schedule based on restaurants that are close to our apartment and therefore easy weeknight meals!


This week brought us to California Pizza Kitchen, on a surprisingly busy night.  Our CPK is located inside of a mall, like most locations these days, and tends to be a popular place for dinner.  It would be forty-five minutes if we wanted a table.  How long for the bar?  You can sit down right now!  I highly reccommend sitting at the bar at CPK.  The bartenders are fun and lead to quick drink service.  You can also watch all the pizzas being made and get good views of the TVs.


Personally, I love all of the unusual pizzas at CPK.  I always wind up with their pear & gorgonzola, spicy Korean BBQ or Jamaican Jerk pizza.  BF is more of a classic pizza fan.  Meat and cheese is his go to pizza.  This trip to CPK was no different - I went with the Thai chicken pizza and BF got the Meat cravers.  Apparently vegetables have no place on a pizza in BFs world. 

When it came to reproducing CPK at home, I had a little leg up.  While browsing the local bookstore in Montclair, I stumbled upon this book.  Published in 1996, previously owned, this cookbook cost me $8.  Deal.  The best thing about this version of the cookbook (they have updated it twice since the original was published), this book contains several pizzas that are no longer offered on the CPK menu.  Like BF's favorite - The Rosemary Chicken and Potato Pizza.


 I remember heading to CPK in the early years of our relationship and ordering this pizza.  He's been upset ever since it was pulled from the menu.  When I discovered the recipe in my new cookbook, I knew this would be the recipe to make for RW - CPK.  The only problem, this recipe is so involved.


It took me almost two hours from chopping the first clove of garlic to when I pulled the pizza out of the oven.  You can prepare some things in advance (which I should have done, but I neglected to read the recipe ahead of time, bad blogger) and shave some time off of the prep.  I have also reorganized the directions, to allow you to multitask during the cooking process.

Make this pizza, it is delicious.  And according to Boyfriend, very close to the original.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Apricot-garlic Pork Tenderloin and Potatoes and Fennel

Top Ten Ways
To Avoid Illness while Riding NYC Public Transit

1. Purchase a Hazmat suit.  Paint it to look like it isn't a Hazmat suit, as the NYC police might find you a little suspicious wearing a Hazmat suit on the subway.  Paint your Hazmat suit to look like a nice Italian three piece, wear at all times when riding transit.

2. Avoid licking the hand rails.  Seriously people, those are dirty.  Do you know how many thousands of people ride the subway everyday?

3. Listen before you sit down.  Hear any hacking coughs, snuffly noses or loud sneezers?  Don't sit next to those people, they want to share their virus with you.

4. Don't ride NYC public transit.  Walking is good for you, especially if you have to go fifty blocks and it's below freezing.  Think of how many calories you're burning!

5. Invest in face masks.  If anyone looks at you strange, just start speaking Japanese.  They'll realize you are from Japan, where face masks are totally normal.

6. Don't touch anything!  Don't even lean against the wall.  Just stand in the middle of the train car and maintain perfect balance until your stop.  This is especially easy when you are riding with a friend.  Let them hold the bar, you just grab tight! 

7. Keep your gloves on.  Make sure they are those big fuzzy ones.  You'll be less likely to itch your eyeball while wearing big fuzzy gloves.  Think muppet-like.

8. Get a train car all to yourself.  I've seen this technique done only once.  I'm going to warn you, it involves not showering for a long, long time.  Maybe this should be a "last resort" kind of suggestion.

9. Bring your own air supply.  This will most likely take the form of a scuba diving system.  Wearing a wetsuit is just optional, a fabulous option!

10.  Get a flu shot.  Don't tell anyone you got a flu shot as they will inevitably try to punch you in the arm.

If only I had this all figured out two weeks ago, when I contracted some form of NYC cold virus.  If I was going to be sick, I wasn't going to do it by myself.  I managed to get BF sick too!  The Wilde kitchen has been quiet and the Wilde household got extremely dirty.  Nobody wants to do laundry/dishes/pick up anything while sick, right?


We are both finally on the mend and I made us some dinner last night.  This was so delicious and simple, I might even make something similar to it for Christmas dinner.  It was so easy, I was actually able to get everything cooked and ready at the same time.  Give one recipe a try, or try all three!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why Bother? 2012 - Gnocchi

From potato to dinner plate in less than thirty minutes.  That is the first thing I will tell you about these little potato pillows.  In less time than it would take you to get in your car, drive to the grocery store and return home, you can make your own gnocchi from scratch.  Also, they will taste amazing.


I've made my own pasta a few times before (remember the acorn squash ravioli and ricotta tortellini?) and remembered what a time commitment it was.  Between making the dough, rolling it out, forming the pasta and letting it dry, the only time I was saving was for the fact that homemade pasta takes almost no time to cook.  When I arrived home (on a late train, of course), I wasn't really keen on eating at ten o'clock at night.  I really wanted to eat post haste!

This is where the microwave came into play.  Did you know you can microwave a potato, assuming you have poked enough holes in it, and it will cook in only twelve minutes?  If you neglect to poke holes in the potatoes, you'll have the joy of watching a potato explode violently in your microwave.  Take your pick, both are excellent ways to use a potato.


Once the potatoes were cooked through (and not exploded, thank you very much) I just had to let them sit for a moment.  It was at this point that I put together the sauce for my eventual gnocchi dinner.  It was simple, get this...  Melt butter and thyme together.  Keep warm.  Fin.


The assembly of the gnocchi was the part that took the longest and mostly because no one wanted to help me roll out the dough.  Someone was busy making a Hot dog film.  Don't ask.  After combining all of the ingredients and giving them a quick knead with my two hands, the dough was ready.


Working in three batches, I rolled the dough out into a long rope.  The rope was then chopped into 1-inch segments and each piece was rolled over the tines of a fork.  If you have a helper in the kitchen, you could probably get this done in half the time. 




But there we are, the little potato pillows were ready to go into the boiling water.  How long do they take to cook?  About three minutes.  More precisely?  Once these little guys float to the top, they are ready for consuming.  I slowly added the gnocchi to the water, one at a time and they slowly floated up to the surface one at a time.  The finished ones were scooped out with a slotted spoon and set to drain for a minute in my colander. 

When the final gnocchi was rescued from the boiling water, they all went into the pan with the thyme butter and were ready to go.  From potato to plate in thirty minutes flat.


How do these little guys compare to those vacuum-sealed store-bought packages of gnocchi?  No question, the homemade version trumps the premade ones.  You've got flavor for miles with your own handmade ones.  The texture of a freshly prepared gnocchi is out of this world.  The variety of potato pasta is endless, just think of all of the things you can add to the pasta dough! 


Hold yourself back from buying gnocchi in the store and make it a fun event with your little ones.  They'll really enjoy rolling out the dough and making the gnocchi shapes!  I know I did and I'm thirty years old!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tarragon Chicken & Pesto Potatoes


Have entered to win the candy giveaway yet?  No?  Head back to Tuesdays post and be sure to get in on the action!  I'll wait...

Okay, welcome back!  I'm still off in the Caribbean, sailing around on a floating city.  This is actually my fourth cruise, third one with boyfriend.  The remaining cruise?  I took that one with WildeMom! 

A few years back, WildeMom and I descended on Florida from our northern locations of Buffalo and Madison.  We sailed out of the port of Fort Lauderdale to celebrate WildeMoms 50th birthday!  The plan was just two crazy girls, living it up on the high seas!  And that's just what happened.


We walked around Old San Juan and dodged random cloudbursts in the fort.  Trolling through the city we enjoyed creamy gelato and warm weather.  We faced the ocean on St Maarten and someone was smarter than I and stayed in the shallow end.  Truth be told, I'm pretty sure the ocean was trying to drown me.  We kayaked through a mangrove forest on St Thomas and cheered on a hermit crab during a race.  We even managed to hit the ships gym every morning and I made friends with the fitness coordinator onboard.

It was a fantastic trip for both my mom and I.  We never had, and haven't since, had so much time to spend together.  A whole week of mother-daughter bonding time.  Lots of time to relax together. 


Travelling with boyfriend is nothing like travelling with WildeMom (as you could have guessed from Tuesdays post!), but tomorrow I can have a direct comparison.  Tomorrow our ship docks in St Thomas after a full day at sea.  How will my day on St Thomas compare with the day spent with WildeMom?  I'll let you know next week, along with the winner of the candy giveaway!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sweet Potato & Choriquo Gratin

I am very excited to announce my very first Wilde in the Kitchen Bake Sale! But I need your help! In June, less than six weeks away, I will be participating in Relay for Life out here on Long Island. For those of you who don't know exactly what the event entails, here is the description straight from the American Cancer Society.

Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.


At Relay, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length. Relayers do not have to walk all night, but each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event.

The event begins with a lap completed by cancer survivors, showing their victory over cancer. The caregivers then join in the next lap, showing their support for those who have battled cancer. Finally, the remaining walkers join the track and start the relay. As daytime passes into night, luminaria bags are lit to commemorate those who have lost their fight to cancer. The relayers then walk through the night with the light of those now gone guiding them around the loop.


Our Relay will take place from 6 pm until 6 am the next day and our team will be camping out at the local college. I will be relaying with several of my work colleagues! Being a newer member of my company, I'm looking forward to not only raising money for ACS, walking with survivors, but also getting to know some of my coworkers a little better.

Now I need your help! May 17-18 will be the Wilde in the Kitchen Bake Sale for Relay! I'll be putting up several candy confections to help raise money for Relay and am looking for people to join in the bake sale!

How does it work?  Don't worry, I do all the heavy lifting!  You provide an image and web address for whatever baked good you would like to donate to the bake sale.  People bid on the items by e-mailing me with their bids.  Once the bake sale closes, the baked goods go to the highest bidder!  Here's where your work comes in...  Within a week, you just have to bake your item and mail it to the winner!

What would be a good item for the bake sale?  Anything that ships well, is delicious and is something that you love.  Cookies & Bars ship really well.  I'll be making several different candy recipes to contribute to the sale.  Marshmallows are their own packing material!

Do you have a little extra time in your week to whip up something sweet and delicious? Send me an e-mail at wildeinthekitchen (at) hotmail (dot) com and let me know!

As a thanks for your help and kindness, I've made you dinner. Kinda. In order to prepare for an all-night relay walk I think my team is going to need some carbs. So make yourself this spicy gratin and leaf through your dessert cookbooks!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gorgonzola Soup

Ever since the time I moved in with boyfriend, he has been asking me to make him gorgonzola cheese soup.  For months and months he has been giving me this idea, telling me to add it to the weeks menu.  I asked where this suggestion came from?  Boyfriend says he had a gorgonzola soup at a restaurant in Buffalo.


I asked "What else was in the soup?" 

The response I got was "I don't know, it had gorgonzola cheese!" 

"Well, was it a brothy soup or a creamy soup?"

"Creamy and cheesy!"

"Were there any vegetables in it?  What was the base of the soup?"

"I don't know, cheese?"

So, you can tell that boyfriend, while he enjoys a good soup, loves gorgonzola cheese.  He is also not one to taste the mild flavors in a meal.  Especially when cheese is involved.

I knew right from the start that this soup could not possibly be just broth and gorgonzola cheese.  That would be disgusting.  I knew that it had to have been a vegetable based soup, finished off with gorgonzola cheese.  Gorgonzola is a very pungent cheese and you don't need a lot of it for flavor.


I settled on a potato-leek soup base and finished it off with some caramelized pears.  The verdict?  The soup is just what boyfriend wanted.  I got back a bowl of caramelized pears, sitting in an otherwise empty bowl.  Someone doesn't like fruit.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grilled Chicken & Potatoes

I'm back from Chicago and back to work.  For some reason I decided that I didn't need to change the time on my watch while I was away.  People kept suggesting that I could easily change the time (with a simple turn of the knob!) and just change it back when I returned.  I told them not to be silly.  My phone acts as my real clock, my watch acts as the minute hand.


Think about it.  How often do you find yourself not knowing approximately what time it is?  Almost never.  Usually only in the middle of the night, when you are thrown awake from a dream, having no idea where you are and what time it is.  Well, maybe that was just me this week, sleeping in my big hotel room bed.


By keeping my wristwatch on east coast time, I feel like I saved myself at least a whole minute of time.  Now I just have to get back onto east coast time!  I don't think that you can say that you have jet lag when you've only flown from one time zone to the next.  Also, half of my company was at this conference with me.  I don't think it will go over well if I'm dragging and complaining today, when everyone else is in the same boat!  Better go get some caffeine and get some work done.  I've got to put all my new conference knowledge to use!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why Bother??? 2012 - Stocks

Welcome to the first post of the Why Bother??? 2012 challenge!  Have you had a look at the schedule of events for this year?  Do you have a post that you are already looking forward to?  I'm excited about this years challenge and I'm very happy that all of you were instrumental in creating it.  All of the challenges for this year were thought up and posted by you guys, whether it be here on the blog, on Facebook or through Twitter. 

While the challenges were set out by all of you, I took the liberty to choose when to complete each of these tasks.  Condiments and buns wound up in the weeks prior to Memorial day weekend so that you could make some for your own summer parties.  Jams are set to be prepared in the midst of the summer fruit season, when I can get the best produce from our local farmers market.  Stock was set for the first post of the year because we are in the midst of soup season, with months of winter left ahead of us.  Unfortunately, my friends in the southern hemisphere are on the opposite schedule as I am...  Maybe we can meet up in the middle, spring and fall?


Boyfriend and I spent this weekend at home in New Jersey.  We decided to relax at home and enjoy the nice weather in our town.  I spent much of last week reading my many cookbooks, researching stocks in all of their incarnations.  There are many options when it comes to making your own stock.  First you must choose what flavor you would like, chicken, beef, fish, vegetable?  Then you have to decide what your background notes will be, veggies, herbs, spices?

I decided to make the two stocks that I am always buying at the store, chicken and vegetable.  Once I completed all of my reading, I discovered that it is a very easy task to make stock.  Simply choose your flavors, cook them up in a big pot of water and strain to collect your stock.  Do you own an 8-quart pot?  Do you have some paper towels?  Can you purchase food at the grocery store?  If you said yes to those three questions, you can make stock.


The vegetable stock was beyond simple to make.  I chose a variety of vegetables and some of my favorite herbs to make a flavorful stock.  Fennel is used as the major flavor in this stock, with celery, onion and carrot as the milder flavors.  The house smelled of herbs and anise while this stock was simmering.  Boyfriend asked if I had spilled a jar of pepper on the floor.  After simmering for two hours, filtering of the stock gave a golden colored stock with a pleasant aroma.  I used this stock as the base for my cheese potato soup.


For the chicken stock, I decided to stick with classic flavors - celery, carrots, onions and parsely.  My only concern was simmering the stock long enough to cook the chicken and impart the right amount of flavor into the stock.  After averaging the times in each recipe, I decided that between 90 minutes and two hours was the right amount of time to cook the chicken and make good stock.  This stock needs to sit overnight to allow you to skim off the chicken fat, so make it one day ahead of time.  You'll see this stock in use this weekend in a tasty Thai-style soup.


Would I make stock at home again?  I definitely would, the flavor varieties offered by making your own stock has made me a convert.  However, I don't really need to make or buy more stock for a while.  Each pot of simmering ingredients gave me about ten cups of stock.  My freezer in now well stocked...


Related Posts with Thumbnails