Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ginger Beet Soup

I'm don't know about you, but beets were not my favorite food growing up. In fact, I thought they were gross. Then, on a whim, I tried a bowl of ginger beet soup at a restaurant -- and discovered that beets weren't so bad after all. In fact, ginger beet soup was really really good.

This recipe from Maya at My Feasts creates a pretty close approximation of the soup I had that day. First, sautée leeks, ginger, and garlic over medium-low heat, and then add roasted beets, salt, pepper, and broth to the pot. After allowing the ingredients to simmer for a bit, purée, then finish with fresh lemon juice. It's a simple recipe, with great results. Not only does the soup have a nice ginger-beet flavor, but it will make your kitchen smell wonderful.

My only stray from the recipe was using water in place of broth -- happily, the leeks, garlic, ginger, and beets created their own.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had a craving for ginger + chocolate, so I decided to try this recipe for ginger chocolate chip cookies. I more or less followed the recipe exactly, except I used diced crystallized ginger instead of ginger chips, and I substituted 1/3 cup spelt flour for 1/3 cup of the all-purpose flour. Also, I decided to live dangerously and not grease the (nonstick) baking sheet, and it turned out fine.

When I read the recipe, I wondered whether little bits of ginger would give the entire cookie a ginger flavor, or whether it would only be noticeable when I bit into a piece of ginger (sort of like biting into a raisin in an oatmeal raisin cookie). Happily, the ginger flavor does permeate the entire cookie, and is punctuated when biting into an actual piece of ginger.

The only thing I would do differently when making these cookies in the future is doubling the recipe. I made my cookies a little bit bigger than the ones contemplated in the recipe, so I wound up with about 28 cookies instead of 36.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Beer Cheese Soup

Again with the cauliflower. This time, in soup. With beer.

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, washed and diced
1 stalk celery, washed and diced
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground mustard
black pepper to taste
8 ounces (1 cup) beer (I used a black ale)
4 cups veg broth (I used un-chicken broth*)
1 cup water
2 carrots, washed and diced
2 cups potatoes, washed and diced
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
About 2.5 ounces gruyére, grated

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

When the water is boiling, add the cauliflower and cook until tender (10-15 minutes).

Strain the cauliflower and let cool.

Place the cooled cauliflower in a food processor along with the milk, and process until smooth. Set aside.

Return the pot to the burner, and melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft (about 10 minutes).

Sprinkle the flour, dry mustard, and black pepper over the onion and celery and cook three more minutes, stirring constantly.

Slowly pour the beer into the pot, whisking constantly.

Slowly add the broth and water to the pot, whisking constantly (this will take several minutes).

Carefully add the puréed cauliflower, stirring until smooth. Then, add the carrots and potatoes. Cover, bring to a boil, then turn down to medium-low heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Remove the pot from the burner, take out the bay leaf, and add the grated cheese, stirring until the cheese has melted smoothly into the soup.

Serve immediately.

*I didn't add salt because my broth contained a decent amount of sodium.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Apple Yam Soup

From Paulette Mitchell's cookbook A Beautiful Bowl of Soup: a steaming bowl of apple yam soup, flavored with white wine, ginger, and curry powder, and topped with chopped pecans. A copy of the recipe can be found here.

Although the recipe calls for seasoned pecans, I just used plain chopped pecans (which are pretty amazing on their own), and saved the butter for the bread I ate along with the soup.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pasta With Walnut Sauce

I love walnuts, so I was intrigued by a recipe for pasta with walnut sauce in the New York Times last week. However, I didn't want to take the time to track down "fresh ricotta" or walnut oil, so I did a little googling and came up with another recipe, one that used basic ingredients I keep around the house (walnuts, bread, milk, parmesan cheese, garlic, dried marjoram, olive oil). Not only are the ingredients easy to find, but the recipe is super-simple: soak a slice of bread in milk, then purée the walnuts, cheese, garlic, and marjoram. The olive oil, soaked bread, and milk are then processed into the sauce. The result is rich, pleasantly creamy, and great tossed with pasta and broccoli.

The recipe was vague about the amount of salt; I would recommend at least 3/4 teaspoon. I also used a little extra milk to thin the sauce, which was quite thick.