One of the fables I remember from the earliest part of my childhood was the one about villagers who thought that they had nothing to eat, until a stranger came and introduced them to the magical recipe for Stone Soup (there's an entry for the fable on Wikipedia, which is slightly different from the one I was told, but still the same idea). In short, the only "magic" to it was that they already had all the ingredients (except the stone, which was extraneous, anyway); they just didn't realize that they could combine them and cooperate to form something beneficial and delicious.
I'm not sure why that stuck with me all these years, but yesterday as I was doing some weekly prep work on veggies, I realized I had the makings of a pretty good stone soup, in all the scraps I was about to throw out. The veggies were clean, but I had chopped off the ends and outer skin of the onion, and had scraped off the outer layer of carrots and chopped off their ends, too; and I had a handful of grape tomatoes in the fridge that was looking a little too wrinkly to just eat, outright; and there was that half-can of green beans from dinner over the weekend that we never finished eating, which wasn't enough for another whole meal... add to those a few celery pieces and chopped red bell pepper that I had in the freezer, plus a bunch of herbs and spices, and right now I have a stock pot boiling on the stove that is full of a heavenly-smelling vegetable soup mixture. Since a lot of the ingredients were end pieces and skins, I will likely just let it simmer several hours and get all of the goodness out of the veggies, then strain them out and use it for the broth in other applications (it freezes well for future recipes, too!). But yum, I might have to have a bowl with a nice hunk of bread, before I store it!
It also occurred to me, what a fun and economical potluck idea this could be: have each of your guests bring a single vegetable item (an onion, a head of garlic, a bag of baby carrots, a bunch of parsley, some celery, a tomato, a couple of good-sized potatoes... really just about anything you like, but don't forget also to have someone bring a baguette, to accompany the finished product!), then provide the pot and seasoning and the hosting space, along with beverages, and whip up a nice vegetable stew in the background while you play games or chat or watch movies, or what have you. Easy on everyones' pocketbooks, and a great excuse to get together and enjoy some camaraderie... especially nice with fall right around the corner.
Edited by: SICIANASARI at: 9/10/2011 (10:44)