Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kitchen Notes 1/12/11

Green Onions and Vinegar

I was able to find one reference to this on the web. Someone's neighbor? Grandmother? would serve freshly pulled green onions in vinegar as a snack.

My Mom would put out a bouquet of green onions in a glass of cider vinegar with other appetizers (shrimp dip, Triscuits with cream cheese and smoked oysters) when we were having company or at holiday meals. My brother and I carry on this tradition but I admit we are the only ones eating them.

Baked Potatoes

Half of the trick to delicious baked potatoes is the pre-cooking prep. The other half is the pre-eating prep.

I rub my potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, poke with a fork or knife (I really have no idea if that matters as when I forget, the potatoes do not explode. But just imagine if they did!) and bake at 400 degrees F for an hour.

At the other end of the hour I slit them lengthwise and press the ends together. I then cut up the exposed flesh some and add a sprinkle of kosher salt and a pat of butter.

Trust me, there is something about this that makes a difference.

End of Week Soup

At the end of the week I generally end up with a few vegetables, aromatic and otherwise, left in the fridge before we do our shopping on Saturday.

I deal with them, and clean out the fridge by preparing a soup before we go. This is my method;

Chop up the aromatics; peppers, onions, carrots, celery, garlic in any combination. I also do the mushrooms in this step as well.

All of the other veggies, greens, summer squash, cabbagey things, turnips and such, get shopped up and put in a another bowl. Soft herbs and tomatoes would go in this bowl as well.

Bring a tablespoon of fat or oil to shimmering over high heat in a big soup pot.

Add your aromatics and a bit of salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently until they begin to brown. If I want to add spices, I add them at the end of this step and allow them to cook for a few seconds.

Add water to about halfway up the side of the pot. I generally add a some bouillon, a can of tomatoes, a couple of bay leaves, some kind of acidy thing like the juice of last weeks limes or some vinegar or Tabasco and salt and pepper to taste at this point.

After the water comes to a boil I add the other vegetables an return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for as long as you like. This is a good point to add any soup-friendly leftovers like beans, pasta, rice, chicken, etc. Again I taste for salt and pepper.

This soup is always different and I admit I am sad at the end of the week if I don't have some leftover produce. I certainly rarely have to throw any away.


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