Homemade Vegetable Stock, Simple Bean Thread Soup, + Recipes for the Week of February 27, 2012

by Julie

Lately I’ve been wondering about some of those vegetable cuttings in my compost. It seems wasteful, even after I tell myself that it’s still better than throwing them in the trash. You’ve probably been faced with a similar scene: onion trimmings, carrot ends, stems of kale. These are parts of the vegetable we don’t often utilize in cooking, but before we throw them out altogether, perhaps we can find a purpose for them.

Enter stock. It’s super easy (think vegetable cuttings + water + salt + low heat) and resourceful (no more letting unused produce go to waste), not to mention a great way to save some cash (store-bought broth can cost upwards of $4 for a quart).

Remember M.F.K. Fisher’s essay, “How to Cook a Wolf”? If you haven’t read the essay, it’s brilliant–perhaps one of the best essays on food I’ve come across. It was first published in 1942, when war shortages were at their worst. The epilogue to the essay is a quote by C.P.S. Gilman: “There’s a whining at the threshold, / There’s a scratching at the floor. / To work! To work! In Heaven’s name! / The wolf is at the door!”

Fisher took that quote and the result is a series of recipes, commentary, and practical advice about how to approach eating: “using our minds as well as our hearts in order to survive…to live gracefully if we live at all.”

“To live gracefully”: Vegetable broth seemed as good a place to start as any.

Homemade Vegetable Broth

It’s my assumption that broths can continuously be “fed.” In a crockpot, on low temperature, I imagine one might be able to keep on adding vegetable cuttings and water and seasonings to the original broth as portions are ladled out for other soups.

Ingredients

9 cups water

salt, to taste

seasonings, like whole peppercorns, basil, thyme, tarragon, bay leaf

vegetable cuttings: onions, carrots, celery, celeriac, kale and chard stems, cabbage ends, etc. 

Combine all ingredients in a stockpot or crockpot on low. Cook for 2 – 6 hours or overnight.

(my crockpot of "eternal" broth)

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I took some of my first batch of broth and made a simple bean thread soup, below:

Simple Bean Thread Soup

Ingredients

4-5 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 head Napa cabbage, cut into large pieces

5 cups broccolini, stems trimmed but leaves included

2-ounce package bean threads (found in most specialty stores or Asian food markets)

6 cups homemade vegetable broth

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add cabbage and broccolini, reduce heat and stir for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is soft. Add broth and bean threads to vegetables. Bring soup to just a boil, then reduce heat, simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring to loosen noodles. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.

Recipes for the Week

Monday, February 27: Pancakes for Dinner! Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes (from My New Roots)

Ingredients

1/3 cup walnuts

2/3 cup certified gluten-free rolled oats 

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch sea salt

 

1 very ripe banana

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon olive oil

2/3 cup nut milk 

2 teaspoon maple syrup

Toppings:

maple syrup

1 banana, sliced

a handful of walnuts, chopped

grated dark chocolate??

Tuesday, February 28: Split Pea Soup (from Coconut & Quinoa)

Ingredients

2 cups green split peas

2 inch piece kombu

4 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

sea salt

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme

3 small carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 cup diced butter nut squash

1 cup diced green cabbage

2 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar

1 teaspoon tamari, or to taste

Fresh black pepper

Chopped parsley or celery leaves to garnish

Flax or olive oil to serve

Wednesday, February 29: Polenta Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto (from Adrienneats)

For polenta cakes

1 cup polenta

2.5 cup water

1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

1/2 teaspoon sage

1/2 teaspoon chili pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

For pesto

5 red peppers, roasted

2 small dried chipotle peppers

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup parsley

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 garlic cloves

1.5 Tablespoons white wine balsamic vinegar

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup walnut oil

Thursday, March 1: Quinoa Black-Bean Burgers (from Two Blue Lemons)

Ingredients

2 cups or 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup dry quinoa

1/2 cup corn meal 

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 small onion, finely chopped2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons dijon mustard

pinch salt 

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