Actually, I was more or less miserable back then, having ROTC-ed myself into a 4-year stint in the Army — can you imagine any worse fit between person and career field? The Army couldn't either. In those pre-Don'-t-Ask-Don't-Tell days, I was asked. Twice. (Anticipating the coming policy, I chose NOT to tell. I'm precocious that way.) And was officially reprimanded once by my commander on the advice of HIS commander for. . .wait for it. . .wearing too much gel in my hair. Bless their hearts; nothing in their military training had prepared them for dealing with an "alternative" soldier like me.
What I'm getting at is that I am at this current point in my life — middle 40's (OK, late middle) — happier than I've ever been. Even if I have to shop from the wine remnants. (Which is actually more fun, now that I think about it, with the added frisson of getting something luxurious for less than market price.)
One of the things making me happy today is this jar of homemade (wine-less) stock, made this morning mostly from items from my inaugural frozen stock-pile:
|What will I become — soup? gravy? flavored rice?|
Here's how I turned trash into treasure in under 3 hours on a Saturday morning before heading off to the gym:
|Step 1: I dumped the contents of my frozen stock-pile into a big pot. I didn't have that much accumulated, so I didn't have to drag out the huge stockpot from beneath the counter; I just used my regular 4-quart pot.|
|Step 4: I added these herbs and other flavoring ingredients to the pot: some fresh thyme, a couple of bay leaves, some coarsely chopped-up garlic cloves, a handful of raisins, and some peppercorns and cloves.|
|Step 5: I added filtered water to cover the ingredients and tossed in a little Himalayan pink salt (the gorgeous color of which did not reproduce well in this picture). Then I turned the flame on high and brought the pot to a boil.|
I'll let you know what becomes of Batch #1! In the meantime, I'd love to hear from seasoned stock-cookers: What do you like to put into your stock? Is there anything you tend to avoid putting in? In what creative ways do you use the stock you've made?
[Note to readers: I have been setting down the step-by-step instructions for my recipes as captions to the photos, hoping that everyone is able to read them on their various browsers. Please let me know if you are not able to see the pictures and/or captions on your computer. Thank you.]