After a successful purge a few weeks ago of the few freezer and pantry stocks that had overstayed their welcome, I was ready for total replenishment.
My first order of business was a refill of my most reliably vital freezer resident, meat stock. I like to keep both chicken and veal stocks around (oddly I never seem to find a great need for vegetable stock) so after stopping off at my favorite west village butcher for some bags of bones, I was off to the races.
I scrounged around in my freezer and refrigerator for any vegetable scraps that needed to be put out of their misery (I came upon a very sad head of frozen celery and the limpest bunch of parsley I've ever seen in my vegetable drawer) and threw them in my stock pot with the aforementioned bones, a carrot or two, a halved onion pierced with a clove (Patricia Wells suggests this and as it seems to produce good results I see no need to deviate), thyme and some peppercorns.
Covered with cold water, I let the pot boil and toil for a few hours and voila,
quarts of golden hued stock.
I do also think that it is important to keep the makings of a quick, satisfying dinner on hand, and I find that such a dinner often includes some sort of pork product and pasta. So while picking up the soup bones I also requested a few pounds of Italian sausage and some bacon.
I wrapped my porcine goodies in layer upon layer of plastic wrap (and used said wrap to partition the pieces, as a three pound hunk of frozen pork is of absolutely no use when you are looking to make a weeknight dinner for two). They are all happily ensconced in my freezer as we speak, and I draw considerable comfort from that fact.
Frozen meat and meat products now having been addressed, I felt the need to replenish yet another important staple: yogurt.
Now it may seem a bit compulsive to make yogurt at home, but I assure you that it could not be simpler and the results are delicious. Simply heat a quart of milk (not to be overly righteous but I do find that fancy organic milk tends to produce the best results) until it is just under the boiling point and let it cool to lukewarm (about 110 degrees if you're counting). Add two tablespoons of yogurt or the directed amount of yogurt starter to the warm milk and decant it into a container (preferably fresh from the dishwasher) of your choice. Put it in an oven with the light on overnight (or for 6-8 hours during the day) and you shall awake to a luscious pot of acidophilus.
And now, continuing in the somewhat breakfasty direction that the yogurt sent me, I felt the need to replenish my stash of muesli
(now this really is idiotically easy to make, there is no excuse not to...the taste is so superior to bought muesli I think). And then granola.
This poor container has been sitting empty on my counter for months now...it is so heartening to see it full once again.
And last but not least I like to have a few teacake-ish bread-like items stashed in the freezer. Not that I have all that many guests popping by for tea, but someone might and I can't very well let them go hungry now can I?
I gave Terry at Blue Kitchen's recipe for Cherry Orange Loaf Cake a try and was mightily impressed.
It was moist, tasty, not too sweet and with all that flax seed and the relatively low oil/butter content I think the loaf is actually fairly healthy as well. And if that is not the case please do not enlighten me. As you can see only a portion of the final product made it to my freezer.
I followed this first success with another...Bea from La Tartine Gourmand's Quinoa Banana Bread.
It was delightful, and is even gluten free (I feel that everyone seems to be gluten intolerant these days so it is not a bad move to have something for the poor souls to eat). Although I'll admit that I didn't have any rice flour sitting around (I'm not sure I ever have) so I substituted the evil wheat flour. Still delicious although not completely devoid of gluten. And it joined the cherry orange loaf in the freezer for some teatime in the future.