05 February 2010

Kitchen Basics: Veggie Stock… Wait! Hear me out.

  When I was 26, I spake as a 26-year-old, I understood as a 26-year-old, I did 26-year-old things… like buy a drafty condo with oil heat. But, when I became a man, I learnt how to cook.

Luckily, said apartment is on the second floor so a lot of the drafting comes in the form of warm air from the neighbor below. (we totally luck out on this trade: we get heat, she gets footsteps - second floor is the way to go) Yet, being the cheap bastards that we are, and because oil is more expensive than the alternatives, my roommates and I rarely turn on the heat. This makes the apartment's ambient temperature a reliable 50-55º F. While this is perfect for brewing lagers, it is sub-optimal for keeping women around (or individuals of whatever gender you prefer to have naked in your room).

Here is a great way to
   1. get some free heat
   2. make your apartment smell nice (if you like warm earthy aromas that were not designed in New Jersey)
   3. save money on vegetable stock
       a. free flavor!
       b. free vitamins!
       c. use it as a base for soup
       d. use it to make rice instead of water.
       e. tc.
   4. use all the parts of “the buffalo” (by which I of course mean vegetables) which makes jesus and gaia both really happy.

Every time you bust out your web browser and open to the Mad Tasty section, save the vegetable ends in a bag in the freezer: Below I present quite possibly the ugliest picture ever posted on a food blog, in spite of my efforts to make it look like a cornucopia. Look closely (if img fidelity permits) and you’ll see
   1. carrot butts and greens
   2. three batches of cilantro we didn’t get through before they wilted beyond appetizing
   3. a large portion of celery with a similar fate
   4. a number of pieces of pepper (go ahead and leave the stem on)
   5. carrot peels
   6. ends of red and yellow onions
   7. stems of chard
   8. stems of kale
   9. something borrowed
   10. something blue

Your stock will taste a little different every time because its not a set recipe. Don't worry, it will be usable in all the same ways. You may want to remember what's in there or taste it and see what you think it will be best with. Lately, I've tended to have a lot of cilantro in the broth, so last time, instead of the chicken soup I usually make, I went with a vietnamese-style pork and beef soup. If you find you've got a lot of carrots and your broth is pretty sweet, you may want to try using it to make rice for a green curry, or maybe use it in a turnip soup. I think most people end up with a lot of aromatics and lean toward basic chicken soup, but you never know what your freezer is gonna throw at you!

I digress, in the above picture is also, a pair of garlic heads that I pulled off the top of the refrigerator. They are getting dry and will not be used. I peel these (crush method!), but you may not need to – oh that reminds me, I also take off the skin of the onion, but save that tough outer layer that you never use in your salad or stir fry.

This is a great time to clean out the fridge. You are about to boil the ƒμ¢ℵ out of this stuff so don’t worry if its wilty or if part of it looks a little slimy (I mean do your best to remove the slime). Look! I found some spinach that I bought like 5 days ago:

As indicated, put it all in a stock pot or the largest pot you have and fill it up with water. (Before I got this stock pot, I would occasionally use two side-by-side pots) Use hot water to save time boiling.

Now, make yourself a martini and start assembling your blog post.

You have a few hours. Some people only boil for 1 hour, I like to generously overshoot an hour (because I love martinis and macs). At least one friend of mine boils her stock for closer to four hours which seems a little extravagant to me.

Once you see good color and can taste that vegetable flavor, add salt and pepper to taste in the last 20 min. Strain the deader-than-dead vegetables out of your stock and put them in the COMPOST HEAP! Whoa, did we just get three uses out of these fruits of the earth? I think so!

Pat yourself on the back, but don’t forget, viri is not the plural of virus, but of man.

So in my estimation, 32 oz veggie stock costs like $3.50 and were making close to 2 gallons, and if it costs (very rough estimate) $1000 to heat an apartment of this size for the winter, that’s 10 bucks a day. So this whole process saves you $15 – $25, which is kinda worth it.


  1. sounds fun! my favorite part is the mixing (and then drinking of) the martini... i honestly have no idea what to do with vegetable broth...

  2. this is an amazing epic post. i might have to try this. love the martini in a mason jar.

  3. Addendum: After the boil, put the cover on and let the whole thing drop to room temperature. The pot will act as a radiator for a few hours. Also, when you put it in the freezer, It won't suck a ton of electricity into the machine to fight the heat.

    Thanks for the comments!



LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs