Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Homemade Fun Vol. 4

January 10 - Day 7: Hungry Man Soup
I invented another recipe :) (I'm on a roll in the kitchen... this is way better than some ofmy previous kitchen disasters). I took some chicken stock I had in the fridge (~1 qt) and leftover garlic-y mashed potatoes (~3-4 cups). My intention was to make potato soup. Then I added 2 handfuls of mung bean sprouts, some leftover green beans, and about 3/4 c of ricotta. I pureed the whole thing. I seasoned with sea salt, garlic (can there ever be too much garlic?), and pepper. On a whim, I added some thin slices of steak (I had a leftover steak from a previous dinner) and cooked til the steak was heated through. It was steak and potatoes, in soup form... Hungry Man Soup!

January 11 - Day 8: Homemade Chicken Stock
There are few things as yummy and comforting as homemade chicken soup. Yum. In my 6 qt Crockpot, I put the bones from two roasted chicken (I save bones in my freezer until I'm ready to make stock), added the "gizzards" (I guess that's what they're called, the organs in the paper sack inside the chicken) from one chicken, carrots, celery, half an onion, and a few cloves of garlic. The amount of veggies is pretty flexible... I just use up whatever I have. I add a splash of vinegar, then I season with dried spices, added liberally and never measured (hee hee): oregano, thyme, sage, marjoram, garlic, and rosemary. Then I fill the Crockpot to one inch below the top with cold filtered water (my tap water makes crummy stock). I cook it on high for a few hours, then switch it to low for about 10 hours. (I start it on high when I am preparing supper, and switch it to low before I go to bed... the stock is ready when I wake up in the morning). I strain it into a large pot, put it in the fridge until it chills, skim the fat off, then ladel it into quart-sized jars to store in the freezer. (you can save the fat for cooking). I also freeze some in ice cube trays. Once the stock cubes are frozen, I store them in a gallon sized freezer bag (I'm exploring non-plastic options for this, but this is my current system), so that I have small amounts of stock on hand for cooking.

January 12 - Day 9: Brined Queso Blanco
I made quite a few things today, but all were things I posted about before. Apple muffins, homemade pizza, ricotta cheese (well, I tried making ricotta, but messed up and got more queso blanco), kefir soda, more chicken stock (see above), and butter... it's amazing how fast we go through butter. I used up all the honey, maple syrup, and flour in the house... not sure what I'll be making tomorrow.

With all the queso blanco I made tonight, plus the buttermilk queso blanco, I decided to brine some of it. I added the queso to a jar, and covered it in a brine solution of roughly 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt in 2 cups of water. I'm hoping I'll get a salty cheese similar to feta. I may get something completely unpalatable. I won't know for a few days at least, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.