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Apples and Butter

Best New Food Blog of 2008

Updated: 2018-03-21T17:22:53.922-07:00


Jessica is Now Blogging at J. Frances


Hi Guys!

Thank you, as always, for visiting Apples and Butter! I am now running the lifestyle website J. Frances.

To celebrate the new website, we're giving away a $200 Nordstrom gift card. As of this writing, there are only eight entries, so your chances of winning are HUGE. Check out the giveaway here.

J. Frances will feature delicious recipes, just like you were used to with Apples and Butter, as well as posts on fashion and other topics. I'm including a small sampling of what you'll find at the new site. Just click on the images to see those posts. I hope you'll visit me there soon!


You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook

Smoked Trout Pâté



A simple pulse in the food processor turns four simple ingredients into a delicious pâté. Perfect for serving with crusty bread as an appetizer or as part of my favorite Sunday supper - a platter layered with cheese, bread and European butter. The zing of the horseradish butter helps balance out the richness of the pâté.

Smoked Trout Pâté with Horseradish Butter
Adapted from Good Food

1 oz unsalted butter
Zest 1/2 lemon
160g pack smoked trout
1 spring onion, roughly chopped

Horseradish Butter
1/2 oz unsalted butter
1 t horseradish
1 t chopped parsley + a few whole leaves

Combine melted butter, zest, trout and spring onion in a food processor and blend until smooth. Place the pate in a ramekin and smooth the top.

For the horseradish butter, melt the butter with the horseradish and stir in the chopped parsley. Pour over the pâté and lay the parsley leaves on top with a few grinds of cracked pepper. Chill thoroughly to set the butter. Serve with a baguette and extra butter.

Lemon Curd


I have a new, favorite lemon curd recipe. This may not be groundbreaking news, but it is exciting when I find something that improves upon a steadfast recipe in my repertoire.Lemon curd is extraordinary. Though nothing more than a combination of eggs, butter, lemon juice and sugar, patient stirring and gentle heat transforms the combination into something ethereal and quintessentially spring.The recipe included below comes to you by way of NotWithout Salt, a wonderful blog with beautiful photography. I think it improves greatly upon my old recipe which was always a touch too tart for my taste. If you would like to see that recipe, along with instructions for a great pavlova, just click on the image of the bowl of lemon curd below.When served with berries (or berries and whipped cream as Not Without Salt suggests) lemon curd sings. However, I find a spoon, for dipping into the jar of curd, to be a perfectly sufficient eating companion. Lemon CurdAdapted from Not Without Salt 1 cup sugar3/4 cup fresh lemon juice3 large eggs3 large egg yolks¼ t kosher salt1 t vanilla extract1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butterWhisk the sugar, lemon juice, eggs and egg yolks in a medium metal bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, but do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the simmering water – in other words use a bain-marie. Stir constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes, removing the bowl from the pan as needed to bring down the temperature and prevent the eggs from overcooking. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the butter, salt and vanilla. Stir until combined. If desired, strain the curd to remove any bits of cooked eggs. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd and chill. [...]

Weights and Measures Banana Bread


A few years back, there was suddenly a lot of talk about weighing out ingredients when baking. A cup of flour can vary considerably in weight depending on how densely the flour is packed in the cup. Too much extra flour and the recipe can be altered significantly from what the recipe developer originally intended. So, a culinary school-trained chef and staunch rule-follower such as myself must have immediately switched to weighing all of her ingredients when baking, no? No. Days I turn to baking usually fall on a weekend when I am relaxed and much more interested in enjoying my time in the kitchen than in flawless measuring in pursuit of perfect results. With that in mind, it should be no surprise that the event that got me to finally put my kitchen scale to use was spurred by laziness a relaxed day in the kitchen when I found myself with a mountain of past-their-prime bananas and no desire to scoop everything into measuring cup after measuring cup to determine how much overripe banana pulp was in my possession. Plop it all on the kitchen scale and call it a day. Since I now had my banana pulp available in pounds and ounces, I went on the hunt for a banana bread recipe that provided ingredient quantities in weights for ease of scaling. The Culinary Institute of America’s banana bread recipe is one I have used before and one that handily, comes with ingredients listed in weights. Am I a convert to the kitchen scale after this recipe? Probably not, as I love the ease of scooping flour into a measuring cup without pulling out the scale, but for recipes that call for large quantities, it certainly makes sense. And nothing really beats the confidence that comes with placing a baked good in the oven, knowing it will come out as close as possible to what the recipe developer intended.Banana Nut BreadAdapted (recipe cut in half) from the Culinary Institute of America2 lb 2 oz overripe bananas1/4 oz lemon juice1 lb 6.5 oz ap flour1 t baking powder1/2 oz baking soda1 t salt1 lb 6.5 oz sugar3 eggs7 fl oz oil4 oz chopped pecansButter or cooking spray to coat the loaf pansPreheat oven to 350Coat three loaf pans with butter or cooking spray. Mash the bananas with the lemon juice. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.Place the banana puree in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and add the sugar, eggs and oil. Mix on medium until well-combined. Add the flour mixture to the banana puree in three additions, mixing just until combined after each addition. Stir in the pecans.Divide the batter evenly between the loaf pans. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes until the bread springs back when touched. Cool in pans on wire racks for five minutes, remove the bread from the pans and cool completely on wire racks. Serve with your best preserves. [...]

Eat Your Greens Salad


The inspiration for this latest salad obsession arrived courtesy of a catering delivery to our office that included this dish in all of its green goodness. Crisp tender vegetables (sugar snap peas, broccoli and edmame), vibrant color and lots of flavor - my only complaint was the heavy dose of vinaigrette. The oily slick on the restaurant version makes you feel like you are undoing all the good done by eating your greens. I absolutely think this salad needs some sort of dressing and a bit of fat, but for me, a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and a sprinkling of salt is sufficient to bring out an earthy, delicious flavor.Whatever you do, do not skip the blanching step. It makes all the difference to get the vegetables just the slightest bit tender and it certainly doesn’t hurt in preserving the vibrant green color. Blanching traditionally includes a quick dunk in a bowl of ice water to arrest the cooking, but here I opt for stirring in the frozen edamame after the vegetables are drained. They help to quickly cool down the other vegetables, while the residual heat from cooking thaws the edamame. If you prefer an ice bath, by all means use the traditional method, but if you, like me, find yourself without an ice maker and vast quantities of ice on hand, stirring in the edamame works well here.Eat Your GreensMakes 2 Quarts1 pound sugar snap peas12 oz package broccoli florets6 oz frozen, shelled edamame2 – 3 T toasted sesame oilSalt for cooking and to taste (Kosher – I use Diamond Crystal)Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. While the water is heating, prepare the vegetables. Remove the stem-end of the sugar snap peas and if desired, the string that runs the length of the pea. Cut the peas on the diagonal into 1/4“ to 1/2“ segments. Roughly chop the broccoli florets. Once the water comes to a boil, add a generous amount of salt (at least 1 tablespoon). Add the sugar snap peas and broccoli to the water and cook for two minutes. Drain the vegetables in a colander and stir for one to two minutes to speed cooling. Add the frozen edamame and stir until the edamame is thawed – an additional one to two minutes.Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and stir in two tablespoons of the sesame oil and salt generously. Taste the mixture and if the sesame flavor is mild, add more to taste. [...]

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes


I stumbled upon these delicious cupcakes while looking for something to bring into the office for my co-workers. No special occasion, just a desire to bake and not increase my waist size at the same time. My secret weapon of weight loss centers around pawning off leftovers on unsuspecting colleagues. They have yet to complain about my mode of moderation. Make these for your co-workers or your family or yourself. Just make them. But beware their addictive nature if you don't have anyone on which to lovingly bestow (aka pawn off) the leftovers.Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese FrostingMakes 20 CupcakesAdapted from the Fine Cooking Blog Roll3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened1 1/2 cups sugar3 large eggs at room temperature2 cups + 1 T flour1/2 t salt1 t baking powder1 t baking soda1 cup buttermilk at room temperature1 1/2 t vanillaZest of 3 lemons1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries1 T flourPreheat oven to 350Place 20 cupcake liners in two 12-cup muffin pans. Beat the butter, lemon zest and sugar until light and fluffy – about five minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. Toss the blueberries with 1 T flour.Sift the remaining flour with the baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add a quarter of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine. Then add vanilla and a third of the buttermilk and combine. Repeat until the flour mixture and buttermilk are incorporated. Fold in the blueberries. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool pans on a rack for 5 minutes. Turn cakes out and cool completely.Frost the cupcakes (recipe follows) and top each cupcake with a blueberry and a mint leaf (if desired).Frosting8 oz. softened cream cheese1 stick softened butter2 cups confectioner’s sugar1/4 cup honeyZest of 1 lemon1 t vanilla2 t fresh lemon juiceLarge pinch of saltBeat the ingredients in a stand mixer until completely smooth. If the mixture is too runny, add more confectioner’s sugar until desired consistency is reached. [...]

Carrot Apple Soup



I will never tire of carrot soup. This is far from the first carrot soup recipe posted on this blog and it likely won’t be the last. Pureed vegetable soups are one of my staple foods during the fall season. They are warm and comforting yet healthy and nourishing at the same time – not something I can say about all of my comfort food choices.

This time around I added an apple for an extra hint of sweetness and to take advantage of one of fall’s hallmark flavors. Leave it out if it seems odd or if you want pure carrot flavor.

Carrot Apple Soup
Serves Four

1 T canola oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 apple, diced
6 cups stock (I use chicken stock), up to 1 cup additional stock as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds carrots
Greek yogurt for garnish

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil, followed by the onion and the apple and sauté until beginning to soften, around eight to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a separate pot, heat the stock over high heat until almost boiling.

While the onion and apple are cooking, peel and dice the carrots. Add the carrots to the pot with the onion and apple and cook for an additional five minutes. Add the stock to the pot with the carrots and bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes until the carrots are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife. The cooking time will depend on how large or small you cut your carrots. A smaller dice on the carrots will yield a shorter cooking time.

Transfer the carrot and stock mixture to a blender, working in batches if necessary, and puree. Return the pureed soup to the pan and thin with additional stock as needed to reach your desired consistency. Taste and check for seasoning, adding more salt and a little pepper if needed.

Ladle soup into four serving bowls and garnish with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

A Multi-Purpose Dressing


Well hello there. So. It’s been more than a little while since I last posted. 10 months to be exact. Things got busy, I planned a wedding, got married, went on a honeymoon and now, almost two months after The Big Day, I have recovered from the whole wonderful, exhausting experience just enough to get back in my kitchen and start documenting it again for you here, that is, if there are any of you left after my prolonged absence!The meaning of this blog’s name (balancing the healthy – apples - with the delicious, but not-so-healthy – butter) could not be any more pertinent in my kitchen than it is right now. Since getting married I feel I am fighting the constant battle of trying to find dishes fabulous and flavorful enough to keep my husband (my ever-so-slightly picky husband) coming back to the dinner table, while trying desperately not to regain those 10 culinary school pounds I managed to lose for the wedding. Fun times in the Stanbrook kitchen.Battle number one. Teach husband that chicken does not have to be flavorless diet food. Far from it! When cooked just until done (not to a dried out, parched mess of protein) I think chicken is absolutely delicious. However, properly cooked chicken does not, on its own, a fabulous and flavorful meal make.Enter the one-two-punch of a marinade and grill. The flavor of chicken cooked on a grill will always remind me of the Cornish game hens my father grilled for our family at least once a week when I was a child. Perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of char, it is quintessential outdoor living, Southern California food to me. Use the following dressing that pulls on some of the season’s best flavors (pesto anyone?) as a marinade and I think you’ve got the perfect summertime dinner.This dressing lives somewhere between vinaigrette and pesto. If you have extra basil, make as much of this dressing as you can and use it as a condiment for cooked meats or a salad dressing; toss it with freshly cooked vegetables or throw it over pasta. I have included directions below for using it as a marinade for grilled chicken breasts.         Summer Pesto Dressing 1-1/2 cups loosely packed basil leaves1/3 cup walnuts or walnut pieces1 T white balsamic vinegar2 T fresh lemon juice1 t honey1/2 t salt + more to taste1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil + more as neededCombine first six ingredients in a mini-food processor (or a regular food processor if you only have the full size) and pulse until combined. Add the olive oil and let the processor run until the oil has blended and somewhat emulsified with the other ingredients. I like to leave this dressing chunky, but if you prefer a smoother dressing, continue blending and add more olive oil until your desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust seasoning.To use this dressing as a marinade for chicken breasts:Using a sharp knife, make three slashes in each breast, only cutting about 1/8” to 1/4”-inch into the breast. Reserve 1/2 of the dressing to serve as a condiment for the cooked chicken or to use later as a salad dressing. Rub 1/2 of the remaining dressing over the breasts and let them marinate in the fridge for as much time as you can – 30 minutes to three+ hours.Fire up your grill. Let your chicken breasts start to come to room temperature while your grill heats up. Place the chicken on the grill and adjust the flames/charcoal to prevent flare ups. Close the grill cover and only lift it occasionally to baste the chicken with the remaining dressing. I wish I could tell you how long to cook the chicken, but every grill and every chicken breast is different. My chicken breasts were not gigantic and it took about six minutes on the first side and an additional four to five once I flipped them over. If your chicken is getting too black before finishing cooking, move it to a cooler area of the [...]

Essential and Not So Essential Tools


Last night, while prepping out a cheese souffle for dinner with my fiancé, I realized how much pleasure I get out of whisking egg whites by hand. It, like whipping cream, is a task that has been made much more simple by the invention of electric hand mixers and stand mixers. I myself used to make mayonnaise and whip cream and egg whites in my stand mixer. It's so simple - place the ingredients in the mixer bowl, flip a switch and let the machine do the work for you.

Since completing studies at The French Culinary Institute, I no longer use my stand mixer for any of these tasks. It's either a result of being forced to do it by hand while I was in school, or the discovery that it is just not that difficult. I am not claiming that it is the easiest thing you will do in the kitchen this week - it certainly takes some elbow grease and a bit of patience - but the satisfaction I get from the finished product is increased ten fold when I use that elbow grease and make it happen myself.

To make the task a bit easier, make sure you have a balloon whisk - an essential tool for whipping ingredients by hand. The large spherical center of the balloon whisk helps to incorporate air into mixtures more quickly than a standard whisk. You also need to put the cream or egg whites in a large bowl so that you are working with a large surface area. If you use a small bowl with a large amount of liquid, you are going to be whipping forever. Good for your arm muscles, not so good for enjoying the process.

Any large bowl will do, but if you're interested in something truly beautiful and a bit of a splurge, check out this beating bowl from Mauviel:

It is definitely a non-essential tool, but isn't it beautiful? If you feel like splurging, you can buy this bowl here from Williams-Sonoma. I recently added it to my wedding registry in hopes that someone will splurge on me!

Balloon whisks are available from many retail outlets, but again, Williams-Sonoma carries a great selection. This whisk is an affordable, well-made option.

The Apples and Butter team is working on some short 'how to' videos, so hopefully soon we'll have one on whipping up egg whites. Perhaps you'll see this copper bowl make a cameo...

A New Kind of Polenta



This is yet another one of those culinary ideas that I kick myself for not figuring out on my own. It makes perfect sense. Polenta is made from milled corn, dried and packaged and sent to you to be reconstituted and simmered away on the stove. Why not capture the intense summer flavor of corn by grinding corn, straight off the cob, in a Cuisinart, at home to enjoy the sweet fresh flavor of corn in a whole new way. Somewhere between creamed corn and polenta, this turns out much sweeter than the polenta you're used to.

Serve it as a side dish to a hearty savory stew and the sweetness will perfectly balance the salty savory nature of your main course.

Sweet Corn Polenta
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

6 ears of corn
2 1/4 cups water
3 T butter
Black pepper

Cut the corn from the cob and place in a saucepan with the water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes. Drain the corn, reserving the cooking liquid. Transfer the corn to a Cuisinart and process for several minutes to break down the corn as mush as possible. Return the milled corn to the saucepan and add the cooking liquid. Cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. Fold in the butter and season the polenta with salt and pepper to taste.

Gazpacho Garnish - Kicking It Up a Notch!


(image) Earlier this week I promised you a way to kick up the garnish on this gazpacho. This presentation technique takes a delicious, casual summer soup and turns into something elegant and worthy of company.

It's really quite simple and the only tool you need is a ring mold. If you don't have any and you're interested in working on presentation, I strongly recommend getting a set like this. You will find a hundred and one uses for it.

Here are some suggested ingredients for the vegetable salad that make up the bulk of the garnish, but you should use whichever vegetables you have on hand or whatever looks good at the market that week.

1 small cucumber, cut into a small dice
1 yellow summer squash, cut into a small dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice
1/4 bunch of cilantro, chopped finely
Salt and pepper
1 avocado

Make the vegetable salad by combining the cucumber, squash, bell pepper and chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the avocado in half and peel. Place the avocado cut side down on a cutting board and slice very thinly.


Spray the ring mold lightly with cooking spray so the avocado won't stick to the mold once you're ready to remove it. Place the thin slices of avocado in overlapping layers around the ring mold as pictured above.


Gently spoon the vegetable salad into the avocado ring. If desired sprinkle a bit more cilantro and salt over the top of the salad.


Remove the ring and make sure the salad is holding its shape.


Pour in your finished gazpacho and enjoy!

Summer's Liquid Gold - Gazpacho



Gazpacho is and always has been one my favorite dishes of summer. When I was growing up, my mom and I would buy cans upon cans of Pepperidge Farm's gazpacho, chop up a bevy of fresh vegetables and keep a big jug of the fresh summer soup in the fridge. Every time I opened the door to our refrigerator, I was tempted with its promise of cool refreshing flavor and crunchy vegetables.

Today I make my own gazpacho base and am always interested in new ideas for getting the gazpacho started. While flipping through Heart of the Artichoke by David Tanis, I came upon a genius idea I wish I had come up with first. Tanis grates fresh tomatoes on a box grater and strains the seeds out of the tomato puree for pure, unadulterated fresh tomato gazpacho starter. What you do after that is really up to you. I used a microplane to grate garlic and onion into the base and then seasoned with salt and pepper. Chop up whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand and call it a day.

I garnished this bowl with chopped jalapeno and olive oil. Check back on Thursday for directions on how to take the garnish up a notch with a vegetable salad encased in a ring of avocado.


Method adapted from David Tanis
Serves 6

4 lbs fresh tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1/2 of a small onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
1/2 of a jalapeno for garnish

Rinse tomatoes and cut in half horizontally. Grate the tomatoes on the large holes of a box grater until you are left with just the skin of the tomato. Toss the skin. Strain the tomato pulp through a coarse-mesh strainer to catch the seeds and any large pieces of pulp. Peel the garlic cloves and grate on a microplane directly into the tomato starter. Do the same with the onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among six bowls and garnish with chopped jalapeno and a drizzle of olive oil.

Pizza Toscana



Throwing out food is a pet peeve of mine. It's a waste of money, a waste of resources, and frankly it makes me feel guilty. I am thrilled when I find a recipe that takes food destined for the garbage bin and turns it into something fantastic. Pizza Toscana does just that with the sides of bread that get sent home with takeout food. Leftover, even slightly stale bread gets transformed into ooey gooey cheesy deliciousness. It's not quite pizza, not quite casserole, but perfectly in the middle and perfectly delicious.

This is all about using up what you have on hand so this is a guide, not a recipe.

Pizza Toscana
Adapted from Cristina's Tuscan Table

A few glugs of good olive oil
Leftover bread
A few tablespoons of milk
1 cup of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
1 ball fresh mozzarella
2 sausage links, casing removed and cooked
2 T fresh oregano leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450

Take a casserole dish just large enough to fit your leftover bread. Oil the bottom and place the leftover bread in the casserole in a single layer. Drizzle the milk over the bread. Add the tomato sauce, sausage, oregano and garlic. Tear up the mozzarella and spread over the other ingredients. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and finish with another drizzle of olive oil. Place in the oven for 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and gooey.

Canapé and Corn Cakes



The final two levels of classes at The French Culinary Institute take place in the kitchen of L'Ecole, FCI's restaurant. For someone like me who may never go on to work in a restaurant kitchen, it provides invaluable experience working the line and cooking food for paying customers. There is nothing quite like the feeling of finishing service on a Friday night, a busy one in particular, and knowing that all of your dishes went out on time and cooked perfectly (well almost perfectly?). It makes you feel like you can accomplish just about anything, at least, that's the way it made me feel.

In both level 5 and level 6, you move through the different stations of the restaurant, cooking the meat dishes for four nights, fish for four nights, pastry for four, and so on. When you get to level 6, you get to spend four nights at the canapé station where the amuse bouche that precedes each meal is prepared. In most restaurants the amuse bouche serves as a way to use up excess ingredients while giving customers a little more than they are paying for. At FCI, it is up to the team working the canapé station to come up with and prepare the amuse each night. It is one of the few opportunities we get to be creative and to not follow any FCI issued recipes. It's a fun station.

My team prepared the pictured canapé on a night when we were trying to use up some excess skirt steak. We braised the meat (not a usual treatment of skirt steak) and reduced the braising liquid to make a sauce to mix with the shredded meat. The base is a delicious corn cake recipe that my classmate Walter brought in for us to play with. I am providing the recipe for the corn cake below. The cakes would make a great side dish, or, if you have some leftover meat to use up, shred the meat, make mini corn cakes and impress your guests with your own amuse bouche before dinner. We topped the whole thing with a mango salsa - chopped mango, red onion and thai chili pepper. If the salsa gets too spicy, as it did in our case, you can temper it with some honey to tame the heat.

Corn cakes
Adapted from Delicious Magazine

60g plain flour
1 egg
1 t baking powder
Handful fresh coriander
300g sweetcorn kernels
1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
Vegetable oil for cooking

Place the flour in a food processor with the egg, baking powder, coriander and half the corn. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir the chili and the remaining corn. Heat enough oil to just cover a large, non-stick frying pan and drop in teaspoonfuls of the corn mixture. Fry for 1 minute each side, until golden, then drain on paper towels while you cook the rest. Arrange the corn cakes on a platter and top with leftover meat or a simple salsa.

French Onion Soup



It is another drizzly day in New York. I now know what they mean by, ‘April showers before May Flowers’. Growing up in Los Angeles, I never fully understood the meaning of this phrase. Sure, it rained in April, but not that much and certainly no more than in February or March. Note to self, any phrase about weather is probably not referring to Southern California, where I am now convinced we have some of the best weather in the country.

Anyway, it is raining and I have just spent an hour trying to scrub grease stains and oil spills out of my chef’s coats and aprons. Since I don’t have class tonight, I put a pot of soup on the stove and am going to spend the rest of the afternoon inside, eating soup and reading Kim Severson’s Spoon Fed. I highly recommend her memoir. Especially if you, like me, have a hard time buying any novel or memoir that is not food-related. It is a great read and one I totally relate to as a California transplant in New York.

The soup I’m making to keep me and my book company is a super simple French onion soup. Super simple is really a tad redundant because if you have homemade stock on hand, French onion soup should always be simple. The key is cooking your onions low and slow for a long time to get them nice and caramelized. After that, just add stock, let everything simmer away for a bit and season. If you have some crusty bread on hand, all the better. Slice it up, place a slice on each bowl of soup and cover with gruyere cheese. A quick run under the broiler and you have a beautiful bowl of restaurant quality French onion soup. If I have them all on hand I like to use brown or yellow onions, red onions and shallots, but if you only have one kind, that’s okay too. I can’t stress enough what a difference homemade stock makes in a soup like this. If you want to try your hand at it, here are the steps for veal stock. If not, use a good-quality beef stock from your grocery store.

French Onion Soup
Serves 4

2 pounds mixed onions
2 T canola oil
2 quarts (8 cups) beef or veal stock
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
4-8 slices crusty baguette
1/2 cup grated gruyere

Peel the onions. Cut them in half and then into thin slices so you have a large pile of half-moon slices. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Sauté the onions until beginning to soften, season with a little salt and pepper, and cover the pot. The steam captured by covering the pot will help to soften the onions without using too much oil. Uncover the pot and stir occasionally. When the onions are beginning to brown, remove the lid and continue to cook until caramelized. This can take up to 30 minutes.

Add the stock to the pan and bring to a simmer. Add the thyme and bay leaf and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove the thyme and bay leaf and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Preheat your broiler. Divide the soup among four serving bowls. Top with one to two slices of bread, depending on what will fit in your bowls, and sprinkle a few tablespoons of gruyere over the bread. Run under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Take care when serving the soup as the bowls will be extremely hot from the broiler. Enjoy with a good book on a rainy day.

Harbinger of Spring


Growing up, eating artichokes meant simmering them until tender and serving them with a dip of mayonnaise mixed with a bit of soy sauce. Had we been hip to it at the time, we might have called it a soy aioli, but to us it was just the perfect creamy salty accompaniment to those boiled leaves and still, to this day, I can’t eat artichoke leaves without it. Luckily, my artichoke repertoire has expanded ever so slightly beyond boiled leaves.At FCI we prepare artichokes by ‘turning’ them, or removing all the outer leaves and using a paring knife to remove the green skin until you’re left with the tender heart of the artichoke. Once you have the heart, you can braise, roast, grill or do just about anything you want with it. Currently, in the restaurant at FCI, we serve slivers of braised artichoke heart with a roasted rack of lamb. They are delicious.One of the perks of working on set at a cooking show is the opportunity to bring home the occasional excess produce. Once the segment is complete, the produce that was used to dress the set is usually still perfectly good, but won’t be visually appealing if saved for another shoot on another day. After the crew has been fed and talent takes what they want, the rest is up for grabs. I am very lucky to be working on these shows as the spring season rolls in and great produce such as asparagus, dandelion greens, spring onions, and of course artichokes, are the topic du jour. I made off with a few artichokes last week and while I was craving my mother’s simmered artichoke with ‘soy aioli’ I decided to broaden my artichoke horizon a bit more and see what I could come up with.Enter Plenty, the new cookbook from Yotam Ottolenghi. I won’t say much about the book today, because I am smitten with the recipes and have a feeling that you may be hearing a lot about it over the coming weeks. Just know this: If you’re looking for some inspiration in the vegetable department, you are sure to find it in this book. I found mine when a relish of fava beans jumped off the page at me via some gorgeous photography. Favas are my ultimate harbinger of spring and they seemed the perfect accompaniment to the artichokes I had waiting. And a little hint about that other accompaniment I love so much? Hold on to the leaves you remove from the artichoke. Simmered over low heat they go very nicely with a little soy aioli.I am providing the recipe here as Ottolenghi wrote it, but I was out of panko so I used a mix of walnut flour and whole wheat flour to bread the artichoke hearts. Use whatever, even plain old flour works well too.Globe Artichokes with Crushed Fava BeansAdapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi1 3/4 cups shelled fava beans1 small garlic clove, crushed4 T extra-virgin olive oil plus more for fryingFreshly ground black pepper1½ t Maldon sea salt2-3 globe artichokes3 lemons1 egg, beaten3 T panko3 T fresh mint, chopped2 T fresh dill, choppedBring a pan of water to a boil, add the beans and blanch for three minutes. Drain, refresh and leave in a colander to dry. Remove the outer skins by pressing each bean gently between your thumb and forefinger. Put the shelled beans in the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic, four tablespoons of oil, some black pepper and half a teaspoon of salt, then pulse until just roughly chopped – don’t overdo it.Cut off most of the stalk from the artichokes and pull off the tough outer leaves. Once you reach the softer, pale leaves, trim off the top, so you're left with the heart and some very soft leaves around it. Scrape off any remaining tough leaves and the 'hairs' in the center. Rub with a cut lemon to keep the artichokes from turning brown[...]

Favas for Spring!



Yes, those are shelled fava beans in my cuisinart which means either...

A. It is finally spring.
B. I have already been in the kitchen for an hour to get a mere two cups of favas out of their shells.
C. I just got Yotam Ottolenghi's new cookbook, Plenty, and have been inspired.
D. A new recipe will be up on Apples and Butter shortly!

How about all four? Check back tomorrow afternoon for Ottolenghi's delicious Globe Artichokes with Crushed Fava Beans!

When Culinary School Hands You Duck Skin...Render It



A year ago, if you asked me if I would ever post a picture of raw duck skin, the answer would have been a definitive no. Clearly, my definition of what constitutes a sexy food photo has changed.

Today, lipids are sexy. Fat is a necessary component of cooking, but we sometimes have a weird relationship with it. On one hand, we tend to shy away from away from it, opting for the fat-free version of anything at the grocery store, but on the other hand, we also drive our cars up to the fast food joint and ask to be supersized. As with most things, fat is good for us if we use it in moderation. It is a vehicle for flavor and there are many fat-soluble nutrients which means, if you’re pouring fat-free dressing over that salad of yours, you could be missing out on a lot of the nutritional benefits.

Now, before I get too preachy, because this blog is about good cooking, not food policy, let’s move on to the duck. If you have yet to cook with duck fat, you are in for a treat. The fat adds a wonderful, rich flavor to things like sautéed potatoes. If you ever cook your eggs in a bit of the bacon grease left in the pan, cooking with duck fat is the same concept. The animal fat comes with its own flavor that, when paired with the right food, just can’t be matched by cooking in olive oil or butter.

One downside to cooking with duck fat is that it is pretty pricey. So, one night at school, when we finished breaking down a case of whole ducks for the restaurant at FCI and were left with extra duck skin, I jumped at the chance to take it home. Three quart containers of duck fat (think about 16 cups) came home with me for rendering. It may sound like an involved project, but rendering your own duck fat could not be more simple. Here are the basics:

Place your duck skin in a pot. Add no more than one inch of water to the pan. If you only have a small amount of skin, add less. Place the pan over medium heat and let it come to a simmer. Over the course of an hour or so, the skin will render the fat and the small amount of water in the pan will evaporate. When the skin starts to turn golden, you know it has rendered its fat. You can drain off the fat and discard the skin or, if you want a double reward, let the skin continue to render until it turns a dark brown. The skin will be crisp and you are left with both rendered duck fat and delicious duck cracklings. Be sure to keep an eye on it at the end. If the skin goes from brown to burnt, you will impart a burnt flavor to the fat and all will be for not. Just keep in mind that with a bit of salt, duck cracklings can be highly addictive and then that whole moderation thing I mentioned earlier goes completely out the window. The choice is yours.

Three quarts of duck skin left me with about two quarts of duck fat, which is more than I will be able to use anytime soon so I am planning on giving some away as gifts. Trust me. Your food-obsessed friends will be forever grateful. The last time I checked, duck fat was going for about $20 a half quart.

Back to the Grind



I woke this morning slightly confused to find myself in New York City. See, I was supposed to be back here a week ago, but, like so many others, my travel plans fell victim to the blizzard in New York. My original flight was canceled and the earliest that Virgin America could rebook me was not early enough to make it back for my class at The French Culinary Institute last Wednesday. Rather than continue to fight lines and standby lists at the airport, I extended my stay in California and what was meant to be a five-day trip, turned into 12.

I would have been disappointed to miss any class at FCI, but last week was my buffet night. In level 4, students spend two weeks preparing food for a buffet that the entire school attends. I had been working on a foie gras terrine, head cheese, kimchi and bulgogi, a carrot sesame terrine, a dark chocolate crepe cake, duck confit, and cassoulet. I was enormously disappointed that I did not get to taste the final products or help my team present all of the food. Disappointed isn’t the right word, I was inconsolable.

But, as one learns to do, I made the best of it. I visited with old friends and enjoyed walking around town in sandals and a dress, soaking up the sun. So much so, that by the end of my trip, wool coats and waterproof boots seemed like a distant memory. Until of course, I awoke this morning to find myself in my Chelsea apartment, with the floors slanted ever so slightly westward.

I walked the 1.5 miles to work this morning to shock my body back into acceptance of the cold weather. After work, I am heading home to clean out the fridge (food tends to spoil when you are gone a week more than planned) and to make a bevy of soups, including this one, so I have a stockpile of lunches and dinners for the week.

This soup is comforting and hearty. Ground walnuts are used to add flavor and a bit of thickness. The original recipe calls for fresh tomatoes, but this time of year I always use canned in soups and stews. Tomatoes were not meant to grow in January and when they do, they have little flavor. If you are not comfortable with vermicelli or can’t find it, feel free to use a more traditional pasta.

Ground Walnut and Tomato Soup
Adapted from Real Food Magazine

4 T butter
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 t salt, plus more to taste
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t whole coriander seed
1 cup walnuts, finely ground
2 cups water
2 oz vermicelli, broken into pieces
28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sweat until softened. Place the garlic, salt, pepper and coriander in a food processor and process until ground and combined. Add the spice blend to the onions along with the ground walnuts and water, Bring to a simmer and add the vermicelli. Simmer covered for 20 minutes. In a separate pot, cook the tomatoes over low heat until softened. Add the tomatoes to the soup and simmer for five minutes. Add the parsley, cilantro and remaining tablespoon of butter to the pot and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, before serving.

Chicken Liver Pâté Round ??


Chicken liver pâté is one of my favorite things to make and to eat. The first time I prepared it, I was living with my parents for a short period of time after graduating from college and before starting to work. I was trying to make up for playing the part of the typical college student who returned home jobless, by making dinner for them on a semi-regular basis. I was just starting to delve into the world of cooking and my meals were always the result of experiments with new dishes. It is unlikely that we ate the same thing twice during those few months.I remember my osso bucco being a particular hit with my father. Of course, there was also the day I fell asleep on the couch while there were chicken thighs braising on the stove. I awoke to a house filled with smoke and some chunks of carbonized, used-to-be-chicken thighs permanently fused to the now ruined pan. Luckily, I was just cooking for one that night and my parents were out of town.The first time I made chicken liver pâté it seemed as if I was embarking on quite the endeavor. After all, pâtés and charcuterie, though delicious, were still a mystery to me and not the sort of things you made at home. My mother assured me over and over again that it was a very simple dish to make, but I did not believe her. It was too exotic. How could pâté be easy?Turns out, it is easy. It is also cheap. A pound of chicken livers is never over $2 and that includes the livers that I picked up from high-end, specialty retailer Eataly, here in New York. Once I discovered how easy it is to make this rich, delicious and often impressive dish, it became part of my regular repertoire. Chicken liver pâté at the holidays, chicken liver pâté to go with every cheese plate, my mom and I even made it for an event during the weekend of my brother’s wedding. We have bounced back and forth between recipes and I am always on the lookout for new ones to try.So, when I saw this latest recipe while perusing Sweet Paul, a visually stunning online magazine, I knew I would be making it that weekend. This is a great chicken liver pâté. I will not go as far as to say that it is my favorite (that title still belongs to this recipe), but it is delicious and, unlike my favorite recipe, perfect for placing in a beautiful jar, under a thick layer of clarified butter and giving as a gift this holiday season. Chicken Liver PâtéSweet Paul Magazine1 pound chicken livers, cleaned1 cup milk3 T butter1 small yellow onion, chopped1 t fresh thyme1/2 t salt1/2 t pepper1/4 cup cognac (I used white wine)4 T butterTopping1 stick butter6 sprigs thymePlace the chicken lives in the milk and soak in the refrigerator overnight (24 hours if possible). Drain the livers. In a large pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and sweat the onions until beginning to soften. Add the chicken livers and thyme and sauté until the livers are browned on the outside (about five minutes). Season with salt and pepper and cook for one more minute. Add the cognac or wine and cook until almost all of the liquid is gone. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Spoon the pâté into six ramekins.For the topping: Melt a stick of butter in a small saucepan. As the milk solids float to the top, remove them with a spoon until the butter is totally clear and you are left with clarified butter (alternately you may purchase clarified butter and melt it until pourable). Cover each ramekin with a layer of clarified butter. Place one thyme sprig in the butter for decoration and chill until solid.[...]

Comfort in a Bowl


Most days I push myself pretty hard. I work full time and go to school at night. In my spare minutes I compose posts for Apples and Butter, do a bit of freelance writing and work my tush off at making contacts within my industry here in New York. During my best weeks, I even get up early to stop by the gym on my way in to work. Today is not one of those days and it is certainly not one of those weeks. I took my level three final last night at The French Culinary Institute. It was the midterm for the entire program at FCI and worth 50 percent of my grade. In other words, a big deal. While it is a relief to have the thing over with, I am feeling a bit worn down from the whole process.The flip side of pushing myself so hard is that I also have learned how to hit the brakes and indulge myself a bit when it is truly needed. Today I have plans for a lunchtime trip to Strand to treat myself to a new (used) cookbook or two to flip through while I lay in my cozy bed watching movies, and a big bowl of warm, comforting soup for dinner.There is something so restorative about a bowl of soup. This is yet another riff (or shall I say variation? Somewhere between this week and last, I began to hate the word riff, which is entirely unfortunate since it seems to be the favored word of bloggers and established writers alike when referring to their own take on something: ‘My riff on Suzanne Goin’s bacon-wrapped dates,” or “we were riffing on different potato-based soups.” Ugh). I digress. This is yet another way to use my vegetable soup formula. Specifically, this is an example of how to use the formula to make a roasted vegetable soup. Butternut squash is the main ingredient, but I also threw in some roasted mushrooms. I find the savory flavor of mushrooms in pureed soup to add a creaminess that is particularly comforting and I may have mentioned this already, but today I am in need of some comfort.Refer back to the original vegetable soup formula if you would like to make some changes to this basic variation. And by all means do. Your perfect bowl of comfort may not look exactly like mine. Roasted Butternut Squash and Mushroom Soup1 lb cubed butternut squash8 oz domestic mushrooms, sliced or quartered, plus more for garnish if desiredCanola oil1 small onion, or half of a larger one, dicedA few sprigs of tarragonA few springs of thyme1 1/2 – 2 quarts of vegetable stock (6 – 8 cups)Salt and pepper to tasteWalnut oil (optional)Preheat oven to 375˚Toss the mushrooms and butternut squash with a bit of oil and salt pepper. Spread out the vegetables on a roasting pan and bake until the squash is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Add a bit of canola oil to a soup pot placed over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until softened. Add the thyme and tarragon and sauté for a minute or two longer. Add the roasted vegetables to the pot and cover with vegetable stock. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the thyme and tarragon and transfer the mixture to a blender to puree, in batches if necessary. Return the pureed soup to the pot and season with salt and pepper. If desired, serve with a garnish of roasted mushrooms and a bit of walnut oil.[...]

Meatballs for The Sunday Cook



Few and far between are the weeknights I have time to cook a meal at home. I work full time and run straight from work to school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The other two nights I catch up with girlfriends or attempt to check off an endless to-do list and by the time I make it home, I am too tired to move, let alone cook.

The thing is, I am one of those peculiar people who gets energized from being in the kitchen. I know that if I can just get started on something, I will catch my second wind and be left with a delicious, often affordable and usually healthy dinner.

In order to increase the likelihood that I will get cooking on the rare night I find myself at home, I am always on the lookout for simple dishes (love a good stir-fry or fried rice) or a dish that has me doing most of the prep work ahead of time, on a weekend, when I have more time. This is known as being a Sunday cook.

If you are looking to expand your Sunday cook repertoire, try these Thai-inspired turkey meatballs. They were the result of a recent Sunday project that kept me well-fed on Tuesday nights for an entire month. The recipe itself is more an exercise in mixing than cooking, but having a bag of these frozen meatballs in the freezer meant I was never more than 15 minutes away from an easy, home-cooked meal. Simply thaw a few of the meatballs in the refrigerator overnight, or use the defrost setting on your microwave if you are pressed for time. Add a bit of canola oil to a small sauté pan and cook these up over medium heat. They make a great addition to many dishes—think soups, stews, pastas, or my favorite application, over a bowl of wheat berries with a poached egg—or just serve them on their own with a salad on the side.

Thai-Inspired Meatballs
Adapted from Everyday Food

2 pounds ground turkey
6 scallions
3 T Japanese fish sauce (2T if you do not have the Japanese variety which has a milder flavor)
2 T Sriracha
1 T sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cooked barley

Place the ground turkey in a large bowl. Cut the scallions in half lengthwise and thinly slice white and light green parts only. Place the dark green sections in your freezer bag for collecting vegetable scraps for stock. Add the chopped scallions to the turkey. Mix the fish sauce, Sriracha, sugar and garlic in a small bowl. Add the fish sauce mixture to the ground turkey, along with the cooked barley, and mix gently. I prefer to wear disposable gloves and mix with my hands, just until combined.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Shape the turkey mixture into meatballs of your desired size and place on the cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid. Transfer frozen meatballs to a Ziploc freezer bag and use as needed.

Cookies for the Holidays - Updated with Winner



A random number generator selected comment number 11 as the winning comment. Congratulations Terri. I will contact you to arrange delivery of the items. Enjoy!

In honor of the start to the shopping, err I mean holiday season, Apples and Butter is hosting a giveaway of yummy treats and a cookbook filled with lots of tempting, delicious recipes. I don't know about you, but one way I manage to get everyone checked off my list is by baking their presents. It is more affordable than purchasing gifts for everyone on my list and it has the added bonus of putting me in the holiday spirit.

Last year I undertook the major project of truffle making. The truffles were delicious and I hope enjoyed by all recipients, but I will not be repeating that process in my tiny New York kitchen. This year cookies are on the gift-giving menu and I have every intention of finding some of those recipes in the cookbook from Tate's Bake Shop.

Tate's is a bakery based in Southampton that makes crisp, delicious cookies as well as cakes, brownies and squares. I generally consider myself more of a puffy, chewy chocolate chip cookie kind of girl, but I devoured half of the chocolate chip cookies within 20 minutes of their arrival. Oops. Luckily for you, since I have none left to share, you have the opportunity to win your own gift box of Tate's cookies and the Tate's cookbook to find your own baking inspiration. Just leave a comment here telling me what recipe you make as a holiday gift and you are automatically entered in the drawing. If you become a fan of Tate's on facebook, you get to enter twice. Just leave another comment letting me know you became a fan and that will serve as your second entry. Sorry to all you foreign readers, but for shipping reasons, the giveaway is only open to U.S. residents.

Not a baker? Tate's doesn't want you to miss out either. You can still check everyone off your holiday list by ordering cookies online. Tate's will even give you 15 percent off your online order. Just enter the code 'cookie' anytime before December 31st and the discount will be automatically applied.

Vegetable Soup Formula


Vegetable soups are quickly becoming my savior as I enter my first, cold New York winter. I used to bring salads to work in Los Angeles year-round and they proved sufficient for a quick meal at my desk. I tried that here in New York during the first few weeks of November and it turned out to be less than satisfying. So much so that when faced with the green leaves staring back at me from the office refrigerator, I quickly turned and walked out the door in search of something warm and a bit more comforting.The main problem with my new lunchtime ritual is the detrimental effect it has had on the snugness of my wardrobe. Add that to the battle already underway with the culinary school bulge and it is a recipe for disaster. One more trip to Guy & Gallard for lobster bisque and no amount of Saturday morning boot camp in Central Park is going to bring me back.Enter the humble vegetable soup. This is the perfect comfort food compromise. It is warm, thick and packed with the flavors of fall, but if you keep the ingredients to vegetables, stock and a few key flavorings, it is supremely healthy and nourishing.This recipe, as with most, is just a guideline. Be sure to experiment with your favorite flavors. Keep this simple formula in mind and you will produce a successful soup every time:1. Sauté diced onions in a bit of oil. After the onions soften add any garlic, ginger or other such flavorings (not herbs) and sauté a bit more. Season with salt and pepper.2. For a roasted vegetable soup, dice the vegetables and roast at 375˚ until tender. Alternately, you can add the vegetables to the pot with the onions and sauté a bit to achieve some color. If roasting, add the vegetables to the pot with the softened onions after roasting.3. Add enough vegetable stock to cover everything, toss in any herbs you want to use and simmer for at least 30 minutes. If you did not roast the vegetables, make sure they are tender before proceeding.4. Remove the herbs and use an immersion blender or a standard blender to purée the soup.5. Return the puréed soup to the pan and season to taste with salt and pepper.There. You just made delicious and healthy vegetable soup. The only thing I must insist on is that you, if at all possible, make your own vegetable stock. It is so simple, yet it adds so much to the final product. Not to mention that it is a great way to use up vegetable scraps. For a refresher on vegetable stock, go here. If you are not quite ready to experiment on your own, here is the recipe for my latest concoction, carrot ginger pear soup.Carrot Ginger Pear SoupMakes about 2 quarts1 small onion, diced2 T vegetable oil1 pound carrots2 ripe pears2 slices fresh ginger1 1/2 quarts vegetable stockSalt and pepperHeat a medium pot over medium high heat. Add the oil and diced onion and sauté until soft. Add the ginger slices and continue to sauté. While the onions are sautéing, peel and roughly chop the carrots and pears. Add the carrots and pears to the pot and sauté until beginning to soften, five to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add enough stock to cover the vegetables and simmer for 30 minutes until the carrots are tender. To temper the spice of the ginger, remove the slices before pureeing. If you want more zip, leave the ginger in. Purée the mixture using an immersion or standard blender. Return the purée to the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, add a bit more vegetabl[...]

Dem Bones


I used to love the knowing looks butchers would flash my way when I would ask for beef bones, chicken carcasses or offal. I once received a marriage proposal after requesting three pounds of oxtail. Rather, I think the butcher told my boyfriend, who was with me at the time, to ask me to marry him right away. ‘Put a ring on that,’ may have been the exact words. You get the point.That was at least four years ago when I first started making my own stocks and needed to ask butchers for things like chicken carcasses. Those days are pretty much over. It seems it is no longer uncommon for someone to make their own stock or request lesser known cuts of meat. This, in itself, is a good thing. I love that the food revolution has carried quality product and more homemade—fewer processed—ingredients into the kitchen of your average home cook. However, if I am being totally honest, I miss the knowing looks. And the marriage proposals.One key thing I have learned about stocks at The French Culinary Institute, is that any kitchen without veal stock is an ill-equipped one. On occasion I have the opportunity to bring home from school a quart container of veal stock, or excess demi glace (veal stock that has been reduced by half), but last week I found that all of my reserves had been used up. It is getting cold here in New York and I am going to need a freezer full of stocks to accommodate all of the soup and stew making I have planned for the coming weeks. Unfettered by the lack of butcher attention received in recent years, I set out last week to gather the ingredients for a batch of veal stock.Though not a difficult task, veal stock is slightly more complicated than the chicken or vegetable stock I make. Since I make a brown veal stock, I have to roast the bones and mirepoix before leaving everything to gently simmer on the stove for hours. Still, considering what a difference using a homemade stock makes in the final flavor of many, many dishes, the effort is minimal in relation to the payoff.The recipe included below does not need to be followed exactly (I try to use up whatever vegetable trimmings I have stashed in the freezer when making stock), but a good guideline is to aim to include mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery) equivalent to about 20 percent of the weight of bones being used. So, for my seven pounds of veal bones, I included about one and a half pounds of mirepoix.Once the stock has simmered for roughly eight hours, cool it down quickly by breaking it into smaller containers and chilling them over an ice bath. Once cool, place the containers in the fridge if you are planning on using the stock in a day or two. Otherwise, store them in the freezer for the next soup, stew or braise you make, all of which can benefit from a little homemade stock flavor.Veal StockMakes about 5 quarts7 pounds veal bonesVegetable oil as needed1/2 pound carrots or carrot trimmings cut into 3-in lengths1/2 pound onions or onion trimmings, peeled and quartered1/2 pound celery or celery trimmings, cut into 3-in lengthsGreens from one leek, thoroughly rinsed1/2 cup tomato paste1/2 cup tomato trimmings or 1 plum tomato, roughly chopped6 cloves garlic, smashedBouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme sprigs, peppercorns, parsley sprigs)Preheat oven to 450˚Place a heavy bottomed roasting pan in the oven to preheat. Coat the veal bones in oil and place in the pan. Roast the bones for 30 minutes then turn the bon[...]