Monday, November 10, 2008

"Homemade" Contradiction

The contradiction is a recipe for a certain food has the food already prepared as one of it's ingredients. This contradiction came up again today. Over the years I've encountered the contradiction several times and it just puzzles me and makes me laugh at the same time. I love to cook no secret there. Making something "homemade" or "from scratch" has never scared me in fact I relish it. I love knowing where the ingredients have come from and having control over what goes into a recipe. Over the years it has served me well as I make a great many fabulous foods that get raves. I love to spoil my friends and family with good food. I love to share my good recipes and I love to ask for and receive good recipes.

A few years ago I was at a friends house and she had the best baked beans I had ever eaten. Knowing she loved to cook as much as me I asked if she made them. We all know there are some pretty good canned versions of baked beans, but to make my own would be great. A resounding yes came back. I asked if I could have the recipe. She said, "Of course." This is what she gave me...

Baked Beans

4 (16-ounce) cans baked beans

1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup molasses
1 cup BBQ sauce
2 tablespoon yellow or brown mustard
5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 (6-ounce) can french-fried onions, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In large bowl, mix together beans, pineapple, molasses, BBQ sauce, mustard, bacon, and a third of the onions. Add some salt and pepper, to taste. Pour beans in 9 by 13-inch casserole dish and sprinkle remaining crushed onions and bacon on top. Cook in oven for 1 hour or until beans brown and bubble. Serve warm. Serves: 12 servings

First open 4 cans of baked beans?! Where does the homemade come from? I've never made this recipe. We so seldom eat baked beans that if I'm going to open a can we're going to eat it as is.

The next homemade contradiction came a few years later when at a friends house for BBQ Ribs I found the sauce to be the best I'd ever eaten. Again a friend that loves to cook I was hoping she had made the sauce.... and she did. She said she'd love to share the recipe for it, but that she didn't have it written down. So, I picked her brain.

Kim's BBQ Sauce

1 bottle
of BBQ sauce, (any flavor will do)

1/4 cup Sweet pickle relish
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar

Add lemon if you want, add molasses if you want. Simmer all day.

Again with the bottle of BBQ sauce. Usually if I open a bottle of BBQ sauce it's going straight on the meat, but I actually have made this several times. Not exactly as above. It's something I taste as the day goes on and add a little of this and a little of that until it tastes good. The one thing that's odd, but I think is the most important is the pickle relish.

Today's "Homemade" contradiction really made me laugh only because of where the recipe came from. My daughter had pneumonia right now and she asked for homemade chicken soup for dinner. Not something I've made before. I knew I'd need a good chicken stock with which to start. So, I went straight to the Martha Stewart Website and got the below recipe.

Homemade Chicken Stock
This recipe makes more than you'll need for many recipes, but the stock can be frozen for up to four months. The gelatin from the chicken bones is released during the long cooking time yielding a rich, flavorful stock.
Makes 5 quarts.
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
6 sprigs fresh dill, or 2 teaspoons dried dill
6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 dried bay leaves
2 leeks, washed, white and pale-green parts only, cut into thirds
2 carrots, scrubbed, cut into thirds
2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
1 four-pound chicken, cut into 6 pieces
1 1/2 pounds chicken wings
1 1/2 pounds chicken backs
12 cups (two 48-ounce cans) canned low-sodium chicken broth
Place peppercorns, dill, parsley, bay leaves, leeks, carrots, celery, chicken, wings, and backs into a large stockpot. Add stock and 6 cups cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a very gentle simmer, and cook for 45 minutes. Liquid should just bubble up to the surface. A skin will form on the surface of the liquid; skim this off with a slotted spoon, and discard. Repeat as needed. After 45 minutes, remove chicken from the pot, and set aside until it is cool enough to handle.
Remove the meat from the bones, set the meat aside, and return the bones to the pot. Shred the chicken, and set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use. Continue to simmer the stock, on the lowest heat possible, for 3 hours, skimming as needed. The chicken bones will begin to disintegrate. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a very large bowl. Discard the solids. Place the bowl in an ice bath, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to airtight containers. Stock may be refrigerated for three days or frozen for four months. Refrigerate for at least eight hours, or overnight. If storing, leave fat layer intact to the seal the stock. Before using, remove the layer of fat that has collected on the surface.

I'm reading the recipe. It's sounding very good. I have all the ingredients except leeks I'll substitute yellow onions. I prefer thyme to dill and I have fresh thyme in the garden. I get to the end of the recipe for "Homemade" Chicken Stock and it says "add 12 cups (two 48-ounce cans) canned low-sodium chicken broth." If I'm going to open canned chicken broth I may as well not bother with the rest of the recipe right?! It says to make chicken broth start with chicken broth. That just really confuses me. Why go to the extra trouble.

Well, when you're a mom and your child with pneumonia asks you to make her Chicken Noodle Soup from scratch you go ahead and follow the recipe. I'll report back as to how it was in the end.

How we liked it... I've made equally great chicken stock from using plain water to start. Add the other ingredients and you can't go wrong. I'd save your money and not add 12 cups of chicken broth and use 12 cups of water. The soup turned out great. Everyone including my "soup is not a meal" teenage son liked it. He did think it needed more chicken; where as, I thought it had too much chicken in it. My daughter had requested spaghetti noodles instead of the thicker egg noodles. I knew it wouldn't be bad with the change, but thought I wouldn't like it. I had broken the vermicelli up in 1 inch lengths and cooked them in the soup right along with the carrots. The vermicelli was fine and I liked it. Kind of reminded me of the little noodles in Lipton's Chicken Noodle soup that I loved as a child.


Scraplin said...

I understand your confusion about being homemade or not..especially the chicken stock one! I would have probably skipped the cans of broth and added water with some chicken base or buillion. That baked bean recipe sounds really yummy!!

cpeep said...

It's the whole concept behind "semi-homemade" :)

Completely from scratch is too time consuming. Just opening the package/can/jar is too mundane!