Monday, March 30, 2015

Ham Stock {Easter Leftovers}

Use kitchen scraps and a leftover ham bone to make something from nothing--your own ham stock.
Add caption

If you have an Easter ham, don't just throw away the bone! Just like the myriad of uses for a leftover ham that I've blogged about (I even had Leftover Ham Week!) there are many ways you can use a ham bone after Easter. On this blog I've made Ham and Bean Soup using a ham bone. Not yet ready for blog prime time, I add a ham bone to my dry beans during cooking (I've been working up some bean dips). Today I'm going to share how I make ham stock.
measuring the defatted stock before reheating to see how many jars I need

You can freeze this recipe--in zip top bags or in canning jars. I used to freeze my ham stock in jars. I was even smart enough to  slick a piece of tape on the wonderful storage lid (Amazon affiliate link) and scribble 'Ham Stock' on top. [That way the jar wouldn't be confused with the jars of vegetable stock or Thai turkey stock also in the freezer.] However, I really suck at the pre-planning aspect of cooking and would rarely have a jar of stock thawed when I wanted to use it.

After reading Cathy Barrow's pressure canning article in the Washington Post [because my mom mailed it to me!] I shared the article with my spouse. You can see it here. Cathy's calm and reasoned approach to pressure canning appealed to his engineer brain [or maybe it was an excuse for him to also buy an expensive toy, I don't know]. I am now the proud owner of a pressure canner. Yes, I could also cook in this, and that may be a future post, but it's 15 quarts which is double my pretty purple pot shown below and I'm not quite sure what I'd be cooking that much of. So for now--canning.
ready to strain

My recipe uses elements from the meat stock recipe that came with the All American® Canner (Amazon affiliate link) , the Ball Blue Book (Amazon affiliate link) , the National Center for Home Food Preservation, and Food in Jars--my favorite 'go to' blog when I want to branch out and play while putting up food.
the set up--reheating the defatted stock while the pressure canner is standing by

Ham Stock (for defatted stock, this is a 2 day process)

1 leftover ham bone (don't go crazy getting every last scrap of meat off)
1 Soup Pack (see this post for directions on how to save kitchen scraps over time to make one)
or 1 to 2 cups carrot peels + 1 to 2 cups onion skins + 1 to 2 cups celery leaves
1 bay leaf
10 to 12 peppercorns
water (4 to 5 quarts to start)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Place ham bone and soup pack in a large pot (mine is my 7 qt pretty purple pot but you ain't buying it from Amazon and I've already linked a whole ton of stuff so I'll leave it at that). Add bay leaf and peppercorns then pour water over, and add the shot of apple cider vinegar. Heat gently on the stove until it gets to a simmer (I use my fancy pants power burner on low for this). Skim off any foam that clings to the edges. Simmer for 8 hours, adding additional water as necessary to keep the bone mostly covered. Strain the stock (I just use my regular colander which has fairly small holes but is not a 'fine mesh' strainer) and chill overnight. The next day, scrape the solidified fat off and discard. 
If you're freezing the stock, this is when you pour it into zip top bags or canning jars, making sure to leave room for expansion once the liquid is frozen, label, and freeze.
If you're going to pressure can, this is when I leave it up to the experts and direct you to this site.
steam is escaping the petcock at a constant stream--ready to put the gauge on and start the timer

Friday, March 27, 2015

Crispy Baked Old Bay Swai with Minted Farm Share Peas

Spicy seasoned swai on a bed of fresh minted farm share peas.

The doctor's office. Sports practice. Getting the oil changed. The pharmacy. Piano lessons. The salon. A flight. Picking up your kids from school, if in fact you have kids, if not--choose another reason for waiting. When you know you'll have time to kill--do you bring along something to do? A book or magazine to read, a craft project to work on?

I knit, I write, or I read. In the wintertime I knit, mostly on a rainbow blanket that is long enough to keep me warm during hockey games. The rest of the year I'm writing or reading as knitting when it's hot out doesn't thrill me.
As an indented aside, that's part of the reason I've been working on this blanket since I was pregnant with my first child, who is in high school. Mostly it's just because I knit slowly. Like I cook slowly. The years in Hawaii were a total wash.

Last Spring, while waiting in the orthodontist's office, I was flipping through an EveryDay with Rachael Ray magazine. The No-So-Mushy Peas caught my eye, because I look for ways to use the fresh peas from our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. This recipe is described as a spring classic, and I get that--I'm craving it again this year!  Just like Alanna's Chicken Cider Stew heralds Fall to me, Rachael Ray's fish and peas now mean Spring.

For other recipes using peas, please see my Pea Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. I've got additional interesting recipes on my Colorful Veggies Above the Ground board, one of my Pinterest boards (link to follow me on Pinterest).

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tatsoi Fried Rice with Turkey

Farm share tatsoi quickly cooked with leftover turkey and egg in a fast & easy fried rice.

Tatsoi was a new vegetable in the farm share box last season. I'm delighted to realize that after 9 years of enjoying Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm shares I am still surprised by the contents of the box. [We start year 10 in a couple of months!]
Add caption

I followed Tip #1 of my Five Tips to Feed Your Family from the Farm Share and made something familiar--fried rice. Usually when I prep cabbage type vegetables for stir frying I'll chop the thicker stems to cook with the onions, and add the sliced leaves later in the process. Not so complicated with tatsoi.
We've had tatsoi in the farm share box both as a bag of leaves and as an entire head. [The head is more photogenic.] Either way I just rinsed the individual leaves and tossed them into the skillet--no extra chopping necessary.

I like to repurpose leftovers into a new meal, so I used a hunk of leftover turkey breast--though you could use chicken, ham, beef, pork, tofu or additional egg for protein. I'd be lying if I said the rice was leftover--I had my daughter start the rice cooker at lunchtime so I could come home and chill the cooked rice before I needed it at dinner--starting with cold cooked rice helps the grains to remain separate in a fried rice. Lately I've been lazy been simmering my stock for a long time, long like 8 hrs, so my turkey stock shown in the photo was at the Chicken Jelly stage. Instead of gathering garlic and ginger to season the fried rice, I used prepared hoisin sauce for an easy flavor. It's one of Lydia's ingredients for a Perfect Pantry. The first time I made this my daughter enjoyed the leftovers for lunch. When we got tatsoi again it was time to photograph the ingredients and write it up for the blog--yet my daughter enjoyed the leftovers for lunch again!
She's stealing the food while I'm trying to photograph it!
For other recipes using Tatsoi . . . well this is the first one for this blog. I suppose I should add a Tatsoi category to the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient at some point, though all I've done with it so far is fried rice. Over and over. In the meantime, I'd recommend hitting the Bok Choy Recipes Collection or the Cabbage Recipes Collection.