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Romanesco Soup

Romanesco Soup pulls together rich flavors from parsnips, fennel, and celery root.

Romanesco might be the vegetable of an architect’s dreams. This broccoli cauliflower hybrid is full of M.C. Escher angles. I could eat soup every day. It can be easy and tough to master. So much of it comes down to semantics of seasoning. For this Romanesco Soup, I wanted to riff on the green color, adding a green tasting food like celery root, which when the hairy husk of an exterior is cut off reveals pale flesh that taste like the stalk. A little parsnip goes a long way but I love it in soup. Fennel offers a smidge of sweetness and a barely green bulb sliced into half moons. The spice here is enough curry powder to give it an edge but not enough to taint the silky green surface with turmeric’s golden glow. No, instead, that’s done by actual shaved disks of fresh turmeric as an optional garnish with shaved jalapeno for a hit of heat (and more green), and the fresh sudsy scent of cilantro. Fresh turmeric is a revelation–it’s a taste of sweet earth with only rooibos coming close to matching that flavor moniker. Don’t skip the butter unless you’re vegan (then, you can totally sub in vegetable stock and all olive oil). I love the luscious texture the butter gives to the soup and a hint of flavor without it becoming at all indulgent. But then again, I’m of the ilk that a soup made from scratch (that includes using boxed broth) with time, love, and intention is pure indulgence of the highest order that feeds the stomach and soul simultaneously.

 All sorts of green vegetables go into making Romanesco Soup, topped with a fresh shower of cilantro leaves and jalapeno.

Romanesco Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 celery root, peeled and chopped (3 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped (1 heaping cup)
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 romanesco, chopped (about 5 cups)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 knob fresh turmeric, peeled and shaved into coins
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, shaved

Instructions

  1. Saute the onion, celery root and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt for 10 minutes in oil over medium high heat, stirring often or until slightly browned and the onion is translucent.

  2. Melt the butter. Stir in the curry powder, parsnip, fennel, romanesco and remaining teaspoon of salt. Pour in the stock and water.

  3. Cover and lower the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until fork tender. Puree. Top with turmeric, cilantro, and jalapeno if using.

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Recipes

Kale Celery Root Soup

Kale Celery Root Soup - anneliesz

In the Bay area, if it dips under 60 degrees, we pull out the scarves and beanies. I’ve been donning my fingerless gloves for weeks and am wearing out my hoodie (hood up, thank you). Our place doesn’t have a working heater or a working fireplace though we have one of each. To stay warm and for overall high spirits, I drink copious amounts of tea and coffee. Then, I pile on the layers. On particularly cold days, the oven cranks onto a balmy 375, which makes my challah rise to the happy climes. Recently we made an excursion to Philadelphia. That city won me over in a big way a few years back and claimed the spot of favorite food city of 2014, narrowly being edged out of its spot in 2015 by Los Angeles and its booming bold flavors of any kind of cuisine imaginable.

While in Philadelphia, we sported winter coats. Hats with ear flaps. Mittens. And on a few occasions, we may have ducked into stores we didn’t really have any intention of perusing had the wind not picked up into the soul-crushingly cold temperatures. We ran up the Rocky steps, or more accurately, I ran up the Rocky steps. I quickly learned that detail alone separated the chump out-of-towners from the townies like opening an umbrella in Seattle gives you away in an instant. Two days at the museum meant two chances to eat incredibly good pizza in the name of it being within walking distance.

If I had to qualify my favorite thing to eat, anything wrapped in a fresh, hot corn tortilla would take the top seat and perhaps surprisingly, homemade soup would nab the silver spot. I love sweets more than I should, but I could eat soup everyday and not grow bored. Homemade soup is one part revelation and another part Bay area and beyond winter survival tactic. I created this soup with the specific aim in mind of cramming as much greens as possible into something that also tends toward being a little naughty. The bacon fat lends a nudge of meaty flavor to a veggie-filled soup. I won’t be mad at you if you make more bacon to crumble on top when you’re ready to serve it. Or, skip the bacon altogether and use veggie stock, letting it rain Parmesan on top as a garnish. Whatever you need to do stay warm in winter works.

Kale Celery Root Soup

MAKES 4-6 SERVINGS

3 pieces bacon, torn into 3 pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and medium chopped (1 cup)

1 green bell pepper, ribbed and medium chopped (1 ¼ cups)

1 small yellow onion, medium chopped (1 cup)

1 teaspoon kosher salt plus 1 teaspoon

1 (10 ounce-sized) small celery root, peeled and medium chopped (1 ¾ cup)

½ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper

1 bunch kale, rinsed, ribbed and chopped (about 6 cups)

4 cups low sodium chicken stock

1 cup water

Crème Fraiche

Fry the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon, placing on a plate for later use. Drizzle and swirl the oil into a stockpot. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Saute them for about 10 minutes or until mostly cooked, stirring occasionally. Stir in the celery root and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the kale, coriander, paprika, and Aleppo pepper, stirring for about 1 minute. Pour in the chicken stock, water, and remaining teaspoon of kosher salt. Raise the heat to medium high. Cook the soup for about 15 minutes or until the celery root is fork tender. Puree the soup in batches. Crush the cooled bacon into bits. Serve with a drizzle of crème fraiche on top a la Jackson Pollock and a scattering of bacon bits.

 

PS- This soup would actually be pretty terrific with grilled cheese soldiers dipped into it.

PPS- And, if you happen to find celery root in the summer, it would make a fine chilled soup too.

Kale Celery Root Soup - anneliesz

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Recipes

Bok Choy Soup with Avocado Crema

Bok Choy Celeriac Soup

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that my current obsession with celeriac knows no bounds. Celery root is mellow in its celery flavor and is great roasted with sea salt.

In the past few weeks we’ve tossed it into salads , tried it braised letting it soak up the juices of the other ingredients as well as impart its distinctive flavor into them and played with working it into soup… This soup layers green upon green blending the mellow celery flavor of roasted celeriac with the sauteed greens of bok choy, a hint of ginger and the toasted pistachio meal for something quite special.

You will note that I don’t recommend salting the soup and that is purely for preference. If you want to add salt to the soup to taste, go for it. I included the generous pinch of salt in the avocado crema knowing it would suffuse its slight saltiness to the rest of the soup and avocado for me comes alive after a hit of salt. Have you ever tried avocado with a pinch of salt, smeared on fresh baguette? With sliced tomatoes, it is a meal of much hullabaloo. But I digress…

Topped with a bright dollop of avocado crema, you might find, like we did, that this soup makes a tasty accomplice to an egg frittata or baked ricotta casserole.

SOUP RECIPES- Bok Choy Celeriac Soup with Avocado Crema

 

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BOK CHOY SOUP WITH AVOCADO CREMA 

SOUP

  • 6 Bok Choy, coarsely chopped
  • 2 leeks, coarsely shopped
  • 1 medium celery root, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (plus 1 teaspoon for roasting pepper)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pistachios
CREMA
  • 4 tablespoons plain goat’s milk yogurt
  • 1 avocado
  • a generous pinch of salt

 

1. Preheat oven to 425F.

2. Place celery root and whole green bell pepper on roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes.

3. Saute ginger, leeks and garlic over medium low heat for 3 minutes in 2 tablespoons of oil.

4. Add bok choy to pot and stir in. Stir for five minutes as bok choy cooks down. Add chicken stock. Set to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Remove pepper from the oven and remove the skin, seeds and stem.

6. Chop the pepper into strips and add to pot along with adding the celery root to the pot once done.

7. Pulverize pistachios into meal. Then add the pistachio meal to the pot and stir in.

8. Puree in small batches in a blender until smooth or use an immersion blender in the pot and puree until smooth.

9. For the avocado crema, mash the chopped avocado with the yogurt together and add salt. I like this a bit chunky, so mash until the avocado is slightly broken up.

10. Serve soup with a dollop of avocado crema.

 

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Categories
Recipes

Roasted Beet & Fennel Rocket Salad with Pomegranate Arils

SALAD RECIPES- Roasted Beet & Fennel Rocket Salad with Pomegranate Arils

I must admit my appreciation for arugula quadrupled once I heard that the Brits call it rocket. Who doesn’t want to eat a rocket salad? Okay, silliness aside, we have a newfound affection for the great sum of the parts making up this salad.

Roasting beets brings out their natural sweetness and it is my preferred way to enjoy them. This combination of roasted fennel with the beets is something truly special especially when you add in the bright burst of tartness in the pomegranate arils and the slight piquant quality of rocket. The pepitas give a bit of crunch. If you’re planning a dinner party and want a flavorful and colorful salad to liven up your winter table, pop into the oven a roasting pan of beets, fennel and celeriac.

roasted beet fennel arugula salad

 

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ROASTED BEET & FENNEL ROCKET SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE ARILS
YIELD: 4 side salad portions

SALAD

  • 3 golden beets
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • ½ celeriac
  • 1 tablespoon grapseed oil
  • 2 tablespoon pomegranate seeds (arils)
  • 2 cups rocket (arugula)
  • 2 tablespoon pepitas

 

DRESSING

  • ½ tablespoon shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • pinch of salt
  • cracked black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Peel beets and then cut into rounds. Lop off the bulb of the fennel from the limbs and then cut the bulb into rounds. With a paring knife, carefully peel off outer skin of celeriac, lop off the limbs and cut into chunks.
3. Place beets, fennel and celeriac on a roasting pan and sprinkle grapeseed oil over them. Rub the beets, fennel and celeriac in the oil to make sure all sides are coated.
4. Roast veggies for 45 minutes.
5. Let cool.
6. In a bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, champagne vinegar, salt and pepper with the mined shallots. Set aside.
7. Place rocket in a large bowl and add the cooled roasted vegetables. Sprinkle the pepitas and pomegranate arils on top. Mix in the dressing and toss to coat.

 

Roasted Beet Fennel Salad with Chicken a la Diable

MAKE IT A MEAL WITH

CHICKEN A LA DIABLE
So you want to make your roasted beet salad into more of a full meal? Easy- pair it with chunks of chopped up Chicken a la Diable. These chicken fingers had a good amount of heat that lingered and played off of the sweet roasted beets and fennel. For some added creaminess with the chicken, we tossed in some feta crumbles and sliced avocado. We followed the recipe pretty much by the book, with a few variations.

– STRIP IT: Go with chicken strips and you will exponentially increase the number of portions you can expect to feed. We cut up the chicken breasts into strips.

– GO WHOLE:  Substitute in some whole grain mustard with the dijon to give a textural delight to the dish.

– GLUTEN FREE? If you’re gluten free, make gluten free breadcrumbs by grinding up Corn Flakes or Crispy Rice cereal and use gluten free flour instead.

Serving size: 1 1/2 chicken strip chopped up on each salad

 

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