Tag Archives: Kitchentalk

Carcass 201: Stock (for real this time!)

A while back I posted about making stock. What a perfect example of misinformation! (Turns out I was actually making BROTH) That post goes to show you that anyone with a keyboard and a blog can spout off with undue authority. Myself included. A few months back I had the opportunity to film Chef Jess at The Viking Store’s instruction on how to make proper stock. So, for your viewing pleasure, I’m embedding her video below. Bon appetit!

A Pot Luck

I like pot lucks for several reasons. They lift the burden off host(s), ensure everyone who comes will have at least one thing to eat they like, are an opportunity to show off and never leave me hungry. I like to see what people were proud to make and hear the stories behind the dishes.  I also like the pot lucks where everyone chips in on the work, offering their services and expertise;) They are generally gatherings of like minds…I just dig ’em, ok?
(duh)

So this post is going to be a pot luck of sorts. I’ve been working hard this week and have ideas and plans and well, it was my birthday for Pete’s sake! So I’m just going to throw out a few of the things that have been floating around my mind and see what you do with them. Oh, and I also wrote a post on the VikingToGo site we just launched. The Community is still a little buggy (email notifications are not going through at time of publishing) but I enjoyed writing the first blog post and I hope you will enjoy reading it. You can check it out here:

A Foodie Knows No Borders

Have I mentioned what my go-to pot luck dish is, by the way? Baked brie. Easy enough to keep puff pastry in the freezer and just buy a wheel of brie when you have an event. Wrap it in the thawed pastry, topping the cheese first with a dollop of jam. Brush with egg (less waste with Egg Beaters) and top with some nuts. I usually have shaved almonds on hand. I also like to drizzle some honey over it about halfway through the baking process. Anyway, cook it at about 350 F and/or according to the pastry directions (I’d say about 40 min.). Let it cool at least 10 minutes before cutting it…otherwise it gets crazy runny. Serve with crackers and Bob’s your uncle!

So here’s my baked brie for this week’s pot luck:

  • My family’s visit to the family farm last weekend fell on a weekend when work needed to be done for my cousin’s new blueberry endeavors. How wonderful to spend that time growing food with my family in the south Georgia sun. That and the slip and slide was also very cool:). Anyway all this had me thinking about what it means to have a Sense of Place. I think that will be my next set of musings
  • I made my first batch of laundry detergent and it’s brought my cost per load to about a cent. It took me 35 min of work and I’m sure I can do it in less time next time. I have detergent coming out of my yen yang, too! Oh and more importantly, it works – well – in my high efficiency machine. Well done, Suite101.com:

Making your own Laundry Detergent

  • I have all the ingredients I need to make my first batch of sunscreen. Keep your fingers crossed/thumbs held for me, please! I’ll let you know how it goes!
  • Have you planted everything you planned to plant this year? I still have some things that need to get in the ground…I’m getting behind…

Hope everyone has a great week! 🙂

Mouthgasm 2010: Sandestin

For those of you who read last week’s post, you know I needed to chill out. I did:) On Thursday afternoon I headed out to Florida with some of my best friends for some R&R on the Emerald Coast. We arrived just past 9 pm and by 10pm we were seated at Tommy Bahama’s for our first mouthgasm. The instigators?

LOKI-LOKI TUNA POKE
Fresh Ahi tuna, soy and sesame oil layered with freshly made guacamole and served with Tommy’s flatbread and tortilla strips

SOUTH SEAS SCALLOP SLIDERS
Pan seared, fresh basil, roma tomatoes, chipotle aioli, crispy “Tobacco” onions with Asian slaw

BAHAMA BASIL SMASH
Tommy Bahama White Sand Rum, muddled blackberries, basil and fresh ginger, “from scratch” sour mix and Sprite

Friday morning we headed over to the beach (first and last time…very odd for me on a beach trip) for a couple of hours and then hit Wine World (aka Chan’s) for some lunch and to peruse the gourmet cheeses (we ultimately bought blueberry cheese, jalapeno havarti & two large mozzarella blocks). After lunch we went to pick up some groceries and found we were all on the same, healthy mission. We didn’t end up with a bit of junk! Yogurt, dried fruit, nuts, juices & fresh vegetables were the picks of the day and I am so thankful for it. I swear putting these good things into our bodies made all the difference in the world…especially as the level of alcohol consumption was just the slightest bit higher than usual;)

Friday night turned out to be another late night, with us only sitting down to our crab leg boil around 10pm. Mouthgasmic…

Saturday morning we went to Another Broken Egg around 11am for breakfast. As my early to rise self had already feasted on yogurt, nuts and dried fruit I decided to order “light”:

BAKED BRIE DELIGHT
A delightfully mild white cheese softened and smothered with sautéed apples, raisins & pecans in a sweet Grand Marnier butter sauce. Served with lightly toasted French bread for spreading!

BLACKBERRY GRITS

At this point we understood our meals were off schedule. We embraced it. Some fun in the sun then we picked up some fresh fish for supper and hopped in the golf cart to go over to The Village for  oysters Christine was just dying to introduce us to: raw, served with wasabi and soy sauce…mmm…

We walked by a sushi place on the way to oysters…it seemed appropriate to stop for an appetizer…

I had some of the best salmon nigiri I’ve ever tasted (the fish tasted better than it looked…pleasant surprise!) and lovely, soft white tuna nigiri that melted in my mouth like butter. We also had a tasty order of edamames.

Palates whetted, on we went to the Acme Oyster House at The Village in Sandestin. Beautiful, beautiful oysters. More melting mouthgasms…totally smooth. We had a dozen baked and three dozen raw. Good thing we stopped in at the sushi place, too…Acme no longer had their soy sauce & wasabi oysters on the menu, so we ran back over to Osaka Sushi Rocks to ask our new friends if we could borrow some fixin’s. I must say, hands down, this was the most interesting and divine way I have eaten oysters to date. So-very-good.

We decided to skip the midnight fish taco supper we’d planned and hit the sack at a reasonable hour Saturday night. My internal alarm clock woke me up around 6:30am Central time (thank you, kiddo) so I decided to cook them up for breakfast instead. My friend Ann had the great idea to use naan bread for the tacos…good, good, good!

Us Georgia girls hit the road for home with a pit stop at my Aunt & Uncle’s in Marianna to have a bite for lunch and bring my grandmother back up to Atlanta to spend the week with my mom. I love Ruth & Larry’s place. I got to look at their garden and new greenhouse (foreplay) before sitting down to my last mouthgasm of fresh shrimp salad with avocados, 2 hr old radishes, remoulade sauce and muffins. For dessert we had Sticky Black Bean something with ice cream. It reminded me of rice pudding but was wonderfully different at the same time. I also saw these beautiful bay leaf garlands for the first time and was absolutely fascinated by them…very cool!

I found it interesting the way this little trip of ours shook out. Our meals were not of the interior grocery store isles, but fresh concoctions- most from the sea. The trip was soon centered around these mouthgasms – they were pursued so thoughtfully they became the cornerstone of it. I snatched up my morning alone time for yoga practice and stretching. I finished Eat, Pray, Love (and cried) – so apt. As each day passed, the same two words floated around in my mind: Restorative…Elemental…

And I am restored. The lovely food, when we dined both in and out (thanks, Erin, for knowing all the best places to go!), fed me not only physically but mentally. It makes me wonder – can our greatest imbalances be leveled with some attention to elemental needs? Moderation and health in nutrition and exercise certainly seem a reasonable way to test the theory. It’s not likely to hurt you, anyway…and you might just be surprised with multiple mouthgasms in the process!

Bay Leaf Garlands

I can’t wait for Mouthgasm 2011:)

Carcass 101: Stock (with a side of Dumplings)

I’ve always said I would have been great in a Depression. It’s a rare occasion when I allow food to hit the waste bin and more often than not it’s after several rounds at the table. I am a left-over reinventing queen. My hubby rolls his eyes at the end of nearly every family occasion as I pack leftovers and carcass(es) for the trip home. He later tolerates me as I clutter the kitchen, sometimes taking a shelf’s worth of space in the refrigerator with my various stages of stock-making. But when you see what you can get from what you might have thrown away…whew-ie! Totally worth it.

So here’s a little Carcass 101 with some pot luck tips…

1.  If you have a large carcass, sometimes it’s better to take your time processing it. There are good break opportunities in the process so if your life will be less complicated by slowing it down, put on the brakes. Knowing this has made the idea of starting stock at 2:00pm on a Sunday much less daunting.

2. Break the carcass if necessary to fit in your pot. I generally let my carcass occupy about 2/3 of the pot and fill it with about an inch or two of water. Add water throughout the process to maintain these approximate levels.

3. Throw in some seasoning (sugg. bay leaves, rosemary, garlic, etc.) and whatever veg you choose. Chef Shea Markwell (Cooking School @ The Viking Store) gave me a killer tip on stock veg: as you prepare veg for meals save peels, skins, ends – anything you would compost – then freeze them. Just bag ’em, tag ’em and put ’em on ice until you have the occasion to make stock again.

4. Heat your stock and simmer for several hours. I’ll sometimes turn off the flame for little stints in between once the pot gets good and hot (it keeps cooking, anyway); I just have a hard time justifying such long use of my stovetop.

BREAK OPPORTUNITY: Nothing wrong with letting the pot cool down a bit before sticking it in the fridge. You can pick up the process tomorrow by just heating it up again.

5. Place a large pot/bowl in your sink and set a colander in it. Pour your stock through and set aside the broth. Let everything cool.

BREAK OPPORTUNITY:  This is a great stopping point if you have room in the fridge for both the broth pot/bowl and the rest. Either way, you really should stick the broth in. If you leave it overnight the fat will congeal on top and you can skim it off before freezing.

6. Pick out the meat from the bones and skin and toss it into the ziplock (first label and date the bag) you’ll be freezing the stock in.

IF SKIMMING FAT: once it has congealed, skim the top of the broth with a large spoon and toss it in the bin (not down the sink!).

Skimming fat from stock 1Skim fat from stock 2Skim fat from broth

7. Add the broth to the meat, squishing it around so the meat is surrounded by it. Get as much air out of the bag as you’re able before closing it.

6. Freeze.

And there you have it – Carcass 101. Does anyone have anything to add to the process? What do you do?

When I made turkey stock on Sunday I also made a batch (this one not low fat:)) into Turkey and Dumplings for our supper. This was both my first and second attempt at dumplings…the second turning out better:) I’m going to include a link to the recipe here, as well as my notes.

Epicurious.com: Chicken and Dumplings
– I only used the dumpling recipe (the quick recipe in the footnotes) and the cooking instructions from this recipe, but I’m sure it’s all tasty:)
Instead of Bisquick, I used Aunt Jemima’s Whole Wheat Panacake Mix. I’ve also made a tomato pie crust with this and both turned out lovely :})

PS. While making this I also made my shampoo for the week.