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Monday, February 28

Taking stock




As you know, I love to cook. Nothing makes me happier after a long day of working than to spend some time in the kitchen. It honestly relaxes me. It is a time of day when I can spend time with myself and be creative in a different way. Mixing flavors, creating new ideas (trust me - they are not always successful) and cooking with fresh seasonal ingredients makes me happy.



I always seem to be taking photos of fresh produce while traveling. I daydream and think how lovely it would be to rent a small apartment in Paris (or anywhere really) and be able to shop at local markets and experience the local flavors.





While I can’t take the credit for one of my new favorite recipes, I can honestly say that there is something about this concept that really excites me. I've kicked myself of late, thinking, “Why haven’t I done this for years?!?”.



This might be boring for some. I do like to keep you all on your toes and throw a little food chat on my blog every so often. This concept is just so easy, I can’t resist sharing.



One of my biggest peeves is wasting food. Especially fresh fruit and vegetables. Here in San Francisco, we are required to compost our food scraps (you can get fined if you mix food with other things). I was always throwing scraps of vegetables away. Skins of onion, tips of asparagus, carrot pieces, celery stalks.






Anyway, to make a long story short: instead of throwing my scraps of vegetables away, I pop them into a zip lock bag in my freezer and let them collect until there is a substantial quantity. If you cook as much as I do, you can fill up a few bags in no time.

Just last week, I was going out of town and I was frustrated that I had purchased some produce that was going to go bad if I didn’t use it before I left. So I decided to freeze the vegetables as well. Instead of just throwing them away, I was able to use them.





Now comes the fun and easy part.






I take the vegetable scraps out of the freezer and throwing them into a large stock pot. I fill the pot with water and simmer for several hours. I might add some bay leaves or other herbs, plus salt and pepper. In no time you have the most delicious broth you've ever tasted. Its easy, healthy and a great way to use something in a new and different way that you otherwise might be wasting.

(photo from my trip to Venice, Italy- 2010)

20 comments:

Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) said...

Grant- Beautiful photos. We have a new compost bin since last Spring, but can't use it in Winter.

Love this idea and may have to try it myself. Also love that San Fransico composts!

Loretta

Kathy said...

First of all...here's another reason to love San Francisco...composting! But back to the post....I'm making lasagna tonight, and you have inspired me to "save the scraps"...thanks for the post...k

kayce hughes said...

I have been meaning to do this. Thanks for the reminder. I have also been saving my parmesan rinds.

KitChat said...

Grant,

You have got to start exploring the use of a pressure cooker! You can have stock, broth, whatever in 30 - 40 minutes instead of hours!!! And talk about Risotto, try 10 minutes start to finish and it as good as any restaurant.

Chris

ennistbp said...

Nice pics. I've been wondering about the design of "real" kitchens for "real" cooks, as I am not one, but we are designing our new house. How big should a kitchen be for you to be able to enjoy cooking in it all day? Also, what do you think about kitchens open to other rooms? I don't like them, but then it's very isolating to the cook... would love to hear your opinion.

Grant K. Gibson said...

Re: Kitchens. I currently have one of the smallest kitchens that you have ever seen. I am able to put out nice things just fine. But I do dream of a large space. The open kitchen does interest me in a way. With this- you can have guests talk with you when they come over. For me it can feel like the rest of the party is out in the living room or dining room and I am the one in the kitchen. I do think that these giant oversized kitchens can be too big. All you really need to cook is good fresh food- and some good tools- sharp knife- nice cookware. Trust me- if you saw my very UN- designer like kitchen (I live in a rental apartment)- you would be amazed with what I can do in a small space.

I am not sure if that really helped at all...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos! What kind of tomatoes are those?

Karen T.

Grant K. Gibson said...

I am not sure of the kind of tomatoes. Italian ones- that part I know! They just looked like art. Almost too pretty to eat.

camdesign said...

can you explain what you keep, I am not sure what you to keep and what you do not keep or use.
interesting idea to make your own veg broth...

Maureen said...

Great tip, Grant. Love that!

Maureen said...

Great tip, Grant. Can't wait to try it!

Grant K. Gibson said...

Camdesign-I use pretty much anything. Odd and ends of veggies. Pretty much anything will work. It can be more scraps from veggies or if you had a spare onion or used half a bunch of herbs for something and then you had leftovers. The options are endless.

Pigtown-Design said...

the other great thing is that you can then freeze the stock, which can be used for later. there are so many recipes where it makes such a difference to use a veg stock instead of water. good on ya, grant!

(p.s. we had a compost heap starting from when i was a child. when we moved houses, my father insisted on having the compost heap moved as well.)

A.J.Barnes said...

What a great idea. Cooking is a passion at our house and I'm always making homemade chix stock, but never think about freezing veggies for stock. Thanks for sharing...I'll definitely be doing this!

www.ajbarnesonline.blogspot.com

Brillante Interiors said...

I can't resist to say that Parmesan rinds are delicious when cooked together with any risotto or with "minestrone" a soup of a variety of vegetables, and they will be great in your soup made with scraps... they become tender and delicious (just scrub a little the surface before cooking).
Tomatoes? They look like what we call "Cuore di bue".

home before dark said...

Here in Kansas where we get wild winter temperatures, I freeze my scraps FOR my compost. The frozen scraps go into the the soil in early spring. They are easy to chop-chop with a spade and go to compost heaven much quicker. I handle coffee grounds in a different bag and put them directly on the soil to help give an acid boost to alkaline soil. I keep hearing about pressure cookers. Scare the bejesus out of me, but I'm going to explore this.

Frozen stocks are like duct tape for food. So many uses.

Grant K. Gibson said...

Update:

Used the veggie stock for risotto last night and it was SO flavorful. I really noticed a huge difference.

Jill Moran said...

Thanks for writing about this - totally great idea! I think I'll need a bigger freezer...

Ann said...

We also save all of our chicken bones from roasting or grilling, freeze them and when we've accumulated enough, make our chicken stock with them (plus onions, celery, carrots, etc.). We barely simmer all night (like 1 or 2 on a 10 electric burner) and when you wake up, it's incredibly rich and tasty. Strain & freeze the broth and it's ready for risotto or soup anytime.

CREED said...

I love to stay in apartments or villas when I travel so I can cook. At home I cook every night of the week, its my 'down time' and I look forward to it. Probably no coincidence I love designing kitchens more than any other space! A pro chef will tell you they can cook in the smallest of spaces with most basic appliances. I'm in a rental right now, like you, but my cooking is the same as when I had a 'magazine cover' kitchen. The tomatoes look like what are called heirloom tomatoes here.
-Carol

 

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