It’s really not so hard, and so rewarding. Just think, you get to use your vegetable scraps twice (first in stock, then in your compost) and your heart will swell with pride everytime you thaw a container of your homemade stock for a soup or sauce base.
1. Wash your vegetables before chopping or peeling, and keep your clean scraps. I keep two compost bowls in the house. One with vegetable scraps, and one for eveything else (including anything brown, or moldy, or whatever). When the vegetable scrap bowl is full – which can easily happen in one big cooking night, I make stock!
2. Take a big old stock or soup pan. Pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium. Add some whole garlic cloves (don’t even peel them!) and a quarted onion. Stir, until the garlic and onion begin to brown. Add the
3. Add the other vegetable scraps (carrot peelings, onion skins, squash scraps, lettuce bottoms, even apple cores and peels – whatever!) and stir. Cook of medium briefly until the scraps slightly brown.
4. Add a bunch of water. How much depends on how many scaps you have! You should have enough that the scaps can float and freely move about. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer, covered, for at least 30 minutes.
5. Strain, and store liquid in the refrigerator or freezer.
You can make all kinds of variations on this stock. Add lemongrass and chilis for a southeast asian stock, wine and herbs de provence for a french-style stock – anything you wish! Just remember to label your stocks, (I freeze mine in old yogurt containers, labeled with a sharpie on masking tape) and always keep a nuetral, classic stock in the house!
I finally found time to make the trip down to Baltimore and visit my friends Laura and John in their new wonderful, beautiful, full-of-original details house in Charles Village. We went straight to the Saturday farmers market around the corner, and stocked up on all kind of beautiful veggies, a great havarti, a loaf of bread, some apple cider (for mug after mug of cider with Root, all weekend long) and some locally made ginger jerk sauce.
Almost right away, we made a wonderful vegetable stock and added an apple for just a hint of fall sweetness.
John made us this great spicy mushroom soup with lots of vegetables for lunch. We ate it on top of rice while we watched movies on the couch.
Then we got all snazzied up for a Speakeasy themed fundraiser for a local gem, a historic learning center. Cocktails and treats followed, and we especially liked the deviled eggs and cheese sauce!
What’s a visit without a dinner party? The following night Laura and John invited over their fun friends from Chicago to join us. We made them this butternut squash soup (with toasted seeds!) using the broth made the day before.
And some roasted root vegetables. Because it’s Fall!
And then Laura made her famous gruyere cheese puffs with chives cut straight from the patio garden.
Because she works at the awesome vegan bakery Sticky Fingers, our dinner guest brought us this even awesomer cake – a tribute to our Midwest roots!
I love the First Person Festival, and you know I love food. I thought that I’d let you know about some great food events at this year’s festival – get your tickets quick! Buy Tickets
Edible World: Foobooz Burger Cruise – Tuesday, November 3
Tour starts at 1 South Broad Street 6-9pm
In advance: $45 (First Person Arts members) / $50 (general public) – $50/$55 after 10/25
Philadelphia is known for its gastropub phenomenon, bars serving top notch food and excellent beers in a casual atmosphere. Every gastropub worth its salt needs a good burger. Join us as we tour Center City sampling the best burgers and beers from bars and restaurants that have also gotten on board with the burger explosion – along with stories of the people behind it all – with Foobooz editor Arthur Etchells.
A lifetime Philadelphian, Arthur Etchells grew up a picky eater but has since grown to love all sorts of food and drink. Three years ago he founded Foobooz.com as a web site devoted to eating and drinking in Philadelphia. Today the site is the largest independent food blog covering the city.
Speakeasy Opening Night Reception – Wednesday, November 4
Speakeasy Open bar, snacks, appearances by Festival Artists
Free for members, $20 general public at door
In the spirit of the 1930’s, First Person Arts recreates the electric atmosphere of the prohibition speakeasy. From Wednesday through Saturday, from 5-9pm, the Festival Speakeasy will host an open bar and snacks free for our members in your own private lounge, where you can meet and mingle and share a drink with First Person Arts staff and Festival artists. This special opening-night party features Tub Gin drinks and a delicious spread from Tria Café. The Speakeasy will be opening Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights FREE for members!
America Eats – Wednesday, November 4
Presentation, Q&A, dinner, book signing
In advance: $20 (First Person Arts members) / $25 (general public) – $25/$30 after 10/25
Chitlin Feasts. Fish Fries. Box Supper Socials. Food rituals bring people together — especially in hard times. Resurrecting a Depression-era writers’ project that dispatched writers across America to document the roots of American regional cuisine, renowned food writer Pat Willard re-traced the steps of writers like Eudora Welty and Ralph Ellison to discover how those traditions are being carried forward today. Willard will serve up stories as they are meant to be heard — over a full plate at a family-style buffet from Jack’s Firehouse. Space for this event is limited, so purchase tickets early.
The Girl From Foreign – Sunday, November 8
Presentation, film screening, Q&A, book signing, lunch, concert
In advance: $20 (First Person Arts members) / $25 (general public) – $25/$30 after 10/25
Sadia Shepard, daughter of a Christian/American father and Muslim/Pakistani mother, understood the complexities of a multi-cultural household. What made her melting pot overflow was the discovery that her grandmother had been born Jewish. Compelled to reclaim her roots, she traveled to India to discover the history of the Jews of India, believed to be descendents of the lost tribes of Israel. She brings this journey to life in her memoir The Girl from Foreign and her film In Search of the Bene Israel, which she presents at the festival. Music by the Lenny Seidman Tabla Choir and a buffet by Ekta Indian Restaurant evoke the tastes and sounds of her unusual history.
I’m obsesses with spiked mulled cider. Especially when Philadelphia has one of the cold and rainy fall days, it’s all I want. I’ve been adding a generous glug of rum, and most often whiskey to my mug as of late, but when I finally got my hand on a bottle of Root, I had to try it. Guess what? It’s delicious.
* A particularly wonderful small batch 80 proof that tastes and smells like root beer, but better. Available only in Pennsylvania.
I’ve been trying to get to Modo Mio for months and months, but circumstances keep thwarting me. When I finally made it, I decided to go with the menu turista – the “tourist” or pre fix menu – in order to sample as many dishes as possible. Above the the barbabietola, an antipasti of roasted beets, toasted almonds, baby arugula, anchovy (which they kindly left off for me) and a truffle vinaigrette. It was a revelation! Why haven’t I been putting truffle oil on my baby greens? I started at home immediately. Beets perfectly roasted, and everything salted a little extra (I suspect) due to the absence of anchovies. Perfect.
I could eat pasta all day, but limited myself to one course, the butternut squash tortelloni with sage butter. The butter was perfect, the filling perhaps a tad too sweet (more like pie than squash), but overall well executed.
You can never have too many vegetables. We added a side of broccoli rabe, which I’m usually not into, but was let bitter than usual, with a healthy dose of garlic and oil.
The pepperoni, a melrose pepper stuffed with polenta and served with a saffron mayo and a sprinkle of montasio (similar to queso fresco) cheese was lovely. Who doesn’t love a breaded and fried pepper? And it had never crossed my mind to stuff peppers with polenta. Now it will.
I’m usually uninterested in dolce, but it comes with the menu. I ordered a fig tart with marscapone. The figs were fresh, lightly glazed and delicious, but the tart crust was stiff and gummy. I ate the figs off, and left the rest.
Modo Mio is a small and very popular establishment, full even on weekdays. Certainly make a reservation if you plan to go, and enjoy the intimate space (and lovely antique buffet table that holds linens and serves as a giant bread board). And go ahead and order the turista menu – at $33 it’s a delicious steal. Add BYOB status, and I can’t wait to take friends and out-of-town guests!
There are so many versions of this delicious soup out there, I’m sure that you’ll find a variation to love. Fry some garlic and ginger with a bit of butter. Add some curry spices (cinnamon, coriander, curry, etc.) and toast them lightly in a pan. Take some cooked squash (better yet if it’s already pureed!) and add to the pot with a few cups of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and stir. Cool slightly, and blend (in a blender, or, if you’re lucky, with an immersion blender) until smooth. Add a can of coconut milk, stir, and heat through. Serve it to your adoring friends on a cold night, perhaps with some toasted and spiced squash seeds sprinkled on top, a salad of local greens, and a hunk of good bread.
How can you not love a bar with a beautiful sign like that? Prohibition Taproom is a super neat place, with great beers on tap, a very cool curvy bar, and an awesome juke box. What’s not to like? They also have a great menu with a daily grilled cheese special.
The Saturday night I was in featured jack and blue cheese with sliced pears and toasted pecans on sourdough bread. It was melty and not overly cheese and while I was skeptical about jack with blue, it won me over. And it came with a side of greens! I’ve also always loved the bartenders here – friendly and helpful and knowledgeable and calm and full of smiles.
Prohibition is tucked into kind of an odd part of the city, but its the best bar around if you’re in the neighborhood (and say, heading to Osteria for a late dinner). And just look at this building across the street. I’m a sucker of post-industrial ruin.