Chicken Stock

Ball-Jars-with-Stock1

When my children were little, we cooked a lot of soup and used a lot of stocks, so I always had a pot of stock going, and plenty in my freezer.  Homemade stock is way beyond what you can buy in the store.  It is rich and flavorful and makes your dishes a step above the norm.  Buying whole chickens and cutting them up yourself is more economical and less wasteful.  I would always have a ziplock bag in my freezer and would add the necks, backs and wing tips to the bag as I cut up a chicken for a meal.  I would keep the bag until it was full enough to do a batch of stock, then I would open them up, roast them and put them into the stock pot.  The result was a full flavored stock that could be used as a base for chicken soup, or any other recipe that needed stock.

 

Chicken Stock

 

I gallon sized bag of chicken backs, necks and wing tips

3 stalks celery with leaves, roughly sliced

1 large carrot, roughly sliced

1 large onion, quartered

1 leek, roughly sliced

6 sprigs of fresh parsley

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. salt

8 peppercorns

Place chicken parts in a roasting pan and roast in the over at 375 degrees until golden.  Pour chicken parts and any juices into a stockpot.  Pour 1 cup water into roasting pan and heat over med heat, scraping browned bits off bottom of pan.  Once liquid comes to a boil, turn off heat and pour over chicken parts in stockpot.  Add vegetables and herbs, then add enough water to cover (about 10-12 cups).  Over moderate heat, bring slowly to a boil.  Use a slotted spoon to skim off the fat and scum that rises to the top.  Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 3 hours.  The longer you simmer the stock, the better the flavor.

Line a fine sieve with cheese cloth and place over a large bowl.  Slowly pour the stock into the sieve and allow to drain.  Throw away the solids.  Let stock cool to room temperature.  Once cooled, pour into serving size containers and cover.  Label and date the containers.  Store the stock in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Makes 2 quarts of stock.

Advertisements

Dark Chocolate Cake

74341

As all my family and friends can tell you, I have been trying to come up with the best chocolate cake recipe ever.  After playing with a lot of different recipes, adapting this and that, I think I have finally come up with one that I really like.  Here is the recipe for those who love chocolate…..

 

Dark Chocolate Cake

2 cups boiling water
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Hersheys Semi Sweet cocoa for this recipe)
1 cup soft unsalted butter
2-1/4 cup white sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tab. vanilla
2-3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 8 inch round cake pans. 

Put the cocoa powder in a small bowl, and pour the boiling water on top of it.

Whisk the water and cocoa together until smooth, and then set aside until cooled.

In a mixing bowl or standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time until they are completely combined.

Sift all of the dry ingredients together.

Gently add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and half of the chocolate. Mix to combine.

Repeat with the remaining ingredients and mix into a smooth batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Bake the cake layers about 25 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes, then remove from pans and finish cooling on a rack.

Ganache

2 cups heavy cream
1 lb dark chocolate pieces

In a small pot, bring the cream to a simmer. Pour the cream over the chocolate pieces and let sit about 5 minutes.

Whisk the ganache until smooth and shiny. Set aside. Cover a cake plate in a few strips of parchment or wax paper.

Place one of the cake rounds onto the parchment covered cake plate. Put a large dollop of ganache on top. Spread evenly. Follow with another layer and spread with ganache.  Finally top with the third round of cake.

Refrigerate, at least 15-20 minutes.

With the remaining ganache, which should be stiff and the texture of a glossy frosting, frost the cake in a smooth, even layer. Then remove the parchment carefully.  This will keep your cake plate clean.

 

Sugar Cookies

Eastersugarcookies

I use this recipe for most holidays, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Fourth of July,  wherever I want a simple decorated cookie.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup soft butter                                        2 cups sugar

2 eggs                                                             5 cups flour

1 tsp. salt                                                        4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg                           1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup milk

Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat until fluffy.  Stir together dry ingredients and add alternately with milk and vanilla to creamed mixture.  If dough is sticky, add a little flour to handle.  Roll 1/4 inch thick on well-floured pastry cloth;  cut using cookie cutters of choice.  Place on ungreased baking sheet in moderate oven, 375 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Cool on racks.  Makes about 100 cookies depending on size of cookie cutters.  Once cool, decorate with almond frosting and sprinkles.

Almond frosting

2 cups powdered sugar                                   1 tsp. almond extract

enough water to make a smooth, thick icing

Mix all ingredients, slowly adding water until smooth thick consistency is achieved.  Color with gel food coloring as desired.