Vegetable stock. The great thing about this, is the recipe really doesn't matter, just the main principles. Use whatever veggies you've got and like (or get rid of some you don't). The roasting and the apple (or pear) seem to be key. The rest is pure invention.
- apples (or pears)
- lemon grass (optional)
- peelings and tired old vegetables
- fresh or dried herbs (thyme, dill, allspice)
- water to cover by two inches
- Cut in big chunks (maybe quarters) a couple onions, leeks, several carrots, some celery ribs and an apple.
- Toss them with several cloves of garlic, some mushrooms (old, shriveled ones are the best), a few slices of fresh ginger (peel and all), lemon grass is good if you have it and a couple sprays of PAM.
- Roast all this is 500°F oven for about 20 minutes until very brown (this kind of caramelizes them, and they develop a sweetness).
- After roasting, put them in a stockpot, and add all the peelings and trimmings you've saved up.
- Plus any veggies you've had around long enough they're beginning to look a little tired (or fresh ones, too!)
- A bunch of parsley is nice, peppercorns, sprigs of dried or fresh herbs (thyme is especially good), maybe some dill seeds, a couple of whole allspices, and enough water to cover everything by 2 inches.
- Bring to a boil, simmer for 20-30 minutes (I've let it go a lot longer, too), fish out the veggies, strain, and you have great stock for soup, sautéing, cooking pasta or rice and whatever else.