Stepford Ct Wife

Stepford Ct Wife
Art by Anne Taintor

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lesson 1.1: How To Make White Chicken Stock

I could not find assorted chicken parts except for the neck. I was kind of confused about where/how to get chicken parts (neck bones, wings and back). I talked to the butcher at Stop and Shop who helped me in a hurried manor. You can find chicken neck bones near the other cuts of chicken (at least at this Stop and Shop). The chicken neck bones are at the top of the shelves and are not at eye level -- which is not a surprise because they are gruesome. It took me twenty-five minutes to shop just for the stock and chicken soup today. It did not help that I was in a bigger and less organize Stop and Shop than I was used to--I burned 4 weight watcher points trying to find the leeks and doing the rest of my shopping! Yes, Leeks are not even used until further on in the chicken soup lessons.

 I had a lot of goodies in my cart today. I was proud that I had mostly good vegetables and "better-for-you-food" in my cart. I filled my cart with odd organ meats (to make homemade dog biscuits), five packages of chicken neck bones, five pounds of Beef bones, eight yellow onions, two red onion, five things of garlic, bundle of leeks, fresh spices, five pounds of carrots, two pounds of celery, fifteen pounds of flour, five pounds of wheat flour, five pounds of small things of tomato paste, five pounds of tomatoes, Oranges, lemons, limes and sugar cereals/ Pop-tarts for my husband (among other items).

  I pre-read the recipes a couple of times but not this morning. While I was making the chicken stock recipe I did not realize how long it would take to make the chicken stock. It takes a long time to make the chicken stock. It does not take too long to prep the food, then it takes two and half hours to boil/simmer the stock and then one has to strains the chicken stock. After the chicken stock is strained it has to go into a heat resistant bowl/container it has to cool. Then it is put into the fridge so that the fat of the stock and separate -- that takes 8 hours!!! So I was hoping to make chicken soup tonight for my hubby but I cannot. But that is okay because I started at 2:00 pm and it took me until 6:00 pm to finish. During the down times I washed dishes, had lunch, strained at least every fifteen minutes the pot and I also prepared for the chicken soup lesson 1.2. I was also kind of confuse when to add the vegetables so I boiled it for about thirty minutes first.

  For the chicken stock you cut the onions into eights but for the chicken soup you need to cut into cubes. I need to work cutting the onion and pulling off the skin. I was looking through the basics again and I obviously could cut the onions into eights but I messed up on cutting the onion into cubes. You should actually take the skin off of the onion (which I did but not swiftly) and then slice it lengthwise. But here is where I messed up because I went into my normal routine you are not suppose to cut all the way through. So one would cut the onion almost all the way horizontally repeatedly then it would easily fall into cubes when the chef cut it perpendicularly. I chopped it the hard way and not uniformly. But since I am actually not a real cooking school I can say that I just cut it rustically and move on. However I do plan to go back through the basics section and do it correctly!

  At first I was quite confused why I had to make a chicken stock when tomorrow when I make chicken soup I have to make the stock again. It does not explain in Martha's book how to just start off the chicken soup recipe using the chicken broth. But flipping through the book I saw Tortilla soup on page 47 which starts off using the white chicken sauce. Supposedly the Tortilla soup needs to start off with the chicken stock unlike the chicken soups which need to start off with water. I was thinking of trying to use the recipe starting off with the broth but I have to cut 4 lbs of a whole chicken, take it out then put it back in the soup. I want to be able to time it better. I also need to get a Meat Thermometer tomorrow! I did not realize that I would already need a meat thermometer, I thought I would need it when I would start roasting.

  To make the white beef stock it takes seven pounds of meat bones or four pounds meat bones and two pounds of oxtail or short ribs. You add in to the white chicken stock recipe (minus the chicken of course): four crushed garlic cloves, six sprigs of parsley, two basil leaves, two tablespoons peppercorn and four sprigs thyme. Then supposedly you have to simmer it for eight! hours-- simmer not put in a fridge! The you strain, skim off the fat and you store. I wish that I knew that because I bought (only) five pounds of different beef bones and I think they are only good for another day or two...

  I am tired! I think maybe the hour plus that I was food shopping with my mother-in-law in combination with act of dragging up two flights of stairs the heavy groceries by myself. But I got my weight watcher points burned and I am too tired to eat! I just want to watch "Miss Congeniality" on E! and not have to think/move

Getting my supplies for Cooking School

  I purchased most of the items that I did not have on the "Martha Stewart Cooking School essential list," online. These items are either on their way or have already arrive at my Stepford abode. For a Dutch oven I got a great deal on Ebay-- LeCreuset enameled cast iron 7 1/4 quart round French Oven in black  for only $220.00 and that includes shipping! That was one of my best deals on ebay for the cooking school because that french oven weights between 15-17 lbs and in store a 5 quart pot is $235.00 before taxes! I got another great deal on a Wusthof 8 piece 17 slot block knife set for $229.99 including shipping which is a savings of $70 of retail! I also got for a great price on Ebay: a pastry blender, 2 wooden spoons, Wusthof 5 inch boning knife, 2 small cutting boards for garlic/onions, Cuisinart 722-20NS stainless steel 8" non stick skillet, and four color coded larger cutting boards for produce, cooked meat, raw fish and raw meat.

  I purchased a 13" X 16" Classic Non Stick Roaster & Nonstick Rack at Macy's and got 3% cash back because I went through Ebates. I got also: Oxo candy thermometer, Pyrex prepware glass 4-cup measuring cup, Martha Stewart Asian Strainer (aka spider), one Microplane for Martha Stewart Zester, Cherry Spoon by Marth Stewart (which broke in transit/I need to return), Martha Stewart's 3 piece non-skid stainless bowls, and two Martha Stewart pastry brushes. I decided currently to not get another colander because I have a silicone strainer/colander that I got as a wedding gift that was made by the Martha Stewart line. I think it might be okay because in the book she was just against plastic strainers and perhaps down the road I might purchase a couple of Stainless steel colanders.

  For the Angel food cake pan, and the fluted tart pan my mom is kind of enough to allow me to have her old ones since she does not use them. I have looked through the book and I have decided to currently not get the mandoline because I can cut things by hand and I am kind of afraid of slicing off my hand with one of those things! I hear bad reviews for all of the different makes of mandolines and they all involve cutting his/her self in addition to the contraption breaking/rusting or not working part way through. I will just go back to the basics and learn how to cut by hand. Also I am not buying the citrus reamer because I have the hand held juicer which is more efficient. With the citrus reamer you have to ream the lemon/fruit over a strainer to collect the seeds. But with the hand held juicer you just cut the fruit in half and then squeeze the juice it has a built in strainer.
  If you shop at ebates gives 6% of your purchase back when you go through ebates. also had free shipping if you spent $99 so I got my: 6 inch Wusthof cleaver, biscuit cutters (4), decorating spatulas ( 6 inch straight, 9.75 offset, and 9.75 straight), and bench scrapper there. However I have a different shipping address than my billing address and they shipped it to my old address. I emailed them right away with an urgent stamp plus two others emails and they never got the email in time. Not until five days later did I get a phone call! So from experience even if it is 12 at night call the customer service line do not rely on email! Luckily I know the people at my old shipping address and they shipped only the really light items so the rest will be coming to my house.

   I still have some things left to buy. I need to purchase a: Meat Thermometer, Food Mill ( I think if I get one then I do not have to get a potato ricer?), Oven Thermometer, Cast iron 12 inch skillet, and I need to get the Wusthof's gourmet super slicer. So far I have spent about $900.00 on supplies and I have made an effort to save money but also get the best supplies that I could afford. The Le Creuset and the Wusthof knives take up about two thirds so far of the $900 I have spent. But I read the reviews of Martha Stewart's dutch oven and other dutch ovens that were pretty much close to the cost of the Le Creuset retail so I just went for better quality. The Martha Stewart dutch oven was on sale/cheap but people on Macy's complained that the paint chipped off. At Crate and Barrel the Mario Bello dutch oven was expensive and the reviews said that it was not easy to clean and paint also chipped off. Another reason I bought the Le Creuset is that I can get my cardio and weight lifting when I use the Le Creuset ( 15- 17 lbs of fun). I have to remember to bend with my knees and to not use the Le Creuset French oven above either 450 degrees or 500 degrees. Hopefully my oven shelves can support the weight of the Le Creuset!
  The reason I am willing to pay a lot for Wusthof knives is that I have always wanted the Wusthof knives and grew up using them in my parents house. My parents have had their wood handled Wusthof Knives since 1986 or so and they still are so sharp! The ones I got for my wedding they are rusted and already are dull/horrible. I know you can sharpen knives but I am so glad when I can get rid of those other knives!