Posts Tagged ‘beef stock’

There are some times when life opens up the box in which you’ve been thinking since…since you’ve been thinking. Last week, that happened to me. It wasn’t earth-shattering or life-changing. It was a small, simple idea about a small, simple thing. I love moments like that.

Last week, I wrote about consommé and received a comment from my friend, Iron Chef Leftovers, over at the Cheap Seat Eats blog. He mentioned how his stock never got cloudy because his stock never boiled.

When I read that, I guffawed. Literally. I guffawed. Reason? Because no matter how assiduously I oversee my stock while it’s coming up to the simmer, and no matter how much attention I give it during the long process, it always comes out cloudy. Even when I succeed in keeping it below the boil, there’s always a cloud of particulate matter in the stock.

But this is beside the point, and this was not outside the box of my current thinking. The thing he said that stopped me mid-guffaw was this:


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Obey the Kitty!(All the puns I could have used to title a post on stock, consommé, and au jus are terrible, so I refuse to pain you with them. Besides, you’re hearing them all in your head right now, anyway.)

Egg whites and I have a long, antagonistic history. I don’t “get” them, and they don’t do much for me. It all goes back to my attempt, at the age of about twelve, of making an angel food cake, from scratch, while my family was out for the day. “Whip the egg whites until they form peaks,” the recipe said. So, bowl in arm and whisk in hand, I beat them until my wrist was ready to crumble. What’s a “peak” anyway? How does one judge”peakiness”? I poured the resulting froth into the cake pan, presuming it would rise during cooking (don’t all cakes rise during cooking?) I took it out of the oven just as my family arrived home. The resulting half-inch high hard-pan custard…jerky…would forever be known as my Angel Food Flop. Egg whites and I have never gotten along, since.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to be able to make is a nice, flavorful, crystal clear beef stock. A consommé, to be precise. Years ago, I went to my copy of La Varenne Pratique to find out how to do it. Great. Egg whites. I tried again and again, and all I got was cloudy stock and a couple of wasted eggs. Or worse. Enter Julia Child.


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