Tuesday, June 19, 2007

First real work night

Busy night tonight. I'm baching it while the loving wife works a late shift. So...to keep myself occupied I'm making stock - my second try. The first time was vegetable stock...not much to that one really...simmer for a few hours and then rapidly cool and decant into ice cube trays, pop into the freezer, and voila: frozen stock cubes ready for whatever comes along.

  • Tonight is chicken stock...the wife set out the carcasses and bits that had been occupying the freezer for a month or so and I came in, chopped up the mirepoix, added thyme, bay leaves, and a small handful of black peppercorns, covered in cold, filtered water and turn on medium low heat - you want slow bubbles. As Anthony Bourdain made abundantly clear in his Les Halles cookbook: NEVER BOIL YOUR STOCK! Right now the house smells of rich chicken stock and will for several hours to come I must be doing something right...I'm seeing the scum form that I've read and heard so much about...nasty stuff. No wonder it get skimmed off.

  • I'm also poaching some chicken for use in mock barbecue.

  • I've made my own take on Quatre-Epices. I used white pepper, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Yes, that's five spices. I'd have added ginger if I'd had any dry. It has a most unusually musky spicy aroma. I'm looking forward to trying this out soon.

  • I made my not-as-famous-as-I'd-like-it-to-be cheese spread. It's my take on a tip I got from a local chef. He made the most amazing (next to my mother's) pimiento cheese. I was at a tasting dinner one night and had a chance to talk to him. Long story short his secret was Tillamook Sharp Cheddar. I use it in mine and omit the pimiento. I season it up with onion and garlic and hot sauce. I also use goat cheese in place of cream cheese.

  • I was going to roast coffee but it sprinkled rain and the humidity is oppressive right now. Maybe tomorrow night.

The loving wife also signed off on doing some "in-house" food "production". I've got a great wheat bread recipe and all the kit...I just needed the go-ahead to get going. I'll also be making yogurt and in a year or so be cranking out strawberry jam/preserves/conserve. I ordered some Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberries that were the one of the parent cultivars of the berries we know so well today). These aren't big berries but the taste is reported to be amazing. Check in with me in a summer or so and lets see what sort of yield and taste we get. I'll be adding some other little things along...including a garden to grow some stuff. Fresh from my own garden has always tasted better than even the really fresh I've bought from local farmers. Well...back to the kitchen. Add this to my list of favorite aromas - apple pie, coffee, Nueske's bacon, freshly baked bread, and now chicken stock.

No comments: