Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hurricane Alex, Sundried Tomatoes and Fish Stock

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

Mmmmm, that's perfect!

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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  1. Nothing like a rainy day in the kitchen for some fun cooking projects! I have never made sun dried tomatoes OR fish stock so now I have something to do on our next rainy day here in FL! Thanks for sharing:)

  2. I love rainy and snowy days so I can spend it in the kitchen all day - great use of your rainy day!

  3. Another idea with LOTS of tomatoes. Last summer I helped my Mom with hers. Basically, you just boil a big pot of water, throw about 5 tomatoes in for about 2-3 minutes, just to blanch them (so it's easier to peel the skin). Then put them in a bowl of ice water. Peel off the skins and just put them in ziploc bags in the freezer. You can defrost them to add to soups or make your own pasta. I think we ended up with about 15 quart size ziploc bags!

  4. I'm so glad to have found your blog! Those tomatoes look fantastic and I love the mixture of colors. I live in the Chicago area and our tomatoes wont be in the farmers' markets for another week or two. Can't wait! I'm looking forward to visiting more of your blog posts. I've become a "follower" so as not to miss any.

    We were recently in Houston for a few days when my husband was honored at his alma mater's graduation ceremonies. We loved it. Hope they escape the hurricane's rage!

    Happy 4th!


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