One of the graces of home cooking is that there are no paying customers demanding a dish to be exactly the same visit after visit. Each time you make roasted vegetable stock you use any variety of vegetables, bones, meats, herbs, and spices you happen to have. Each time the stock will have a subtly unique flavor. This may not work well in a restaurant, but is terrific at home.
This post is dedicated to my 1970's junior high school home economics teacher, Mrs. Waetje, who taught that reducing waste is a tenet of home economics-- a wise use of family finances. It is a great feeling to rummage through the fridge for vegetables that may otherwise go to waste and turn them into liquid gold. Thank you, Mrs. Waetje, and if you are still out there, I was paying attention despite my wiggles and perpetual chatter.
Your roasted vegetable stock will add layers and layers of flavor to the soups and stews you make-- that's a given. Use your liquid gold to make risotto, to cook rice and grains like barley, farro, and buckwheat groats. Use it as a medium in which to simmer your dried beans, and as a base for meaty braises. A ladleful added to just about any ragu or stew will deepen its flavor. And one of my favorite things is to cradle a hot mug of broth first thing in the morning as a gentle winter wake up tonic.
Roasting the vegetables before the simmer produces a deep, richly flavored stock perfect for supporting heartier cool-weather ingredients and recipes. Save the light golden unroasted vegetable stocks for spring and summer cooking. To make a typical light golden broth, simply do not roast the vegetables first, and omit the mushrooms. Follow the remaining directions as they are written.
There seems to be a different answer to this question for every person who asks it. Some say that to be called stock it needs to be made with bones, or that broth is something you sip and stock is something you cook with. Another pundit suggests broth is lighter and more flavorful, while stock is thicker. That is questionable, in my opinion, as light broths can be rather wan and flavorless, and thicker stocks can be full of complex flavor.
So, potayto, potahto. Make some, enjoy it, and call it whatever you want. To me, spring and summer cooking seems to lend itself to light broths, autumn and winter to rich, brown stocks. The cooking community seems to agree that the terms are interchangeable. Whatever rolls out of my mouth is the term I'll use!
The very thrifty among us (like Mrs. Waetje, I'm sure) keep a zip-bag in the freezer and stuff clean, vegetable scraps into it. When it's full it is time to make stock.
Classic mirepoix-- onion, carrot, and celery are standard issue in stock making. (You will note the absence of celery in the mis en place photo below. I didn't have any, and it is not noticeably missed in the resulting stock.) See the notes section of the recipe for a more comprehensive list of vegetables and optional ingredients that can contribute to great stock.
Most vegetables make a good stock, with a few exceptions; Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and artichokes can be overpowering or add off-putting flavor notes, so avoid them for this purpose. Beets, especially red ones, will likely make your stock an odd and unappealing color, so think twice about throwing those into the pot. Potatoes are fine, but I don't use them to keep the stock a little more clear than cloudy, a personal preference.
Mushrooms are lovely in a roasted vegetable stock. Dried mushrooms, even better! Just one ounce of dried mushrooms (don't roast them-- just add them to the pot with the water) intensify the rich flavor and add a deeper color to the stock. They are not required, but do add something nice and grounding.
Limp, wilted, scuffed, and past-their-prime vegetables are all fair game. Just be sure to peel or cut off any parts that have blackened or have signs of mold to keep your broth clean and fresh tasting.
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How to release a cake from its pan begins a series of kitchen wisdom every home cook should know. These quick tips will make your kitchen efforts more fun, easy, and successful.
Have you ever baked a cake only to have the top of it stick to the bottom of the pan in chunks, taking your visions of a perfect cake with it? Me too. Here's how to get over that.
First, be sure to follow the recipe directions for prepping the pan. If it asks you to butter/grease or flour the pan, so do generously.
Be sure the cake has sufficiently cooled after coming out of the oven before attempting to release it from its pan. The pan should be comfortable warm to the touch, but not hot. This allows the sugars and proteins in the batter to set and gives time for steam to loosen the cake. If the pan is too hot, the chances of a clean release are small.
Use a knife, blade angled and pressed against the cake pan. Circle the blade all the way around the edge to begin loosening the cake.
Next, gently start to tap the pan, and gently bounce it up and down like you are waking a beloved from a deep sleep. You'll know the cake is ready to release when you feel it lightly bouncing against the pan. If the cake doesn't easily budge, leave it to cool just another minute or so and try again. Be gentle! If you are a bit rough, your cake can rip and leave it's beautiful flat top layer stuck.
If you've forgotten about your cake and left it to completely cool it may stick as well. First, test the above steps. If at first tap it doesn't budge, place it back in a warm oven for just a few minutes. This will allow the pan and the edges of the cake to warm up a bit, allowing the sugars release.
Of course, if your cake does come out of the pan missing parts, use a metal spatula to remove the stuck on parts and patch it back together. These things happen, and are nothing a dusting of powdered sugar, a drizzle of glaze, or a fluffy frosting can't minimize!
Sweet Corn Buttermilk Cake + Blueberry Compote
Wilton's Cake Baking and Serving Guide offers so much information! The capacity of batter and cooking times and temperatures for every size of pan; how many servings to expect, and a lot more.
Bake through the comprehensive classic recipes in Flo Braker's out-of-print book The Simple Art of Perfect Baking, first released in 1997 and updated in 2003, and you'll be a cake baking pro in no time.