random items, that suddenly came smashing together…
Item Number One – Kitchen inventories and pantry items
readers might recall that, on more than one occasion, I have wandered
around the supplies in a kitchen. One idea being how there are
some items we never use. In fact, even if we do use something
for a recipe or two, the reality is that in considering freshness
and use by dates it would probably be a bit more efficient to
just purchase the item and toss the remainder in the trash… because
it won’t be needed again for years.
Maybe not. But think for a moment, and tell me if you have any
of these in your kitchen right now: cardamom, juniper berries,
cream of tartar, saffron, vanilla paste (or vanilla pods) and
are many people that consider cream of tartar as much of a staple
as any style of vinegar. There are also people looking at that
list and laughing because they have none of them.)
Item Number Two – Good Eats: Reloaded (Episode: “Pressure”)
you been watching Alton Brown’s run with Reloaded? Good
stuff overall. A fun return to his classic Good Eats show,
and one of the best parts has been the way he admits to changes
that have come over time. (Specific examples include his preferences
and approaches to recipes, the advancements in things like equipment,
and how new research and information has adjusted his way of thinking.)
the “Pressure” episode, Alton discussed stocks and broths, and
in particular brought us his recipe for beef broth. And it is
at this point where item number one crashes into item number two,
eventually leading to me writing this essay.
of the ingredients in AB’s Beefy Broth include: fennel seed, a
cinnamon stick, star anise and palm sugar.
problem for me came from the idea that this is not even close
to a basic broth recipe. Sort of.
seriously, man on the street style… someone asks you for the ingredients
in making a beef broth from scratch at home. Ready? Go…
naming your source of the beef portion of the recipe, I would
argue that the most commonly cited items would be water, onions,
celery, black pepper and salt. A few people might venture into
areas such as carrots and other assorted veggies or spices. But
the big thing is, I think common items would end up being listed.
And that’s it. I seriously doubt if fresh ginger or cinnamon sticks
would get a single mention.
of this said, a step to the side for a moment. There is absolutely
nothing wrong with Alton Brown’s recipe. Nothing. In fact, I’d
go so far as to say I’m intrigued and believe it would be quite
good. Might be able to deliver medical miracles. Also, I like
Alton Brown, especially with regard to his efforts around the
culinary world. And, I’ve seen plenty of other cooking shows were
dishes were prepared with interesting and potentially very unexpected
made this recipe suddenly stand out actually had nothing to do
with unusual ingredients or a twist on what most would classify
as a foundation recipe with the addition of unusual ingredients.
(A foundation recipe being something you might use to build upon.
Beef broth being made occasionally to be served on its own, but
usually to be used as an ingredient.) Instead, it was the specific
unusual ingredients that were being called upon for this recipe.
already covered the ground of asking a person what items you might
need to create a homemade beef broth. Here’s a twist on the question
that combines Alton Brown’s recipe and the concept of our own
kitchen inventories: Do you have fennel seed, cinnamon sticks,
star anise or palm sugar in your home right now? It’s the answer
to that question that truly creates the sudden jump to attention
and distraction for me.
are good I won’t be making Alton’s recipe. The cinnamon sticks
could likely find a place in several of my recipes, and the ginger
would get used quite often. Can’t say the same for the star anise
or fennel seed.
the other hand, I am once again reminded that I would love some
fresh snickerdoodles. But that means I need to head out for some
cream of tartar. (And tarragon. I just found a recipe for a mushroom
dish that includes tarragon.)