Food Waste Friday

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FoodWasteFriday
I don’t know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods today, but here in Trondheim, it is just snowing like the devil.

We’ve had some of the crappiest weather this winter. For the first part of the winter it was mostly a little warmish so we only got rain, no snow. (We didn’t even have a white Christmas!) Then we got a little snow, which promptly melted and then froze into hard ice. Norwegians have some inborn inhuman ability to walk on ice like it’s a normal surface- but not me. I’m a little better than I was when I first moved here, but if it wasn’t for the little spikey things I put on my shoes, I’d fall flat on my face the moment I walked out the door.

For the last few weeks the weather has just been grey, dark, and depressing. This week the temperature has mostly hovered a little over freezing, so there’s been a mix of rain and snow every single day this week. Add high winds into the mix, and this sort of weather is the stuff that makes you want to stay inside, put a fire in the wood stove and curl up with a book or knitting. Today its just poured the snow down all day, so that is exactly what I’ve been doing.

I didn’t forget, however, that it’s Food Waste Friday. I went quite smugly into the kitchen thinking to myself “this is going to be three weeks in a row without any food waste, aren’t I just little miss clever?” I opened up the fridge to dig around and make sure… and I was promptly taken down a notch or two in my smugness.

Bummer. Two lonely, sad, shriveled up old scallions that got buried somehow under the carrots and other such things in the vegetable drawer. I think I’ll throw those into my stock bag in the freezer, so those wont get wasted. But the squishy, molded on top jalapeno pepper? The sad thing is, I don’t remember when I bought it… or why. Maybe it was for a taco night WEEKS ago? Did I buy more than I needed and thought I’d use it up eventually? Oops.

Next week, back to NO waste!

If you’ve made the commitment to produce less food waste, how did you fare this week, I’d love to hear about it!

Homemade granola- an easy DIY breakfast food!

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I certainly hope you all enjoyed your Valentines Day, with or without a Valentine.

I was nice enough to give Yngve one of my cookies yesterday, even though he forgot to buy me flowers.

But anyway…

Today I’m talkin’ ’bout cereal. Quite possibly one of the most convenient breakfast foods ever. I love me some cereal in the morning.

Admittedly, I REALLY love kid cereals… think: coco puffs and fruity pebbles, and fruit loops and frosted flakes and pretty much any other cereal that’s 100% sugar. *sigh* None of that for me anymore, though.

I also like “healthy” cereal, too- especially granola. I love the crunch.

I say “healthy,” because granola isn’t always so. It can be loaded with waaaaaay too much sugar and fat to even come close to being healthy.

But if you make granola yourself, you can save a buck AND control how much fat and sugar goes into your favorite morning fuel.

I have a basic recipe adapted from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. I liked their recipe, but I discovered I had no way to access one of the main ingredients here in Norway, so I decided to tweak it a bit to suit me and what I had available. I came up with something that I like, and hopefully you’ll like it to!

The basic recipe is as follows:

Basic Low-Cal Granola

3 C. Old fashioned Oats (though admittedly, I’ve used “quick cooking” (not instant) before and it’s turned out just fine.)

1/3 c. chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc)

1/3 c. raw pumpkin seeds (I’ve also used sunflower seeds)

1/4 c. wheat germ

1/4 c. unsweetened flaked coconut

1 tbs. canola oil

2 tsp. cinnamon (I’ve also used 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp cardamom)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. dried fruit (I tend to use cranberries, but this time I used dried, chopped apricots. You could use raisins or currants or dried cherries. Whatever you like)

2 tbs honey

I like chopped almonds the most.

 Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C). Spray a large baking sheet or jelly roll pan with nonstick spray. (One with sides so your granola doesn’t slide off) Stir together all ingredients except the dry fruit in a large bowl, pour into baking pan and spread evenly. (I actually like to stir together the honey, oil and maybe a tablespoon or so of water together before drizzling it slowly onto the other ingredients and mixing well- this granola doesn’t clump together much, but if you add a little bit of water, it will a little bit.) Bake, stirring once, until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Pumpkin seeds are great, but sunflower seeds work, too!

Stir in dried fruit and let cool completely in pan on wire rack. Can store in airtight container up to 1 month. There’s about 12 servings in this at 1/3 cup each.

I think the chopped apricots look like little shining jewels, they're so pretty!

I like mine best on top of homemade yogurt. Yum, yum!

serve and devour, happy you've saved yourself money and calories!

Vintage Valentine Sugar Cookies

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Ah, Valentines Day.

A day to be loathed, single or not. If you’re single, you hate it because you don’t have anyone nice to bring you flowers.

If you’re like me, you still don’t get anything for Valentines day, even when you’re married. (uh huh, I’m staring daggers at the back of YOUR head, husband.)

But no matter.

Who needs someone to bring you gifts when you’re damn well capable of making your own pretty things?!

And what could be better than sugar cookies? There are thousands of recipes for them- thick and thin, soft and crisp, frosted or not.

I like them thin and crisp. As for icing- well, usually I can take it or leave it. However, Valentines Day cookies just seem like they need a little bit of embellishment.

When I considered making cookies for valentines day, I immediately grabbed this AWESOME vintage cookbook I bought when I was at home in the US this summer.

It’s called “The Holiday Cookbook: 220 festive recipes for every holiday.” Copyright 1955.

There are some humdingers in this thing. For Lincoln and Washington’s Birthday there’s “Rail Splitter’s Roast” and “Washington Cherry Tricorn Tarts.” The 4th of July has “Celebration Day Beans” and Halloween has “Goblin Franks.”

Please suppress the desire to snicker.

Indeed, the recipe names are pretty goofy, but the recipes themselves aren’t half bad. Especially the recipe for Valentine Cookies, which I will share with you, here:

Vintage Valentine Sugar Cookies 

2 c. sifted flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2/3 c. butter

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c. sugar

2 eggs, well beaten

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg and set aside. Cream butter together with vanilla extract until softened. Add sugar gradually, creaming until fluffy after each addition. Add the two beaten eggs in thirds, beating thoroughly after each addition. Stir in try ingredients in fourths, blend well. Cover and chill dough in fridge about 1 hour.

Remove amount of dough needed for a single rolling and return remainder to fridge immediately. Roll dough 1/16 in. thick on lightly floured surface. Cut with floured cookie cutter, sprinkle with sugar.*

Bake at 375 F (190C) 12 to 15 minutes. Remove immediately to cooling racks to cool.

* I didn’t sprinkle with sugar since I was planning on icing them. I used royal icing to ice my cookies, using this recipe at joyofbaking.com.

What I noticed about this dough is that it is quite soft. You need to work quickly and carefully when rolling out and cutting. I used a thin dough scraper to help lift the cookies to the cookie sheet because the cookies were getting misshappen when I tried just using my fingers. Try to add a little bit of the previous scrap dough to new dough each time to minimize a change in texture and flavor. Also, keep an eye on them. They seemed to go from perfect to slightly over browned in a snap.

My icing job was kind of crappy, I’ve never tried outlining and flooding cookies with royal icing before. It took me almost the whole batch before I got the hang of outlining enough for my piping to be straight and not look like a 3 year old did it. I mostly managed to cover up my mistakes with white icing, though. :P

The cookies themselves are thin, delicate and crisp. They have a light butter flavor and the nutmeg just adds a little spicy something different to the whole equation. I bet they’d be good with cardamom, too.

If you’re single, I hope you enjoy making these to eat all by yourself. If you’ve got a Valentine, but he doesn’t bother bringing you flowers, I hope you enjoy making these to eat all by yourself.

Happy Valentines Day!

Cod Tongue- A Norwegian Delicacy

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By Arne List at de.wiktionary (see page for license), from Wikimedia Commons

Yeah, so sorry for being a little quiet lately. This time of year I get a little… unmotivated. The sun is starting to come back, but its still fairly dark and its cold and grey and miserable… and as a result, my mood is cold and grey and miserable.

I don’t think I’m very cut out for Norwegian winters. They’re too long and I crave the sun. Sun lamps are helpful, but they aren’t the same as real sun. There’s only so much snow and ice and grey and cold I can take before I start plotting fleeing to a tropical island to live out the rest of my life wearing hula skirts and eating coconuts.

But spring is coming.

The coming change of seasons in Norway is heralded by Cod (called Skrei in Norwegian), who come into the coast to spawn in the late winter to early spring.

I love Skrei season, because skrei season means cod tongue.

Before you turn green around the gills (HA! Pun INTENDED! :P), let me just say: it isn’t nearly so bad as you might think.

I found this great short video clip today (in Norwegian) from NRK (the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) that shows fishermen (actually, they’re fisherboys- its the job the kids are given to do!) cutting out the “tongues” of the cod. If you watch the video and look closely, you’ll see that what they’re actually cutting off is the underside of the “chin” of the cod. (If cod had a chin)  The tongue is connected to that part, but most of it is the “underchin” for lack of a better word. There is also a lady demonstrating how to prepare cod tongue. She simply tosses them in seasoned flour (just salt and pepper) and fries them in butter in a cast iron pan .

Click here if you want to see those boys at work and how the cod tongues are cooked.

Yngve called from work today and I told him that I wanted us to have Cod Tongue for supper. So, on the way home from work, he stopped by my favorite fish market in town, one of the few small family owned ones left, called Fiskhallen. I could go to Ravnkloa, which is another one- but I find them to be a bit too snobby for my tastes. They certainly have a large variety of things (they even sell seagull eggs), but I don’t know… it lacks a certain amount of… old fashioned family owned that I love.

I couldn’t find a picture of Fiskhallen, so I stole one from google maps street view. Fiskhallen (right there on the right with the tiny sign above the door) is located down a lovely little alley. It is small, but everything is fresh and the people who work there are incredibly friendly and helpful. They also sell local eggs and locally grown veggies there from time to time.

Anyway, Yngve bought us some cod tongue while he was there and brought them home for me to cook up.

I’ve only ever had cod tongue once before- my mother in law made it much like in the above video, but she coated them in cracker meal before frying. I didn’t have any cracker meal, so I decided to cook them like in the video.

If you didn’t want to bother with the video, here are what cod tongues look like:

They do look a little bizarre, don’t they?

Here is what they look like from each side. On the one on the top you can see the little tongue, this side would be IN the mouth.  The one on the bottom is flipped over, this side would be the “underchin” as I called it.

Here you get a closeup of the tongue- it isn’t as scary as it looks.

I added some plain white flour to a plastic bag, added some fine sea salt and ground black pepper- then I threw in the cod tongues and shook them up until they were well coated.

Then I just put some butter in my cast iron pan and fried them up until they were golden brown.

NOW they’re starting to look like something more edible…

When they browned, I transferred them to a plate with some paper towel to drain, then we ate them up!

Taste-wise they’re a little bit between fish and a scallop. I’d like to say they taste a bit like little fish nuggets.

I think since we had these for supper tonight, we’ll be eating light for the rest of the weekend, but I don’t mind.

Also, it’s Friday, and Friday means Food Waste Friday.

FoodWasteFriday

Last week I had NOTHING to report (and I didn’t feel like blogging so it went uncelebrated) but I’m happy to say I have nothing to report this week, either!

YAY!

We had a really delicious roast chicken last Sunday for dinner (and also leftovers Monday) so I used the leftover carcass and all my saved veggie trimmings in the freezer to make some yummy and wholesome chicken stock. I had some sad looking celery in the fridge, but I threw that into the stock so it wasn’t wasted.

I have some stale bread from this week too, but Yngve wants french toast in the morning, so I’ll make him some using that instead of throwing it out.

I also have some shrivelly apples in the fruit bowl, but I have some ideas for those that include being baked into bran muffins. (I’ve been working on a delicious muffin recipe!)

I also have some bananas that are the brink of overripe (which is how I like them, anyway) but if I don’t get the chance to eat them, I’ll throw them in the freezer and they will be awesome in banana bread.

So hooray for zero waste this week! (and last week!)

Food Waste Friday- When Life Gives You Lemons…

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…You should make lemonade. Or else your lemons are going to go moldy.

I used this guy for his zest and then had good intentions to use the juice for something, but that something never presented itself until today, but when I reached for it, it was blue and fuzzy. *sigh.*

I’m telling you, one of these weeks is going to be zero waste! One of them! Soon, hopefully!

FoodWasteFriday

Caramelized Onion and Spinach Braid

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Last week I picked up one of the many “ukeblad”- weekly published ladies magazines- from the store. I picked it up specifically because they were doing a special edition on bread, and this issue had 14 or so nice looking bread recipes.

I got it home, flipped through the pages, and was interested in a particular recipe called “grønn flette” or, “green braid.” It got its green color and different flavor from  frozen spinach added to the dough.

I didn’t have all the required ingredients on hand, so I winged it with what I had.

The result was pretty darn good. The spinach lent the bread an interesting flavor- sort of savory… umami, if you like. However, I felt it lacked a little something- a little more depth, one extra addition… it needed a little something to be truly spectacular.

So, the other day I had a friend over (who happens to also be a chef) and we were sharing a slice (or two) of this bread- when I said, “I sort of think this bread would be good with caramelized onions in it.” After a pause for thought, my friend agreed, and my little brain set to thinking about coming up with a recipe.

Friends, what I came up with is delicious. The only problem I have is that it tastes so damn good its hard to have just one slice.

It is divine with a little bit of thinly sliced ham.

It would be fabulous with a hearty soup or a salad.

This bread just demands to be eaten.

Now I admit, it isn’t easy to just throw this together like you can a simpler bread, but I think the results are worth the effort.

So, if you’re done taking my word for it and you want to try it yourself, click here for the full recipe.

 

**I have to thank my friend Marianne for making this bread possible today. I could have SWORN I had another bag of flour in my cabinet, but alas, I did not. A quick phone call and a short 5 minute walk later, and Marianne gave me the last of her flour to bake with. :)

 

Food Waste Friday

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Last week I hoped I’d have zero food waste this week.

I tried. This week is marginally better than last week, but there was still a little food wasted.

Sunday Yngve wanted to bake bread, so he made a bunch of whole wheat dough, we broke it into 4 portions, froze three sections of dough and baked one. We didn’t manage to eat it all before it molded. I knew it was going to go off and I thought about cutting it up and drying it out for bread crumbs, but forgot it.

The only other thing we wasted this week was a potato. Though, not sure if it really counts as waste or not.

I made us a North African inspired tagine for dinner on Wednesday and realized after tasting it that I WAY over salted. oops.

Here’s a trick though, if you accidentally over salt a soup or stew: take a potato, cut it into quarters (or I suppose you could cut it in half, it doesn’t matter, really) and drop it into the soup or stew. The potato will absorb some of the salt, just fish it out once it’s cooked through. So, I sacrificed a potato to save dinner. Does that actually count as food waste? I mean, it served a purpose. Granted, the potato didn’t get eaten, so maybe that counts then.

Either way, food waste this week wasn’t zero, but it wasn’t terribly bad, either.

I do feel a little guilty over wasting such nice bread, though.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Food Waste Friday, pop on over to The Frugal Girl and read all about it.

DIY Yogurt

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For Christmas this year my lovely husband bought me a cookbook I had been pining over for some time.

It is written by one of my favorite chefs and food writers- who happens also to be Norwegian, named Andreas Viestad. You may have seen him as a host on the television series “New Scandinavian Cooking” which also airs in the US on PBS. It’s a really great show and is where I was first introduced to Viestad. He also writes “The Gastronomer” for the Washington Post, where he sort of goes into detail about the nitty gritty scientific processes that surround food making.

The cookbook I received  is called “Ekte Mat” (Real Food) and is his newest cookbook. It is very much centered around his farm and has a very “DIY” sort of feel about it.

I really love his food philosophy of promoting regional foods, heirloom varieties of fruit and veg, and his support of sustainable agriculture. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he’s funny and quite adorable, too.

The day I got the book I flipped through the pages, drooling over the beautiful photography which include absolutely delicious looking foods and scenes from his farm. I stopped at the page which said “Lag din egen yogurt” “make your own yogurt” and was interested over how simple he made it sound.

I had wanted to make my own yogurt for some time, but the instructions I had found before seemed a bit complicated and involved buying a yogurt incubator.

Not so, according to Andreas.

Now of course, he admits that his process can yield varying results, but if you don’t mind that, then it’s as simple as heating up some milk, adding a few spoonfuls of plain store bought yogurt and then leaving it on the counter overnight.

Well that’s definitely easy.

However, I do want relatively consistent results, so I set about seeing what I could do to achieve that.

What I found is that while it may indeed require a few extra steps beyond Andreas’ instructions, it’s still incredibly simple to do, doesn’t require any sort of specialized expensive tools, and I’m here to tell you how!

Homemade Yogurt:

For myself and Yngve I only make about 1 liter (about a quart) of yogurt per week. If you’ve got more mouths to feed than us, or if you happen to eat more yogurt, then you might want to make more, but the process is easy so making more isn’t any more difficult.

This is what you need to make yogurt:

  • milk, preferably whole milk, but you could use low-fat. I tried once with skim and it didn’t work out at all.
  • starter culture. This is a fancy way to say: buy a small container of plain yogurt at the store. Here in Norway, I use TINE. (because that’s pretty much my only choice) but in the US, I’ve heard the best starter cultures come from dannon and stonyfield farm. I don’t know because I haven’t made yogurt from those. You only need to purchase this once. After you have made yogurt, you can use your own yogurt as the starter for subsequent batches.
  • jars to keep your yogurt in
  • a pot to heat the milk in
  • a small cooler
  • optional: a kitchen thermometer to check the temp of the milk. This is optional because you can indeed do this without one and I’ll explain that, too.

I start by pouring the milk into the pot and heating it up to about 194 F (90 c). This will: 1. kill any undesirable bacteria that could compete with the friendly bacteria that will be making your yummy yogurt , and 2. denature the milk proteins so that they set together- I read about this somewhere and asked Yngve what all this protein denaturing was for. My biophysicist hubby did a little research and gave me a long winded and complicated scientific explanation which I have promptly forgotten. Basically, heating the milk up that much should result in a slightly firmer yogurt with a nicer texture.  You don’t HAVE to do this, it is not critical to making yogurt, it just makes it a little bit better.

If you do not have a kitchen thermometer, scald the milk- ie, heat it just to before it starts to boil, then remove it from the heat. Don’t freak out if you forget it and it reaches the boiling point, it is not a crisis.

Cool the milk down to around 98-107 (37-42 celcius). You can do this with a thermometer OR, you can do what I do when I’m feeling particularly lazy- just feel the side of the pot with your hand. It should be a bit warmer than body temperature, but not hot. You don’t want to kill the nice bacteria that will be making your yogurt.

Once the milk has cooled, add about 1/4 cup of yogurt starter per liter (quart) of milk. Or, just throw in a few heaping tablespoons. It doesn’t have to be exact. Stir it up to evenly distribute all those bacteria.

Now, you’ll want to pour it into your container of preference.

I use old jam jars that have been thoroughly washed and sterilized. To sterilize, you can either put them through your hottest dishwasher cycle, boil them, or, stick them on a baking sheet in an oven heated to 350 F (180 C) for about 20 minutes.

Pour the inoculated milk into the glass jars, put the lids on and proceed to the next step.

I have to admit, I got the next idea from The Frugal Girl who has an excellent tutorial on yogurt making as well.

Put your jars into a cooler, fill the cooler with water heated to around 120 F (48 C). (this should feel quite warm, but not so hot you can’t have your hand in it- sort of warm bath temperature)

Now, close the cooler, put it in a draft free location where it will go undisturbed and  wait. Incubation can take anywhere from between 4-8 hours. Around the 4 hour mark, open the cooler and remove a jar. Tilt it a bit to see how well its firmed up, if its firm and has a thin layer of a yellowish liquid on top, its done. If its mostly firm with no liquid, its no biggie- you can either put it back in or stick it in the fridge, it will be fine either way and will firm up more in the fridge anyway. I don’t have the best cooler for this job, so my water tends to cool off quicker than if it was a thicker  one. To offset this, I’ll pour boiling water into the cooler and let it sit for a minute before pouring it out and adding the 120 degree water. I also wrap it up in a couple bath towels to help insulate it even more.

When its done I think it should cool in the fridge for at least 6 hours before eating it, but I don’t think that step is absolutely crucial- it just makes it firm up that little bit more. Opened jars should last around a week, unopened jars a month. We eat it all in the space of a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. I only make 2 jars at a time because I only HAVE 2 jars. (we need to eat more jam)

The total actual hands on time in this process is really no more than 15-20 minutes. Mostly it’s just waiting. I like to start my yogurt in the morning that way it should be done by the afternoon/evening where it can go in the fridge overnight for breakfast the next day. Anyone can find 20 minutes to throw some milk in a pan, heat it, pour it into jars, stick it in a cooler and forget about it for the next 4-8 hours.

And believe me, its totally worth the 20 minutes. Homemade yogurt just tastes… way better. It has this delicious fresh taste that is incomparable to store bought. It is less tangy, creamier… its just delicious.

Here are some reasons why I think you should make your own yogurt (at least try it, anyway!)

1. It’s easy and tastes better

2. Its cheaper. If I buy 1/2 liter containers of plain yogurt, they are nearly twice the cost of buying the equivalent in whole milk. If I was to buy the smaller cups of yogurt, the cost can go as high as 4 times more.

3. Its better for the environment. You aren’t purchasing lots of little cups of yogurt to clog the landfills.

4. YOU control what you put in it. Commercial yogurt (especially in the US) is loaded with stabilizers and artificial colors and not to mention sugar. LOTS AND LOTS of sugar. You just don’t need as much with homemade yogurt.

5. Its good for you! The probiotics in yogurt have been shown to improve GI health and can even reduce lactose intolerance in some people!

Here is how I have my yogurt almost every day:

I take some thawed, frozen strawberries (I’d use fresh if they were in season!)

Mash them up!

I also add a few drops of vanilla extract, about 1/2 cup of delicious yogurt… then mix… (if you want it sweeter than the berries give, add a couple teaspoons of honey or, in my case, a little sweetener)

Then I top it with my favorite homemade low-cal granola, and enjoy.

The whole thing (including the granola) is only 330 calories and I feel like I’m having desert for breakfast. Its THAT yummy.

I’ve even made it with no sugar added strawberry jam- you could try blueberries or raspberries or blackberries. Anything! You are limited only by your imagination. You can use homemade yogurt in baking bread, as a substitute for sour cream, in smoothies, or homemade frozen yogurt- really, there are so many applications for yogurt! You can make as much or as little as you want!

I hope my instructions were clear (if they weren’t, leave me a comment and I’ll try to fix it so they are) and I hope this inspires at least one other to try making their own yogurt.

Enjoy!

Homemade Vegetable Stock- Easy and Economical.

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Hey y’all!

Part of my plan to reduce food waste includes saving pieces of vegetables (like the ends of carrots, celery and onions, the stalks of herbs, carrot peels, etc) to use in the production of homemade stocks.

Making homemade stock is one of those things everyone should know how to do.

Not only is homemade stock tastier than store bought, its way cheaper, too.

Consider this: a 32oz container of vegetable stock can vary in price up to 2.00 USD per container, if you use one a week, you could spend well over 150 dollars per year on stock alone. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot, but I can certainly think of a lot of things I’d rather spend that 150 dollars on. Making your own stock costs pennies.

When I cook dinner each night, I save any vegetable pieces leftover from cooking. That usually includes the aforementioned carrot, onion and celery ends, stalks of herbs, etc.

Here is what I had after cooking dinner last night. Carrot peel and trimmed ends, trimmed ends of celery, the “root” end of garlic and the trimmed ends of onion.

I keep a bag in the freezer of said odds and ends, I just throw the pieces in there and wait for the bag to fill up. Depending on what I’m cooking each week and how much, I might have the bag filled up once a week or once a month. It just depends.

In this bag was all of the above, plus some celeriac, parsley, trimmed bottoms from asparagus, pieces of leek, scallion and small pieces of garlic. I wouldn’t use cabbage or broccoli, as they tend to be quite strong in flavor.

When the bag is full, I dump the contents into a big pot, put in enough water to cover, maybe add a bay leaf or two, then let it boil away.

When the veg has given up the ghost so to speak, I turn it off, let it cool, then strain it into plastic containers or ziplock type bags to go in the freezer.

I use a coarse strainer to catch the bigger solids, then a finer one to catch any little pieces.

Isn’t that a lovely, rich color?

 

For this weeks dinners, I’ll be needing quite a bit of stock, so I’ve put about 4 cups in this container to go in the fridge for the week.

The rest, I’ve put into labeled plastic bags in 2 cup amounts. (a 14.5 oz can of stock is around about 2 cups)

Here’s a trick I use to easily fill those bags- if you have a wide mouthed container like this large measuring cup, open the bag and place it inside. It will sit open allowing you to fill it easily without tipping over.

Chicken stock can be made just as easily. When you roast a chicken (or heck, if you buy one of those rotisserie chickens at the grocery store) don’t throw out the bones! Save them in the freezer like the vegetables (or, if you happen to have enough veggies at the same time as chicken bones there’s no need to freeze) and make it the same way. Throw the bones and the saved veg in the pot, fill with water to cover and let it simmer away. I’ve even saved shrimp peel and crab shell and made my own fish stock as well. Just make sure you don’t forget to label the container!

You can use your stock as a base for soups and stews or to add flavor to rice, cous-cous, quinoa, bulgar, or even potatoes.

The nice thing about freezing them in the plastic bags is that they are easier to defrost in a hurry if you’ve forgotten to take it out. Just pop the plastic bag into a container of warm water and it shouldn’t take long to melt.

I like making stock this way. Not only do I reduce my food waste, I save money AND time, as you’re just dumping frozen veggies into a pot, boiling for a while (during which time you can do other things), cooling it some (during which time you can still do other things) then putting in bags or plastic containers to go in the freezer. Hands on time is really no more than 20 minutes.

If you’ve never made your own stock before, I urge you to try it. Its pretty impossible to screw up, and its well worth it.

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