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How to Make Vegetable Stock the Easy Way

Theres’ what you learned in school…

What goes in a veggie stock?

We’re taught that for a vegetable stock, it’s best to use clean ingredients, no strong flavors. Nothing goes into the pot that you wouldn’t eat by itself.

It’s a great set of rules, and in theory, something you could aspire to.

Then there’s reality

Veggie stock is flavored water. In this case, you are using trimmings to give the water a bit of body. I’m sure that there is some vitamin extraction or even other anecdotal reasons to make vegetable stock.

The absolute truth? It’s a way to save money. Instead of using an expensive meat and bone based broth, vegetable stock allows more flavor than just water and base.

A mentor that I respect taught me that soups made with vegetable stock with the predominate vegetable taste cleaner than a soup with a meat base. (Unless the soup is a meat-based soup of course!)

Check out the pro tips to making vegetable stock


I Lovingly Abused This Book While Learning to Cook

Picture of the book that I used all throughout college

In the last post I remade a revolting pea dish. Today I am going to talk to you about the one cookbook that became my bible when I was an apprentice.

Have you that one friend – the one that treats all their books as if they were the Holy Scriptures? Reverently packing the books away, careful they don’t bend a corner, or scuff the spine? You should see my culinary textbook. It would give them a heart attack.

Click through, but beware book lovers – this abuse isn’t for the faint of heart!

a photo of peas, prosciutto, mushrooms

We all have our Archilles heel, right?

I’m talking of food (or dishes) that you wouldn’t eat if someone paid you to.

I have one. Only one item that I won’t even try.

Canned peas.

Why not?

There isn’t a way that I can describe the smell without an involuntary retch, eyes bugged out, and mouth snapped shut. You feel that?

That’s me shuddering as I type this.

I still, to this day, don’t know why my mother bothered. A bowl of steaming, olive-green peas straight from the can. Every once in a while, she would try to force me to eat them. No dice, amigo.

To hear my mother tell it, I used to spit out the peas whole from the jars of baby food (stew) untouched. You just couldn’t pay me to enjoy them.

My first Thanksgiving with my In-Laws

Fast forward years later, and I’m sitting at the table with my wife’s family for what was out very first Thanksgiving together. I’m sure that my Mother-In-Law had an inkling that my weakness was for the peas, but she passed on the family tradition – peas, mushrooms, and onions. I love my Mother-in-Law, but there’s no getting around it.

They looked like a can of smashed in assholes.

I’m known as a pretty opinionated guy, right? Sure. That is, when you get to know me.

Otherwise, when we first meet, and when we first dine together, I’m anything but. I was raised to eat what was put on my plate. Especially if it came from someone who you are a guest in their home. In this case, the peas are one of those dishes. I needed to make a good impression.

I swear, I tried to like them. I took a bit, smile cracking my face, knowing there’s no way in hell that I’d finish them. I shoveled a spoonful into my mouth.

It was like a spoonful of Satan’s ass.

Don’t get me wrong, my Mother-in-Law is a fantabulous cook. She can cook circles around almost anyone that I know. With this dish, you can’t make shit taste better by adding candy sprinkles. I don’t get how people can eat them without grimacing.

To each their own.

Here’s the challenge:

You may remember the food writing prompt from yesterday. How do I make this dish better? How do I make a dish that I will like, and that everyone else will too?

I do like fresh peas, and peas fresh frozen. I love onions, and mushrooms are the bomb. I did a quick search through Saveur (one of my favorite magazines) and came across a recipe for braised peas and proscuitto.

It was as if a light went off in my head.

Add onions and mushrooms to it, and we have a winner.

Here’s what I did:

Sweet Peas with Prosciutto, Mushrooms, and Onions

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 10 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a photo of peas, prosciutto, mushrooms

Inspired by a recipe from Saveur Magazine


  • 2 fl oz. Olive oil
  • 120 g (4 oz) prosciutto, small dice
  • 350 g (12 oz.) onions, small dice
  • 150 g (5 oz) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1.18 kg (2.5 lbs) peas, frozen or fresh
  • 2 fl oz. vegetable stock (or water)
  • To taste Kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal Brand)
  • to taste freshly ground black pepper

HELPFUL EQUIPMENT: (Links go to my Amazon Store)


  1. Sweat prosciutto, onions, and mushrooms in oil until the onions are translucent and the prosciutto is starting to crisp up.
  2. Add peas and vegetable stock, start stirring gently to evenly braise the peas. Cook until they are crisp-tender. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve immediately.

Your Turn

Do you have a food or dish you couldn’t eat if you tried? Let me know in the comments below.


Will Write for Food Chapter 4 Writing Exercises

Still working through the fantastic book, Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Memoir, Recipes, and More by Dianne Jacob. Today we are talking about chapter 4.

This mega chapter is about writing for blogs, how to find your inspiration, how to keep going, and what a blogger needs to do in order to make a living doing so. The writing exercises are a lot of fun. Let’s get into it.

[click to continue…]


Secrets of the Trade: How to Zest and Juice Citrus

Why are you buying your juice from a fake lemon?

You know the one I mean. Those yellow or green fake fruit that speckle the fresh produce aisle without a hint of irony. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of sampling radiator fluid, then you know even that tastes better than what comes out of those containers.

What if I told you there was a far easier way? It involves a toothpick, a way to heat the fruit, and an optional press.
Click here for the trick!


How to Make Chicken Stock the Easy Way

I’ve covered chicken stock before. There’s also a Crockpot version, and a post I did over at Fat Head. I figured that it was time to update the post in my new style. So here goes.

Okay, let’s cut the crap.

Look, I’ll level with you. Chicken stock is no big deal. I don’t understand why my wife sent me to the store today to buy a 900 mL chicken broth for $1. (a no-name brand from Super C stamped on it.) Okay, it’s because I let the chicken stock I keep in the freezer run out.

I bought it, of course, but if she knew how stupid easy it was to make it, she would never pay 10 cents for the base flavored water out there. (Shit! Then what would she need me for?)

Today it’s not really a recipe, only a technique, a ratio, and some stuffy old rules (some you can absolutely break.)

The best part? The system I have set up costs me next to nothing, and it uses product that most people throw away. Stay tuned.

time to learn about stock!


Will Write For Food Chapter 3 Writing Exercises: Review

Still working through the fantastic book, Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Memoir, Recipes, and More by Dianne Jacob. Today we are talking about chapter 3.

This chapter is about looking for inspiration in various places. This meant reading magazines (other than Bon Appétit and Ricardo.)

[click to continue…]


Have you ever noticed that the best tasting soups are the ones with the fewest ingredients? How can something that simple taste so good?

This soup’s humble beginnings

Back in the days when I was an apprentice running the saucier section in a busy hotel, I had one particular Sous Chef on my ass all the time. His department went through the most demiglace, and he demanded that we follow the recipe for his soup. Don’t fuck with that soup, or he will hand you your ass.

Years later I had the pleasure of working with a guy that reminded me of that guy Robb Wells plays from the Trailer Park Boys. (Let’s call him Greg. Not his real name.) It was when I tasted his version of my soup that he had a learning moment. The “DFWTS” lesson. (Don’t Fuck With That Soup.)

Click to find out more of Ricky’s shenanigans


With the recent events in Paris, and over the world, our hearts are with the victims of these senseless attacks. It seems fitting, that we would turn to an old comfort food classic, French Onion soup, to celebrate that which is great about that country. In no way will the people behind those attacks ever get their way. As long as we have our culture, our food, and celebrate together, they can all just sod off.

I’ll be blunt. This soup is a product of a fah-q moment. It’s a long anecdote, but a decent story. I’ll have a recipe at the end, I swear!

A humble onion soup

The seed for this version of French onion soup started when I was back in cooking school over at S.A.I.T.. If I were to write here what the original thought of the soup was, it would probably date me, and show you the level of sophistication just wasn’t there. I was a new cook, discovering that there were dishes out there to be found, and so I was of course caught up with the excitement at the time. (Sourdough bread bowl, I’m looking at you!)

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It’s the end of Saturday night, the chit spike looks like a drunk teenager vomited paper all over, and my ass feels like I’d wiped it with 180 grit sandpaper. Now it’s decision time, a toss-up between a satisfying pull of a cigarette that blasts your lungs back into nirvana, or the soul-satisfying taste of a dish well prepared.

Here’s how it lays out: IF you remember to take your meal break (and you didn’t sneak out for the millionth “quick three drags” of the night) then whatever you make must cost less than the cigarette you bribed the chef to look the other way. Staff meals are meant to be like KD™ – cheap, quick to prepare, and satisfying.

Click here to find out the “dirty” recipe!

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