A non-recipe for simple veggie broth

We placed an order for more vegetables online today instead of going to the farm as we often do on Saturday mornings. The COVID-19 numbers are going up in Italy and it seems like a good time to lie low.

Businesses and restaurants remain open and my job still expects me to take the public train into the city once a week to work from the office. This decision seems questionable but I go on Wednesdays.

There is a curfew from midnight to 5 AM throughout the country and masks are mandatory outside. Some piazzas and streets and even staircases have been closed but there is no lockdown even if the numbers are rising faster than ever.

So we’re staying home. I made potato leek soup for lunch today and I used a quick veggie broth as a base. I often put apples or pears in my broth which tends to give people pause, including my boyfriend who wanted to know what I had “done with the apple”.

The original idea must have come from my mother’s Thanksgiving stuffing. She always puts apples in it and if you look past the bread and butter, the ingredients for traditional stuffing are rather similar to those that often wind up in vegetable broth.

First off, no broth? No worries. You don’t actually need it. Water will work just fine in most risottos and soups.

Or you can make a quick veggie broth by tossing a bunch of vegetables and herbs, and even fruit, into a large pot of water. No need to slice and dice. I just cut them in half and toss them in.

Carrots, onions, celery and potatoes are all nice but so too are apples and pears. Garlic is good and don’t forget the fresh herbs, like rosemary, thyme, and sage. See? Stuffing? Smells like it on the stovetop too. I’ve never tried citrus before, but why not?

Bring it all to a boil and let simmer for somewhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours. The longer, the more flavor. Strain and use.

I do like meat broth but I don’t roast a lot of meat and I’d rather not buy the dissolvable cubes or cartons with ambiguous “natural flavorings”.

For breakfast, I had some Wasa crackers with creamy robiola cheese and tomatoes with lots of black pepper, red pepper and salt. It’s sort of my version of a skinny everything bagel. Lunch was this recipe for potato leek soup. Dinner will be some sort of dry pasta. There is an eggplant that needs attention and Roberto hinted at making some pasta with cayenne pepper and garlic.

I suppose one reason I don’t frequently write about wine on this blog is that I often write these posts in the afternoon. The wine comes much later. However, there are two bottles of wine in the fridge that I am curious about and could easily see one of them winding up on the dinner table this evening.

The first is from the Vallée d’Aoste in the Italian Alps and is a white wine made from the Swiss grape, Petite Arvine.

The second is a Friulano from Franco Terpin, a winery that we like in Friuli Venezia Giulia. We’ve never had the Friulano before but we do like the affordable orange wines the same winery makes and labels “Quinto Quarto”.

Eat well. Stay safe.

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