November 25, 2008

Cooking up the Thanksgiving eyeballs.

Here I am searching the internet for some good instructions on how to make vegetable broth -- this looks helpful -- and suddenly I see that Secular Right noticed my link earlier in the day and decided to greet me with a post illustrating that peevish old Albrecht Durer prayer goading God to make the unbelievers "pluck out their own eyes and cook them in a holy broth."


Ron said...

The only two Althouse posts with an Albrecht Durer tag, and they're on the same day! Go figure...

blake said...

Eye scream,
Ewe scream,
We awl scream,
Four eye soup.

Meade said...

Blake made me laugh.

Eli Blake said...

On the menu today:

macular-oni, eye scream cones, rod-ishes, optic fiber, and cornea flakes.

If you blink, you'll miss it.

Then again, remember the scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (the only truly forgettable Indiana Jones movie) when they get served eyeball soup?

Eli Blake said...

Another thought I had while ruminating on that picture:

Twenty years ago, we found proto-planet 61 Cygnus A, the first planet discovered outside our solar system.

And now.... they've found us.

Chip Ahoy said...

Vegetable broth. Never made it, but if I did ...

Gather together your vegetables and roast them This is your chance to go through your refrigerator and use everything that's on its way out. But be sure to Include the usual suspects found in standard mirepoix; onion, celery, and carrot. If you're me, then green pepper along with poblano, jalapeño, habanero.

If it's possible, pressure cook all the vegetable material in filtered water. This will reduce time and attention considerably, otherwise, cook the life out it until you feel rather certain every worthwhile molecule has been extracted. This doesn't take as long as you might imagine. You don't have to dice the vegetables, just roughly cut them open to help those molecules come out.
* make use of the tops of leeks, the centers of cabbage heads, potato peels, carrot peels, the inedible portions of artichokes the hard rinds of Parmigiano, all that sort of compost-like material that's usually tossed.
* onion skins turn the liquid an attractive yellow.
* soup vegetables are available marketed as such, they usually include turnips and root vegetables.
* Parsnips are especially good for vegetable soup. They're the things that look like white carrots and they taste great.
* Take care not to over salt. If your soup cooks slowly it will concentrate the salt you add early.
* consider including a splash of white wine.
* garlic. All allium family members roast to incredible sweetness, which is then mellowed with further roasting. If you don't like onion or garlic, then consider shallots and leeks.

Fresh herbs are vegetable matter too. Including them will render your batch 100% unique and impossible to replicate.

Tomatoes will break apart. Best to save them for the very end if you intend to use them.

Strain and possibly filter. Colander, then strainer, and depending on how extreme you care to go, coffee filter, even French coffee press to remove all the tiny floaty bits. Cooks use cheesecloth and they clarify broth to consume by using egg whites, but that really is extreme. If the broth is for a vegetable soup, then add fastidiously cleaned, trimmed, and diced vegetables to your heart's content, adding in the order of firmness. Here's where it's possible to include very tender vegetables that tend to break apart like tomato pieces and avocado.

This concludes my thoughts regarding vegetable broth, which I feel compelled to repeat, is really not my cup of tea. Tea. Ha ha ha ha ha.

bill said...

taken from Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen."
----"Carrots, celery, and onions are almost always included for their aromatics [usually in ratios of 1-1-2, bill], and mushroom and tomatoes are the richest source of savory amino acids. The vegetables are finely chopped to maximize their surface area for extraction. Precooking some or all of the vegetables in a small amount of fat or oil has two advantages: it adds new flavors, and the fat it contributes is a better solvent than water for many aromatic molecules. It's important not to dilute the extracted flavors in too much water; good proportions by weight (volume varies by piece size) are 1 part vegetable to 1.5 or 2 parts water. The vegetables and water are simmered uncovered (to allow evaporation and concentration) for no more than an hour, after which it's generally agreed that the stock flavor ceases to improve and even deteriorates, Once the vegetables are strained out, the stock can concentrated by boiling it down."

Condensed from Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook:
1.5 pounds leeks, white part only
1.0 pound carrots
1.5 pounds spanish onions
1 small fennel bulb
.25 cup canola oil
2 bay leaves
2 thyme twigs
1 large bunch italian parsley

Finely chop all vegetables in a processor. Cook in oil over low heat for 5-8 minutes until softened. Add bay leaves, thyme, parsley, and enough water to cover (3-4 quarts). Bring to a gentle simmer for 45 minutes, skimming frequently. Prepare an ice bath. Strain the stock into a container and submerge the container in the ice bath. Refrigerate for 1-2 days, or freeze.

off-topic: Michael Ruhlman on making stock with the turkey carcass:

I cannot say this strongly or loudly enough: DO NOT use canned stock/broth. Use WATER instead. I repeat. You DO NOT NEED to buy that crappy can of Swanson’s low sodium chicken broth! It will HURT your food. Use water instead. When that recipe says 1 cup of fresh chicken stock (or good quality canned broth), please know that your food, 90 percent of the time, will taste better if you use tap water instead of that "good quality" canned broth. Water is a miracle.

Ann Althouse said...

"The only two Althouse posts with an Albrecht Durer tag, and they're on the same day! Go figure..."

Yeah, I've been remiss about covering Durer.



Thanks, Chip.

I've never had a pressure cooker... and unfortunately, I haven't been collecting old vegetables. It's good to remember that the stores have packs of soup vegetables. I don't care about clarity because I'm using the broth in things that will be quite opaque.

KCFleming said...

Ugh, that soup! That's the last time I have dinner at Dr. Lecter's house.

The pâté was tasty, though.

Lem said...

That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand;

Mark 4:12

It's the way I feel sometimes here ;)

George M. Spencer said...

Looks like a Fornasetti plate.

AllenS said...

"Here's looking at you, kid"

kimsch said...

I saw this last night before I went to bed and I dreamed of Dick Van Dyke because of it. The uhny-uftz episode, where Rob falls asleep on the couch in the office next to the water cooler. He dreams that Laura has eyes in the back of her head, and when he opens the coat closet, the living room becomes full of walnuts...

Of course, aiding in that particular episode's recollection is the fact that my humidifier makes that same uhny-uftz sound...

Looking at IMDb I find that I am concatenating two episodes... Season 2 episode 20 (2/6/63): It May Look Like A Walnut and Season 5 episode 3 (9/29/65) Uhny Uftz where Rob hears the watercooler noise and dreams about flying saucers...

Peter Hoh said...

Don't forget about ancine de pepe, also known as frog eye pasta.

Unknown said...

Great pic, it gives her something to do.

bill said...

What I've always enjoyed about Althouse The Blog is how hard it is t decipher. Regarding stock, I offer McGee and Keller -- Keller, one of the great chefs of the world, and probably no one has done more than McGee to demystify and explain the cooking process. No return comment was expected and none was given, perfectly fine.

But then there's Chip recommending you cook with garbage and the truthiness of "cook the life out it until you feel rather certain every worthwhile molecule has been extracted." Not just certain, but rather certain. I will simply point out the fact that Chip's recipe is the Bizarro World version of McGee's. For this he gets a "thanks." I thank you for the humor.

The turkey is brining, the lamb is marinating, sweet potato pudding just went in the oven, so while I'm in the eye of the hurricane I'm having a cup of hot tea with a chunk of the nut and dried fruit ciabatta I made last night. I'm having an excellent Thanskgiving dinner and hope the rest of you are too.