It’s a food prep day

It’s a food prep day.

I have 10 pounds of carrots, six heads of cauliflower, 4 bunches of celery, four large yellow onions, 2 big bunches of parsley, ten pounds of chicken breast, and all the trimmed cores and stems we pop in the freezer when trimming out cauliflower and broccoli, and some broccoli and cauliflower from the fridge out back. And 156 large eggs.

So I’m making cream of cauliflower soup, cream of broccoli soup that get frozen in 32 oz Chinese takeout containers. They’re easy to reheat sous vide and make a nice meal with some good bread and butter as the Seattle-style cold and nasty fall and winter weather is coming up.

Then I’m making chicken stock, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and a pound of chicken per quart of water, cooked about 2 hours, then strained. The dogs’ll love even the cooked out chicken breast to top their usual kibble, and I love having the homemade chicken stock. Made with chicken breasts it’s a strong, clean chicken taste. It doesn’t have the thickness of making it with whole chicken, or wings, but for that I simply add some gelatin.

And speaking of gelatin, it’s time to clean the deep fryer oil. Clear gelatin, dissolved in hot water, stirred into the oil at room temperature, let it sit over night, and the gelatin settles in a disk of crud at the bottom with clear oil on top you can simply pour off.

Some of the chicken stock, will go into chicken soup. Irene is still not feeling well, so chicken stock, chicken breasts, carrots, celery, cauliflower, with some vermicelli added in the end, will make a nice chicken vegetable soup that’s light enough to eat when not well, but has enough protein, carbs, and veggies in it to heal.

Most of the carrots, celery, cauliflower, I’ll cut up, somewhere between a small chop and a mince, and mix in even proportions. I do a quick saute on it, add plenty of chopped parsley, then freeze it in very thin, pound packs. Defrosts rapidly in room temperature water. Awesome for coming home after work and quickly throwing together made up soups, stir fry, pasta, whatever.

And then the eggs … Seven dozen I’ll steam to a near hard boiled. Steaming avoids the sulphur ring around the yellow. Dumped in a sink with ice and water for fifteen minutes, then peeled under running water. Cold smoked for an hour or two with smoke from Jack Daniels white oak whisky aging barrels, then they go in the brine for pickling.

Another dozen will go into herb infused dry brined egg yolks. Eggs separated, the egg yolks buried in coarse koshering salt with herbs mixed in. Three, four days (or, the week being what it is, likelier, six days, i.e. until next Saturday), then a short sting in the food dehydrator. They come out like Play-Doh. You can shave them for finishing, or use them as a flavor element in sauces.

The egg white, always a pain: too many of my recipes use egg yolks. Egg white omelets are right up there with tofu that’s not been boiled and used with something it can absorb the flavor off. It tastes like painter’s putty. I’m thinking simple French Meringue cookies. Egg white, granulated cane sugar, fine sea salt, cream of tartar, and some vanilla extract. And a deranged amount of patience baking at low temperature.

Fortunately I can do that at the same time as cold smoking the eggs.

It’s a good day, and today’s budget has about 2700 calories in it, so plenty of room for Magners while I smoke and bake.

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