Things I cook every week in winter

There are things I cook every week, food for the coming work days. Food I cook on my days off that make it easy to eat food I like on the days I don’t have time to cook. I Tweet about them, but since Twitter is not a great medium for conveying recipes, here are the recipes for things I talk about constantly on Twitter.

Vegetarian Stock

Tools needed:

Big pot with lid, like a 6-qt or 8-qt pot. A stock pot, or a dutch oven.
Spoon for stirring.
Strainer of some sort.
Container to strain liquid into.
Containers for storing the stock.
Stove.

Ingredients:

Two onions, or the equivalent in shallots, green onions, or leeks. Chop them into quarters, skins and all.
Two heads of garlic. Cut them in half across the cloves. Use the wholes cloves, papery skins and all.
Carrots, two large, broken in half or thirds.
The rind of a hard parmesan cheese. Or, about an ounce of parmesan cheese. A good sharp cheddar might also work.
Tablespoon of peppercorns.
Three bay leaves.
Water.

Optional items:

About 6-8 mushrooms
A parsnip
Celery
A teaspoon of marmite, or vegemite, or soy aminos, or miso, or soy sauce. JUST A BIT. NOT TOO MUCH
Bits of turnip or rutabega
Salt

Put all the stuff in the pot. Fill the pot to the top with water. Put the lid on. Cook on high until the pot is boiling. Turn the heat down to low. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Put your strainer inside your bowl for collecting the liquid. Pour the stuff from the pot into the strainer/bowl. The strainer should catch all of the peppercorns, garlic papers, and bay leaves. If it doesn’t, remove them from the liquid with a spoon. DO NOT throw the hot messy glop directly in to the garbage. Let it cool. You will melt your garbage bag if you toss it right away.

Pour the liquid into your storage receptacles. I usually make one ice cube tray of stock and put the rest into 1-pint containers and freeze it.

Winter Squash with Chevre

Tools needed:

Oven
Baking sheet
Large mixing bowl
Aluminum Foil
Immersion blender, hand mixer, or willingness to mash things with a spoon
Cutting board
Big knife
Storage container

Ingredients:

Two medium or large winter squash. I use one acorn squash and one butternut squash.
Half-cup of stock or broth
1 ounce of chevre or other goat cheese
Oil

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the squashes in half. Scoop out the seeds and stringy seed-containing gunk. Pour a little bit of oil — I use olive oil — onto the foil-covered sheet. Put the squash onto the sheet, cut-side down. Rub it around in the oil a bit. Do that for each half of squash, adding a bit more oil if needed. Rub a bit of oil on the tops and sides of the squashes. Bake in the oven for about an hour.

I say “about” an hour because smaller squashes will cook faster. Check at about 40 minutes. If it looks like they are burning, take them out and check for doneness. This means flip one excruciatingly hot squash-half over and stick a fork into the meat of the squash. If it goes in easily, you’re done.

Let the squash cool for about 20 minutes. Scoop the meat of the squashes into your mixing bowl. Add the stock and the chevre. Blend everything together, or mash it. When it’s smooth and creamy, put it into the storage container, if you can somehow avoid eating the entire bowl right then and there.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Items needed:

Oven
Oven-safe baking dish of some sort, with either a lid or aluminum foil for a lid
Big knife
Cutting board

Ingredients:

A variety of root vegetables that, when chopped into pieces, will fill the dish you have. I know this is not super-specific. I recommend the following:
One sweet potato
Two carrots
Two parsnips
Turnip and rutabega to fill out the rest of your baking dish
Olive oil
Herbs de Provence, or some dried rosemary and dried sage
Salt

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 400. Chop the root vegetables into pieces that are all the same size. It doesn’t matter so much what that size is; it matters that they are all the same. I chop them into pieces about 3/4 of an inch square, more of less. Put them all into your baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with herbs — not a ton, just a light dusting — and a bit of salt. A pinch of salt over the whole mess and stirred in will be fine.

Put the covered baking dish into the oven. At about twenty minutes, stick a fork into a largish piece and see if it is soft. This will really depend on the size of your pieces and how many are in the baking dish. If it is soft, you’re done. If not, check every ten minutes.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Items needed:

A pot with a lid
A stove
A sink
A timer of some sort

Ingredients:

A dozen eggs
Water

Directions:

Put a dozen eggs in a pot. Fill the pot with cold water until the eggs are covered, with about a half-inch more water over. Put on the stove, turn the heat to high. Boil the eggs, covered, for 18 minutes. Turn the heat down when they start to boil over, but make sure they are still boiling. Drain and run the eggs under cold water for a few minutes, so they stop cooking. Put them back in their container and store in the fridge.

This is really, really straightforward. I have seen lots of variations on this, involving how to make them easier to peel, etc. But I don’t really have time for fancy finicky egg-related shenanigans. I just want hard-boiled eggs during the week when I am hungry.

Tomato-Pepper Salad

Items needed:

Big knife
Cutting board
Container for storage

Ingredients:

Four tomatoes
A red or yellow bell pepper. You could use green, I suppose, I merely don’t like green peppers. But they are a ton cheaper.
Green onions or shallots
Pepper
Salt
Olive oil

Directions:

Chop the tomatoes and put them in the container. Cut the bell pepper in half, remove the seeds and the white pith. Chop into bite-sized pieces and put in the container. Mince the green onions or shallot until you have about a tablespoon of minced onion-related-product. Put it in the container. Drizzle about a teaspoon or two of olive oil over the stuff. Add a little bit of salt and a little bit of black pepper. Stir. Store in the refrigerator.

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