Friday, February 22, 2019

turn up, for Turnip Soup

From the look of things (aka my recent blog posts) you might have the impression that I'm really super into baking. This is actually not the case at all. I much prefer soups, stews, and savory concoctions that leave me feeling warm and loved during these dreadful winter months.

photo courtesy of Love Tree Studios
A few weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure of participating in a Supper Club series at Blue Bell Farm. In fact, I'm cooking there again this Saturday evening! I worked with a team of two other women, Amanda Elliot and Amy Barrett, both professional chefs and total geniuses in the kitchen. My contribution to the menu was a simple turnip soup, highlighting what is seasonally available here in the Midwest. I used hakurei turnips sourced from Pierpont Farms.  One of my favorite ways to elevate what might otherwise be considered a humble soup is to use a high power blender (I like a Vitamix) to create a creamy and almost lofty consistency that closely resembles a velouté. I garnished the soup with a caraway/rye crumb and a swish of creme fraiche, finished with red amaranth microgreens from my friends at Stem to Table Farm. The fuschia amaranth was so beautiful against the soft neutrals of the crumb and cream.

We were fortunate enough to have the ever lovely Love Tree Studio on location to take some seriously gorgeous photos of the evening's menu. They have graciously allowed me to share some of their photos to go along with my recipe here.

photo courtesy of Love Tree Studio

photo courtesy of Love Tree Studio

photo courtesy of Love Tree Studio
photo courtesy of Love Tree Studio

Turnip Soup
serves 6-8

This soup will be better the second day, so if you have time to make ahead that's a bonus.


For the soup 
2 lb Hakurei Turnips, quartered
2 leeks, rinsed (they can be quite sandy) and thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
1/2 russet potato peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup white wine
2 sprigs of thyme
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 quart low sodium (or unsalted is even better) chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
white pepper

For the garnish
3 slices rye bread
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
pinch of sea salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
red amaranth microgreens if you can find them


For the soup
In a pot (large enought to contain all ingredients) melt the butter over medium heat along with the olive oil. Add the leeks and onions, as well as generous pinch of sea salt. Stir every few minutes until quite soft, about 10 minutes.

Raise the temperature just a tiny bit and pour in the white wine.  Using a wooden spoon scrape up any brown bits left from the onions and leeks, reduce and simmer for 3 minutes, just enough to burn off the alcohol.

Add the turnips and potato along with the chicken stock, thyme, and a generous pinch (about 1/2 tsp) of white pepper. Bring to a soft simmer, put on the lid and cook until the potato and turnips are soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the stem of thyme. Using an immersion blender, food processor, or high powered blender, puree the mixture until it is utterly creamy.

Whisk in the cream and nutmeg.  Taste for salt and pepper, add as needed.

For the garnish
Toast the rye bread in the oven on 250 for 2 hr.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Once the bread is cool and CRISPY place it in the food processor along with the caraway seeds and a pinch of sea salt. Pulse together until you've created a fine crumb.  Put the caraway crumb into a small dish until you're ready to plate the soup.

In a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice. It should be a homogenious mixture, slightly thin in texture, but retaining the tart taste (acid) of sour cream.

To plate the soup
Ladle HOT soup into individual bowls.  Using a small spoon dust the top of the soup with the caraway crumb (I made a straight line, but feel free to get creative).  Follow the same line with your creamy cream fraiche. Pinch off a little bit of the microgreens to finish.  Serve and enjoy.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Blueberry Muffins, because you can.

I made some muffins yesterday morning... mostly to channel some nervous energy. I made a few tweaks to one of Ina Garten's recipes and they were a huge hit. Also I got to use my new "Danish Whisk", which is awesome. As for the nervous energy, more on that tomorrow (but know that my heart is full, and I have another recipe coming soon). In the meantime, you can make these muffins any day of the week. They're not too sweet, and I promise you won't have to worry about leftovers.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Boozy Banana Bread for New Years Day

I didn't take any pictures or post any recipes over Christmas. We enjoyed having my dad and two of visiting for several days and I used all of my energy cooking for, and spending time with them. Of course there was food a plenty, and it feels like I've only just finished doing all of the dishes. I'm going to spend some time compiling the menus I served on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and I'll make time to share of few of the recipes as well.  Meanwhile, New Years Day is already upon us (how on earth is this possible?) and since I once again have an empty house I'm keeping myself company by baking.

One of the very first food blogs I started following about 15 yrs ago was Chez Pim, her blog is no longer active, but her instagram is fabulous.  Pim was one of the original food bloggers, now turned famous restauranteur in Thailand.  Back then we were all still happy to eat gluten and dairy for breakfast lunch and dinner, and I was 15 years younger so I could get away with it. One of my favorite recipes was for a very un-fussy, but delicately nuanced banana bread. She called it the morning after banana bread, due in part to the ingredients of rum and instant-espresso, but I also think because it tastes that much better after day.  Over the years I've tinkered with her recipe, using brown sugar for white, browning my butter, subbing rum for whiskey. I won't say my version is better, but it's just as good.

It's the perfect sweet loaf to serve on New Year's Day. It goes just as well with a cup of coffee as it does with champagne bacon and eggs.

Banana Bread - for New Year's Day


3 large ripe bananas
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon instant coffee or espresso
1/3 cup browned butter
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt


Pre-heat oven to 350F
Grease your baking pan or pans with butter. I used 3 small loaf pans, but a standard 8.5" x 4.5"pan will work just fine.

Brown the butter:  I've found the best directions for this on are here on Serious Eats.   cool while combining the first few ingredients. It doesn't have to cool completely - we'll add is slowly enough as not to scald the eggs. 

In a stand mixer mash the bananas for a few moments before adding the sugar.
Mix a minute more on high speed before adding the egg, and then the sour cream.
Add the instant coffee.

Turn the mixer speed up to high for a few seconds.
Slow the mixer to medium speed and even more slowly add the browned butter in a continuous drizzle.  The batter will become silky smooth. 

In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking soda.
Add this slowly to the mixture to avoid having flour go all over the kitchen.

Once this is thoroughly combined, add the rum, mix just a bit more.  

Pour the batter into your prepared pan (or pans).  Sprinkle the top with a teaspoon or so of white sugar (it will make for a nice little crust).
Bake at 350 for 1 hour. 
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and adding a slab of salted butter.