Sunday, July 31, 2011

Using more of the plant

The closer you are to growing your own, the more you can take advantage of every edible portion of the plant. When I read "That’s Not Trash, That’s Dinner", it got my wheels spinning. I like the idea of making a chic little salad out of shredded broccoli stems, and I should save more of my peelings for stock: I have plans to work on my vegetable stock repertoire as the season progresses, and already have a few items stashed away in my freezer. The Purple Kale blog has a few "Otherwise, Trash" posts, dedicated to using what would otherwise be compost, but the recipe I wanted to play with, for a cold corn soup made with a corn cob stock, is from their workshop. I had fresh corn and wanted a light, summer soup. I made the stock, and as I do when I’m making chowder, sauteed some minced onions in bacon fat. After simmering for a couple of hours, the stock hadn’t reduced by much, and I was all out of potatoes, so I improvised (as we do). I pureed some of the corn into some of the stock, then returned it to the pot I was making the soup in. I also added some of the herb mix I’d chopped for a pan of roasted vegetables that afternoon, and was sprinkling on everything: parsley, basil, rosemary, and thyme. I finished it off with half and half and a pat of butter.
I still have the other half of the corn stock in my freezer. I’m sure it’ll find its way into something.
As for the rest of the tips in the NYT article, I would not oven dry whole orange peels, pith and all, because the white part is so bitter, but it’s a good idea to zest citrus and save the zest if your citrus is getting soft and you don’t have an immediate use for it. But why do you need a separate recipe for chard ribs? I always cook them with the leaves: they’re very tender. You can even give them a minute or two lead time in the pan before adding the more tender leaves to the chopped stems.
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