Friday, February 5, 2010

Gee, I wonder if my carrots overwintered...

After looking at every single offering of commercial beef broth/stock including all the expensive organic and natural ones, I did not find a single one that was perfectly okay for R.  I found one that I could live with for just one time.  I can find chicken broth that is okay, but for some reason the industry believes beef broth "needs" more stuff in it.  So today I will be roasting up some nice marrow bones and making stock.  Also need to come up with a replacement for onion soup mix for the brisket in a bag for tonight's dinner.  Hence, the one package of just okay beef flavored broth.  Fortunately I have homemade cream of... soup mix already made up in the pantry and one leftover home canned cranberry sauce in the fridge.  The brisket is a really tasty recipe, but completely off limits for the girls as originally made. 
And so as I perused the refrigerator's vegetable offerings, I realized I had no carrots.  And I am in the habit of sticking veggie scraps straight into the compost, so I don't save them in a freezer bag for stock.  I don't really make stock that often.  I am going to from now on though.  If there is one thing that my daughter's food allergies have crystallized for me, it is that there is precious little outside of the plain produce, dairy and meat sections in a package that does not have an abominable amount of chemicals, additives and other unnecessary crap.  Corn for one thing is in everything.  Modified food starch, dextrose, maltodextrin, corn syrup solids, high fructose corn syrup, natural flavor, regular corn syrup, crystalline fructose; what the !#@$ is it with all this corn?  And if you have a really serious corn allergy, (which thankfully she doesn't), the list of hidden corn is interminable.  You can't even lick your envelopes without getting some corn.  Sorry, a year and a half of grocery frustration has taxed my patience but also forced me to come up with a much healthier eating plan for the family.  And so back to the good old homemade beef stock and original reason for the post...
I had the onions and celery for the mirepoix, but no carrots.  So I decided to go digging in the garden to find out if any leftover carrots had survived the winter.  It's been pretty mild other than one week of 20º weather.  And here is what I found:

I would say that the carrots did rather well over our mild winter!  I got a good laugh out of it.  And the girls say the small ones are still sweet and tasty!  I should go out and dig up the rest that haven't been eaten on by the squirrel or something.  Of course that giant one is probably woody and good for nothing better than stock anyway.

Anyone else itching to start getting garden ready?  Our super mild winter has everything coming up and blooming much earlier than usual.  I even saw a humming bird at the end of January!  Now that's early.  Even for here in Puget Sound.

BTW, homemade stock smells so fabulous after simmering overnight!  It's like the best steak with carmelized crust and slow roasted veggies all blended into one magnificent olfactory symphony.  Now to skim, strain and cool and freeze...  The only drudgerous part.  :)

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