Sunday, June 30, 2013

Just In Time for July 4th: Little Blue Devils!

I'm a huge fan of deviled eggs but I do like to change things up now and then.  Here is a fun and easy way to try a variation of the traditional deviled egg.

Hard boiled eggs, shelled and sliced in half, lengthwise
remoulade sauce (link to recipe, if needed)
crumbled blue cheese
mustard (I used a walnut mustard but any will do)
hot sauce

After slicing your boiled eggs, pop the yolks out into a bowl and place the whites on a plate.
Mash the yolks thoroughly with a fork.
For 6 eggs add 2 Tablespoons remoulade, 2-3 Tablespoons blue cheese, 1-2 teaspoons mustard, and about 1 tablespoon hot sauce.  Mix well with fork and add mayonnaise as needed to provide a creamy texture.  A small dash of paprika into the mix, then gently spoon into the egg whites.  Top with another dash of paprika.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How To Make Vegetable Stock

This is a blog post taken from one of my favorite cook-authors:  Kathleen Flinn.  Please visit her website for additional recipes as well as to check out her books!  I love Kathleen:  she is an excellent author and so generous with her experiences and vast knowledge of cooking and nutrition.  Visit her other cooking blog here.
I'm a big fan of making my own soup stock and broth.  It is so easy to do, it tastes great, and keeps easily in the freezer (I usually condense my stock down and freeze it in ice cube trays).
This vegetable broth recipe gave me an idea:  I have never used dried mushrooms and I bet it adds significant flavor to the broth.  Thanks, Kathleen!

DSC02902Despite the name of this recipe, there’s actually not such a thing as vegetable stock. By definition, stock is made from simmering bones in water. No bones? Then it’s broth.
So, let us commence with vegetable broth. In my own kitchen, I collect and save the trimmings from the likes of carrots, celery, onions, the green tops from leeks and spring onions, stems from herbs and the skins from onions and garlic. If I am saving these for more than a couple of days, I take a cue from my mother and store them in a plastic bin in the freezer. When I’ve got a few fistfuls, I decide to make brother. I combine these scraps with a few fresh carrots, celery and a chopped onion with some water and let it simmer for about an hour. Ideally, I like to roast the fresh vegetables first for deeper flavor. But if I don’t have time, I skip it. I also prefer to add dried mushrooms and its soaking liquid, but if I don’t have them on hand, I don’t do that either.
If I’ve got extra zucchini, a bit of fennel, tomatoes, a bit of turnips, a small dose of kale, I’ll add those in. I find bell pepper trimmings lead to a metallic flavor and bitter greens can overwhelm anything else in the mix. As Deborah Madison notes in her book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, don’t use any vegetable that seem “funky.”scraps and a few carrotsveg stock after cookingstraining
Simmer for about a
n hour, two at the most. Drain. Cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge for up to five days, and in the freezer for about threemonths.
1 ounce of dried mushrooms (optional)
1 large onion (12 ounces) quartered
4 large carrots, chopped into large pieces
5 celery stalks,
2 garlic cloves
3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil (if roasting)
1 bay leaf
a few sprigs of rosemary, parsley or thyme
    or a combination of all three
    or 2 tablespoons dried
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 to 8 black peppercorns
Scraps of celery, celery, onion and garlic
If using dried mushrooms, combine them with two cups of warm water and let sit for about 15 minutes or until softened. If you have the time and inclination to roast the vegetables, preheat the oven to 450˚F. Toss with the olive oil, the bay leaf and herbs and roast until softened and slightly caramelized, about 45 minutes.
Whether roasting or not, add the fresh vegetables to a six-quart or larger pot. Add the tomato paste and stir through the vegetables. If using the mushrooms, add them and their soaking liquid, too. Add the peppercorns and the vegetable scraps. Cover with fresh, cold water and bring just to the edge of a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for at least an hour. Drain through a fine mesh sieve. Add a couple pinches of salt. Mark with the date and store in air-tight containers in the fridge or freezer.