Archive | September, 2012

Creamy Kohlrabi Soup

30 Sep

I am very glad one of my readers suggested a puréed kohlrabi soup, because this was absolutely delicious.  The kohlrabi, once cooked and puréed, has a hint of sweetness and a hint of radish-y spice.  This soup is simple and easy, and due to the starchiness of the kohlrabi, actually pretty filling.  Zak added some cooked pearled barley to his to make it more substantial, turning it into a sort of porridge.  I personally enjoyed the velvety smooth texture of the simple puréed version.

Also, my cold is about a million times better since last night, so I’m fairly sure this soup has magical powers.  I can’t prove it or anything, but if you have a head cold and some kohlrabi around, you might want to test my theory.  At the least, you’ll get a yummy soup out of it.

Creamy Kohlrabi Soup

2 medium to large bulbs kohlrabi

2 tbs. butter

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2 tbs. apple cider vinegar

3 cups vegetable stock

1 cup 1% milk

1 lime, quartered

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 package white button mushrooms, cleaned

2 tbs. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400º.

Using a knife, peel the tough, bright green outer layer off the kohlrabi.  Roughly chop.

In a medium Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and sauté 8-10 minutes, until onion is translucent and soft.

Add kohlrabi and apple cider vinegar.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.  Cook 2-3 minutes until apple cider vinegar is evaporated.  Add vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.  Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes until kohlrabi is fork tender.

Meanwhile, place mushrooms on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place in oven and roast 20 minutes, tossing once, until deeply caramelized.

When kohlrabi is tender, add milk to the kohlrabi mixture.  Simmer 3-5 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.  Taste for seasonings and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.

Ladle into serving bowls.  Add roasted mushrooms.  Squeeze some lime over and serve immediately.

Geauga Family Farms Summer CSA – Week Twelve

29 Sep

Geauga Family Farms Summer CSA – Week Twelve

In this week’s share, we received a big bundle of basil, a red pepper, an eggplant, a butternut squash, a head of garlic, a bunch of Yummy orange peppers, a green bell pepper, about a dozen apples, some scallions, and lettuce.

We don’t have too many leftovers for last week, despite my pathetically sparse posting this week.  We have some lettuce, the kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, and an onion or two.  Luckily, kohlrabi, sweet potato, and onions all have a relatively long shelf life.

Those kale and ricotta ravioli in a white wine basil sauce I talked about turned out not so great … I just could not get the pasta dough to cooperate so I ended up with only a few ravioli.  I would hate to post a recipe with sub par results, so despite the fact that the filling and the sauce were really yummy, I won’t be posting the recipe.  One evening, I made a soup very similar to this mushroom and silken tofu in dashi-miso broth which was absolutely delicious but didn’t justify a post of its own due to its similarity.

I used two week’s worth of apples to make homemade apple pectin, which will come in handy in making jams and jellies.  I had debated even posting the recipe since it’s so simple (quarter apples, cover with water, boil for a long time, basically), but it’s certainly worth knowing how to do.

I have a head cold from hell at the moment, so I want to make a soup.  One of my readers suggested a puréed kohlrabi soup, so I might try that using kohlrabi and onions from last week and garlic from this week.  I will probably make some apple butter with the apples, since I absolutely love it and its super easy.  I’ve been craving a charred green pepper sandwich, so that’s in the cards for one day this week.  My initial plan for the orange peppers is to stuff them with ricotta and then do a spin off of a chile relleno.

Homemade Pectin

27 Sep

Okay, this is barely a recipe.  It has two ingredients and the most complicated technique required is boiling water.  But I have mentioned homemade pectin in several of my posts, because it’s what I use to make jam around here.  Previously, however, I neglected to mention how to make pectin at home, which is sort of unfair, right?

So, here you go.  Bear in mind that fresher, smaller apples and apples such as green apples and crab apples are best for homemade pectin.  I used the apples we got from our CSA, which worked fine.  Overripe apples have very little pectin in them, as I understand it, so try to use fresh apples.  You can also use just the the cores and peels if you want to use the flesh of the apples for baking or apple sauce or apple butter, but use several dozen apple cores and peels if you do so.

Furthermore, when you use the pectin to make jam or jelly, it becomes a bit more of a guessing process than using store bought pectin.  You’ll need to test your jam a few times to make sure it is set up.  It depends entirely on the strength of your pectin, which is determined by the apple type, apple freshness, length of initial boil, length of second boil, and a variety of other factors, I’m sure.  The second boil tends to be the most important.  I don’t like the pectin super concentrated, because it’s then very, very easy to use too much in your jam and have a jam or jelly that is way, way too stiff.  I like to freeze the finished pectin in one or two cup increments, because it makes it easy to fool around with the amount required to get my jam set up the way I want it.

The good news is that the process is incredibly easy, incredibly inexpensive, and incredibly hard to screw up.  All it requires is boiling.  And when it comes time for jam making, it’s very easy to just add more pectin, if it’s not as strong as you initially thought.

Homemade Pectin

2 dozen apples, scrubbed clean and quartered

Water

Add apples to a large stock pot.  Cover with just enough water for the apples to float.  Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.

Reduce heat to maintain a gentle boil.  Boil gently, covered, for 2-3 hours or until apples are soft, mushy, and beginning to disintegrate.

Line a colander, placed over a medium stock pot, with a fine mesh sieve.  Pour the apples through the colander.  Cover with a stock pot lid.  Let drain several hours, or overnight.

Discard the solids.  Place the drained pectin over medium heat on the stove and boil until reduced by about half.  Let cool.  Transfer to 1 cup Tupperware containers and freeze, or can as desired.

Geauga Family Farms Summer CSA – Week Eleven

22 Sep

Geauga Family Farms Summer CSA – Week Eleven

In this week’s share, we received a head of lettuce, two large kohlrabi with greens attached, several red onions, an orange bell pepper, a green bell pepper, over a dozen apples, over half a dozen sweet potatoes, a bunch of lacinato kale, and a large bunch of basil.

Our leftovers are fairly minimal.  I threw out a few odds and ends of lettuce that were looking pretty grim and some of the bok choy.  I have a patty pan and yellow squash still hanging about, as well a bunch of green beans and a tomato or two.  I ate a few apples, but intentionally saved the rest hoping to get more so I could make some homemade pectin.  Luckily, that gamble paid off.

I roasted off both of the eggplant to make some baba ghanouj, which I intended to do as soon as Zak clears out of the kitchen (he’s currently bottling some beer).  The artichoke heart stuffed peppers used some Red Carmen peppers from a few weeks back.  The clam and corn soup with kale and barley used both reserved corn cobs and kale.

I have a few concrete ideas for this week’s produce.  One of those kohlrabi is getting sliced up to dip in the aforementioned baba ghanouj.  Tonight, I am making kale and ricotta semolina ravioli in a white wine and basil sauce.  To say the least, that will knock off most of the kale and basil.  With any remaining kale and the kohlrabi greens, I plan to make a warm salad wilted in olive oil and fat reserved from my garlic parmesan duck wings, topped with some rye bread crumbs – probably alongside a baked sweet potato.  As I said, I’ll be making some homemade pectin with the apples.

Clam and Corn Soup with Kale and Barley

21 Sep

Yesterday, I was feeling under-the-weather enough that I stayed home from work and skipped my evening class.  So for dinner, I wanted soup.  Luckily, I had a quart of clam broth leftover from a recent clam bake at my parents house.  I also wanted something healthy.  Therefore, I knew this soup was the perfect place for the every-so-slightly wilted kale I had from our CSA pick up this past Saturday.  Kale is full of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K, and tons of other vitamins and nutrients.  Some leftover corn cobs (and frozen kernels) served to lend a hearty sweetness and substance to the broth.  Finally, whole grains in the form of pearled barley are also a wealth of healthy goodness.

But the healthiness of this dish isn’t the main attraction – it’s the taste.  The briney broth is infused with the sweetness of the corn, a slightly bitter herbaceousness from the kale, and a toothsome texture from the barley.  Zak bumped it up a notch by adding a leftover artichoke heart stuffed pepper.  I was happily surprised by how hearty and good this clam and corn soup was without the addition of any cream.  It still had all the lovely flavors of a chowder, but was more of a hearty soup or stew due to the lack of cream.

Clam and Corn Soup with Kale and Barley

1 quart clam broth leftover from a clam bake, or 1/2 qt. chicken broth and 1/2 qt. clam juice

1 tbs. butter, if necessary (see note below)

1 small onion, roughly chopped, if necessary (see note below)

3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped, if necessary (see below)

3 cobs corn, kernels removed and reserved

1 cup pearled barley

3 cups kale, roughly chopped

[Note:  The leftover clam broth I used had some onions and garlic in it.  If you are using chicken broth/clam juice combination, first melt 1 tbs. of butter in a medium stock pot and sauté 1 small, roughly chopped onion and 3-4 cloves garlic, also roughly chopped, until tender.]

Add clam broth and corn cobs to a medium stock pot.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add barley and cover.  Simmer over medium heat for forty five minutes to an hour, until barley is tender.

Add corn and kale.  Simmer 3-5 minutes until corn is heated through and kale is wilted.  Serve immediately.

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