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Monthly Archives: February 2015

Making Stock

stock 003I love to cook.  I’m guessing that anyone who reads these posts does, too.  It’s important to me to use the wild game that my Deerslayer fills our freezer with… and to use as much of the animal as possible.

I’m not sure why it took so long for me to start making my own stock.  There’s no denying that it enhances the flavor of many dishes and can’t be beat in soups and stews. I’ve made chicken and turkey stock for years but I simply never made the leap of faith to use the meaty bones of venison and nilgai to create my own integral basis for so many recipes.  It’s actually right up my alley.  No waste! Use all usable parts! Feed my family with the healthiest possible foods! Be cheap! Boxed stocks cost $2 a box or more and I go through quite a bit in my cooking.

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The yellow onion skins impart a rich golden color to the stock.

Once I embraced the “be cheap, do good” mindset (and had some awesome bones in the freezer), I took it one step further.  Every time I chopped veggies (carrots, celery, garlic, onions), I saved the scrappy ends and skins in a gallon-sized zip-lock bag in the freezer until it was full.

Now, when I’m ready to make a batch of stock, I grab the large venison or nilgai bones (cut into a length that will fit into my stockpot and can be covered with water) and my bag of veggies from the freezer, some spices, and some good, filtered water.  In addition, I set out a few items that make the job easier.  The stuff that I use includes: 2 stock pots (one for simmering and one to pour filtered stock into), a large slotted spoon, tongs, a collandar, some cheesecloth, a measuring cup, and canning jars (or zip-lock bags or other freezer containers)

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I neglected to photograph the other stockpot, slotted spoon, or tongs. Oops. Or jar lids.

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I put sawed, meaty bones into a stockpot. The extra meat adds more flavor. Hank Shaw, an expert in the area of wild game cookery, roasts the bones first for additional depth of flavor.  

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Add veggie bits (onion ends and skin, carrot ends, celery ends, garlic and skins) collected over time, in the freezer, to the mix.

 

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Add filtered water to cover. Toss in about 4 bay leaves and about a tbsp. of peppercorns.

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Bring to a boil and reduce heat to just more than a simmer. Cover. Let it work its magic for about 4-5 hours. Keep an eye on the water level. Add more as needed to keep things covered.

Once the stock is ready, use tongs and/or a slotted spoon to remove all bones and vegital matter.  At this point, line the collander with several layers of cheese cloth and strain the stock into the second stockpot.

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Depending on how clear you want your stock (I’m not a real stickler on this point), it can be strained a couple of times.

Decide how quickly you think you will be using your stock.  I pour some up into canning jars that will placed in the fridge be used within a couple of weeks.  The remainder is poured (in 2 cup measures) into freezer-safe containers or freezer bags that are then laid out on cookie sheets in freezer for easy stacking later.

 

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Chocolate Milk with Blackberry Brandy and Whipped Cream

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Named by my daughter “Single’s Solace”

I’m pretty sure that, over the years, I’ve shared my view of VD (Valentine’s Day).  When I taught elementary school, I had my share of construction paper hearts, cupids, paper doilies, and conversation heart candies (yuck). There were many single years that I bought into the hype of the Hallmark inspired season. Unhappy, unfulfilled times, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Once I found my own true soulmate, and had little angels of my own, the commercialism and annual guilt-buying of over-priced flowers, cards, and candies really had to come to an end. I now had to be a positive role-model for my daughters.  My darling needed to know that he didn’t have to desparately spend money on jewelry, nasty lingerie, or teddy bears to show how much he loves me. Waiting in line for a table at a trendy restaurant for a reduced menu of items that have not-surprisingly doubled in price didn’t appeal to me in the least.

Valentine’s Day, originally Catholic saint’s feast day, has become something sadly different. Does anyone enjoy explaining to young children why the undies departments of any Target, Wal-Mart, or any department store have become a veritable sea of red and black uncomfortable, see-thru lace garments?

Following my lead, my family has made a commitment to honoring St. Valentine by spending time with loved ones, preparing a nice meal to share, and my adult, single daughter has concocted a delicious beverage that seems perfect for what she has renamed the holiday “Singles Awareness Day”.

Single’s Solace

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Chocolate milk mix of choice

milk

blackberry brandy, a splash

whipped cream

fresh blackberries

Seriously, does this really need explanation?  Make some chocolate milk. Use designer shaved dark chocolate or Nestle’s.  Make it in a Waterford glass or a plastic cup. Add a splash of blackberry brandy, the stuff that’s usually on the bottom shelf at the liquor store (so you can find it even if you’re on all fours).

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Top it off with Coolwhip or homemade whipped cream with vanilla bean (that’s what we did!) and float some blackberries on top. Make one for yourself and give one to somebody you love… or like a lot.  Simple, cheap, sweet.  That’s what Valentine’s Day should be all about! Keep it real!

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Recipes, Sweet Things, Uncategorized

 

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