Wednesday, January 12, 2011

All Good Things...

Must come to an end, so they say.  My winter break (an almost 3 week long vacation) has come to an end and I am back at work officially.  UGG!  I did not want to come back, really.  The longer I stay at home the more potential projects I see and the harder it becomes to get back into the routine of work.  But, it does pay the bills, so here I am.

Unlike most years where I post about what I wanted to get accomplished over break and what didn't get done.  This year I had no real plans, other than to get Nate out of a crib and into a bed.  I did get a great deal accomplished though, and got to sped a lot of time with my little guy.

1.  Moved Nate from a crib to a "big boy" bed.  It went so much better than I ever imagined.

2.  Put pieces of felt between my non-stick pans.  Last year my mother-in-law bought me a wonderful set of green non-stick cookware.  I had been storing it with my other pots and pans in a great heap in a low cabinet.  I decided that since I really love this cookware and want it to last as long as humanly possible, I better start treating it nice!  You can buy these things to put between pots and pans so that they don't get scratched, but a piece of felt (which I have plenty of) works great too.

3.  Finished Nate's birth sampler.  Ok, so this is kind of a cheat.  I started this wonderfully complex Noah's Ark sampler before Nate was born.  THat I put aside and found a much smaller and less complex sample that I started and finished in about 3 days.  I don;t even care, he has a sampler and that was the important thing.  Now to get it framed.

4.  Shredded old files.  3 kitchen garbage bags full of old files!

5.  Made LOTS of ice cream with my gelato maker.  3 pounds (of fat on me) worth of ice cream.

6.  Purged the House, cleaned the house, reorganized the house.  Self explanatory and on-going.

7.  Took Jax to get a bath.  This dog is terrified of water and I would much rather pay $30 to the people at Petsmart and let him hate them then try to wash him myself and have him hate me.  It was so worth it too, he is a minky as ever!

8.  Cooked, baked, ran errands, shopped, played LOTS of Trains, shoveled snow, etc, etc, etc.


Saturday, January 01, 2011

Making Stock

New Years is usually a time for taking stock.... I however, am using it as a time for making stock.  Turkey stock to be specific, smoking turkey stock to be extremely specific.

Nigella Lawson (my kitchen guru) always says, "I may be extravagant but I am never wasteful."  making your own poultry stock is not only healthy and cheap but also the essence of good home economics.

It is also super easy too.  

1.  Put, in a large stock pot,  few carrots, a few ribs of celery, a bay leaf or two, an onion, and a few pepper corns., and some parsley  That is your basic stock seasoning.  Leave out the salt you don't need it, but feel free to add other herbs.


2. Add your carcass.  This is leftover from Thanksgiving.  And it is frozen.


3.  Add water to the stock pan.  Fill it up.  Not so that it is over flowing, but so that it is pretty close to the top.  When I did this my carcass was sticking out the top of the pan.  Not to worry.  As is cooks, it will fall apart and sink.

4.  Put it on the stove, uncovered and boil gently until the water is reduced by half.  This can take 2-3 hours depending on the size of your pot.  Give it a stir every now and then.

5.  Once it has reduced let it cool and little bit and then strain out all of the meat, bones, veg, herbs, etc.  What you will be left with is a bowl of chicken stock.

6.  Put it in the refrigerator (overnight works for me) until it is cool and all the fat has risen to the top.  it will look like this


7.  Take a spoon and skim/scoop off the fat.

8.  Ladle the remaining broth into freezer containers and freeze for later use.


I know it looks chunky.  It is chunky.  I use a lot of skin and bone in my stock and so it has a lot of collagen.  When it is hot it is liquid, but when it is cold it is more like turkey Jello.  Not to fear, it will be fine when thawed and will taste divine!

Happy New Year!