In an effort to work on refining my cooking skills and not wasting food I have been making a lot of vegetable stock I have been using my vegetables that are not too old to eat but are not ideal to use in the state that they have ended up in by hanging around my apartment too long. This has been perfect as the weather has been cold and soupy goodness is just the right thing.
Vegetable stock is an incredibly easy thing to make. There are great recipes and guidelines everywhere but a quick rundown of my basic technique is as follows.
1. Cut up whatever vegetables I have on hand, making sure at the very least there is some carrot and onion in the mix. (pictured on the left; this stock had carrot, red and white onions, cilantro, plum tomato, 1/2 a jalapeno, bay leaf, Salt, and black peppercorns.
2. Throw everything in a large pot and cover with water filling the pot most of the way
3. Put on the stove on low and let cook for a hour or two making sure it does not come to a simmer.
4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and use!
With my vegetable stock I have been especially into making noodle soups. To do this I have been heating up my stock, sometimes with a little bit of miso paste and dried shitakes for some extra flavor, cooking noodles and some sides separately and throwing it all together. I have been adding some soy sauce to the shitakes for them to take on some extra flavor and adding them to my final noodles as a garnish.
I think the most important thing when cooking at home, especially when making something as simple and versatile as noodles, is to not take things too seriously. Anything can go and as long as it tastes good who really cares after a long day at work?