Beefy beverages – or, how to make bone broth

When I visited Brooklyn Sis for Thanksgiving last month, instead of seeking out Black Friday sales we went in search of bone broth. That is correct. Beefy beverage > new clothes. The impetus? This article. So off to the East Village we went, looking for a window through which someone would hand us a cup of steaming broth.

We found the tiny window. We ordered the broth –  both of us getting a small (8 oz.) gingered grass-fed beef broth ($4.75)– and we loved it. It felt nourishing & the flavor was subtly beefy, but well-balanced by the ginger; it kept us warm as we headed to the Museum of the City of New York's Mac Conner exhibit. The next day I headed back to Boston and forgot about bone broth.

Bone broth with bits of parsley & ginger – you can remove them prior to serving, or simply eat around them

Bone broth with bits of parsley & ginger – you can remove them prior to serving, or simply eat around them

Until I got bronchitis this week. And while chicken noodle soup is the classic healer of all ills, I wanted bone broth. But I didn't know how to make it. So I enlisted the help of someone with far greater culinary prowess than myself, and 6 pounds of bones and 16 stovetop-hours later, a beautiful pot of bone broth emerged. "It's actually just stock. I don't know why everyone's calling it bone broth," aforementioned cooker-of-the-broth informed me. But bone broth just sounds so much catchier.

And because I want to be able to replicate that bowl of delicious gelatinous goo (which is the form bone broth takes when stored in the 'fridge), I asked for the recipe. Which follows. Enjoy!

Delicious gelatinous goo – once heated it quickly becomes liquid

Delicious gelatinous goo – once heated it quickly becomes liquid

You'll need:

  • Bones - enough to fill whatever pot you're using. I have a 5.5qt dutch oven, and I bought about 5 pounds of assorted bones – pork, chicken, veal. Beef is fine too. Chicken feet, backs, necks, pork hocks, necks, oxtail. All of that works.
  • Aromatics - a small carrot, a medium onion, a small leek, a medium sized waxy potato (red potato is fine), fresh thyme, bay leaves, black peppercorns, tomato paste, ginger, parsley.
  • Salt
  • Vinegar (apple cider recommended)
  • Lemon
  • Water


  1. Put all the bones in a single layer on a tray. Heat your oven to 450. It doesn't matter if the bones are frozen. Put the bones in the oven and roast for about an hour, until they smell roasty but not burnt. Yes, roasty is a word.
  2. When finished roasting, put the bones in your pot, just barely cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to just enough so that a bubble or two breaks the surface now and then. Simmer for at least 4 hours, up to 24.
  3. About 2-3 hours before you plan to stop cooking the stock, cut the onion into chunks (6-8 pieces - skin is OK, but trim the top/bottom), and add it to the pot with the thyme, bay leaves, a tablespoon of whole black peppercorns, and about two tablespoons of tomato paste. Try not to stir too much, but make sure everything is submerged.
  4. About an hour and a half before you're done, add the carrot, leek (wash this well!), and potato (all cut into big chunks), and about 1/4 pound of ginger, cut into slices. You don't have to peel anything, just toss it in there.
  5. When finished cooking the stock, strain it once into a large metal bowl. This is just the first pass - I usually use a colander. Press on the solids to get as much liquid out as possible. Dump the stock back into the cooking pot, and rinse out the metal bowl. Strain the stock again into the metal bowl using a fine-mesh strainer.
  6. Cool down the stock using an ice bath - get a bigger metal bowl, fill with a lot of ice and enough water to cover the ice, and place the bowl with your stock into the ice bath. Stir your stock constantly, and it will be ice-cold in about 10 minutes. (You can also skip this step and let the stock cool on its own, though it will obviously take longer.)
  7. Put the cooled stock in the fridge for a few hours. All the fat will rise to the top. Skim off this fat with a spoon.
  8. When you're ready to serve, heat up the stock in a pot. Add a few more slices of ginger and some parsley stems. Squeeze half a lemon into it. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and vinegar (cider vinegar works well here).

Fall food

Fall has been hectic – with generally fun things – and food has factored in in a big way. As usual. Here's a round-up of my latest food goings-on.

1. Louisiana Sis & Brooklyn Sis both visited last weekend. Louisiana Sis's one request is always, "Can we get sushi pleeeease?"

She didn't just have sushi. She had gold-flaked sushi.

2. A few days ago I headed to Viale, in Cambridge's Central Square. It's relatively new in the neighborhood so I thought I'd do my due diligence and check it out. I may also have been enticed by the sweetbreads on their menu. Offal is underrated.

3. I work in the nutrition world, so I go to the occasional health-themed conference. Where the swag bags sometimes contain interesting products. Like these cheese flavored puffs that purportedly support heart health & weight management.

4. Next to-try restaurant: WD-50, in NYC. Brooklyn Sis & I are heading there for Thanksgiving. Wylie Defresne's much-lauded establishment is closing soon, so I grabbed some tickets through their lottery system.

5. I've always found soup rather boring. Then recently I had some amazing butternut squash soup that made me realize the error of my ways. Someone get me an immersion blender because soup is definitely happening in my kitchen this winter.

Artsy eats (or, where Batman goes for drinks)

A couple of nights ago I met up with a friend at Boston's Liquid Art House. She loves their food & insisted we go together, and I was intrigued enough by the restaurant-meets-art-gallery concept to leave the comfort (and excellent eats) of Cambridge for a night out in downtown Boston.


Liquid Art House is where I imagine Michael Keaton's Bruce Wayne would have gone to meet Vicki Vale for a drink. He'd don his finest black turtleneck and wait for Vicki at the semicircular bar, halfheartedly studying the graffiti backdrop and glassy chandelier. Upon her arrival they'd be lead to one of LAH's multiple dining areas – designed in muted greys and reds – each with its own mini art gallery (i.e., art hung on walls & partitions).

So there's something of a '90s vibe to the place, or maybe I've just grown used to places with plaid-clad servers, restaurants cloaked in lovely warm wood, that hybrid rustic/industrial design trend taking over food establishments. LAH felt starker, colder. More aloof. Maybe meant to mimic the nature of an actual art gallery?

Art shopping + eating is an interesting concept, though. You're even given an "art menu" with a map that includes prices.


The food was good, the service perfunctory. The art? Nothing I liked so much that I'd grab it off the walls. My scallops were pretty, though.

Happy Halloween & some fun food links

Halloween! Candy. That's about all that needs to be said about this holiday. I don't know why the snack-size candy bars taste better than the full size, but I theorize it has something to do with the ridges on the bottom.

When I wasn't thinking about costume ideas this week, I was rounding up some fun links. Enjoy!

  1. Grab some citrus & make a cake. This is my new favorite recipe – feel free to use something besides clementines. I used mandarin oranges & lemons.
  2. It's Halloween! Ever wonder which candy is healthier? No? Well here's a series of candy showdowns anyway.
  3. And if I were throwing a Halloween party these Mounds Bar Truffles would definitely be on the menu.
  4. Sometimes I think about the kitchen I'd like to have. These 5 design tips are a good reminder that you don't need a ton of money or space. Sometimes the little things can make a big difference.
  5. Oh, and there's a new Portlandia cookbook.
  6. Last but not least, this list of recipes that will remind you of the '90s is pretty great.

Food ceremony & ugly breakfast

When I was little, it was a special treat if my mom, instead of pouring my milk into my cereal, instead put it in a small creamer pitcher for me to pour in myself. This happened infrequently. But when it did, I relished it as one might tea with the Queen.

And in most of Haruki Murakami's novels, his main characters often have very meticulous food rituals, taking great care in the preparation of their food. Perhaps this is reflective of Japanese culture in general, but his characters lavish an exquisite amount of attention – while simultaneously exhibiting admirable restraint – on food.

Such ceremony has a place in the food world, but my mealtime & cooking rituals as an adult are woefully lacking. I do make attempts. No eating meals in my bedroom. I try to use nice dinnerware (I love Apilco, personally). I once enforced a strict no-technology-while-eating rule, but that's fallen by the wayside as of late. I'd like to be better about observing proper mealtimes versus snacking all day, and I'm hoping to host more dinners as cooking & eating with others is hands-down one of my favorite things ever. Simple and deeply satisfying. Now, group dinners will entail a fair amount of ceremony – setting the table, arranging courses... and of course, presentation matters.

But when it's just me, I care less about how my food looks – for better or for worse. We do eat with our eyes, after all. But sometimes my meals look like a mess. Like this morning's breakfast of eggs over easy, leftover braised cabbage & carrots, and arugula. It wasn't refined. But it was good.

Vacation day in the kitchen


I made a last-minute decision to take the day off from work, fully intending to sleep late* & work on some projects.

What actually happened: I woke up at 7:30am and cooked & baked all day. Grey days trigger my "stay indoors and make good smells come from the kitchen" response. So comfort food it was. Chicken thighs in the slow cooker with ginger, onions & garlic; braised cabbage with carrots; and last but certainly not least, the pièce de résistance, chocolate chip cookies.

*Late for me = anything after 8am

Sunday food

The acorn squash is in the oven right now. To be eventually stuffed with some sort of rice & ground meat mixture.

The strawberries were a concession to today's humidity & warm temperature.

I'm simultaneously accepting and rejecting fall. At least according to my food purchases.

Salami & Italian picnics

Last weekend, low on groceries & forced to throw together something for lunch, this is what happened.

A few years ago when I was studying nutrition in Florence – the program was called "Italian Cuisine & the Mediterranean Diet" – we ate so much prosciutto and salami that I swore it off upon returning to Boston. Now if/when I buy it I'm instantly reminded of Italy. I wouldn't venture to call this an Italian lunch, but it made me reminisce about my time there.

One of the trip highlights was a group picnic, whereby everyone was given a piece of paper with the name of a food on it (in Italian) and we were sent off to market to fetch our respective items. Like a bunch of remarkably obedient children. I was tasked with finding caciotta, an Italian cheese. Picnic-style meals were common during this trip. Cured meat, cheese, a few olives, maybe some greens, and fruit for dessert. It was simple and delicious.

Here was one of our meals in Italy.

And another.

We were based in Florence but traveled around a bit, eventually winding down the coast to a seaside town called Acciaroli, where we had fried calamari and sardines.


Ah, the power of food. It's nutrients & vitamins and all that stuff that makes our bodies run, but it's also stories. Which are every bit as, if not more, important. Some more Italy photos below (click on the photos to scroll through) – enjoy!

Fast food Cambridge-style

On the spectrum of dinner options, I live on the extremes. I make something at home myself or I eat out. I seldom dabble in the middle ground of fast food or takeout.

But every once in a while, when the Earth's gravitational pull is just right, it happens.

After work today I popped into a place I'd never tried and walked out with something called The Green Goddess. There was a lot of green. And a lot of grain. Kale, avocado, brown rice, garlic, sprouted grains & some kind of gingery miso sauce.

It was tasty. It was really green. It comes with a side of "You virtuous eater, you!" even though I think good/bad food labels are, well, bad. But two thumbs up for tons of vegetables in my "fast" food. And for it costing $6.

Secret burger & a midnight snack

I'd never had a "secret burger."

Until tonight. At Alden & Harlow, my favorite Harvard Square spot as of late, I tried not just any secret burger but the "SECRET secret burger." That's right. Two levels in. Tonight's was called The California. They don't tell you what's on it; you just order it, eat it, and ask questions later.

It was delicious. Turns out it had napa cabbage, jalapeno & bacon. I have no photographic evidence because I've been veering away from photographing my food in restaurants. I'm trying to find the happy medium between getting great shots to capture a beautiful meal, but also be a civilized person who shows respect to my dining companion. Pulling out a phone can break the flow of conversation, and meals are as much about the company (if not more?) than they are about the food. So, I figure it's worth it to lose a shot and stay in the moment, keeping my technology tucked away in my purse.

Post-burger I went to see a friend's comedy podcast, and after a lovely walk home I decided why go straight to bed when I can eat Croatian cookies? That's right.  A lovely & dear friend brought me cookies from a tiny bakery in Croatia. Lavender shortbread & cardamom biscotti. And that was my midnight snack.

Accidental Southern Night

My friend & I recently visited Belly Wine Bar, in Cambridge, for the first time. Upon arriving, a seemingly authoritative person asked, "Are you here for the soggy po-boys?"

Us: No, we just came to eat food & drink wine.

Him: Oh, okay, well tonight's a special kind of night. We have the outdoor bar set up and a special menu.

Me: And what's the deal with the soggy po-boys?

Him: OH! The Soggy Po-Boys are a great band, I love having them play here when I can. They do New Orleans music. The singer's voice is amazing. They're really, really great.

Me: Are they actually from New Orleans? That's where I'm from.

Him: No, they're from New Hampshire.

And thus ended our conversation with the very kind proprietor of the establishment, and thus began our lovely evening under strings of white lights, on a cool evening, with wine & Southern tunes (The Soggy Po-Boys were fantastic). The food we had was great, too – baked ricotta with honey and grilled bread. On our way home that evening my friend & I agreed we're definitely returning even when Belly Wine Bar isn't in Southern mode.

Sundays are for cooking & reading

And whatever else strikes your fancy. I try to squeeze a lot into Saturday so that Sunday's a nice blank slate. I've spent the past week settling into my new neighborhood, which I quite like, and recalibrating my routines. But my Sundays remain the same: I try to keep them open for general relaxation. Which today has entailed going for a run, throwing together a lazy breakfast – egg & arugula sandwich – and will also include doing some reading before meeting up with a friend this evening.

Cherrybombe is my new favorite magazine. It celebrates food & women and is excellently designed.

Cherrybombe is my new favorite magazine. It celebrates food & women and is excellently designed.

As for cooking, the plan is stuffed eggplant with lamb & pine nuts.

Friday fun: New cookbook

I've heard the name Yotam Ottolenghi mentioned a few times recently, and after trips to both Oleana and Sarma – restaurants with Mediterranean flavors, and a Turkish influence in particular  – I was inspired to buy one of his cookbooks and make some Mediterranean fare myself.

I love these sorts of flavors, and the simplicity of using high-quality ingredients but combining & seasoning them in ways unfamiliar to me. I've barely cracked it open, but already on my list: Stuffed eggplant with lamb & pine nuts, roasted chicken with clementines & arak, chicken with caramelized onion & cardamom rice, turkey & zucchini burgers with green onion & cumin, slow-cooked veal with prunes & leek, and maqluba (a massive savory cake that you make in one pot and then flip upside down).

And shakshuka.

And shakshuka.

We've got flame

Enough was enough. I met up with a friend tonight at Green Street Grill, and on the way home made an impulse stop at Whole Foods. Vegetables would be purchased. Vegetables would be roasted. The sandwiches must stop.

I love cooking & I miss it. And buying lunch at work was getting ridiculous – $10 for lackluster salad or mediocre Indian food? It was time to get back to business. My staples for work meals:

  1. Roasted vegetables – Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, squash & sweet potato are favorites
  2. Rice – For something more substantial
  3. Hard-boiled eggs – Easy protein
  4. Chicken thighs – Either in the slow cooker or baked
  5. Sardines or anchovies – Lazy option
  6. Cashews – Because Americans feel that snacks are imperative
  7. Dark chocolate – Because dessert

Heading into the fall I plan to do more recipe-based cooking to vary things up, but the above options are great when pressed for time.