Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Vegetable Stock

With good vegetable stock, you can adapt lots of soup recipes calling for chicken or beef stock to a vegetarian version.  Using canned vegetable stock or a vegetable bouillon cube is always an easy alternative, but the stock I suggest here is much tastier, and pretty easy.

Much of the philosophy behind GreenPlanetEating is that, to be kind to our environment, we need to reduce food waste and reduce our consumption of animals.  A great way to do this is to save vegetable scraps in a ziplock bag or container in the freezer and then simmer them with water to make vegetable stock.  I routinely save herb stems and deteriorating leaves; onion ends and skins; the dark green leek leaves that get trimmed off and thrown away with most recipes calling for the white and light green part of the leek only; the ends and skins of carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, celery, and parsnips. You can put all these scraps, along with a bunch of parsley and thyme, water to cover, salt and whole peppercorns, together in a pot, cover and simmer for an hour or two. Go ahead and taste the broth before you decide whether it is done or not.  If it tastes good to you, then pour it all into a large strainer placed over a large bowl or another pan to contain the broth.  You can use it right away, refrigerate it to use within the next couple of days, or freeze it to use later.  If you freeze it, try freezing some in an ice cube tray so that you can use small amounts of vegetable broth to make sauces in the future.

If you don't feel like waiting to have a ziplock bag full of vegetable scraps to make your stock, you can follow my recipe below.  If you make it as I write in the recipe below, you will need to be home while the stock simmers, but you can be doing other things.  Alternatively, you could dump all the ingredients in a slow cooker and just let it cook all day, then strain it when you get home, if you will be gone all day.

The recipe below uses some vegetable parts that might ordinarily be thrown away, but in fact some of those "waste" items contain nutrients that enhance our stock.  Raising animals for food generally uses more of earth's resources than raising vegetables for food, so by eating a hearty vegetable-based soup rather than a meat-based soup, we are consuming fewer resources and leaving more environmental resources for those who will follow us on this planet!

extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peels intact, cut into quarters
1 leek, end removed, cleaned, cut into large chunks (include dark green leaves)
6 carrots with tops, cleaned and cut into chunks
10 celery stalks, include all leafy green tops, cleaned and cut into chunks
stems from approximately 17 mushrooms, use a variety (example, shiitake and cremini)
1 zucchini, cut into chunks
handful (approximately 1 cup) of fresh parsley, including stems, roughly chopped
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
bottoms and ends of 10 parsnips
5 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
bay leaf
12 whole black peppercorns
½ tsp sea salt
1 whole dried chipotle pepper (makes it spicy/omit if you don’t like the heat)
5 slices dried shiitake mushrooms

Heat olive oil in large pot.  Add all vegetables as you clean and chop them and stir while cooking.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes, or however long it takes you to prepare vegetables, then add about 10 cups water and remaining ingredients.  Cover and bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer and cook for about 2 hours, then strain and use in soups.

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