The great thing about vegetable stock is it starts with a base of carrots, celery, onions and garlic. The other fresh veggies, if you're adding more, are negotiable and totally based on what you have on hand. This recipe easily doubles and triples as well. Watch a video of this recipe being prepared during dinner time at my blog: http://mamachronicles.typepad.com/in_jennies_kitchen/2009/10/quick-easy-homemade-vegetable-stock.html. —Jennifer Perillo
Heat a deep stock pot over medium flame. Add oil, then toss in celery, carrots, onion, garlic and other vegetables you're using. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until the carrots begin to caramelize and the mixture becomes very fragrant.
Add the bay leaf, parsley, peppercorns and salt. Stir to mix well, then slowly pour in the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until vegetables are extremely tender (read: they've released all their flavor).
Pour through a metal sieve or strainer, discarding cooked vegetables. You're ready to use for soup, as a consomme, or store in the refrigerator (up to one week) or the freezer (up to two months).
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and FoodNetwork.com. She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).