So basically I’m like the worst blogger ever. Or maybe just the laziest, take your pick. And I mean that’s saying a lot. Sloths have more frequently updated blogs than I do, and they take a week to cross the street to get to a tree.
I just checked this here little soup site for the first time since mid-May. It’s late July. There are already stacks of Halloween candy and Thanksgiving crap going up at my local CVS, so I’ve got a lot of time to make up for. I won’t bore you with the details of this, my lost summer, but let’s just say I’m going to play the sympathy card and let you know that there has been a big, bad sickness in my immediate family that kind of knocked me out like that dude on the Bachelorette during that insane trip to Thailand this season. I didn’t wind up on a Thai stretcher or get sent home after my “hometown visit” (poor dude), but I did do quite a bit of wallowing and moaning and I kind of let myself watch a lot of bad TV. So I’m sorry. I’m back.
Because I lost so much time and I am no longer able to battle my ADD (forget about any salient stories people), here are some pictures of deliciousness from this summer so far...
So there are all these glitches in iWeb ’09. Different browsers seem to “plant” the photos in different places, sometimes obscuring my words. What a colossal shame, right? So if you’re having problems with the site just give me little head’s up and I’ll try to work this crap out or I can at least directly send you any information you may be missing. This issue was brought to my attention in a comment made by a new reader (Welcome Leah!), who plans to try a recipe if she can actually read it, which would be nice. Leah’s other comment, “what do you use as vegetable stock”, is another very good question, and one worth talking about.
I always prefer homemade chicken stock to just about anything, even though I don’t really like chicken. A lot of soups that appear to be vegetarian in restaurants use chicken stock as a base because it adds a layer of umami that vegetable stock just doesn’t. That being said, some soups require more subtlety and sometimes you want to make a soup for a vegetarian without slipping them a mickey.
But let’s be real. We don’t always have the time to make stock from scratch, be it chicken or otherwise. When time is an issue it is certainly OK to use a box stock-- but please, if you must, use an organic broth/ stock and make sure that if it does, indeed, have maltodextrin (hopefully it won’t) that this flavoring is the last ingredient on the list. I like the “Imagine” brand and it is available at Whole Foods and other supermarkets. Also in some of the more upscale markets-- frozen stock (in flavors of veal, beef, chicken & vegetable). You can also get delicious homemade stocks from your butcher, and though these are usually somewhat more expensive, they are a million times better than their supermarket peers. So you’ve got that going for you, which is good.
But back to the vegetable question at hand.
This is an insanely good recipe for vegetable stock to add to your arsenal, and it’s not all that time consuming...
from Soups, Stews & Chilis Cook's Illustrated (PS: this is one of my FAVORITE books. Buy it.)
(makes about 8 cups)
3 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
15 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 cups water
1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 lbs.), trimmed, cored and cut into 1" florets
1 plum tomato, cored and chopped medium
8 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 TBSP black peppercorns
Combine onion, celery, carrots, scallions, garlic, oil and salt in a large stockpot or dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until a golden brown fond has formed on the bottom of the pot, about 20- 30 minutes.
Stir in the water, cauliflower, tomato, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns and bring to a simmer. Partially cover, reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the broth is rich and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hrs.
Strain the broth gently through a fine-mesh strainer without pressing on the solids.
The broth can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to one month.
So broth/ stock away, Folks. Make a vat of it and have it ready for a Sunday supper. You won’t be disappointed.
I won’t stay away for so long this time, I promise. Not that you’re asking, of course. I have so much soup in me that I just can’t contain myself. I am a soup evangelist, after all.
Hopefully there won’t be Santas in the shopping malls before I hit you again.