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Archive for Soups

TIP OF THE DAY: Turn Any Soup Into St. Patrick’s Day Soup

There are plenty of green soups to serve on St. Patrick’s Day. For starters, consider avocado; Caldo Verde (kale, potato, sausage); cream of asparagus, broccoli or spinach; cucumber; green pea; herb; and nettle soups.

There are also classic Irish soups like Irish Bacon & Cabbage, Potato & Leek and Irish Potato Soup.

But you can also take your family’s favorite soup and add a green topping, starting with diced avocado.

Add a sprinkle of freshly chopped green herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, parsley.

Don’t like avocado? Dice the tops of green onions, or use a chiffonade of basil. If you like, you can toss them on top of a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

If you’d prefer a cheese garnish, hit a cheese store for Sage Derby, a Cheddar-style cheese from England; or Basiron Pesto, a Gouda turned green with added pesto.

Now, commence to the eatin’ of the green.
 
FOOD TRIVIA: WHAT ARE HERBS?

 

Bean Soup Avocado Garnish

Instant St. Patrick’s Day food: soup with an avocado and herb garnish. Photo courtesy Quinciple.com.

  • Herbs refer to the leafy green parts of a plant. They can be used fresh or dried.
  • Spices are obtained from other parts of a plant: bark, berries, fruits, roots or seeds. They are usually dried.
  • The word “herb”” is pronounced with the “h” in most English-speaking countries, identical to the man’s name, Herb. In North America, the “h” is dropped, so the word sounds like “erb.”
  • There are culinary herbs and medicinal herbs. Culinary herbs are simply called “herbs,” as distinguished from “medicinal herbs.”
  • The difference between herbs and vegetables in that herbs are used in small amounts to enhance flavor (like spices), rather than used as a substantial ingredient.
  •   

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    RECIPES: It’s Cherry Time!

    Fresh cherry season begins in May; but today is George Washington’s Birthday, a traditional occasion for cherry pie and other cherry recipes.

    We started the day with a Cherry Yogurt Parfait. Chobani, Dannon and Yoplait, among others, sell cherry-flavored yogurt; but one can easily make a more festive yogurt parfait. And we did! We prefer our parfait to a cup of cherry yogurt.

    RECIPE: SUPER-EASY CHERRY YOGURT PARFAIT

    Ingredients

  • Yogurt brand of choice, in plain or vanilla; if you can find cherry yogurt, great
  • Cherries: fresh in season, frozen in the off-season
  • Optional: dried cherries (alone or in combination)
  •  
    What about canned or jarred cherries or cherry pie filling?

    You can mix cherries in water or light syrup into plain yogurt, but sweet, gloppy pie filling is over the top.
     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the yogurt and cherries in a mixing bowl, in your preferred proportions. Reserve a few cherries as a topping for the parfait. Stir to combine.

    2. SCOOP into a dessert dish, parfait dish, Martini glass or other festive vessel. Garnish with the reserved cherries and serve.
     
    HOW TO ENJOY YOUR CHERRY YOGURT PARFAIT

  • In the “normal” way—as a yogurt parfait.
  • Atop dry cereal (we eliminate the milk, and enjoy the cereal at its crunchy best).
  • As a topping for pancakes or waffles.
  • As a garnish for fruit salad.
  • Spooned over pound cake or angel food cake.
  • Atop frozen yogurt.
  •  
    DON’T WANT CHERRY YOGURT?

    Pick up some Welch’s Fruit & Yogurt Snacks in the new Cherry flavor.

     

    Cherry Yogurt Parfait

    Welch's Fruit 'n Yogurt - Cherry

    Top: Make a Cherry Yogurt Parfait like this one from ChooseCherries.com. Bottom: Want something that’s grab-and-go? Have fun with these yogurt-covered cherry snacks from Welch’s.

     
    Small, round and chewy, they are, alas, addictive. There’s more information on the Welch’s Fruit Snacks website.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Lentil Soup

    Lentil Soup With Mustard Greens

    Lentils

    Top: Vegetarian lentil soup with mustard
    greens from Good Eggs. Bottom: Black beluga
    lentils from InHarvest.com.

     

    Lentil soup is a winter favorite: hearty, nutritious comfort food. Why make your own? Better lentils, more nuanced flavors and the ability to control the salt.

    Today’s tip is an easy recipe for homemade vegetarian lentil soup, with a variation if you’d like to add smoky ham hocks.
     
    LENTILS: AN ANCIENT CROP

    Lentils are an ancient food, found in Mediterranean archaeological sites up to 13,000 years old. As with all foods, it first grew wild and was then cultivated, sometime around 8,500 years ago. It grows well in rainfall-challenged climates like the Middle East.

    In the Bible (Genesis 25:30-34), Esau, famished after working the fields, gave up his birthright (the rights of the first-born son to inheritance and position) to his younger brother Jacob in exchange for a pot of Jacob’s red lentil soup. The Greek playwright Aristophanes called lentil soup, the “sweetest of delicacies.” [Source]

    Plentiful and inexpensive, through much of history lentils have been considered food for the poor. Marie Antoinette made them fashionable in 18th-century France, although elsewhere, even into the 19th century, they were called “poor man’s meat,” and acceptable during Lent for people who could not afford fish. They became a staple in the Middle East and India.
     
    TYPES OF LENTIL SOUP
    In modern times, in Europe and the U.S., lentils and lentil soup have moved up, acquiring a position as a hearty and tasty fall and winter comfort food.

  • Lentil soup can be vegetarian or contain meat. Adding ham hocks or other smoked pork is a popular meat version in Europe and the U.S.
  • Whether meat or vegetarian, the soup can include vegetables such as carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, turnips and yellow squash/zucchini.
  • Aromatics and herbs can include bay leaf, cumin, garlic and parsley, plus olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice. Spices popular in Indian recipes include cardamom, cinnamon and fennel seeds.
  •  

  • It can be garnished with butter or olive oil, chopped herbs, cream or yogurt and/or croutons.
  • Any lentils can be used: black beluga, brown, green, red or yellow.
  • The lentils can be cooked with or without the husk. Dehulled red and yellow lentils disintegrate in cooking, losing their shape but making a thick soup. Alternatively, the soup made with husked lentils can be puréed.
  •  
    WHAT ARE BELUGA LENTILS?

    Beluga lentils, also called black beluga lentils and petite beluga lentils, are tiny black lentils that glisten when they’re cooked. Their tiny size and shiny black surface reminded chefs of beluga caviar; hence the name.

    They are preferred by fine chefs for pilafs, salads and sides because they hold their shape when cooked and don’t become mushy. They have the same good nutrition profile as other lentil varieties: protein, dietary fiber, iron, potassium and important minerals.

    If you can’t find beluga lentils, substitute La Puy French green lentils.

    When you cook the lentils, consider making extra lentils to add to a salad or to serve as a side. Start with this recipe for Lentil, Olive & Arugula Salad.
     
    WHAT ARE MUSTARD GREENS?

    Mustard greens comprise the leaves and stems of the mustard plant, Brassica juncea. The seeds are used whole as a spice, pressed into mustard oil or ground into mustard powder, which in turn can be mixed with vinegar or wine to create prepared mustard.

    The greens are much more prevalent in Asian cooking than in Western recipes. While they have not received the media attention of kale, mustard greens are being discovered for their flavor and nutrition. Mizuna, a “designer green,” is a Japanese mustard plant, Brassica juncea var. japonica. Tatsoi, another Japanese specialty green, is mustard-like but from a different species: Brassica narinosa.

    Low in calories, mustard greens are high in vitamins A, C, K and folic acid (also known as vitamin B9 and vitamin M).

     

    RECIPE: LENTIL SOUP WITH MUSTARD GREENS

    This recipe takes 10 minutes of prep time and 45 minutes of cook time. For another vegetarian lentil soup recipe, check out this Red Lentil & Yogurt Soup.

    If you’d like to add a smoky meat flavor, use chicken stock plus 3 to 4 smoked ham hocks.

     
    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 celery root or 2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
  • ½ bunch of carrots, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, destemmed and cut into 1” ribbons
  • 2 cups of beluga lentils
  • 8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice†
  • For meat version: 3-4 ham hocks‡
  • Optional garnishes: chile flakes; croutons; crumbled feta,
    grated Parmesan or similar cheese**; fresh parsley
  • Optional side: toasted baguette or multigrain, whole grain bread
  •  
    ________________________________
    *You can use any combination of broths, or combine broth with water. You can use all water, but the more broth, the more flavor. For a vegetarian version, of course, use vegetable stock.

     

    Mustard Greens

    Mustard Greens

    Red Mustard Greens

    Conventional and red mustard greens. As with kale and other vegetables, different varieties will have different leaf styles. Photos courtesy GoodEggs.

     
    †A medium lemon will yield 2-3 tablespoons of juice; a larger lemon can provide 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup).

    ‡A ham hock, also called the pork knuckle, is the joint where the foot was attached to the hog’s leg.

    **Substitutes for crumbled feta or Parmesan in this recipe include include cotija, goat cheese (lightly aged, so it crumbles), queso fresco or ricotta salata.
     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the lentils in a large strainer and rinse them under cold running water. Pick over the lentils and remove any discolored ones, or occasional debris like small pebbles.

    2. HEAT 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a stock pot over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the celery root or parsnips, onions, garlic and carrots and cook over high heat for a few minutes. When the garlic starts to turn golden brown, turn the heat down to medium and continue cooking the mixture for about 7 minutes, until the root vegetables begin to soften.

    3. ADD the lentils and 8 cups of liquid—this can be any combination of water, stock or just one or the other. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 25 minutes, until the lentils are tender. When the lentils are fully cooked…

    4. GENTLY STIR stir in the mustard greens and cover the pot. Cook the lentils and greens together for about 5 minutes—just enough for the greens to soften, but still maintain some of their bite. To finish, stir in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired.
     
    Variation With Ham Hocks

    1. FOLLOW steps 1 and 2, above.

    3. Add the ham hocks (instead of the lentils) and chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 1 hour, or until the hocks are tender. Then add the lentils and continue cook for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

    4. REMOVE the ham hocks and stir in the mustard greens; allow to cook for 5 minutes, or until the greens soften. While the greens cook, cut the meat from the ham hocks and cube or julienne as desired. Stir the lemon juice into the soup and add the ham. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Garnish and serve.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Soup In A Tea Cup

    It’s zero degrees here right now, with a wind chill below zero—the coldest February day since 1963. It’s a good day to focus on soup.

    We prefer to consume soup in a mug instead of a bowl. It can be easily sipped, and we never drip soup on ourselves. Our ability to avoid spilling some soup as it travels from bowl to spoon to mouth is not exactly enviable.

    Italian chef Stefano Ciotti showed us a more elegant way to sip soup: from a porcelain tea cup.

    All you need is an old-fashioned shallow tea cup (no mugs!), the soup and some beautiful garnishes.

    There are garnish options made from bread, dairy, herbs & spices, seeds, fruits and cooked or raw vegetables.

    Here’s a guide to pairing the right garnish with your soup.

    You still need to serve a spoon for eating the garnish (an espresso spoon works for us). While you can use a spoon to eat the soup, it’s acceptable to drink it from the cup.
     
    A BRIEF HISTORY OF SOUP

    Mankind is some 200,000 years old. For the majority of our existence, we had no soup.

    The earliest humans had no cookware—nothing in which to boil water (or anything else). Boiling was not easy to do until the invention of waterproof containers, probably pouches made of clay or animal skin, about 9,000 years ago. Archaeologists have dated the first soups to about 6,000 B.C.E., some 8,000 years ago.

    You can trace the origin of our modern word soup from the French soupe, which derived from the Vulgar Latin suppa, which in turn came from the post-classical Latin verb suppare, to soak. This referred to bread soaked in broth, or a liquid poured onto a piece of bread. The bread added heft to the meal.

    In Germanic languages, the word sop referred to the piece of bread—often a use for stale bread—used to soak up soup or stew. The word entered the English language in the 17th century exactly as that: soup poured over sops of bread or toast. Eating the soaked bread with one’s fingers often served as an alternative to using a spoon (flatware was costly).

    Today’s soup croutons evolved from sops. Prior to sop/soup, soups were called broth or pottage.

     

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/butternut soup in a cup stefanioCiotti italy 230sq

    Soup With Jumbo Crouton

    Top: Croutons, crème fraîche and pumpkin seeds garnish butternut squash soup. We’d add a sprig of green herb for contrast—and fill the cup with more soup! Photo courtesy Stefano Ciotti. Bottom: Soup gets its name from sop, a large piece of bread used to sop (soak) up the soup. It evolved into the modern crouton. Photo courtesy Castello Cheese.

     
    Soups For The Rich, Soups For The Poor

    While the rich enjoyed elaborate soup courses (think of modern bouillabaisse, chicken in the pot, cioppino or pho, Vietnamese beef and noodle soup), a simple bowl of soup might be a poor man’s entire dinner.

    Until recent times, the evening meal was the lighter of the two meals of the day. Soup/sop would be a typical evening dish. The name of the meal evolved to souper, than supper.

    It began to be fashionable to serve the liquid broth without the sop (bread); and in the early 18th century, soup became a first course.
     
    EATING VS. DRINKING SOUP

    Since it’s a liquid, why do we “eat” a bowl of soup? Because it’s served in a dish, not a cup.

    If you consume soup from a mug or cup, then you can be deemed to be drinking your soup.
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SOUP

    So many soups, so little time! Check out the photos in our Soup Glossary and pick out a type of soup you haven’t tried yet.

      

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    RECIPE: Savory Chocolate Gazpacho

    Chocolate Gazpacho

    Chocolate Gazpacho

    Top: Savory chocolate gazpacho from Chef Mat Schuster. Bottom: Savory chocolate gazpacho with strawberries from GoodToKnow.co.uk. Here’s the recipe.

     

    Chef Mat Schuster of San Francisco’s Canela Bistro & Wine Bar offered us this Chocolate Gazpacho recipe, which we like for Valentine’s Day. It’s a savory chocolate counterpoint to all the sweet stuff.

    When most people think of savory chocolate dishes, Mexican mole comes to mind. You may have made a chili recipe with cocoa powder. It’s a popular ingredient in Mexican dishes.

    (And why not? Cacao cultivation was begun by the Olmecs, the first major civilization in Mexico, located in the present-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco; and furthered by the Mayas of the Yucatán Peninsula. When the Aztecs learned about cacao from the Mayas, they made it a drink for noble or wealthy Aztecs and their warrior heroes).

    If you’ve ever had an all-chocolate dinner (chocolate used in every dish), you know that it can be included in every course, from cacao nibs in the salad to cacao chèvre for the cheese course. Here are more examples, with the recipes available at Saveur.com.

  • Asado de Bodas, pork in red chile sauce with Mexican chocolate
  • Charred Cauliflower and Shishito Peppers with Picada* Sauce
  • Chocolate Barbecue Sauce
  • Cocoa-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs
  • Enchiladas in Chile Chocolate Sauce, with Mexican chocolate
  • Gascon-Style Beef Stew (Daube de Boeuf À la Gasconne), made with
    Armagnac, chocolate and Madiera wine
  • Triple Chocolate Beef & Bean Chili
  • Turkey in Mole Poblano
  • White Chocolate Baba Ghannouj
  •  
    RECIPE: SAVORY CHOCOLATE GAZPACHO

    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (substitute red wine vinegar)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup seedless or low-seed cucumber (Armenian, English,
    Persian, etc.), diced
  • ¼ cup bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup to 1 cup cold water
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Garnishes: shaved chocolate (70% cacao to 100% cacao)
  • and/or croutons†

    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients into a blender; blend until smooth.

    2. ADD enough water to make the consistency you prefer, but be sure not to dilute the flavor.

    3. TASTE, season with salt and pepper and chill the soup. Before serving, garnish as desired.
     
    WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT CHOCOLATE?

    Take a look at our Chocolate Glossary and other articles in THE NIBBLE’S Chocolate Section.

     
    _______________________
    *Picada is a Catalan-style pesto made with almonds, parsley and chocolate.

    †These can be American-style croutons—small squares—or French croutons/Italian crostini, slices of baguette or similar bread, grilled or toasted with olive oil, seasonings (herbs, spices, salt and pepper) and/or optional toppings (for this gazpacho recipe, try fresh goat cheese and chives). You can float it on top of the soup or serve it on the plate under the bowl.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Egg Drop Soup

    Chinese Egg Drop Soup

    Fresh Cilantro

    Top: Egg drop soup is known for its strands
    of eggs. Bottom: A fresh herb garnish
    —chives/green onion, cilantro or parsley—
    makes a big difference. Photos courtesy
    Good Eggs | San Francisco.

     

    Chinese egg drop soup is a very simple concept: chicken broth with thin strands of cooked egg. The strands are created by pouring a thin stream of beaten eggs into hot broth at the end of cooking.

    It’s the easiest dish you can make to celebrate the Chinese New Year—also called the Lunar New Year, since other countries in Asia celebrate the holiday. With no added fat or carbs, it’s also spot-on for new year’s diet resolutions—American or Chinese versions.

    The recipe below, from Good Eggs in San Francisco, is more sophisticated than what you get at Chinese restaurants in the U.S. Star anise and miso give the soup so much flavor, it becomes a knock-your-socks-off alternative to the standard American version—typically a bland, gummy (from too much cornstarch) soup.

    While you’re at it, make your own Chinese fortune cookies for dessert!
     
    EGG DROP SOUP HISTORY

    In China, the dish that we call egg drop soup is called egg flower soup. Food historians can’t pin a date on the emergence of the recipe, but the domestication of fowl for eggs was recorded as far back as 1400 B.C.E.

    Similar recipes combining chicken broth and eggs appear in other cultures as well.

  • In France, tourin, a garlic soup, is made with chicken stock that is drizzled with egg whites and thickened with an egg yolk. Unlike egg drop soup, the egg whites are whisked in rapidly to prevent strands from forming.
  • The Greeks added fresh lemon juice to create avogolemono soup. The eggs are added for body and don’t create strands.
  • In Italy, the addition of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese created stracciatella. As with egg drop soup, the eggs form strands.
  •  
    In China, versatility is the name of the game.

  • Tastes vary across regions, with southern Chinese preferring to thicken the broth with cornstarch, and northerners favoring a thinner soup without it.
  •  

  • Tomatoes, corn and green peas may get tossed in as well.
  • Other add-ins can include bean sprouts and tofu cubes.
  • Familiar garnishes may include black pepper, chopped green onions (scallions), and a drizzle of sesame oil, but that’s just the beginning of a whole slew of possibilities.
  •  
    In the U.S.:

  • The soup is thickened with cornstarch, as is done in southern China.
  • It is typically served without a garnish or extra add-ins—but make yours as customized as you like.
  • We like to add cooked chicken strips and chopped green onions, plus fresh cilantro or parsley—whichever we have on hand.
  •  
    As with any recipe, you can (and should!) make it your own.

     

    RECIPE: CHINESE EGG DROP SOUP

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    You can buy the broth or make it with this recipe.

    Ingredients For 2-4 Servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 leek, halved and sliced into thin pieces
  • 1 quart chicken broth/bone broth
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • 4 eggs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat in a big soup pot. When the oil is hot, add the leek and cook for about 6 minutes, until it is soft and starting to turn golden brown. At this point, turn the heat down to medium and carefully add the broth. Then whisk in the star anise, soy sauce and vinegar.

    2. ADD the miso: Pour a ladleful of the broth into a small bowl and add the miso. Whisk to incorporate, then pour the enhanced broth back into the pot. Simmer for about 15 minutes. While the broth cooks…

    3. WHISK the eggs vigorously in a mixing bowl that has a pouring spout, until the whites and yolks are completely (and we mean completely) combined. When the broth has simmered and you’re ready to eat, turn the heat to high and bring the broth to a boil. As soon as it’s boiling, turn the heat back down to low and wait until the broth is at a steady simmer.

     

    Star Anise

    Midget Corn

    Star anise is perhaps the most beautiful spice. Photo courtesy SilkRoadSpices.ca. Bottom: Customize your soup with ingredients like baby corn. Photo courtesy Alibaba.com.

     
    4. At this point, hold the bowl of eggs in your left hand and slowly stir the broth with a whisk in your right hand. Pour the egg into the broth in a slow and steady stream and watch it form an eggy ribbon as soon as it hits the broth. (If it doesn’t immediately form a ribbon, the broth needs to be hotter—so stop pouring and turn up the heat for a few minutes before trying again.) Continue to pour and stir slowly until all of the eggs are in. Let the broth stand for a few minutes for the eggs to finish cooking, then garnish with parsley and serve.
     
    WHAT IS STAR ANISE?

    Perhaps the prettiest spice, star anise (photo above) comes from an evergreen tree native to Vietnam and China. Although it is not related to the herb anise, it closely resembles anise in flavor since both contain the organic compound anethole.

    Star anise, the seed of the tree, is harvested from the star-shaped pericarp*.

    It is widely used in China, where it is a component of Chinese five-spice powder; in India it is a major component of garam masala. It is also prominent in Indonesian and Malaysian cuisines. In Vietnam, you’ll find it in our favorite soup, pho. It is widely grown for commercial use in China, India, and most other countries in Asia.

    The French use it in mulled wine (vin chaud).
     
    *Pericarp is a type of plant tissue, the outer layer of the flower’s ovary wall. It surrounds the seeds, in this case, the star anise.
      

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    RECIPE: Turnip Soup

    Turnip Soup

    Today is pretty chilly, so we’re making turnip soup. Photo and recipe courtesy Quinciple.

     

    Turnips are part of the super-potent cruciferous vegetables* group, from which we try to eat daily. There’s more about the family below.

    We’ve enjoyed mashed, purée, roasted and stir-fried turnips, and we’ve fried and baked them in the manner of sweet potato fries.

    But until now, we never tried turnip soup, a comfort food that can be crowned with garnishes from apples and chives to crumbled bacon and shredded cheese.

    Although the soup looks creamy, there’s no dairy. The rich color and texture come from the gold turnips.

    If you can only find white turnips, you can add a some carrots for color, or just enjoy the pale soup. But gold turnip are noted for their “bonus” flavor, slightly sweet with a nutty nuance of almond.

    The recipe is courtesy Quinciple, a subscription service that delivers the week’s best fresh produce.

     

    RECIPE: GOLD BALL TURNIP SOUP WITH APPLES

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound gold turnips, washed and peeled
  • 1/2 yellow onion, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Optional spice: 1/2 teaspoon cumin or dried chile pepper
  • Garnish: ½ apple, thinly sliced†
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped basil, chives or parsley
  • Garnish: extra virgin olive oil, plain or flavored
  •  
    __________________________________
    *There’s more about the cruciferous family below.

    †Wait until ready to serve to slice the apples, so they don’t brown. Leave the skin on for a touch of color.
     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Cut the turnips and onion into ½” cubes. Toss with two tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

    2. ROAST until the turnips are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Purée the roasted turnips and onions with the stock, and add enough water to achieve a smooth consistency.

    3. WARM the soup in a small pan. Taste and adjust the seasonings. To serve, garnish with apple slices, herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.

     

    GOLD TURNIPS HISTORY

    There are several varieties of gold turnips, heirloom varieties from Europe that were first grown in France in the 1800s.

    In the U.S. they are marketed variously as Baby Gold, Boule D’or (the prized French variety, which translates to “golden ball”), Golden Ball and Golden Globe turnips.

    Gold turnips are a less durable than the common white and purple-white varieties, as they are not a good “cellar vegetable.” This means that they will not maintain their firmness and flavor if stored throughout the winter—a prized feature of turnips, rutabagas and other root vegetables in the days before refrigeration.

    Turnip were cultivated as far back as the Greek Hellenistic Period, 321 B.C.E. to 31 B.C.E. They grow from fall through spring, and can’t tolerate summer heat.
     
    HOW TO USE GOLD TURNIPS

    Gold turnips can replace common turnips in any recipe, and provide more flare due to their color. In fact, they can pretty much be used anywhere carrots are used, as well.

    In addition to cooked recipes, turnips (white and gold) can be eaten raw as crudités and in salads. They can be shredded into a slaw along with cabbage and carrots, and tossed with a Dijon vinaigrette. The leaves can also be eaten raw or cooked.

    Per SpecialtyProduce.com, the flavor is truly transformed and sweetened when they are slow roasted, braised or sautéed in butter.

    Good accents include:

  • Acids: lemon juice and vinegar
  • Apples
  • Bacon
  • Butter and/or cream
  • Cheeses such as Parmesan and Pecorino
  • Herbs: chives, garlic, parsley, tarragon and thyme
  •  

    Gold Turnips

    Purple Top Turnips

    Top: Gold turnips. Photo © Marie Iannotti | GardeningTheHudsonValley.com. Bottom: Common turnips are all white or white with purple tops. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco.

     

    THE CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES FAMILY

    The turnip is a cruciferous vegetable, a member of the Brassicaceae family of cancer-fighting superfoods. They are also called the brassicas, after their family name.

    “Cruciferous” derives from cruciferae, New Latin for “cross-bearing.” It refers to the flowers of these vegetables, which consist of four petals in the shape of a cross.

    The family includes arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard greens, radish, rapeseed/canola, rapini (broccoli rabe), rutabaga, tatsoi and turnips.

    Cruciferous vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. You can’t eat too many of them, but you can overcook them.

    Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and the rest of the family, cruciferous vegetables contain chemical compounds that, when exposed to heat for a sufficient amount of time, produce hydrogen sulfide (an unpleasant sulfur aroma).

    So take care not to overcook them.

      

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    RECIPE: Homemade Tomato Soup With Goat Cheese Crostini

    We love tomato soup, but have run out of patience with the added sweeteners—typically corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. We don’t like the excessive sweet taste of the soup, we don’t like the added calories, and we certainly don’t like HFCS.

    For National Soup Month, here’s an easy recipe from Davio’s Boston, one of several locations in the excellent Davio’s Northern Italian Steak Houses in Atlanta, Manhattan, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and later this year in Los Angeles.

    A side of goat cheese crostini turns the soup into a first course or a sophisticated “soup and sandwich” lunch.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE TOMATO SOUP

    Ingredients For 6 To 8 Portions

  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large white onion, sliced*
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed San Marzano tomatoes†
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 loaf Italian bread, cubed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Optional garnish: swirl of plain Greek yogurt
  • Optional side: goat cheese and chive crostini (recipe below)
  •    

    Sundried Tomato Soup

    Make tomato soup for National Soup Month. Photo courtesy Bella Sun Luci.

    ______________________________
    *While butter adds a nice flavor note, you can substitute oil if you’re avoiding cholesterol, want a vegan option, etc.

    †You can buy the tomatoes crushed or whole. Steve buys them whole and hand crushes them.
     
    Preparation

    1. MELT the butter in a stock pot; add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock. Simmer for 1 hour.

    2. ADD the cubed bread and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool. Purée until smooth with an immersion blender or in a regular blender or food processor. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

    3. SERVE: Bring the soup to a simmer. Plate and garnish with the optional yogurt, then with the basil and parsley. Serve with the crostini.

     

    Goat Cheese Crostini

    Goat cheese crostini are delicious with soup
    or a glass of wine. Photo courtesy Wines Of
    Sicily.

     

    RECIPE: GOAT CHEESE CROSTINI

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 ounces spreadable goat cheese (a softened log is fine)
  • 1 tablespoon chives, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 slices sliced baguette (1/2-inch-thick slices) toasted French bread baguette
  • Optional garnish: extra virgin olive oil, fresh-ground pepper and lemon zest
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TOAST the baguette slices.

    2. BLEND together the goat cheese, dill and minced garlic. Spread evenly over the toasted baguette slices.

    3. GARNISH with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some lemon zest and fresh-ground black pepper.
     
    DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRUSCHETTA
    AND CROSTINI
    ?

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Chicken Or Turkey Stock

    Thanksgiving Turkey

    Enjoy your feast, but don’t toss the carcass.
    Use it to make stock! Photo courtesy Sur La
    Table
    .

     

    Plan ahead: Don’t throw away that turkey carcass. Or the roast chicken* carcass. Or those tops, root ends and stems from trimming vegetables. Save the vegetable trimmings from the week’s meals: carrot tops, celery ends, fennel fronds, herb stems, kale stalks, leek tops, scallion ends, etc.

    Check the freezer for herbs and vegetable scraps you may have tucked away.

    Use all of it to make a delicious batch of chicken or turkey stock, which you can then turn into cooked grains, sauces, soups, stews and other preparations.

    RECIPE: CHICKEN STOCK OR TURKEY STOCK

    Ingredients

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
  • 1 large onion, unpeeled, cut in half
  • Chicken or turkey carcass
  • Vegetable trimmings† or 1-2 carrots, 3-4 stalks of celery
  • Parsley and thyme (leftover stems are fine)
  •  
    *Or duck, game hen, quail or any poultry carcass. You can blend them together into one stock as needed.
    †Check the freezer for herbs and anything else you might have tucked away to prevent spoiling.
     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all the ingredients in a stock pot (6-8 quarts for a turkey, 4-6 quarts for a chicken) and cover them with water plus one inch. If the carcass doesn’t fit in the pot, use poultry shears to cut it into pieces that do. Don’t salt the water; stock should be unsalted to accommodate any recipe. Place the top on the pot.

    2. BRING to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for minimum of 90 minutes, or up to 3 hours. Once or twice during the simmering, remove the cover and skim off the frothy scum that’s formed on the top of the broth. Add more water if it boils away; the bones should always be covered. When the broth has turned a golden brown color and is rich in flavor…

    3. REMOVE the pot from the heat. As soon as it’s comfortable enough to handle, strain the broth and discard the solids. If it isn’t clear enough for you, strain it again through cheesecloth.

    4. FREEZE the chicken broth in portion-sized containers. We like ice cube trays (once frozen, store the cubes in a freezer bag); or in half pint or pint storage containers. If you have a short-term use for it, you can refrigerate the stock for up to a week.
     
    Tips

  • A stock pot with a pasta strainer insert is ideal for this purpose.
  • If you don’t want to “watch the pot,” you can use a slow cooker on a low setting.
  •  

    USES FOR STOCK

    Instead Of Water

  • Grains: rice (plain or in risotto), quinoa, couscous and other dishes
  • Soups: use as much stock as you have, then fill in with water
  • Vegetables: steaming and boiling
  •  
    Instead Of Butter And/Or Cream

  • Gravy
  • French sauces, such as bercy and velouté
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Polenta
  • Purées: use stock to smooth out a bean or vegetable purée
  • Sautés: add some stock and use less butter or oil
  • Soups, from wintry butternut squash soup to summer gazpacho
  • Stuffing, dressing and other savory bread pudding recipes
  •  
    Instead Of Wine

  • Deglazing the pan for sauce
  • Marinades
  • Any recipe that requires wine
  •  

    Chicken Stock

    Take pride in your homemade stock. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco.

     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STOCK & BROTH

  • Broth is a finished soup; stock is an ingredient.
  • Broth has a higher proportion of meat.
  • Because stock is made largely from the bones, it contains more gelatin, which gives it a richer mouthfeel.
  • Stock is not salted. Since it is an ingredient, it combines with whatever seasonings the recipes call for.
  •  
    What about bouillon?

    The terms bouillon and broth are used interchangeably, though not correctly.

    Bouillon is always served plain (with an optional garnish), whereas broth can be made more substantial with the addition of a grain (barley, rice, etc.) and vegetables.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Sweet Or Savory Popcorn Garnish

    Before it was a popular snack, popcorn was a whole grain food. In Colonial times, it was eaten in a bowl with milk or cream, like modern puffed rice and other puffed cereal grains.

    In the 18th century, after the corn harvest, farmers would toss corn kernels, some fat and a little molasses into a cast iron pot. Voilà: the first kettle corn. (Today, special popcorn strains create big, fluffy kernels.)

    By the 1840s, corn popping had become a popular recreational activity in the U.S. By the 1870s, popcorn was sold in grocery stores and at concession stands at circuses, carnivals and fairs. The first commercial popcorn machine was invented in 1885; by the early 1920s, popcorn machines turned out hot buttered corn at most movie theaters.

    Here’s the history of popcorn.

    Considered a humble food accessible to all, it now used by fine chefs as a garnish for both sweet and savory food.
     
    THE HUMBLE SNACK BECOMES FANCY FARE

    Recently we featured an elegant savory corn custard, made from fresh corn and garnished with popcorn.

       

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/popcorn garnish mac and cheese 230

    Add some whole grain popcorn to your mac and cheese,perhaps flavored garlic or jalapeño. Photo: DK.

     
    But a recipe doesn’t have to be made from corn—or be savory—to dazzle with a popcorn garnish. You can use popcorn as a fun food garnish.

    While a popcorn garnish is not yet ubiquitous, it has long been a standard on cheese and beer soup. Here’s a recipe from Emeril Lagasse, who makes spicy popcorn for the garnish. But if you don’t have the time, plain popcorn works just fine.

    Any thick soup—bean, lentil, vegetable—is ready to wear a popcorn garnish; as is a bowl of chili.
     
    USE PLAIN OR FLAVORED POPCORN

    A second level of fun in using a popcorn garnish: You can flavor the popcorn to complement the dish. Just a sample of popcorn flavors you can pair:

  • Savory flavors: bacon-chive, garlic, herb, jalapeño, mustard, parmesan-rosemary, sesame, truffle
  • Sweet flavors: caramel/salted caramel, chocolate, cinnamon-sugar, maple, peanut butter, peppermint, pineapple-coconut
  •  
    If there’s a flavor you want, just toss it with popcorn. Here are 50 ways to season plain popcorn.

    You can also coat the popcorn in chocolate, or use purchased popcorn: chocolate-covered, chocolate-peppermint or maple for the holidays, and so forth.

     

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/Carrot cake with Caramel and Popcorn honestcooking 230

    Use caramel corn or a popcorn/pecan praline mix to top a cheesecake or (shown above) a carrot cake. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy MyKitchenStories.com.au.

     

    WAYS TO USE A POPCORN GARNISH

    Beverages: Hot chocolate, on a cocktail pick, on milkshakes

  • Breakfast: Grits or other hot cereal with sweet or savory corn (cheese popcorn on cheese grits, anyone?), pancakes and waffles with caramel corn, yogurt and cottage cheese with sweet or savory popcorn
  • Lunch/Dinner: Chicken breasts, chili, fish fillets, mac and cheese, soups, salads, grains, stews
  • Desserts: Crème brûlée, cupcakes, ice cream (here’s actual popcorn ice cream), layer cake, pudding (especially popcorn pudding)
  •  
    If you’re not yet convinced, here’s a simple way to try out popcorn garnishes:

    The next time you roll down the supermarket snack aisle, check out the popcorn selection. Buy a savory (plain salted popcorn) and a sweet variety (caramel corn or kettle corn) and start using them as garnishes.
     
    *Leave off the butter and sugar, and season with spices or herbs, and you’ve got a fiber-filled, healthful snack.

     

      

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