November – Instant Vegetable Stock

November – Instant Vegetable Stock

Ok, this isn’t exactly instant. It is, however, pretty darn close. And, it is a heck of a lot better tasting than those commercial canned or boxed vegetable stocks. It doesn’t require hours of simmering on the stove, it doesn’t take up half your freezer, and you don’t have to defrost frozen blocks of stock. You will have quarts of stock available in the time it takes water to boil. Is it sounding more instant by the minute? I find that canned or boxed stock are completely bland and out of balance, they can ruin a good soup or stew recipe. If you have the time, by all means make magic mineral broth, it is amazing. But if you don’t, keep a jar of this “instant vegetable stock” in your fridge and a few extra jars in the freezer.

Take a look at all these good things in this stock…

Instant Vegetable Stock

Instant Vegetable Stock

What do you think?

So, here is the trick. In careful proportions you process the above ingredients to a fine granular paste, add sea salt as a preservative, and portion into small jars. To make stock, add a rounded teaspoon (or more for a stronger stock) into a cup of very hot water and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Dada! Instant vegetable stock.

This is the time of year you need to have stock on hand for soups, stews, and gravy. Make a batch, it comes together quickly.

Instant Vegetable Stock Base

Instant Vegetable Stock Base

This makes about 4 8-oz jars. It halves well if you want to make less.

Ingredients, all measured after washing, trimming and/or peeling:

  • 9 oz leeks
  • 7 oz fennel
  • 7 oz carrots
  • 9 oz celery root
  • 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes (not the ones in oil)
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 1/2 oz Italian parsley
  • 3 1/2 oz cilantro
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fine sea salt

Method:

  1. A food processor is essential to this recipe. Simply put the ingredients into the processor and blend together until you have a fine, moist, granular paste.  My processor is not huge, so I made the stock base in batches, dumped each batch into a large bowl, and mixed it all together with the salt at the end.
  2. Spoon into clean jars with tight-fitting lids.
  3. Keep one jar in the fridge and put the others in the freezer. Use within 6 months.
  4. To use, stir about 1 teaspoon into a cup of very hot water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. If you need a clear broth, strain it after it sits.
    Vegetable Stock

    Vegetable Stock

    Instant Vegetable Stock Base

    Instant Vegetable Stock Base

    Note: This stock base is salty, you may not need to add any additional salt when using it. Consider using a teaspoon instead of salt in some recipes, it will enhance the over-all flavor of the dish.

I got this idea from the wonderful folks at Food52.

November – Perfect Roast Potatoes for Thanksgiving

November – Perfect Roast Potatoes for Thanksgiving

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Is it the pies? Or stuffing? Or mashed potatoes? What about sweet potato casserole? Growing up my favorites were the stuffing (sausage and sage), and these roast potatoes. My English mother was famous for her roast potatoes, crisp and brown on the outside and floury on the inside. I know that mashed potatoes are the classic side to turkey here in the US, but I strongly suggest you try these. They are also a fantastic side for roast chicken or vegetables, or a replacement for french fries. My family prefers these to french fries and claim they are as good with ketchup as gravy.

I am going to share a few of secrets to success. First pre-boil the potatoes, second rough them up a bit before roasting, and third use a pre-heated roasting pan. Those three tips will ensure that crisp outside and fluffy inside.

You only need three ingredients:

  • Russet potatoes or baking potatoes – 1 for each person
  • Some kind of oil or fat, olive oil is good, duck fat is fantastic (sad to say, my mother used Crisco)
  • Good salt, sea or kosher

Method:

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut each into 6 wedges. I cut them in half lengthwise, then each half crosswise into 3 sections. You want fairly large pieces.
  2. Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with cool water by about an inch, add a teaspoon of salt to the water.
  3. Bring the water to a boil on medium-high heat, turn down the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Immediately drain into a mesh screen colander in the sink.
  5. Cool slightly, then shake the colander to “rough” up the potatoes. You want the surface of the potatoes scratched. See the pictures below. This helps them crisp.
  6. Potatoes, boiled and roughed

    Potatoes, boiled and roughed

    Potatoes, ready for roasting

    Potatoes, ready for roasting

     

  7. When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  8. Oil a large baking or roasting pan and place it in the oven to preheat. You want the entire bottom of the pan to be coated with cooking oil. The pan should be large enough so that the potatoes are not crowded. I usually use olive oil, but this time I had found a treat.

    Duck Fat

    Duck Fat

  9. Once the pan is nice and hot, carefully remove it from the oven. Add the potatoes, turning them to coast with the oil or fat. Spread them out in the pan. Sprinkle with salt.
  10. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, turning the potatoes after 30 minutes.
    Roasted potatoes in the pan

    Roasted potatoes in the pan

    Crispy oven roast potatoes

    Crispy oven roast potatoes

    We usually don’t have any leftover, but they are good for breakfast the next day with eggs. Reheat them in your oven on low heat (not the microwave).

November – Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala

November – Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala

This creamy, rich, spicy but with sweet notes, stew is the cure for the blues of any kind. Serve it at the end of a wet or grey day. It is comfort food at its finest and your house will smell exotic. You can even make it a few days ahead as it is improved by sitting in the fridge for a night. I saw the recipe in the New York Times Wednesday food section and knew I wanted to try it. I made some slight changes but it is essentially as written.

Ireland Hiking, perfect food after a hike in the Wicklow Mountains

Ireland Hiking, perfect food after a hike in the Wicklow Mountains

Garam Masala is an Indian spice mixture, the name comes from the words “heat” and “mix” and refers to the heat of digestion. The mixture consists of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cloves, and red chile peppers which are toasted until fragrant, cooled, and ground to a fine powder.

Start this the day before you intend to serve it, the meat needs to marinate overnight and the the split peas need to soak.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 pounds of boneless pork stew meat or butt, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (more or less depending on your tolerance for spice). I couldn’t find the cayenne so used a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • 1/2 cup of dried yellow split peas
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 slices of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano or jalapeño chili, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can or package of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of coconut milk (not light), solids and liquid whisked together
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Garlic – Coconut Oil for serving

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 6 cloves of garlic, sliced very thinly
  • 3 hot chilis, red or green or mixed, halved lengthwise, seeds removed.
Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala

Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the pork with the cumin, salt, garam masala, and cayenne. Mix well, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Cover the split peas with boiling water to cover by 2 inches, let soak overnight. Drain before using.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute until they are tender and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick, ginger, garlic, and jalapeno. Saute for another 5 minutes until the jalapeno is tender. Add the pork and any juices from the bowl and saute until lightly brown and no longer pink, perhaps another 7 or 8 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes, drained split peas, and coconut milk. Taste for salt. The pork should be covered in liquid, add some water if it is not. Bring to a simmer on high heat.
  6. Once simmering, cover the pot and place in the oven for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. My own stew took almost 3 to soften the peas but they could have been old.
  7. Meanwhile prepare the garlic coconut oil garnish. In a small pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds. Once they begin to pop, add the garlic and chilis, fry until the edges of the garlic begin to brow. Immediately remove from the heat and cool. You do not want the garlic to burn and turn bitter. Once cool I drained the oil from the solids.
    Garlic Chili Coconut Oil

    Garlic Chili Coconut Oil

     

  8. Serve warm, drizzled with the garlic coconut oil and garnished with cilantro.

I found the stew was delicious over a baked sweet potato.

Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala and Sweet Potato

Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala and Sweet Potato

You couldn’t go wrong with a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream to cut the heat.

Coconut Port Stew with Garam Masala

Coconut Port Stew with Garam Masala

This recipe is both gluten and dairy free.

November 2016 – In My Kitchen

I’m back!!!! Back from Ireland, back from England, back from meetings in VA, back from my friend’s daughter’s wedding…whew! There has been a lot going on and most of it has not been in my kitchen. The situation is especially disappointing because I have a new kitchen in our cabin in Fort Bragg, I haven’t been able to spend much time there. But, lucky me, this whole week I am working remotely from the kitchen counter.

Early morning walk

Early morning walk, getting the day started on the right foot.

“In My Kitchen” (sometimes called IMK), is an ongoing series of posts from around the world. Our host is Liz at BizzyLizzyGoodThings. It is a wonderful chance to peek into other people’s kitchens, who doesn’t love being a fly on the wall? You will get some great ideas along the way as well.

This is going to be a quick post because the entries close on the 10th and I really want to take part this month. I will elaborate more on items in this post later.

I saw these silicone pot lids on a couple of blogs in the past few months and wanted to try them. They are really useful and create an airtight water-tight seal on any smooth rim surface, are microwave oven and dishwasher safe, and can be used to prevent stove-top splatters and retain steam while cooking. I purchased a set from Amazon, Charles Viancin Silicone Lids, and am finding them very useful for storing food in the fridge (no plastic wrap) and covering pots on the stove. They are pretty as well.img_5413

In my kitchen I have black garlic, all the way from Ireland. I was a little concerned getting them through customs but there were no problems. They are an ingredient I see mentioned more frequently but had not seen in the states yet. Black garlic is made when heads of regular garlic are aged under specialized conditions until the cloves turn inky black and develop a sticky date-like texture (from Bon Apetit). The aging brings out many rich subtleties, sweet and earthy minus heat.

Black Garlic

Black Garlic

I cannot wait to experiment, some say the flavor is like aged balsamic, prune, licorice, molasses, caramel, and tamarind.

October is my birthday month and cookbooks are a favorite present, I have some new ones and will be posting some representative recipes in the next few months.

New Cookbooks

New Cookbooks

 

In my kitchen I have this gorgeous gratin dish, a gift from Spain from the lovely woman for whom I hosted a wedding shower. Thank you Jamie.

Gratin Dish from Spain

Gratin Dish from Spain

There is lots to get caught up with and I am excited to be back. Meanwhile, cheers from Ireland.

Cheers from Ireland

Cheers from Ireland

September – Failure of Cauliflower Waffles

September – Failure of Cauliflower Waffles

Any regular reader of this blog knows that I have a love affair going with cauliflower. When I saw a recipe for cauliflower waffles (of my goodness, how can you ever turn down a waffle?!), I had to try it. It looked amazing We were leaving the next day for a trip to Europe, but that didn’t discourage me. I was that curious (and can you say probably misguided), I needed to make them the evening before I left.

I have made waffles in the past, delicious sourdough waffles. And I enjoy the savoy type of waffle rather than the sweet ones. This recipe was full of cheese and herbs, a perfect base for summer vegetables.

I’m not a novice for substituting cauliflower in recipes to reduce the carbohydrates. Cauliflower pizza or flatbread, stir fried riced cauliflower, and mashed cauliflower (as a substitute for potatoes) are favorites at our house. I had no reason to think this would be any different.

Well, not so good.

 

Failure 2

Failure 2

Ok, I would say needs further practice and work.

If any of you are successful in making these, please let me know what I did wrong. The original post looks wonderful. It didn’t say how long they cooked the waffle, or if you needed to grease the waffle maker (my own is non-stick and doesn’t usually need extra oil).

The waffle spirit was not with me.IMG_4825

The compost pile was very happy.