Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Beef Stock situation, part 1

Soup stock has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I'm not sure why, but I have never really understood the science behind it. I know it is fairly easy and takes a long time to boil, but that has been the extent of my stock knowledge. Until recently. I have always wanted to explore making homemade soup stock and recently I did so. First I researched several recipes and methods including a phone call to my cooks-everything-from-scratch sister. The time allotted for boiling ranged anywhere from a mere four hours to a full 24-36 hour investment if you have a crock pot. I do not have a crock pot so I improvised a little. I started in the early afternoon and boiled for about eight hours. Then refrigerated everything and boiled around eight more hours the next day. But I am getting ahead of myself. First I collected the following ingredients:

Beef rib bones

1 Onion

2 Carrots

Some celery

2 cloves of garlic
and you are supposed to add about a quarter cup of vinegar or lemon juice to help leach all the calcium out of the bones.

Chop everything maybe once or twice. Don't bother peeling the onion or anything. Just throw it all in the pot with about 8 cups of water.

I brought all of this to a boil, put on a lid and turned it down to simmer. I regularly checked on it and kept adding a small amount of water as it boiled down. About four hours in, I realized that I had forgotten the vinegar. So I did. Of course having read so many recipes and heard so many suggestions, I accidentally added a cup and a half of vinegar. This is not recommended.

At this point I also drained out the veggies by pouring the stock into a strainer over a large bowl. I picked out the bones to add back in, but threw away the vegetables. I always thought this was a waste, but it turns out that all of the vitamins and what not have been leached into the broth/ water so now your stock is becoming really healthy and the vegetables have become pretty much useless. Yay. So I added the bones back it and put it all back on the stove, returned to a boil and put it back down to simmer some more.


Once bedtime rolled around I let the broth cool, then poured it into a large bowl with a lid, bones and all and stuck it in the refridgerator.

The next morning I put it back in the pan, returned to boil and turned it back down to simmer for about another eight hours.

Stay tuned for part two!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Find the Food!!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Let's play "Find the Food"!! Listed below are actual ingredients written from a can of vegetable stock that I, GothGirl recently purchased.


Since 'from concentrate' isn't really real because it was first boiled down and then reconstituted, I don't really count that as food, and 'powder' isn't really real because carrots are not in their natural form, powdery, and extract isn't really real either because if it were the actual thing then that would be listed. And everything else is either a chemical or a sugar (or both!), so then the only thing left is 'natural flavors'. Hm. I can think of a lot of natural flavors that I prefer not be in my soup.

Let's say just say that I am henceforth jumping on the 'make your own soup stock' band wagon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Meatballs, my way.

You will need:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, turkey, pork, or chicken.
2-3 cloves garlic, diced.
2 slices of bread crumbs.
2 eggs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl mix all ingredients including a generous sprinkle of the spices. I used my hands to mix everything. Then in a large 15x10 baking pan flatten out the meat into one large rectangle. Using a large knife divide the meat into 24 squares, then roll each square into a ball and place back in the pan. This should create uniform sized balls according to the Better Homes and Garden Cook Book. In my case it did not. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

The resulting meat balls are very garlicy and yummy. We had ours with spaghetti and a rather plain mushroom tomato sauce which complimented the meatballs quite well.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

R.I.P. David Carradine

Some time ago back when I fancied myself an actress, I was working as a volunteer for an up and coming entertainment festival here in town. This was my second year working with it and this time they had hooked some pretty big name stars as panelists. The key note speaker was David Carradine, just shortly before the "Kill Bill" movies came out. Of course having dabbled in Kung Fu in my younger days I knew him from the epic TV show "Kung Fu" and "Kung Fu: the Legend Continues". For this venue however he was speaking as lead singer of his band whose name I cannot currently find.

Somehow when Mr. Carradine arrived, it was left to me to show him into the main room where the tables and displays were set up. Of course there was a subtle undercurrent of excitement when he entered the room followed by his entourage, but once we were all set up they had gone ahead to the table and I was leading Mr. Carradine down the hall towards the main doors. We passed by some young twenty somethings who blushed and fawned briefly and asked to shake hands with him. He graciously did so, and as we continued down the hall I couldn't help but ask him, "What's it like?"

He looked at me, "What's what like?"

"What's it like...to be on that side of it? All of these people here are looking up, but you are already there," (par.)

He smiled ever so slightly and said "You will see,"

That was the moment we reached the doors into the main room.

I have carried that memory with me as one of my greatest brushes with fame, as well as a kindred moment between two actors. Much more happened that weekend, not all of it suitable for blogland, but today I mourn with the Carradine family and friends upon his passing.

David Carradine, you were one of the greats.

Beef Broth and Local Veggies.

So I've been thinking about trying to be more stretchery with our food supply and my sister's blog gave me a bit of an inspiration. We recently enjoyed some ribs (homegrown at that) that my MIL brought us and I thought about saving the bones to make some stock. Seeing as we constantly have, like eight tupperware thingys of leftover vegetables in our fridge at any given time, I thought it might be cool to make some stock to throw together some soupage for lunches and what not. Stock, veggies and a handful of elbows just to round it out. Or maybe drop biscuits depending on my mood. I haven't made the stock yet but I will post on how it goes. First I have to go buy some onions.

That being said there is a fabbo little veggie stand on Southland Drive. She has said that she tries to sell at prices that rival the grocery store. She also stays out on days different than Sunday. I want to say Tuesday and some other day, but I can't find her website. I'll have to keep an eye out and find out.