[Posted by Ann]
Almost daily I turn to my jars of homemade veal stock and homemade pepper jelly, to unleash the culinary magic bullets that can transform a dish from "OK" to really good. Veal stock contributes a meaty but subtle richness; the pepper jelly adds sweet, mellow, warmth. Together they boost the flavor of soups, stews, grains, greens and beans.
For the stock, I simply simmer veal bones (from the farmers market) in a crock-pot full of lightly salted, filtered water for about 20 hours.
The pepper jelly was made in late summer, with early tart apples as the source of pectin and an assortment of peppers—all different colors, shapes, and heat.
A dish of slow-cooked dried beans turned magical with the addition of a cup of veal stock and a half-cup of pepper jelly for the final half hour of cooking.
Although I often order beans from Rancho Gordo, these lovely beans come from our local Alta Mae farm, courtesy of grower Mary Ann Glasgow. (I soaked the beans in water overnight, and put them in the crock-pot to cook during the day.)
Here is another success story: steamed greens with sautéed leeks and mushrooms, grated fresh ginger, finished with a sauce of veal stock, pepper jelly, and coconut milk, and served over brown rice. This time I used young cabbage greens from Rainbow farms (probably plants that were being thinned), but spinach and kale would be other good greens.