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June 23, 2011

Baggie broth

A friend of mine taught me a great trick, and its just been fantastic--especially through the winter months, but also for a nice light dinner during the summer.

Save your veggie scraps in a freezer bag. Nothing nasty and make sure everything is washed, but you know, the bits and bobs that you usually cut off. Examples of some of what I've used:

Ends of celery and carrots
The root and skin of onions
Scraps from tomatoes
The dark green parts of leeks
The stringy parts of pumpkins or winter squash
Garlic skin
Stems from parsley and cilantro (cilantro will be a distinctive flavor, so think about what you'll be using it in--Mexican, Indian, or Thai soups would be great with it), or flowers/clippings from basil.

The only exceptions I can think of right off the bat--potato peel will make a cloudy broth, and cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli) can make a very strong one.

I just push the scraps to one end of my cutting board, then slip them into the bag, and back into the freezer. Really easy, just have to keep it in mind.

After collecting a baggie-full or two, you can make stock just by gently simmering scraps for 30 minutes to an hour, then strain (pushing on the veggies to release the juices).

But I've started combining it with crockpot chicken broth to make a really rich broth.

I'll get a whole chicken or parts,* and poach in the crockpot (barely cover with water, or just add a couple cups of water in the bottom, cook 5-6 hours on high, or until shreddable--you can add flavorings, too, dried or fresh herbs or onions or garlic). I remove the chicken, and shred it, saving it for another use, or to return later for chicken soup.

I'll leave the water in there, and throw the bones and skin back in, and a handful of veggie scraps, add water to cover, and cook for another couple of hours on low or high. Strain and use, or put into fridge, skim off fat the next morning, and you're ready to go.

Yogurt containers make great 1 quart containers.

*Or do the same thing as the veggie bag with chicken bones--when you have some leftover bones, stick them in a baggie in the freezer and save (same with turkey or beef bones).

Posted by Tim and Jo at 2:24 PM | Comments (1)

June 18, 2011

The Royal We

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Craft-time fun with daddy!

Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:53 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2011

Eight eyes

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Wait...are they twins?!?

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Ian glasses hug.JPG

Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:47 PM | Comments (1)

June 2, 2011

MKMW Catch up: Egypt & Greece

I took pictures--but then neglected my poor little blog for nearly a month.

As the summer gets unbearably hot, I tend to turn more towards salads and antipasta/meza/tapas-as-dinner sorts of meals. Which worked well for the My Kitchen, My World challenges these past two months.

For Egypt (April), I made a simple couscous salad, and served it with some melon on the side.

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Couscous salad
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
1.5 cups water

Boil water. Add couscous, turn off heat and cover. In about 5 minutes, uncover and fluff.

Cool slightly and add:
Halved cherry tomatoes
Mild onions, diced (soak in cold water if you're planning on leftovers so they don't get too spicy)
Fresh herbs (parsley, mint, basil)--a few tbsp. or to taste
1/4 cup feta crumbled
1-2 tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Serve warm, room temperature or cool. It would be good with chickpeas or shredded chicken.

For Greece (May), I made a simple Greek chicken salad. (and forgot to take a picture--it looked like a generic salad, but it was tasty!)

For two:

Homemade croutons: cube 1-2 slices of bread (we used Trader Joe's Tuscan pane). In a bowl, combine 2 tbsp. olive oil with dried herbs (oregano or Greek or Italian seasoning) and salt (I used Penzey's Greek seasoning mix). Drizzle olive oil over bread cubes and toss quickly to combine. I toasted them in the toaster oven on two short cycles. Otherwise, bake at about 350 for 10 minutes, then leave in the oven after it's turned off to dry.

Feta dressing: In food processor (or by hand) combine 1 cup yogurt (if you have Greek yogurt or labne, even better), 1/4 feta, 1 tbsp. Greek seasoning,* 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste (a little red pepper or chipotle pepper for a kick). *Penzey's includes garlic. Otherwise, add a clove of minced garlic or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder.

Cover each plate with lettuce. Add diced tomatoes, onions and cucumbers, and pitted and halved kalamata olives. Add diced or shredded cooked chicken (about 1/2 cup) (or other protein), croutons, crumbled feta, and dressing.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:28 AM | Comments (1)