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Posts tagged ‘soup’

First Day Of Spring, Vernal Equinox

It was such a weird winter, unusually warm for long periods of time, then bitter cold, recently a snowpocolypse that was more hype than snow accumulation, but it’s finally here, the first day of Spring.  It’s still pretty cold and there is snow and ice on the ground and its official now, we have moved on winter is a thing of the past. For several weeks now I have noticed the crocus bloom, buds coming on the tree’s, the daffodils in my yard will be blooming soon and again this year my chives have returned, I had no idea chives were so resilient.  Going to the farmers markets will yield a plethora of produce and although I am not a warm weather person however,  I do love spring and summer fruit and vegetables, can’t wait for the berries and plums and peaches.

It is rare that I post several days in a row but to honor this day I made soup using spring vegetables, a light and delicate soup using asparagus and leeks. So simple and quick to prepare. So to celebrate the first day of Spring I give you soup that is a lovely shade of green and screams spring. The ingredients are few, no spicing except for salt and pepper this soup is an homage to the beauty of fresh spring asapargus and the delicate flavor of a young leek.

I wish you all a wonderful first day of Spring or if you are in another hemisphere a wonderful first day of Fall.

ready to roast

Pureéd Asparagus and leek soup

Serves 2 or more depending on serving size

1 bunch asparagus cleaned and tough parts snapped off

1 medium size leek cleaned well using only the white and light green parts

3 cups broth of your choice or water

salt, pepper

olive oil to drizzle on vegetables before roasting

1-2 tbs butter (optional)

splash of heavy cream (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degree’s, line sheet pan with parchment. Layer your clean vegetables on the pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, you don’t want them to brown only to develop that lovely deep flavor that happens when vegetables are roasted. Remove from oven and place the vegetables in a medium size saucepan.

Add the broth or water and bring to a boil, turn to low heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool in the pot for approximately 30 minutes. Using tongs place the vegetables in the blender and add a cup of broth. Pureé until desired consistency. Add back to the saucepan with a little more broth if you like your soup on the thin side, season with salt and pepper if needed, add the butter and cream and on low heat cook until it reaches the desired temperature.

Garnish with creme fraiche and chives.

A little peek at whats in store soon.

Granny Phanny And The Giant Rabbit Some Turnip Soup For Womens History Month

Another delightful installment from the joint collaboration with writer/author extraordinaire Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, we planned this post to occur in March, Women’s History Month, we’ve come a long way baby and every month, week and day should celebrate women and their/our contribution to society, this country, our families and communities. I am woman hear me roar, well that is a little cliché I know but we are empowered and accomplished and strong and proud of how far we have come, it amazes me that at one time women didn’t even have the right to vote and in some countries women are still considered objects of disdain, almost subhuman and of less importance than their male counterparts.

I also am including a recipe that I posted years ago for a spring turnip soup, you may turn up your nose when you read turnips but honestly this soup is delicious, I use Hakurai turnips which appear late winter and early spring at the local green markets. They are crisp and sweet and mild and make an outstanding soup. The soup is topped with some crumbled bacon and the turnip greens which are sauteéd in the bacon fat. For vegan and vegetarian option all you do is eliminate the bacon and use vegetable broth or water. For vegan option of course you would not use the cream but you can sub a non dairy option of your choice.

Take it away Teagan…

Granny Phanny and the Giant Rabbit

suffragettes-in-white

Hi, Suzanne.  I’m delighted to be back in your kitchen!  Hello everyone, it’s great to see you.

When I asked Suzanne for an ingredient to use in a story for this collaborative post, right away she said turnips.  Every time I hear that word I think of the “Cinnamon Bun” character from my serial, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-1.  That’s a 1920s culinary mystery, which is in the works to be “book-ized” this spring.

Many of you are familiar with my flapper character, Pip.  This time the story is told from the point of view of Pip’s grandmother, Phanny Irene Peabody.  I thought that was appropriate since March is Women’s History Month.  Granny lived during the height of the suffragette era, and she was a woman to speak her mind.  It’s also something of a back-story for Cinnamon Bun.  I hope you enjoy the story as much as Suzanne’s recipe!  Although that’s a lot for me to live up to…

Granny Phanny and the Giant Rabbit

“The only true woman is a pious, submissive wife and mother, concerned exclusively with home and family!”

Even more irksome than the words themselves was the fact that they were uttered by a woman.  I was glad that I had already left the building.  Otherwise I might have lost my temper.  What business did anyone with that opinion have at a women’s meeting in the first place?

suffragettes-marching

In 1920, Georgia was the first state to “reject” the Nineteenth Amendment, which assured women the right to vote.  It was two years later before women actually got to vote in my home state.  Long after that, we were still suffragettes, working for equal rights.  We still wore suffragette white to our meetings.

That intolerable statement was immediately followed by the resounding crack of a slap across the speaker’s face.  I cringed, knowing full well who had likely delivered the smack.  I turned on my heel and hurried back inside.  Veronica Vale was no meek little lamb.  She was a force of nature when her righteous wrath was incurred.  I tried to make my way through the pandemonium to my friend.

1920s woman scientist-microscopeBy the time I got to Veronica, I could hear police sirens.  A quick look around told me several attendees had slipped quietly away, including the woman who spoke the words that started the trouble.

“It was all planned,” I muttered.  “That bunch wanted to make trouble from the minute they asked to join.”

Not much later a handful of us — enough to make an example, but not so many as to cause the coppers much trouble — were hauled down to the police station.  A group of men stood laughing and cat calling while we were hustled outside.  My cheeks heated in a blush.

Detective Dabney Daniels of the Savannah Police got a tip that something was going to happen.  By the time the paddy wagon reached the station, he was already diffusing the situation.

“Miss Phanny,” he began with a smirk and a shake of his head.  “I wish I could say I was surprised to see you,” he told me before turning to Veronica Vale.  “Mrs. Vale your husband is already here.  You’ll be released into his custody.”

I knew that “custody” statement wouldn’t sit well with Veronica.  She was a doctor and a scientist, not some man’s property.  No matter how good the man.  For years Veronica Vale had worked at a hospital in England called Clapham Common.  It had an all-female staff.  She retired and returned to Savannah.  Then she met the widowed Vincent and partnered with him in his veterinary practice.

Before she could complain, I blurted out my puzzlement.  “Dabney, how could you know…?”

“I’d like to claim powers as a mentalist, Miss Phanny.  However, Dr. Vale had just arrived to pick up someone else,” the handsome detective explained as chaos erupted elsewhere in the station.JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar ad

Detective Daniels quickly excused himself and walked toward the sounds of people shouting.

Veronica gave a downright evil chuckle.  I looked a question at her and she laughed out loud at the expression on my face.

“Phanny Irene Peabody,” she said.  “You are indeed a Pip.  I suppose you’ve never noticed the way that young man looks at you.  He probably doesn’t care a whit for the turnips  you’re always giving him, or the meals he gets in return for fixing one thing and another at your cottage.  Tsk-tsk.  Phanny, that young copper is smitten with you.”

“Veronica, don’t be ridiculous.  You couldn’t be more wrong.  Dabney is just a goodhearted young man,” I told my friend most emphatically.

Another crashing sound and men shouting prevented her from talking more of that nonsense.  How absurd.  I was old enough to be that boy’s mother.  We might enjoy one another’s company, but there was nothing more to it.

“Hi, Honey.  Are you hurt?” Vincent Vale asked his wife as he skidded to a stop.  As Veronica shook her head he turned to me.  “Mrs. Peabody, are you well?” he greeted me politely.Christopher Timothy as Vincent Vale

Veronica assured her husband that neither of us had come to any harm.  I noticed Vincent held some kind of harness.  There was more shouting, and then the veterinarian pelted away toward the commotion.

A moment later we heard Vincent shout.  “Got ‘em!”

However there was another crash.  I heard dull thumping noises.  The sound was quite rhythmic, and coming closer.  Veronica and I exchanged puzzled looks.

I stuck my head around the corner and gasped loudly.

“I must be seeing things.  Else I’m just plain zozzled,” I murmured.

Veronica craned her neck to see what had stunned me.

“Well horsefeathers!  In all my born days…” she began.  “A Flemish Giant.”

“Flemish?  Bushwa!” I exclaimed.  “You’re hallucinating too,” I mumbled.  “Somebody spiked our tea a little too much at the women’s meeting.  Or else I’m looking at a cinnamon colored rabbit that’s three feet tall, sitting on his haunches.”

I crouched down, befuddled.  The big bunny hopped over to me and nuzzled my hand.  I scratched between his impossibly long ears.  I helped hold the big bun still as Vincent got the harness around him.

“This big ole boy decimated Godfrey Gilley’s garden.  Dug up every turnip he had,” Vincent commented.  “When the big bun headed toward his grocery store, Godfrey was so upset that he called the police saying there was a bear in his yard!” the veterinarian laughed.  “Trouble is, I’m not sure what we can do with him.  We’ve taken on so many animals lately,” Vincent admitted, but cast a pleading look at his wife, who gave a resigned sigh.

My face ended up against the giant rabbit’s soft hair as Vincent adjusted the harness.  I found that I didn’t want to move.  My fingers sank into the plush fur.

“I’ll take him,” I spoke up, and questioned my own sobriety again.  “Oh good lord, but I need a hutch for him.”Vintage rabbit driving

I hadn’t noticed that Detective Dabney Daniels was standing beside us.

“Don’t worry, Miss Phanny.  I can take care of a rabbit hutch in a jiffy,” Dabney said.  “Even one big enough for this miscreant,” he added with a grin.

Veronica elbowed me sharply in the ribs.  She gave me an I told you so look and winked.

“He’s sweet on you,” she whispered into my ear.  “So what if he’s younger.  He’s a damn fine figure of a man!”

“Absolutely no!” I told her so fiercely that everyone looked askance.

Fortunately I was spared from an explanation because of Veronica’s loud bark of laughter.

The Vales offered to drive me home.  I got into the automobile with Vincent and Veronica, and of course the rabbit.  Dabney bent down and promised to come by to start on the rabbit hutch that evening.  Veronica wriggled her eyebrows at me.  I gave her a withering look, then turned and smiled at the detective as I thanked him.

“What was all that about?” Vincent wanted to know as we drove away.

Veronica had no inhibitions about sharing her embarrassing speculations to her husband, despite my denial. 

“It simply will not do!” I told her, my patience close to its end.

“She means that dear,” Vincent said.  “You might want to leave it alone before your sense of fun hurts your friendship.”

“You’re right,” she agreed with a sigh.  “I’m sorry Phanny.  I just want to see you happy.”

“I am perfectly happy as I am.  Besides, I told you that my granddaughter, Pip, is coming to live with me.  I’ll have my hands full, teaching her to cook,” I reminded my friends.  “I can’t wait for you to meet her.”

The End

***

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup With Wilted Greens And Bacon

(Bacon is optional for my vegetarian friends)

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

4 heaping cups turnips peeled and quartered (Use the small spring turnips if possible)

1 potato peeled and quartered (I used Yukon Gold and it’s Optional to use a potato)

2 cups leeks (cleaned well and sliced) or use a medium size onion or 2 shallots

4 1/2 cups broth (chicken, vegetable or water)

2 tbs butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg (optional)

4-6 slices bacon

Turnip greens cleaned VERY well

In heavy sauce pan heat a little olive oil, add the leeks or onion or shalot and sweat, cook just until tender don’t brown. Add the turnips and potato, now add the liquid (broth or water). Cover and cook until the turnip and potato are tender. Let cool for about 30 minutes and blend either in your blender or use the immersion blender. Note: If using an immersion blender remove some of the liquid you don’t want the soup too thin, you can always add it back in. Add the butter and cream and season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.

Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from the fry pan and add the greens to the bacon fat, season with salt and peppper and saute until the greens are tender and wilted.

To Serve: Garnish the soup with the wilted greens and crumbled bacon.

Soup

Coconut Caulifower Soup With Ginger And Turmeric

 

Looking through Clean Soups the one that leapt out at me was the Coconut Cauliflower Soup, actually I decided on this soup before I chose which broth to make. You all know my love affair with cauliflower and I am such a big fan of pureed soups, this was the one I had to make. Turmeric has amazing medicinal, nutritional properties and I have it every day with milk and a grind of black pepper. When I saw the gorgeous golden yellow soup it was love at first sight. I am also a big fan of Thai flavors, lemongrass, ginger, lime and coconut are a happy marriage of flavors and make this silky pureed soup exotic and delicious. A touch of red Thai chili paste provides a gentle bite and the sum of all of the ingredients is wonderfully comforting and so yummy.

I made the soup exactly as written in the recipe but ended up tweaking just a bit as I wasn’t quite satisfied with the results. The cauliflower is roasted in a hot oven drizzled with olive oil and turmeric and what ended up happening is that it started getting too dark and the cauliflower was not tender enough,  I kept turning it and moving it around until the prescribed length of baking time was reached. I didn’t think the cauliflower was quite soft enough but continued, blending it with the other vegetables and I didn’t like the texture. Now it could be my wonky oven or maybe the florets were too big,  I don’t know. I ended up cooking the pureéd soup for about 20 minutes and then put it back in the blender so that it was velvety smooth. The soup is delicious and I would definitely make it again.

Coconut Cauliflower Soup With Ginger And Turmeric

2 1/2 – 3 lb cauliflower cut into 1 1/2 inch florets

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

sea salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 yellow onion peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

2 carrots peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery chopped

2 tsp Thai red chili paste

6 cups Thai coconut broth plus more if needed (I did need more)

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice plus more if needed

garnish with fresh chopped mint or cilantro

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425 degree’s. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the cauliflower, 2 tbs olive oil, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp salt and the black pepper in a large bowl and toss until coated. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread to an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and tender.

Meanwhile heat the remaining tbs of olive oil in a soup pot, then add the onion, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1/4 tsp of turmeric and sauté until translucent about 3 minutes, add the garlic, carrots and celery and 1/4 tsp salt and sauté until the vegetables begin to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add the chili paste and stir to coat the vegetables. Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits at the bottom of the pot. Let cook until the liquid reduces by half.

Pour 1/3 of the broth into a blender, add the ginger and 1/3 of the vegetables and cauliflower and blend until smooth adding more broth if needed. Continue to blend until all of the broth and vegetables are pureed. Pour back into the soup pot and cook over low heat until warmed,  add salt if needed and the lime juice.  Soup will keep 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

Clean Soups- Magic Mineral Broth and Thai Coconut Broth

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I’m a cookbook hoarder, well hoarder may be too harsh but I love my cookbooks, collect them and can literally spend hours in the bookstore looking at them and almost always leave the store with at least one if not more. When I received an email from the editors at Food52 asking if I would be interested in reviewing a cookbook for the Piglet Community Picks  there was no pause in my answer, a resounding YES.  I was given a choice of 6 cookbooks and Clean Soups was my first choice. It is not a voluminous cookbook, but offers some fantastic healthful and delicious basic broths used as a base for a variety of different types of soups.

I chose to make the Magic Miracle Broth,  a vegetable broth, and a stepping stone to another recipe Thai Coconut Broth which will  become a pureed soup. One thing I loved about this broth is that the vegetables are used unpeeled, everything, onion, carrot, garlic with the peels and all, it’s so easy to just throw it all in a pot and let it cook. If you love soup and clean eating I really recommend you purchase this cookbook. Part two of this post will be published in a few days, the finished soup.

Magic Mineral Broth

Makes approximately 1 gallon of broth

6 unpeeled carrots cut into thirds

2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered

1 leek, white and green parts cut into thirds

1 bunch celery including the heart, cut into thirds

4 unpeeled red potatoes

2 unpeeled Japanese or regular sweet potatoes, quartered

1 unpeeled garnet yam, quartered

5 unpeeled garlic cloves, halved

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley

1 (8 inch strip) kombu

12 black peppercorns

4 whole allspice or juniper berries

2 bay leaves

8 quarts cold filtered water

1 tsp sea salt plus more if needed

Rinse all vegetables well including the Kombu.
In a 12 quart or larger stockpot, combine the carrots, onion, leek, celery, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, garlic, parsley, kombu, pepper, allspice berries and bay leaves. Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for at least 2 hours or until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. As the broth simmers some of the water will evaporate, add more if the vegetables begin to peek out.

Strain the broth through a large course mesh sieve (use a heat resistant container underneath) and discard the solids. Stir in the salt adding more if desired. Let cool at room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. Store in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 6 months.

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Thai Coconut Broth

Makes approximately 2 1/2 quarts of broth

8 cups Magic Mineral broth

2 13.5 oune cans coconut milk

3 1 inch pieces of fresh ginger

2 shallots peeled and halved

3 kaffir lime leaves or 1 tsp lime zest

1 stalk lemongrass, cut in chunks and bruised

1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more if needed

In a 6 quart pot combine the broth, coconut milk, ginger, shallots, lime leaves or zest, lemongrass and salt, bring to a low boil over medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes. Decrease to low and simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove the solids, taste and add more salt if desired.

Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days and 6 months in the freezer.

 

Tomato Soup

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I have a good friend who used to live in Brooklyn and a couple of years ago moved into Manhattan, we don’t get to see each other that often and I was so happy that we set a date to meet and decided we would catch up over lunch. I offered to cook and thought since it’s cold outside a bowl of soup would be good, she lives near Sullivan Street Bakery and said she would bring bread. The first thing I thought of was tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve made tomato soup before, posted it a few years ago, it was actually an accident that turned into soup. This one is intentional and it’s phenomenal. I got the recipe from food network and reading it I thought OMG, there is something wrong for example it called for 3/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup on the tomatoes and sauteeing the vegetables in 1/2 cup of olive oil, REALLY, don’t think so. Luckily the recipe from Michael Chiarrello had an accompanying video from his show. I followed what he said in the video and not what was written and the soup is awesome. I made a few changes adding some fresh tomatoes, rind of parmigiana but other than those two things I stuck to the recipe. The soup is delicious and quick and easy and I highly recommend. Who can resist dunking a gooey grilled cheese in tomato soup, it’s one of lifes great pleasures.

Homemade Tomato Soup

Makes 2-3 generous portions or 4 moderately sized portions

1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes- juices drained and reserved

1 cup fresh tomatoes cut into pieces or if cherry or grape cut in half

1 stalk celery

1 small onion

1 carrot

1 1/2-2 cup (approximately) stock, chicken or vegetable or water

reserved juice from tomatoes

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil to drizzle on tomatoes and to cook the vegetables

small piece of parmigiano rind (optional)

fresh basil chopped (I used 3 large leaves)

1 tbs butter (optional)

heavy cream- I didn’t measure but if I had to guess it was a bit shy of 1/4 cup (optional)

Heat oven to 450 degree’s. Drain canned tomatoes and reserve the juice. Place on baking sheet along with fresh tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until caramelized – it took approximately 20 minutes

Heat some olive oil in heavy non reactive sauce pan or saucier. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until they start to soften and caramelize. Add the roasted tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, stock or water, bay leaf, rind of parmigiano and cook approximate 25-30 minutes until vegetables are tender add the basil now.  Remove bay leaf and you can use either your immersion blender or your blender and puree until smooth. Return to pan and add the optional butter and cream. Serve hot.

Happy Halloween, Cheesy Cauliflower Puree With Roasted Vegetables And Pear With Poire William Creme Anglaise

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Halloween is a big day in our neighborhood, our community group the Society for Clinton Hill sponsors a Halloween Walk and other events, there are months of planning that go into this. Last year there were over 3000 children and adults that participated and this year I think there will be more, judging from the response we have gotten so far. We have a halloween map showing houses that hand out candy, a theatrical production at 313 Clinton Avenue, the Dead Zombie Band puts on an incredible show and everyone looks forward to it. Because we are a not for profit organization local business donate to help us defray the expense of putting this whole thing together. I am on the board of directors for the community organization and am in charge of the PR, social media and the website as well as helping to coordinate.  It’s a tremendous amount of work but very rewarding. I will post photo’s this week. Happy Halloween to all!!

Sorry about all the cauliflower recipes, as I said in the last post it’s an obsession of mine and a filling and delicious sub for carb laden rice or potatoes or pasta. In this case I probably would have served over polenta but instead served with a cauliflower puree made rich with a little creme fraiche and grated comte cheese. The vegetables are simple, a small graffiti eggplant roasted with whole cherry tomatoes and shallot. For a textural diversion I sauteed some fresh bread crumbs in garlic, butter and olive oil and sprinkled over the top.

In an effort to satisfy my sweet tooth and still stay away from refined sugar and flour I created this simple dessert by poaching pears in Poire William (pear liquor) with a touch of maple syrup to sweeten and served with a créme anglaise again with a little maple syrup to sweeten and some Poire William.  Créme Anglaise is a custard sauce made with eggs, milk or cream, sugar, vanilla and rum or some sort of spirit or liquor. Because I am not really eating refined sugar I chose to lightly sweeten with maple syrup, this was adapted from Julia Childs recipe in her book, “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom”.  I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t thicken properly because there is no sugar but it worked just fine.

Cauliflower Puree with Roasted Vegetables 

Really no recipe required for this I made enough for 2 servings

Cauliflower puree follow instructions but use creme fraiche rather than cream.

1 small eggplant cut into bite size pieces

cherry tomatoes

1 shallot peeled and cut into quarters

cheese of your choice I used comté and didn’t measure- grated – add as much cheese as you like

olive oil

salt and pepper

fresh breadcrumbs

1 small garlic clove thinly sliced

butter

Make the cauliflower puree and set aside. Clean and cut your eggplant and shallot, heat the oven to 400 degree’s. Place parchment on sheet pan and lay the vegetables and whole cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes. The eggplant and shallot should be soft and the tomatoes nicely caramelized.

Heat a little olive oil and butter in a skillet on med high heat, add garlic and sauté until soft. Add the breadcrumbs stirring so that the fat is absorbed by the breadcrumbs. Toast in the skillet until crisp and browned.

Heat cauliflower puree in saucepan add grated cheese. Serve immediately with the roasted vegetables spooned on top, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and garnish with a little parsley if you like.

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Créme Anglaise

2 servings

Adapted from a recipe by Julia Child

3 egg yolks

2-3 tbs maple syrup

1 cup half and half or whole milk

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbs Poire William (you can use the juices from the poached pears for this)

Whisk egg yolks with the maple syrup until the yolks are thick and pale yellow. Heat milk to scalding and add in a slow steady stream to the egg yolks whisking constantly. Pour into the saucepan and cook on medium to medium low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, using your finger swipe a line and if it stays intact it’s done. Remove from heat immediately, pour through a fine sieve to remove any bits of egg that may have cooked and add the vanilla and pear liquor.  Refrigerate until ready to use, since this is best served warm heat over simmering water (bain marie) until warm to the touch. The créme anglaise which is usually a light yellow because of the maple syrup and vanilla is more beige in color.

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Poached Pears

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Peel, cut in half and core the pears,  place in a buttered baking dish adding some Poire William, pear nectar or whatever liquid you like. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until pears are soft when gently poked with the end of a sharp knife.

If your créme anglaise is cold you can warm over simmering water. Spoon onto a plate and top with the pear.

You can add a cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pod or whatever spice you like to the pears and this will infuse with a gentle warm spice that would be delicious as well.

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Count Dracula

Percy as Count Dracula

Paul Bertolli’s Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower soup

Cauliflower soup

I had a head of cauliflower, it’s getting cold outside and I wanted some soup but it had to be very simple. I found this recipe on Food52, I had run out of stock vegetable or chicken and couldn’t run to the store, was waiting for a delivery and when I saw how easy this soup was and the list of ingredients is minimal I knew this was what I would make. This is part of the Food52 Genius collection, it is genius in it’s simplicity and tasting it you would never know just how easy it is to make. It would be an elegant addition to any meal, your guests will be impressed. As it is this recipe is vegan, no dairy or animal products at all. Of course I added a couple of tbs of butter to mine, just because I like butter but this is completely optional and unnecessary. The soup is delicious as is.

Serves 8

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (6 ounces), sliced thin
  • 1 head very fresh cauliflower (about 1-1/2 pounds), broken into florets
  • Salt, to taste
  • 5 1/2 cups water, divided
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Sweat the onion in the olive oil over low heat without letting it brown for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower, salt to taste, and 1/2 cup water. Raise the heat slightly, cover the pot tightly and stew the cauliflower for 15 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Then add another 4 1/2 cups hot water, bring to a low simmer and cook an additional 20 minutes uncovered.
  3. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender to a very smooth, creamy consistency. Let the soup stand for 20 minutes. In this time it will thicken slightly.
  4. Thin the soup with 1/2 cup hot water. Reheat the soup. Serve hot, drizzled with a thin stream of extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
smooth and creamy

smooth and creamy

Spring Is Here….. In Theory And A Spring Recipe

Spring Turnips

Spring Turnips

At 12:57 PM today it’s officially spring. It is a glorious day in NYC with temps in the 50’s and after a tenacious winter those warmish temps feel really nice. It will be short lived but thats ok I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The first little nubs of green are peeking through the earth and I know that very soon there will be buds everywhere.

I can’t wait for the spring vegetables to hit the market, right now it’s still winter produce. I wanted to make something that just screamed spring but, to be perfectly honest, was completely uninspired by anything I saw at the market.

I decided to reprise a recipe that I made a couple of years ago, it’s a great spring soup, it’s simple and delicious and it will be the first thing I make when the spring produce hits the farmers market. I posted this on Food 52 about 2 years ago and was a communiuty pick, the editors also made the soup and  it was photographed by Mr Ransom the very talented food52 photographer. I also posted this here in May of 2012

Creamy turnip soup

Creamy turnip soup

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup With Wilted Radish Greens And Bacon

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

3 cups spring turnips cut in quarters

3 young leeks cleaned very well and sliced

4 cups broth (I used chicken but vegetable broth would also be good or even water)

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

Clean and slice your leeks, I like to clean, trim and chop into rounds and add to a large amount of clean water. The grit goes to the bottom, then I scoop them out and rinse again. Let them air dry while you prep the turnips. Peel, rinse and chop the turnips into quarters.

Heat only enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a heavy large saucepan, add the dried leeks and cook only until softened. Add the turnips and cook for a short time you don’t want them to brown only to start to soften, I cooked on medium/high heat, Add the stock, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the turnips are very soft.

You may not need all of the liquid depending on how thick you like your soup, so drain the turnips and leeks and process in blender until very smooth, Pour into a bowl and add back the stock until it reaches the consistency you like. Now add the heavy cream. Adjust seasoning. Stir and set aside while you make the topping. If you are serving the soup warm pour back in the saucepan and keep on very low flame.

Greens and Bacon

4-6 slices bacon (I like maple cured)

the leaves from a head of radishes

Remove the greens from the radishes and clean very well to remove any grit, Lay on paper towel to dry.

Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from pan and lay on paper towel, add the dried radish greens and saute only until wilted, Remove to paper towel. Ladle soup into bowls lay some of the wilted greens and crumble some of the bacon on top.

Photograph by James Ransom for Food52

Photograph by James Ransom for Food52

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup hearty and delicious!

Lentil Soup hearty and delicious!

Its cold outside and in the winter I really love to have a hot bowl of soup. I love lentils, they are nutritious, loaded with protein, fiber and vitamins, one of natures perfect foods. They are also so easy to make. I usually make the whole package, 2 cups dry lentils and this yields a big pot of soup, for me this is multiple meals and it freezes nicely. I divide into portions, stick them in the freezer. I like to add lots of vegetables, onion, celery, carrot, garlic and parsley.  It is a healthful delicious meal as is, but I really love adding kielbasa to my lentil soup there is something about the smoky sausage that adds so much flavor. You don’t have to, this is optional of course. I’m sure all of you have your go to lentil soup recipe, this is mine. I sometimes add kale or spinach to the pot at the end of cooking time.

Ingredients:

2 cups lentils washed and sorted

1 small onion chopped

1 large stalk celery

1 medium size carrot cleaned peeled and chopped

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley chopped

2 cloves garlic chopped

6-8 cups chicken, beef, vegetable stock or water

1/2 lb smoked kielbasa sausage (Optional)

salt and pepper to taste

handfull of Spinach or Kale

Coat the bottom of your pot or dutch oven with olive oil (not too much), heat on medium high and add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot, saute stirring frequently until the vegetables start of soften, add the  parsley.  Heat the stock if you are using stock. Now add the cleaned lentils, give it a stir and add hot stock or hot water. Cover, bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Let cook stirring occasionally for approximately 1 hour or until lentils are softened and cooked through. Watch it carefully, if you think it’s too thick add more water or stock to thin. I threw in some spinach after it was cooked the heat of the soup wilts the spinach. NOTE: If adding Kale you will need to continue cooking for 5 minutes or a little longer. Spinach wilts instantly but Kale is a bit tougher and requires a small amount of cooking time.

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup With Wilted Radish Greens And Bacon

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup

The contest on Food52 is all about radishes and turnips. Honestly, I am not a lover of either but if I had to pick I guess turnips would be my choice. I do however love greens, turnip or radish they are delicious and anything is better with bacon, right? This soup is silky and creamy and can be eaten warm/hot or chilled. The wilted radish greens and bacon are delicious with the soup. I made this with young spring leeks and turnips and only added a little cream to smooth out the bite from the turnips. I am so pleased at how wonderfully this soup came out and it literally takes less than an hour to prepare. With the weather turning warmer I’m sure soup is not high on the priority list, I had it slightly chilled last night for dinner and it was wonderful.

The Soup

3 cups spring turnips cut in quarters

3 young leeks cleaned very well and sliced

4 cups broth (I used chicken but vegetable broth would also be good)

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

Clean and slice your leeks, I like to clean, trim and chop into rounds and add to a large amount of clean water. The grit goes to the bottom, then I scoop them out and rinse again. Let them air dry while you prep the turnips. Peel, rinse and chop the turnips into quarters.

Heat only enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a heavy large saucepan, add the dried leeks and cook only until softened. Add the turnips and cook for a short time you don’t want them to brown only to start to soften, I cooked on medium/high heat, Add the stock, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the turnips are very soft.

You may not need all of the liquid depending on how thick you like your soup, so drain the turnips and leeks and process in blender until very smooth, Pour into a bowl and add back the stock until it reaches the consistency you like. Now add the heavy cream. Adjust seasoning. Stir and set aside while you make the topping. If you are serving the soup warm pour back in the saucepan and keep on very low flame.

Greens and Bacon

4-6 slices bacon (I like maple cured)

the leaves from a head of radishes

Remove the greens from the radishes and clean very well to remove any grit, Lay on paper towel to dry.

Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from pan and lay on paper towel, add the dried radish greens and saute only until wilted, Remove to paper towel. Ladle soup into bowls lay some of the wilted greens and crumble some of the bacon on top.