So what is it with crinkle cut vegies in some Thai restaurants?
I get the crinkle cut potato chip thing- sinfully, crispy, golden chips with ridges to collect gravy. Yummo. But crinkle cut carrots and crinkle cut zucchinis? I just don’t get it.
What I also don’t get is just why it annoys me so much. After all, at the end of the day, it is just a zucchini, or just a carrot. And, when you think about it, the crinkles serve exactly the same purpose as they do with the chips and gravy- they collect the sauce.
Now onto something I do get- home-made chicken stock.
I always have some in the freezer to use for soups- I have done for years. I use the same base recipe (using the term “recipe” loosely) and just add extra stuff as required. For Asian noodle soups or broths I add some star anise, some fresh ginger and fresh garlic. To stave off a cold I might throw in a cinnamon stick as well.
I always use free-range chook (organic where possible) and before you tell me there is no difference- trust me, there is- and not just the “happiness” that I reckon you taste in a chook that’s been allowed to do the things that chooks like to do. There is less fat on the bird, more taste, and much less skimming required to get a good, clear stock.
So, the basics (but please don’t be too precious about this):
· A chicken
· A couple of carrots
· A couple of sticks of celery
· An onion
· A couple of bay leaves and some thyme
· Some peppercorns
· Sea salt
That’s it. Hack the vegies up roughly, bung the whole lot into a large saucepan and cover with water. As it comes to the simmer, skim off anything that comes to the surface. Pop the lid on, turn it down to a simmer and let it do its wonderfully, nutritious thing for a few hours.
Once it’s done, strain the stock to remove the vegies. I like to run it through a 2nd time, but this time through muslin (or something like it). This guarantees a really clear stock. Leave it into the fridge overnight, remove the excess fat and it’s ready to freeze or use in soups or what have you.
Aside from the obvious nutritious value of home-made stock and all the domestic diva connotations- you know exactly what is in it, and exactly what isn’t in it!
I strip the chicken from the bones & freeze it in 100g portion controlled bags ready for my lunchtime noodle broth or sandwich or salad or whatever. Given that I am boundary challenged, this works well for me.
Then there’s the economic benefit. I grow my own herbs, so the other ingredients today cost me just over $9.00 (the chicken was on special). From this I will get about 3 litres of real stock, and (depending on how much I nibble on in the process) at least 5 (maybe 6) portions of shredded chicken.
And anyways, you don’t get much better than this.