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Vegetable Stocks


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5 replies to this topic

#1 Jinmyo

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 07:27 PM

Michel, thanks for joining us. I don't know much about your cuisine at this point but I believe you use vegetable stocks, let the starches settle, decant and reduce in various ways to gain thickness. Could you comment on this, please? It's quite interesting.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#2 Michel Nischan

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Posted 31 October 2002 - 09:58 AM

Actually, I use vegetable juices that are high in starch like sweet potato, regular potato, kabocha/hard squashes, corn, etc. Some the juices are very powerful with starch, like sweet potato. If you heat pure sweet potato juice in a saucepan, it thickens instantly and actually becomes too thick. Also, the flavor of potato starch takes a while to cook out. I allow the sweet potato juice to sit 2 to 4 hours, allowing most of the starch to settle on the bottom of the storage container. I then pour the juice off, leaving the starch behind (the starch is great for gnocchi). Now the juice can be simmered and reduced. The sauce thickens through a combination of reduction, and the remaining starch catching up to the reduced amount of juice.

Corn starch is gentle, so corn juice can be heated immediately after juicing. Hard squash starch is medium in strength and has an agar-agar like quality that is reminiscent of the stickiness of okra. I counter this by starting with a stock or tamari reduction with a little maple syrup or cane sugar. I add the juice and allow it to cook gently for 20 to 40 minutes without coming to a full simmer. Once the sauce/soup thickens, I allow it to just come to a simmer, then remove it from the fire.

Other juices have little or no starch and make great syrupy reductions, like root vegetables. I especially love rutabaga. The tannins and natural pectin allow you to emulsify incredible amounts of oil into the syrup, making for great warm dressings or sauces. I also combine these syrupswith reduced vegetable and animal stocks to add depth and complexity.

#3 Liza

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Posted 31 October 2002 - 11:16 AM

If you have time, would you follow up on how to use the starch in gnocchi? We are familiar with baking or roasting potatoes and other root vegetables for gnocchi, and take the extra step with more watery ones (rutabaga in particular) of further drying out in a pan.

#4 Jinmyo

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Posted 31 October 2002 - 06:59 PM

Michel, I suppose you then must have some tremendous juicers. I'm very interested in this and will explore it. Thank you.

On the other end of vegetable stocks, do you use tomato or cucumber waters for light soups or broths?

And I am also interested in Liza's wondeful question about using sweet potato starch in gnocchi.

(Happy Halloween and thanks for your kind answers.)
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#5 Michel Nischan

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Posted 31 October 2002 - 07:09 PM

Hi Liza. We use potato starch when wet gnocchi (roots, etc) needs gentle tightening. We also use it like a slurry to thicken sauces that are traditionally thickened with cornstarch or arrowroot. This "live" starch can be refrigetated two to three days. Don't know why, but sweet potato starch doesn't oxidize like regular potato starch. I guess I should have gone to college :laugh: .

#6 Michel Nischan

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Posted 31 October 2002 - 07:20 PM

I do have great juicers -- thank you.

I do use tomato, cucumber and fennel water. I actually like combining tomato and fennel water and reducing slightly to intensify the flavor. Reduced further, it makes a great ice when run through a paco jet. These waters also make great gelatins when applied witrh agar agar.

I also love what I call finishing juices like asparagus and celery. I juice and add them right at the end to sauces or soups. The fresh vegetal flavor provides cinsiderable impact.