Green Garlic Soup

green garlic

 

 

Green garlic is available for a very brief time in the spring and mainly at farmer’s markets. It resembles green onion (scallions), but has a flat, rather than tubular green top. Get it while you can! This recipe will serve six. Adrienne demoed it during our allium month, May 2016.

2 bunches green garlic (about 6-8 stalks)
1 good-sized onion
1 medium potato, such as Yukon Gold
2 T olive oil
4 C vegetable stockgarlic
salt & pepper
¼ C heavy cream
chopped chives for garnish

Prepare green garlic: Slice green part lengthwise and run under cold water to get out any grit. Remove root. Cut entire stalk and bulb into chunks and set aside. You should have about 3 C of green garlic. Peel and cut onion into chunks; you should have 1 C onion chunks. Wash and cut potatoes into chunks; you should have about ½ C potatoes. In a large pot or pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add all your vegetables. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add stock, salt, pepper. Cook another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, puree soup mix. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. Add heavy cream and process until incorporated. Serve hot, garnished with chives.


Vanilla-Infused Sautéed Apples with Cream

apples

 

This is Danielle’s recipe for Saturday’s festival at USBG. We’ll be there from 11 am-3 pm making dishes that feature vanilla, which grows on one of the Botanic Garden’s orchids. You can go visit the orchid too. The recipe below will also be featured. This Saturday Sept. 26, 100 Maryland Ave SW DC.  Should be a fun event. Be there or be square (or both, for some of us). 

2 seasonal apples of your choice, peeled, cored and sliced
2 T unsalted butter
¼ C natural cane sugar
1/8 t cinnamon
½ vanilla bean
¼ C apple cider or brandy or rum
½ C heavy cream

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Slit the vanilla bean down the middle vertically and gently scrape out the tiny seeds inside the bean. Add the seeds and the bean to the butter and sugar. Allow the sugar to melt slightly, then add the apple slices. Arrange the slices cut side down and don’t overcrowd. Once lightly browned on one side, flip them to brown the other side. Move the browned slices to the side of the pan to make room for additional slices, if necessary. Continue sautéing the slices until all the apples are caramelized. Increase the heat and add the apple cider or brandy. Shake the pan to allow the liquid to absorb into the apples and reduce by about half. Add the heavy cream, stir gently and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Makes a great topping for icecream! Serves 2-4.


Creamy Winter Greens au Gratin

creamy greensEven though both spinach and kale (and you could actually add or substitute frozen turnip greens in this recipe also) are plentiful fresh this time of year – winter greens, after all – we are using frozen today because first, freezing tenderizes kale and second, you need an awful lot of fresh greens to get to the equivalent of two pounds of frozen chopped greens. Besides, when you’re making a dish this healthy – nothing beats winter greens for iron, fiber, vitamins, etc. – it’s not difficult to justify buying something frozen even when it’s in season. Pound for pound, I’ll wager the cost is going to be about the same, especially when you factor in cooking and, of course, waste – how many of us actually use kale ribs after we remove them? Another plus: The dish will go together lickety split when using a couple of bags of frozen greens, so stop beating yourself up. And feel better by making your own breadcrumbs – we may love our panko, but in this dish you want larger crumbs for texture and crunch.

1 large bag (16 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 large bag (16 oz) frozen chopped kale, thawed
1 T unsalted butter
½ t ground nutmeg
1/4 t hot pepper flakes (optional)
2 T olive oil
1 C fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 C heavy cream
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 C freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Heat the oven to 400°F. Have ready a large gratin dish or casserole dish (any shape is fine as long as it’s shallow). Drain thawed greens in a large strainer, pressing down to expel as much moisture as possible, then squeeze them in paper towel or dishtowel to extract more moisture; heat butter in a large saucepan and add greens; cover and saute gently about 3 minutes until heated. Add nutmeg and pepper flakes if using and toss to mix well; reserve. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and breadcrumbs, 1/4 t salt and a few grinds of pepper.

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and garlic to a boil over medium-high heat (watch that it doesn’t boil over), immediately lower the heat, and simmer vigorously until the cream reduces to about 3/4 cup, 4 to 8 min. (Don’t over-reduce.) Take the pan off the heat and remove and discard the garlic cloves. Let the cream cool slightly, stirring occasionally to keep a skin from forming. Season with 1/4 tsp. of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper.

Put warmed greens in the gratin dish, spreading them out; sprinkle with cheese; pour over reduced cream and top with breadcrumbs. Bake until the gratin is brown and bubbly, about 25 min. Let rest for 10 to 15 min. before serving.

For a change, serve these gratins individually. Just divide ingredients among four small gratin dishes and bake as directed above.


Celery Root Salad with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

Celeriac, that unlovely step-sister of the root vegetable family, has not been made more popular in the US celeriac 2merely by bestowing upon her a Downtown Abbey-esque name. In fact, the French term for celery root has been around – even on this side of the pond – well before the advent of television itself. But somehow pragmatic Americans seem to favor the truth of the matter – the baseball-sized , brownish, pock-marked lumps that you find on produce shelves inevitably are labeled just what they are: Celery root. Nomenclature aside, the burgeoning foodie market’s natural curiosity is what’s driving better supermarkets to stock this gnarly winter vegetable.celeriac 4

Cut it open and you get creamy flesh that looks like a turnip and emits the most delectable scent of artichoke, carrot and, yes, celery, which, after all, is what the root nurtures above ground as it grows. Not your conventional celery that bunches and blanches, producing crispy, cucumber-textured stalks that we use in so many ways. Rather, the rougher country cousin of that staple, strong and coarse enough to stay out of most soups and chicken salad concoctions in favor of the compost pile – or feeding the pigs or chickens as we used to do back in the day when Adrienne was raising such in rural Virginia.

And those who do experiment with celery root discover a new favorite – a creamy winter soup using a couple of the bulbous tubers along with its green counterpart and a fat onion, simmered in stock and then pureed with the dairy – or non – of your choice, makes a winter night a joy to weather. Oven-roasting along with whatever strikes your fancy at that moment – or by itself – brings out celeriac’s innate sweetness (yes, the humble vegetable aims to please), and celeriac 5mashed with a handful of potatoes brings a whole new meaning to our beloved “mash,” side dish of choice to elegant winter roasts and rich stews.

But here we are preparing it virginally – the celery root is raw, dressed in an unusual vinaigrette using preserved lemons, pickled in salt for a number of weeks, resulting a smoky, nutty, undefinable “umami” – that elusive fifth estate of the palate which, when experienced, brings it all home in a “Ta daah!” moment. But it doesn’t end there – the preserved lemon (widely available in international grocery stores and increasingly in supermarkets, but if you can’t find it check out this link) is combined with lemon juice, creme fraiche for a swooning creaminess and poppy seeds for subtle texture and beauty, plus walnuts for crunch. The dish is garnished with pomegranate arils for eye candy as much as the lovely little pop of sweetness in the mouth.

So go for it – discover a whole new winter salad. (Found in The Washington Post, originally from the book “A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories,” and adapted here by Adrienne for a demos at Brookside Gardens and the US Botanic Garden January 2015.)

celery root saladCelery Root Salad with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

Make ahead: You can prep all your salad ingredients in advance; store the prepped celery root in a bowl or tub of chilled water with a dash of white vinegar. This will prevent discoloration.

Peel of 1 preserved lemon cut into julienne (very thin strips)
Scant 1 C crème fraîche
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 t minced shallot
1 T poppy seeds
1 C extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

2 baseball-size celeriac, peeled (1-2 pounds total)
1 C walnut halves, toasted
1 C picked celery leaves (from the heart of 1 bunch celery)
½ C celery stalk, sliced very thin on the diagonal (about 2 stalks)
2 t poppy seeds
¾ C fresh pomegranate seeds (arils)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon

For the vinaigrette: Combine the preserved lemon peel, crème fraîche, lemon juice, shallot and poppy seeds in a food processor; pulse until the solids are finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the oil to form a creamy emulsion.

For the salad: Use a mandolin or sharp knife to shave the celeriac into wide, 1/8-inch-thick slices; Put them in a large bowl, along with the sliced celery root. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Add about three-quarters of the walnuts, crushing some of them with your fingers as you work them in.

Transfer the mixture to a large platter. Garnish with the celery leaves, poppy seeds and pomegranate seeds and remaining walnuts. Serve at room temperature, drizzled with oil and garnished with the flaked salt.


Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

sweet potato casserole

 

 

 

Sautéed apples, a crunchy pecan crust, and spicy mashed sweet potatoes make for a sophisticated update.

3 to 3¼ lb. sweet potatoes (about 3 large)
4 T unsalted butter; more for the pan
1 C toasted and very finely chopped pecans
1 1/3 C breadcrumbs
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt
1 C heavy cream
Eight ¼-inch-thick slices fresh ginger, unpeeled and crushed
2 whole star anise
One 2- to 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 T plus 2 t bourbon
1½  t pure vanilla extract
3 large tart-sweet apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced

Bake the sweet potatoes

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400̊F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and bake them on the sheet until completely tender when pierced with a fork, 55 to 60 minutes. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, if not working ahead, reduce the oven temperature to 375̊F.

Discard the skins and put the flesh in a medium mixing bowl. With a potato masher, work the sweet potatoes until they’re well mashed (they don’t have to be perfectly smooth).

Make the crumb topping

Melt 2 T of the butter and combine with the pecans, breadcrumbs, parsley, and two big pinches of salt in a small bowl.

Infuse the cream

Combine the heavy cream, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Bring to a full boil (watch carefully so that it doesn’t boil over) and remove from the heat immediately. Let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a liquid measuring cup, pressing down on the solids with a spatula to extract all of the liquid. Stir in 2 T of the bourbon, the vanilla extract, and ¼ t salt.

Cook the apples

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 T butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, season with ¼ t salt, and toss well. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, 8 to 9 minutes. Lower the heat if the apples are getting too dark, but not so much that they soften without browning.

Turn off the heat, carefully add the remaining 2 tsp. bourbon and stir until it evaporates, a few seconds. Pour in 1/3 cup of the infused cream and stir until the apples have absorbed most of it, a few more seconds. Set the pan aside and let the apples cool for about 15 minutes, turning them occasionally to release steam.
Assemble the casserole

Butter a shallow 3-quart baking dish (9×13-inch works well). Add the remaining cream to the mashed sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt. Arrange the apples across the bottom of the baking dish. Spread the sweet potato mixture over the apples in an even layer. Top with the pecan-crumb mixture.

Bake the casserole at 375̊F until the crumb topping is dark brown (it will be browner around the edges) and the casserole is heated through, about 25 minutes.

Make Ahead Tips

You can bake and mash the sweet potatoes and make the crumb topping a day ahead (cover both and refrigerate). Bring the potatoes and crumb topping to room temperature before assembling the dish. You can also assemble and refrigerate for up to 8 hours before baking. Return to room temperature before baking.


Rustic Beet Tart and Wilted Greens

BF_BeetTart2

 

 
A beautiful tart to add to the buffet table or serve as an appetizer. Try making a couple with different colored beets and you’ll be sure to wow the guests!

3 small (2 to 3 inch diameter) beets, any color, with the greens
½ package of frozen puff pastry, or equivalent of homemade
1 egg
¼ – ½ C half and half, whole milk or cream
3 – 5 ounces soft chevre style goat cheese, room temperature
Pinch of nutmeg- to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F. Remove the greens from the beets, wash, remove thicker stems and set aside.

Scrub the beets. Place each beet on a small square of aluminum foil, wrap in the foil and bake at 400F anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your beets. They’re done when they are knife tender and can be pierced with the tip of a paring knife with ease. Once the beets are knife tender, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.

While the beets cool, roll the puff pastry out until you have a rough 10-inch square. Transfer the square to a parchment-lined baking sheet or lined with non-stick foil. Roll in the edges of the pastry about an inch on all 4 sides so that you create pastry wall. Use a little water to seal the edges. You want to make sure that the custard doesn’t leak out when poured into the “shell”.

In a small bowl, mash the soften goat cheese with a fork or wire whisk. Add the egg and mix well. Slowly add the half and half, ¼ cup at first stir until you have a thick but pourable consistency. It should be no thinner than pancake batter, so don’t over pour.

Peel the skin from the beets and slice into rounds. You should get 5 or 6 rounds from each beet. Pour the custard into the pastry shell, then lay the beets on top, being careful not to overflow the pastry shell.
Bake at 400F until the pastry is golden, the custard is set, and the top is just a little brown, about 15 minutes.

About 5 minutes before you pull the tart out of the oven, heat a small amount of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Roughly chop the beet greens and sauté them until wilted, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add them to the top of the tart, scattering loosely to distribute evenly. Finish baking a few more minutes. Remove from oven and let set for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

 


Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup

ParsnipSoup (7)This rich, tasty pureed soup comes from the archives of Fine Cooking, with some of our own adaptations. Adrienne has made this using sweet potatoes instead of Yukons, with splendid results and if you are avoiding carbs on general principle, you can leave out the potato altogether. You may find that you have to add more broth or water at the end, after pureeing, in order to get the consistency just right. That’s because all these vegetables vary widely in how much juice they each contain — the fresher and younger the fruit or veggie, the juicier it will be and vice versa. Regardless, the meld of flavors here is just terrific and this will most certainly become a favorite winter soup. Demoed at Brookside and USBG in September 2014. Read More