It's not unsual to buy a bunch of celery only to need two stalks of it. And let's not even get started on the seemingly endless amount of stems one accumulates while making kale salad. What's a person to do with all of these scraps?
Vegetable stock is a simple way to add layers of depth to your food while using up the leftovers that would otherwise be, well, scrapped. It's also incredibly easy to make: Throw a bunch of ends, stems, and leaves into a large pot of salted water, bring it to a boil, and let time do the rest of the work. You can add cheese rinds, wine, soy sauce, herbs, and any other flavorings you desire -- consider it a blank canvas. When the stock is finished, store it in the fridge or freezer -- that way, when the mood strikes, you're always prepared to make one of the warming soups, stews, and risottos below (and remember that you can almost always substitute in vegetable broth when a recipe calls for chicken or beef).