You know how in a lot of recipes, they’ll direct you to use “good quality soy sauce,” and if you are like me, you are like “whatever” and pull out your bottle of Safeway soy sauce, or god forbid, the packets you get with your Chinese takeout. I’m here to tell you that there is a difference among soy sauces, and my favorite is San-J. It’s not too expensive and you really can taste the difference.
Make sure you wash your leeks thoroughly! These were about the least muddy leeks ever, which means I only rinsed out a half cup of grit. The cashier at my local supermarket asked me if these were large green onions. Hey, I guess I should count myself lucky that old Ray’s grocery store had leeks.
Aren’t vegetables beautiful? So colorful, and the varying textures of each just make a beautiful picture. I could look at this all day. Oh, here is where I ran into the famous Mark Bittman lack of direction. He calls for six cloves of garlic, but doesn’t say if you should peel them or not. I decided to smash and peel, because I worried that the papery covers would burn in a 450 degree oven. I can deal with the ambiguity, but I worry that a novice in the kitchen would be intimidated by his hazy directions.
So I am looking at these beautiful, fresh veggies, and I am smelling the intense roasting smells that come of this dish. But it is no match to the 8,000 commercials for Big Macs shown during my annual viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life. I want a hamburger.
Ok, there is something I have to talk about. It’s this:
What self-respecting cook uses this crappy 2 dollar wine for cooking? A cook that has basically lost a taste for all wine (except Prosecco) in the past year. I never believed the old-wives tale that your tastes change every seven years, but apparently I am living proof. I used to love wine, red and white, and in the past year I’ve just lost all desire and taste for any sort of wine. Could be due to migraines, a bad experience that I had in April—whatever. So now I don’t want to buy a bottle that just sits in my fridge. Thank goodness for crappy, small bottle wines.
30 minutes and these veggies are definitely cooked. I snuck a bite of parsnip. I really love parsnip, and should include it more of my cooking.
(George Bailey was just offered $20,000/year and is amazed at how much that is. My, how times have changed.)
Isn’t this a great pan? Erica bought it for me as a present years ago, and it has survived many moves. It’s actually a griddle, but I use it as a roasting pan about 95% of the time. I am famous for ruining pans—in fact, the pan that Erica used to roast her vegetables has marks from when I decided to roast lemons (dumb)—but this pan will take anything that I’ll give it. I could only use 2 cups of water for the deglazing process, but it worked perfectly.
I dumped everything in the pot and then ran into the “oh crap, I should have used a bigger stockpot” problem. This is a 5.5 quart pot—use a bigger one if you have it! Because I used this pan, I couldn’t add the remaining 2 cups of water. Oh well. This is also another “wtf Bittman” problem, because he calls for you to use one small bunch of parsley plus 10 sprigs. Does that seem like an odd measurement to anyone else? I just split my bunch of curly parsley (yay, rural living) in half and called it a day.
You ladle all the stock and vegetables into the colander and press down to extract the yummy liquid. I was going to use my potato masher, but it seems to be MIA after my move (along with my tongs!). I stood staring at this squished vegetable mess, trying to think of a use for it. Bread? Puree? Meatloaf? (oh, right…I don’t eat meat). I ended up throwing it away.
And, there you have it—roasted vegetable stock! Mine didn’t separate like Erica’s, so I am convinced that I did something wrong. It tastes very flavorful and rich, even with just a little salt. One concern I have is how dark it is. What if I am making a light-colored soup? It’s just going to look like muddy crap. Oh well.
While this was a great project for a quiet Christmas Eve, I’m not sure that I’ll be doing this every time I need veggie stock. It was a lot of work for a small reward.
Up Next: I am not sure, stay tuned for details!