Scrap Stock or Paying It Forward or Soup for All

This is not a recipe.  It’s a trade secret… a kitchen makeover… a lifestyle edit that will improve your life for the rest of your life.  I am not overstating the role the following information has had on my life and on my mindset.  It has been completely  transformative to my daily cooking routine.  

I’m about to share something with you that I insist you try just once so that you too can reap the benefits of it’s gifts and pay this tip forward.  Go get all Phil Jackson on some unsuspecting friend who wants his or her kitchen game to go all the way this year.  That’s how this method came to me and now this is how it’s coming to you.  We could actually find world peace with this stock.  It makes all things feel possible.

How to Make Scrap Stock and Change Your Life Forever

  1. Take a gallon Ziploc bag and stick it in your freezer.  
  2. Take out the bag the next time you cut an onion, garlic, carrot, celery or any other vegetable for some other purpose.  
  3. Open the bag. 
  4. Put the leftover scraps that you didn’t use — the carrot top, the onion skin, the celery leaves - and place them in the bag.  Also put the remainders of your chicken dinner in there too. Any and all bones are welcome. 
  5. Return the bag to the freezer.
  6. Repeat until the bag is full (in my house this takes about 2 weeks, give or take).
  7. Get out your slow cooker.  
  8. Dump the full bag into the slow cooker and cover with water.
  9. Add some salt.
  10. Set the cooker to high and walk away (You can do this at night and come back after a good night’s sleep. Or leave it simmering while you go to work.  It doesn’t matter).  
  11. Come back 4-10 hours later (depending on your cooker) and turn off the cooker.  
  12. Strain the solids out of the liquid.  I remove the big stuff with tongs and then put a big bowl in the sink.  I set a strainer on top of the bowl and pour everything though.  I usually get about 2 gallons of stock.  
  13. You just made enough stock until the bag is full again.
  14. Repeat Steps 1-14.

I have my friend Aly to thank for sharing this method that she and her husband use to make their homemade soup stocks.  She couldn’t have known that some shared margaritas and small talk would actually change lives.  

Stock has previously been such a mundane process for me.  I mean, there just always needs to be an afternoon that must be set aside for it.  And you have to make a trip to the butcher for bones.  And everyone has a different veg or herb combo that they insist is the the best way to get the best broth.  Frankly, just between us… I had been so bewildered by stock that six months prior to this post, I gave up altogether and went back to filling my pantry with the canned stuff.  

This method upends every precious idea I ever had about getting the “Perfect Stock.”  Yes, there is and always will be a place for gorgeous, velvety veal stock that takes 2 days to reduce.  However, there’s also the rest of our days to contend with here.  I don’t know about you guys but I could eat soup nearly every day.  And knowing that I can eat soup with broth of my own clever making - ALL the time — well, that power just sunk a three-pointer and declared me Soup Champion.

Soup of the real, homemade variety is restorative in a way that no can can ever replicate. Now that you have the template for making stock that makes itself for you, you never need to devote an afternoon to the simmer-and-skim ever again.  

Trust me and try this out just once.  And when it changes your life too, make a promise to share it with someone you love.  We may just start a revolution.  

Breakfast Biscotti

We get up unbearably early for school in this house.  The bell rings at 7:45am so on weekday mornings, it’s tough to figure out what to feed everyone when no one really has an appetite yet.  

These biscotti are a life-saver.  I make a batch every couple of weeks and now the mornings take care of themselves.  We make a pot of mint tea for the kids, coffee for ourselves, and depending on the mood, tuck into one or two with a fried egg on the side and we are ready to face the day.

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks of all-time, The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. Yes, this is a cookie.  I’ve edited it to amp up the worthwhile stuff, however, and minimized the sugar.  

I change the insides fairly frequently to keep the people interested, but mostly we all just like a few chocolate chips and lots of lemon zest.  

Breakfast Biscotti

Makes approx. 45 cookies


Note: I’m going to write this recipe in the format of Alice’s cookbook.  I really like reading recipes this way but make sure you read through the entire recipe first before you begin.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Get a large bowl and an electric or stand mixer.  You can beat by hand too if you’re a glutton for punishment. Combine:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I prefer raw but anything goes)
  • Zest of one lemon (herbs and spices can be substituted here)

Beat the above for about 5 minutes.  Eggs will get very aerated and start to form ribbons.  

Add the following to the bowl:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I’ve been experimenting with alternative flours and they are working great.  Substitute anything here.)
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal (make your own with raw almonds and food processor or buy bags of it at Trader Joes.
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just mixed.  Batter will be very sticky.

At this point, add any additions.  We like to fold in 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips but dried fruit and/or nuts are great too.

Wet your hands and divide the dough in half.  Hand-form into two loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  The dough will spread a lot so give the loaves as much space as you can.

Cook the loaves for 20-25 minutes or until they begin to get brown and look set.  Remove the loaves and cool for 10 minutes before placing on a cutting board.  Cut 1/4 slices (in the same manner as sandwich bread) and return to the baking sheet, cut side down.  They can go right next to each other now because they’ve already cooked and won’t spread anymore.  

Return to oven for an additional 20 minutes.  We like ours very crispy but you can remove them sooner if you want a more tender crumb.  

Cool completely and keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.