Fall Vegetable Soup

I have been putting off making soup, thinking it’s a big production — to figure out components AND spices. Thinking: Tunisian, Thai, etc. which got too complicated and became an unproductive dead end (Are dead ends *ever* productive?)

So I had some lovely vegetables from my CSA share, and it being my Sunday night, I decided it was time to make some plain soup. Well I’m here to say that once again having good quality ingredients makes ALL the difference! I used no spices beyond salt and pepper and this soup was delicious! I had: carrots, potatoes, leeks, turnips, garlic and onions. So that was my soup!

I didn’t have vegetable stock handy to use as a soup base, so at Deborah Madison’s guidance I figured I would start with a “quick stock”, and I ended up making a full stock — which is still quick because 40 minutes is fine for vegetables. Also I found making stock is not such a big production if you use a regular size pot I realized last night. I had my base stock simmering while I prepared the ingredients for soup.

Make vegetable stock with onions, celery, carrots, leeks, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns.

Soup Ingredients:

3 carrots, peeled and large dice
2 leeks, cut in half, rinsed and large dice
Turnips, peeled and cut into large dice
4-5 potatoes, peeled, quartered and thin slices

Turnip greens

Directions:

Prepare vegetables and then put 2 T butter into soup pot, heat on medium heat and add carrots, leeks, turnips and potatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, add S&P. Add stock to cover by 2” or more. Cover partially, and cook at simmer for 20+ minutes

Separately boil greens for 3 minutes or less. Mustard greens are good here; boil for 10 minutes, drain and add to soup at end of cooking time. (Optional with greens: red pepper flakes and parmesan in bowls.)

A lovely soup that you can keep in your refrigerator for two days.

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Asian style grain bowl with roasted veggies

Perfect for late summer harvest.

Since grain bowls are all the rage, I thought I would test the waters today as my hunger inched up. Having procured some black/forbidden rice at my local natural foods store, I boiled some up, roasted some eggplant, and then a pan of large-julienned carrots, cut up peppers, onion, mushroom at 425 degrees in oiled pans. Added garlic last minute to the carrot mixture. Should go in the oven in this order: carrots, peppers, onion and mushrooms all together. Right after the eggplant wedges go in on their own tray. Then last few minutes mix in garlic with carrot medley.

Asian vinaigrette:  2 T rice wine vinegar, 2 T soy sauce, good dash siracha, toasted sesame oil, olive oil, canola oil, S&P. Whisk together. Not bad, even if there was no ginger in the house.

To cook black rice: Rinse 1 c rice and put in small pot with 1-3/4 c water and some salt. Bring to a boil, cover and cook gently for 30 minutes. Al dente, nutty, delicious!

Assemble: rice on one side, eggplant on the other, carrot medley in middle, drizzle dressing on top. Perhaps top with fresh mozzarella cubes or queso fresca if it’s on hand.

 

Roasted eggplant with stewed lentils

… and fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. (I had fresh locally made mozzarella, so that plate is loaded up!)

Just when eggplants are starting to come in in mid- to late August — plumb and firm, roast some widgets (bigger than wedges) with garlic & oil (&S&P) at 410 degrees for 25 mins.

Put up a pot of vegetable stock with: carrots, celery, onions, parsley, garlic, zucchini if you got lots of it, particularly if it’s getting oldish, and some peppercorns and hey one bay leaf and a new potato if there is one in your kitchen. 45 minutes is it, then strain and chill/freeze.

Use some of the stock to make stewed lentils: Saute onion, then carrots, celery and garlic in oil w/ S&P, some cumin if you’re in the mood; add puy lentils and cover with twice as much stock/water. Simmer about 30-40 minutes until tender.

Plate up:
Stewed lentils
Eggplant
fresh mozzarella pieces
cherry tomatoes, halved on the side, seasoned with some salt & maybe some olive oil.

Mexican summer cabbage slaw

Perfect in hot-hot weather with the first summer cabbages.

Ingredients:

1/2 to 1 whole conehead summer cabbage, cored and sliced thin
1/2 red onion, diced
Cilantro, chopped
Optional: 1 carrot, grated

Dressing:
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t brown sugar
1 t dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
1 hot pepper, chopped and/or 1/2-1t red pepper flakes

Directions:
Prepare dressing
Core, rinse and slice cabbage and place in large bowl. Pour over liquid and mix with hands or utensils. Add onion and cilantro, and mix again. Refrigerate for 2 hours to one day before serving.

 

Source: The kitchn.comIMG_4871

 

 

Blueberry Buttermilk cake

Perfect in late July!

Ingredients:

Flour AP, 240 g
baking powder, 1 t
baking soda, 1 t
Salt, 1/2 t

Butter, 8 T, softened
270 g sugar
zest of 1 lemon

eggs, 2 (room temp)
1 t vanilla extract
Buttermilk (well-shaken), 1 c / 226 g

2 c blueberries (10-11 oz)

Directions:

Take out butter, eggs, and buttermilk to come to room temp
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, conventional or convection; position rack in middle of oven
Prepare baking pan: 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper, hanging over sides of pan (to create handles). (Spray or butter parchment?)

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Break eggs into small bowl.
Measure out/weigh buttermilk

Measure sugar into mixing bowl. Zest lemon into sugar and mix with fingers to release oils of lemon. Add cubed butter and mix about 2 mins at medium high speed until pale and fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour in 3 batches alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, mixing until just combined.

Empty contents into prepared baking pan, smoothing out with spatula. Sprinkle on blueberries on top. Sprinkle on an additional 3T sugar on top.
Bake about 30-35 minutes until golden, and toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool 10 minutes, then remove cake from pan and place on rack to cool.
Very delicious still warm, perhaps with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

 

Variation:
Raspberry buttermilk cake: Substitute 2 c raspberries (10 oz) for blueberries; omit lemon zest, perhaps adding 1/4 t almond extract with vanilla.

 

Source: Gourmet Magazine Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Eating zucchini in a non-healthy way

Eating zucchini or, how to eat in season without chomping on sunflower sprouts

Not there’s anything bad about sprouts. But sometimes an eater wants to skip over the raw kale salad and vinegar slaw and eat some comfort food, even if IS summer and the bounty is plentiful!

Here’s how to do it:

Take a non ginormous zucchini or two, plop in a bowl of water to soak (Marcella’s technique for loosening ground sitting vegetable from its soil), boil some pasta, chop a bit of onion and sauté it in butter, add zucchini which you have cut into julienne, pour in some pasta water to reduce, add cream and saffron and reduce again. That’s it!

When your pasta — I recommend fettucine — is done, serve under cream sauce and add grated parmesan. I think I can skip the ice cream on this night. I had my cream in savory form, thanks!

Ingredients:
1/4 # fettucini
4 T chopped onion
1-2 small zucchinis, cut into julienne strips, 1-1/2” by 1/4”
1 c heavy cream
Pinch saffron
grated parmesan

 

Spring variation: substitute asparagus for zucchini; steam it ahead before cutting into 1-1/2” lengths before sautéing as above.

Impromptu summer lunch salad

Hungry mid-day and don’t want to fuss much? Take what you have that is farm fresh and toss together a casual salad.  Here’s what went into today’s salad chez moi: chopped kale, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, raw summer squash, diced peppers.  If I had a red onion, I would have added that to the mix. But this is a no-stress lunch, so not to worry, I told myself.

I wasn’t in the mood for a sharp vinaigrette, so here’s what I did: I started with leftover extra mayonnaise/sour cream from potato salad. To that I added buttermilk and a bit of olive oil and salt.  Voila!

Canned items:  chickpeas, drained and rinsed, artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed, and soaked in olive oil (the oil I later added to creamy dressing, above)

Farmers market/CSA items:

yellow summer squash, sliced thin on mandoline

assorted sweet peppers, cut into large dice

Several leaves of lacinato kale, soaked, dried and chopped fine

YUM!