December 2009 Archives

Potato Celery Root Soup

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Celery root is abundant throughout the fall and winter in the Pacific Northwest and if you, like me, try to eat both seasonally and locally then this might very well be abundant where you are too.    Like most potato based soups, this one is creamy and lightly earthy and with the addition of celery root it also has a wonderful delicate celery flavor.  Seasoning should to be taste but kept simple.  I like to add milk to my creamy potato based soups but I've also made them without the milk and it's very good, so it's worth making if you're vegan.  The cheese garnish is optional if you're not me.

Potato Celery Root Soup

Ingredients:

3 large starchy potatoes (either Russets or a similar type), diced medium
1 whole celery root, diced medium
1 giant carrot, diced medium
2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth, or water
Salt to taste
Pepper, about a kazillion grinds
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup of 2% milk, optional
Cheddar cheese garnish, optional

Method:

Heat up the olive oil and butter in a soup pot on medium high heat, then add all the vegetables at once.  Stirring frequently, saute the vegetables until they very slightly brown (about 10 minutes on my burner).  Don't let them burn.  Add the stock (or water) and make sure nothing has stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Bring the soup to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer.  Cook until all the vegetables are soft and until the potatoes come apart easily.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Puree.

Recipe notes: With a delicate soup like this I would suggest the best choice for broth is vegetable or plain water.  Chicken would be alright, but beef broth would have too deep and heavy a taste of its own and may overpower the light flavors of the soup.  Always remember that a soup is highly personal and if you like it runnier than it turns out, add more liquid.  If you like it thicker, like I do, let it cook down a little bit.  There is no hard science to soup.  A lot of it is by preference and by feel.  I usually use more salt and pepper in this soup than my other soups.  I would say I use between 1 1/2 tsp and 2 tsp salt and I probably do about 40 grinds of pepper.  I use my immersion blender to blend it and don't have to wait til it cools, but if you're using a full size blender to puree the soup you'll need to wait until it cools a bit or you might burn yourself.


To veganize this recipe all you need to do is use 2 tbsp of olive oil for the sauteing and don't use the milk or add any cheese.  I promise it's a very good soup without these additions.

This soup is gluten free through no merit or planning on my part.


Potato Celery Root Mash

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This is a simple satisfying winter accompaniment to a meal.  It can also be put into hand-pies (what I lovingly refer to as "poorhouse pies") and as soon as I have a couple of other necessary recipes posted I will give instructions on how to make poorhouse pies using this mash as one of the fillings.

Potato Celery Root Mash

Ingredients:

2 large potatoes (starchy type, such as russet), diced into 1/2" pieces
1 whole celeriac (celery root), diced into 1/2" pieces
1 medium sized turnip (or 2 small ones), diced into 1/2" pices
1/2 stick of butter
salt to taste pepper to taste

Method:

put all of the vegetables into a steamer basket fitted into a pot and steam them until very tender.  If your steaming basket will not accommodate them all at once, steam the potatoes first, then steam the celeriac and the turnips together.

Put all the hot vegetables in a medium sized bowl and cut up your butter into pieces and add it to the bowl and fold it into the vegetables until it is melted.

Use a potato masher to mash them into a smooth consistency.  Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  My guess is at least teaspoon of salt will be needed.

Serve hot.  (Reheat if necessary)

Recipe notes: Many people boil their root vegetables before mashing.  I don't see any reason not to do it this way if you prefer it.  My mother always steamed rather than boiled vegetables because she believed it was healthier, and I tend to agree, but I haven't got any proof to share either way.  I am a fan of mashed potatoes and I like, but don't love, potatoes mashed with turnips, but this combination is divine!  The celery root and turnip keeps the mash from stiffening up because they aren't starchy like the potatoes, and the celery root adds a delicate wonderful flavor.  This is one of those simple winter foods that take few ingredients or effort to make and so are not only budget friendly but also a great dish for people with little time.


Veganize this! To make this recipe vegan, simply use olive oil in place of the butter.  Use a mild golden variety rather than a green grassier flavored one.  Or you can use a vegan butter substitute if you like, however, I would always recommend using either butter or olive oil rather than an unnatural hydrogenated spread which may rely on a lot of unnecessary ingredients to help it mimic the butter experience.  If you can't (or don't wish) to eat dairy, olive oil is often the best substitute for butter.


Candied Spiced Nuts Recipe

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Spiced nuts make great holiday gifts but I usually make them for myself to put on salads.



Spiced nuts are easy to make and can be customized to suit your tastes.


Spiced Nuts Ingredients:

6 cups of nuts, I prefer walnuts
3 egg whites
2 tbsp water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves


 


Method:

Preheat oven to 300.  In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and water until frothy.  Fold the nuts into the egg whites gently until they are completely coated.

Combine the sugar, salt, and spices and blend well.  Add it to the nuts, stirring gently, until it is mixed in well.  Spread the nuts onto two large greased cookie sheets.  Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes being sure to stir the nuts a couple of times while cooking.

Let the nuts cool completely before storing.  They will not be crisp when they first come out because of the egg whites but after they are completely cool they will be.  Store in an airtight container.

 


Coating the nuts with egg whites.



Coating the nuts with the spiced sugar.



Making them pretty if you're generous enough to give any away.


Recipe Notes: If you haven't worked with egg whites before then you may not know why you have to be so gentle with them: when you beat them they fill with tiny bubbles which give them loft but if you stir too roughly or too much the bubbles collapse.  In this recipe it isn't as vital to maintain loft as it is in other recipes that use meringue like souffles, but it's the gently cooked whites that give a special crunch to these nuts.  Feel free to play around with the spices- leave one out if you like (or all of them if you want candied nuts with no additional flavor).  If you know your oven runs hot, try setting it a little lower.  If you don't like walnuts, like I've used here, use any kind of nut you like.



Recent Comments

  • angelina: We ate it up very fast! read more
  • Tarrant: oh my-this sounds appealling read more
  • Aimee: Oh, YUM. read more
  • angelina: For crying out loud, Angela, get on the vegan version read more
  • little big: I totally have that book! And the part II that read more
  • Angela (Cottage Magpie): Oh, that sounds gooooood! My favorite soup in all the read more
  • meigan1cameron: "White Bean And Basil Salad Recipe" is my one the read more
  • Karmyn R: I would not have thought to put squash with black read more
  • angelina: Allison- greet and compliment the snowdrops for me, will you? read more
  • Laura: Hi! This looks great, I always love your recipes! I read more