It’s all soup all the time this week.  It may be the rain that is coming down.  It may be the fact that I just spent an hour cleaning up the old plants out of the veg boxes in my yard and I am CHILLED to the bone — I need a hot bowl of soup right now.  It could also be its one of my favorite things - Homemade STOCK.  So as CSA members - we have LOTS and LOTS of leeks tops, onion roots, kale ribs, celery bulbs, mushroom stems, fennel tops, sweet potato & squash peels, pepper ribs &  tops, apple cores, onion skins - EVERY LITTLE BIT OF VEG SCRAP has a destiny in my kitchen.  They all get to vacation in a plastic bag in my freezer and then on rainy days or slow evenings at home a big stock pot of the MOST delicious homemade stock goes on the stove.  After the stock has cooled I use my leftover Pho Containers to Freeze the stock in quart size containers for use at a later date.

Homemade Vegetable Stock 

by Paige Boger

8-10 garlic cloves, skin on and smashed

1 T whole peppercorns

¼ cup Olive Oil

1 large onion skin on

2 carrots

4 ribs of celery (if your bag does not include a Celery End)

1 gallon zipper bag full of Frozen Vegetables Scraps

2 bay leaves

Some leftover fresh herbs from box (thyme, sage, rosemary)

2 t salt per 1 quart of water added to pot

Pinch of red pepper flakes

In a heavy bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat sauté Olive Oil, Garlic, Onion, Carrot w/ peppercorns for 5 minutes. Add other vegetable scraps along with bay leaves, other aromatics, sauté for 3-5 minutes until just a little bit of good brown bits develop on pan bottom and vegetables. Add water to cover vegetables by 2-3 inches. Reduce heat to medium-low heat, cover and simmer for 90-120 minutes.  Checking every 30 minutes to see if you may need to add just a little bit more water.

Meaty Stock

If you would like to make this a bit meaty you can do ALL of the following: Bones, Skin and Bag of gizzards from from your home roasted thanksgiving turkey. One of my favorite kitchen memories is picking the turkey apart into leftovers and placing right into the stock pot, with my mom when I was a young chef in the kitchen!  Also use Bones and Skin from store bought roasted chickens. Don’t throw these away! Store them in a freezer bag and make stock after you’ve collected a few of them.  Make some stock with whatever roasted meat bones you may have leftover.  

Flavored Stock

Easily make your stock take on any flavors your end product is going to be.  Throw a Jalapeño, Cumin & some cilantro in for more Latin Flavor. Use a bit of Thai Curry Paste in the Olive Oil Sauté stage for something that will be a touch SE Asian Flavors.  Use some Dried Asian Chilis, Sesame Oil, Ginger and Cilantro for some asian flavors.  The most important thing to learn is how this can become some an amazing part of your own cooking tradition.