Rainy Day in the Hill Country
I sincerely pray for everyone down in Mexico and South Texas. Our first hurricane of the season, Hurricane Alex, has made his presence known. Those of us in Central Texas are just really grateful for the rain, almost 3 inches at our home so far. The rainy day gave me the perfect excuse to catch up on that list of things to do in the kitchen. Today, that's Sun Dried Tomatoes and Fish Stock.
We have an abundance of tomatoes from the garden and can't possibly eat them all. In addition to what I have grown, a box of tomatoes from friends arrived last week. Sweet and super yummy yellow cherry tomatoes. My dilemma; we can't eat them all, I can't toss them, so I am making sun dried tomatoes to store for later use. The ones at the store must be lined with gold for the price is exurbanite and I happen to like mine better. No preservatives, just fantastic rich flavor. Just use what you have on hand and adjust the ingredients accordingly. Not rocket science, I never measure anything with this, just eye-ball it.
Sun dried Tomatoes
about 2 quarts cherry or Roma tomatoes, sliced in half
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
Toss together with all above ingredients with tomatoes. Spread on foil lined baking sheet. Place in 175 degree oven for several hours. check on them periodically until they are the right texture for you. Allow to cool. Spread on clean baking sheet, freeze. Remove to jar to store and pop back in the freezer for later use.
Just about right, a little longer
The fish stock was next on the agenda. From the fishing trip my sister and I went on together, I brought back some of the carcasses from the fish cleaning. Beautiful pieces of Ling, Red Snapper, Trigger and Pompano. All waiting for a day like today to make stock.
So I looked toward my mountainous cookbook collection for some direction. I found myself back to one of my favorite and most dependable Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques. I love Jacques method of teaching and I think he's kinda cute too! Just a thought....if you keep a plastic zip top bag in the freezer, you can put your daily vegetable and herb scraps in it. You will always have veggies on hand to make different kinds of stock. It is so much cheaper than purchasing it and a whole lot better tasting!
Fish Stock, approximately 1-1/2 quarts adapted from Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques
2-1/2 pounds fish bones (if fish heads are used, be sure to remove the gills) washed carefully under cold water or the fish stock will be bitter
2 T sweet unsalted butter
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
2 to 3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1/4 C parsley stems
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp sea salt
1-1/2 C Dry white wine
3 quarts water
Place the butter in a large skillet or kettle and add the fish bones. Steam on medium to high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring with a wooden spatula.
When the bones begin to fall apart, add the onion, celery, parsley and mix well. Steam for another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring. Add all the other ingredients to bring to boil. Boil on high heat for 35 to 45 minutes.
Strain through a fine sieve. You can freeze the fish stock and use it for soups, or thick it with a roux so it becomes a veloute, as well as reducing it to a glaze and finishing it with cream and butter.
Ready for the freezer!
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