Welcome to my collection of 1:12 scale miniature food made with love (and polymer clay) - for dollhouses or admirers of all-things-mini.

In life, it's the small things around you that matter the most. Embrace, enjoy, and savor every second with all your might.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vegetable Soup made with Homemade Stock

The thing I'm learning about sculpting miniature foods is, it helps to be a cook and a baker (in real life). Knowing how the foods look when raw, cooked, and in the process of preparation, helps in mixing the colors and achieving the right gloss and matte finish for each food item. The details are extremely important, right down to the corn cob with some of its kernels sliced off. I've baked more hams than I care to count and I'm familiar with that just-out-of-the-oven appearance - like how the juices run when you place the well-baked ham on a platter. And the cloves I randomly place in the outer layer of the ham - my little secret here was to use poppy seeds for a similar effect. The cabbage - I tried to make it look "wet" - like it was freshly washed. In the end, I think I got the look I was trying for - a preparation area complete with a dutch oven and overflowing soup bowl filled with the most delicious, made-from-scratch homestyle vegetable soup brimming with the freshest ingredients from the garden. The recipe was inspired by my brother-in-law, so I'm tipping my hat to him on this one. It's one hearty soup for a chilly late winter's day. Enjoy!

Making tomato canes is looong, tedious work. It takes practice. I have about a zillion "slices" after all our hard work, so it's all good.

My tomato slices aren't perfect, but on my third official try with complex canes, they're getting better. Woo hoo!

Every good vegetable soup starts with a low simmering stock. I gently simmer a ham bone in water and herbs for three days on the stovetop to capture the deep, rich flavor. Yes, TWIS (that's what I said) - three.whole.days. Homemade stock makes all the difference in the world.

Can't forget the carrots - picked from the garden this very morning. Canned tomatoes are a must. Every summer my kitchen is filled with the rockin aroma of tomatoes being blanched (so they peel easier) in boiling hot water, and the sink is littered with tomato seeds. Pesky little buggers they are. 
Fresh washed cabbage and corn. Can't forget the leeks,  a milder type of onion. I'm kind of stuck on leeks right now, the flavor is mmm...mmm....good. Plus, I'm getting pretty good with the Skinner shading tecnique to create them in clay. Peeling potatoes, ugh, a necessary evil for good soup.

Soup's on! Grab a spoon!

 There is a secret ingredient in this soup that my BIL swears by....it makes the broth a little richer and cuts some of the acidic bite of the tomatoes. Can you guess what that ingredient might be? (It's not pictured very clearly here in the Dutch oven, so you'll have to wing a guess on this one). Good luck!

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