Vibrant Vegetable Stock

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This stock is good enough to serve as a first course consommé, in addition to using it as a basis for some of the recipes that follow. Baking or caramelizing the vegetables before adding the water gives an additional richness to the stock. If you wish, adding a 1 to 2 inch piece of kombu seaweed will also add a further depth of flavor. This stock will keep for 2 days, covered, in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen; divide it into 2- or 3-cup freezer containers. Feel free to add any vegetable trimmings from the bag in your freezer, but beware of cabbage or broccoli, whose flavors tend to dominate the stock.

Read Dave DeWitt’s article on Veggie Soups for Spring here.


4 onions, not peeled, cut into eighths
3 large ribs celery, cut into fourths
2 leeks, white part only
1 head garlic
4 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons high quality olive oil
3 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped New Mexican green chiles, or more to taste
1/3 cup chopped parsley, including the stems
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil or 2 tablespoons of dried basil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped celery leaves
1 zucchini, peeled and sliced
3 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
3 quarts cold water
5 whole black peppercorns


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the onions, celery, leeks, garlic, and carrots in a shallow pan and pour the wine over the top. Bake uncovered for 1 1/2 hours.

Heat the oil in a pot and add the caramelized vegetables and the green onions and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining ingredients (except the water and peppercorns) and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cold water and the peppercorns and bring the mixture to a boil. Then lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 2 hours. Remove the cover and simmer for another 30 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and salt to taste.

Smoked and Braised Lamb Shanks with Roasted Spring Vegetables

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Love the taste of lamb for Easter but don’t want to go to the bother of cooking a whole leg of lamb? This recipe combines stovetop smoking with slow cooking to produce fall-off-the-bone tender meat with a very rich, flavorful sauce. Although wonderful the day it is prepared, this entrée is even better after mellowing for a day. You’ll need a stovetop smoker and a slow cooker (alternatively, the lamb shanks could be braised in a 325 degree F oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours after being smoked). Serve with roasted spring vegetables (recipe follows) and garlic mashed potatoes. Smoke and braise extra shanks for a wonderful lamb stew.


4 lamb shanks (about 1 pound each)
1 tablespoon apple wood shavings
1 tablespoon hickory shavings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large celery ribs, cleaned and chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
10 Tellicherry peppercorns
2 cups Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
2 cups beef stock, homemade preferred
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Trim any exterior fat from the shanks and season them with salt and pepper.

Prepare the stovetop smoker by adding 2 tablespoons of wood chips (1 tablespoon of hickory and 1 tablespoon of apple) under the drip pan. Place the lamb shanks in the smoker and tent aluminum foil over the shanks. Leave one corner of the foil loose and heat the smoker over medium heat.

Once smoke begins to show, tightly seal the foil and smoke the shanks for 20 minutes. Remove smoker from the stovetop and place shanks on a plate.

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 lamb shanks and brown them on all sides until golden brown. Remove them to a plate and brown the other 2 lamb shanks. Transfer the shanks to the plate.

Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of drippings from the skillet. Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the skillet and cook them, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, parsley, basil, oregano, peppercorns, wine, and stock; heat to boiling. Transfer the vegetables and liquid to a slow cooker set on high. Place the lamb shanks on top of the vegetables and cook, covered, for 4 to 6 hours on high or 9 to 10 hours on low. Remove the shanks and keep warm while finishing the sauce.

Strain the sauce through a fine mesh colander into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Allow sauce to reduce and thicken, about 15 minutes. (If desired, the sauce could be thickened with a cornstarch slurry.)

Yield: 4 servings

Nam Phrik Kapi with Fresh and Fried Vegetables

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This recipe and others can be found in the following article:

Making Thailand’s “Chile Water”

Story and Photos by Austin Bush


Nam phrik kapi is probably the most well known nam phrik in Thailand. As the name suggests, it is made with kapi, a salted and fermented paste of fine shrimp known as khoei and is always served with fresh and/or parboiled vegetables, as well as egg-battered deep-fried vegetables, as described below. The amount of ingredients listed below for the nam phrik are largely for reference; a Thai chef would virtually never use measuring instruments to cook, and a dish is usually made to taste, keeping in mind a desired balance of the four tastes: sour, spicy, salty and sweet. 


For the sauce:

3 or more phrik khii nuu (very small Thai chiles)

1 tablespoon garlic

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/4 cup kapi (Thai shrimp paste)

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons makheua phuang (pea-sized Thai eggplant)

For the vegetables:

4 eggs

1 Chinese or Japanese eggplant, sliced into 1 cm thick rounds and put in a bowl of water mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar to prevent browning

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 bunch cha om (Thai acacia leaves) or fresh basil leaves

An assortment of fresh Thai vegetables, such as eggplant, cabbage, carrot and green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces.


Using a mortar and pestle, grind the phrik khii nuu with the garlic until a rough paste is formed. Add the sugar and the lime juice and grind together. Add the shrimp paste and continue grinding until a paste forms. Add water. If the mixture is still too thick, add additional water, a teaspoonful at a time (nam phrik kapi should have the consistency of a slightly watery paste). Taste and add more chiles, lime or sugar, to taste. Add the makheua phuang, breaking slightly, but not grinding, with the pestle. Put nam phrik kapi in a serving bowl.

Beat eggs with a few drops of fish sauce or a pinch of salt, divide into two bowls and set aside. Drain eggplant and mix thoroughly with one of the bowls of egg. Heat cooking oil in a wok and taking two or three slices at a time, fry the eggplant in oil on both sides until crispy. Set on paper towels to drain. Remove the tender cha om leaves and blend with the eggs. Fry mixture in hot oil as a thick omelet or frittata, turning over to cook on both sides. Drain on a paper towel until cool then slice into bite-sized squares.

Arrange the fresh and fried vegetables on a plate and serve with rice and bowl of nam phrik kapi.

Harissa and Seven-Vegetable Couscous

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This recipe and others can be found in the following article:

Moroccan Tagines

by Nancy Gerlach 


Tagines or tajines are wonderfully aromatic North African stews that combine meats, poultry, chicken, or fish with fruits, vegetables and a large variety of spices. The centerpiece of Moroccan meals, there are literally hundreds of traditional tagines as well as many regional variations 



2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup harissa, store-bought or see recipe here
4 dried piquin chiles
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 quart vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon saffron or substitute ground turmeric
1 large potato, peeled and diced
4 medium canned tomatoes, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and julienne-cut
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 small zucchini, julienne-cut
1 small eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 cup frozen peas
4 cups couscous
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup lemon juice, preferably fresh
Chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish
Harissa and Seven-Vegetable Coucous 


Heat a Dutch oven or stockpot over high heat and add the oil; when hot, reduce the heat, add the onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add the harissa, chiles, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Add the broth, saffron, and potato and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer the stew for an hour, adding water if necessary to thin if it becomes too thick.

Add the tomatoes, carrots, and chickpeas and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the zucchini, eggplant, and peas, and simmer until the vegetables are done. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Put the couscous in a bowl and add an equal amount of boiling water; cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Stir the lemon juice into the stew, taste and adjust the seasonings.

To serve: mound the couscous on a platter, top with the stew and garnish with the parsley. Serve with additional harissa sauce on the side.

Chap Chee (Korean Mixed Vegetables with Beef and Vermicelli Noodles)

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This recipe and others can be found in the following article:

 Oodles and Oodles of Asian Noodles

by Nancy Gerlach, Food Editor Emeritus 


  • 3/4 pound flank or sirloin steak, trimmed and thinly sliced against the grain in strips 2-inches wide

  • 1/4 cup dried wood ear mushrooms

  • 4 ounces vermicelli noodles

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

  • 4 green onions, finely chopped including some of the greens

  • 4 Thai chiles, stems removed, minced or substitute serrano or jalapeño chiles

  • 1 small carrot, julienne cut in 3-inch long pieces

  • 1 small red bell pepper, julienne cut in 3-inch long pieces

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach

  • 1/2 cup straw mushrooms

  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts

  • Garnish: Chopped fresh cilantro

  • Toasted sesame seeds




    • 1/4 cup soy sauce

    • 2 tablespoons sugar

    • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil

    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

    • 1 tablespoon sugar

    • 1 green onion, chopped

    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

    • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil


  • Instructions

    Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and add the beef. Toss to coat and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

    Place the wood ears in a bowl and cover with warm water. Allow the mushrooms to steep for 30 minutes to soften. Drain the mushrooms and discard the water.

    Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package, drain and keep warm.

    Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix.

    Heat a wok or heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and when hot, add the meat and quickly stir-fry until browned, about 2 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

    Add the garlic and ginger to the wok and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the onions and chiles and stir-fry for an additional 2 minutes. Next add the carrots, bell peppers, and spinach and stir-fry for 2 more minutes.

    Stir the sauce into the wok and add the noodles. Continue to stir-fry until the noodles absorb the sauce. Return the beef and cook until all ingredients are hot.

    To serve, place the Chap Chee on a large serving platter, garnish with the cilantro and sesame seeds and serve with the kimchi on the side.