Category Archives: sharing

Winter Veggie Chowdah

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Still have winter veggies left? Yuh, me too. Fortunately it’s raining out (which means that it’s warm enough not to be snowing!), and therefore a good day for soup. And even though this contains the same old winter vegetables that you are tired of, by infusing the milk before adding it to the soup you achieve a complex floral flavor melange. What I’m telling you is that this soup is not boring, and that it’s worth more than your last turnips.

It’s ladled over toast or croutons and cheese, which makes the cheese get all melty and the bread a little soft (I recommend hearty bread that doesn’t fall apart). Altogether very satisfying.

A shareable: good old (he is getting up there) Wendell Berry has a new piece about changes in farming in the last century or so. If you don’t know Wendell Berry and you are interested in food/farming/agriculture/community/the world, make yourself familiar with his work. Start with The Unsettling of America. His main themes are the importance of place, the value of hard work, and the development of community; he is generally anti-industrialist, primarily due to the detrimental effect industrialism has had on our communities.

Recipe from Deborah Madison’s The New Vegetarian Cooking for everyone.

Winter Vegetable Chowder
Milk:
2 cups whole milk
Parsley
Thyme (fresh or dried)
2-3 bay leaves
1/2 onion
Peppercorns (at least 10)
Juniper berries (I didn't actually have any, but they would be awesome)

Soup:
Butter or oil
Leeks or onion
4 cups winter vegetables: carrots, turnips, celeriac, rutabaga, parsnip, sunchokes
2 bay leaves
Parsley (and other herbs, as you see fit)
Salt
2 tablespoons flour
5 cups water (or stock, but I would say save stock for soups that need more added flavor)
Pepper

Seedy country sourdough bread, toasted (as stated, choose a hearty bread that won't disintegrate too quickly when added to soup. This is a good use for some of those loaves that turned a little more brick-like than you usually like)
Cheese, such as Gruyère, for toast

Steep the milk first: heat it up all the “milk” ingredients in a saucepan or the microwave until boiling, then turn it off, cover, and set aside to infuse.

Chop all the veggies for the soup, in 1/2-3/4 inch chunks. Melt butter or heat oil in a large saucepan/soup pot, and add the vegetables, with the bay leaves, herbs, and salt. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir in the flour, then add 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Cook, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, another 25 minutes or so.

Pour the milk into the soup (strain if you like, although I didn’t—I find it kind of exciting to get a peppercorn in your soup, but you might not). Taste for salt, and pepper as needed.

To serve: place toast in a bowl, and cover with grated cheese. Ladle soup on top, sprinkle with a little extra parsley, and enjoy.

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Winter Lentil Salad

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Yum, food. As I was derelict in my previous post, I am now providing you with a lentil recipe. With winter vegetables, no less (and admittedly a few additions). But first I have a bunch of fun things to share, since I’m on all these mailing lists and come across a variety interesting articles that I think you’ll enjoy.

There has been a considerable interest lately in the increasing power of women in agriculture: globally in the face of climate change, in sustainable ag generally (something to do with a nurturing spirit? Although I reject the concept that that has to be a feminine trait), and overall in the food and farming sector. This is partly because women tend to be better at collaboration, which is increasingly important to the new economy, and especially in this emerging field. And partly because the world may be changing. Slowly. Go ladies!

Related to the new economy: can farms be a part of it (think Uber for farm storage)? And to new stuff in general: what about printing 3D crackers (although I don’t quite understand how this is different from making actual crackers).

More related to this recipe: if you need another incentive to eat less meat, here’s a fun video about water use in food, from Grist. And finally, a shoutout to Montana, and growing awesome heritage lentils. Lentils are great for ecology, since they fix nitrogen in the soil, but are also packed with protein. The article also includes a lentil recipe, so… get cooking!

This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, paleo (I think? I don’t know much about paleo, to be honest), what have you… but the tahini keeps it nice and creamy. Fresh, interesting, filling, and tasty—do you need another reason?

Warm winter lentil salad (this makes a lot, so you have it for lunch)
2 cups cooked green lentils, or 1 cup dry
4 or more carrots
4 large beets, or more smaller ones
A head of garlic
Olive oil and salt
A leek or two, or an onion
Other greenery (bok choy, spinach, kale, etc)

Dressing:
Tahini (a large spoonful)
Olive oil (2 large spoonfuls)
Apple cider vinegar (a small spoon)
Coconut butter, if you have some (a small spoon)
Turmeric
Salt
Fresh orange juice, if you have it

Chop up carrots and beets—I pretty much quartered both of them (I like long carrot pieces). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast with garlic cloves until soft and getting caramelized, at least 30 min at 350ºF or so (turn over with a spatula a couple times). Watch the garlic cloves—they burn faster than the veggies. While the veggies are roasting, cook the lentils, if you haven’t already (cover with at least an inch of water, bring to a boil, then simmer until soft. Drain as necessary). Chop up the leeks or onion (slice onion lengthwise to have it hold more body) and sauté briefly until soft. Chop up greens, if needed.

Stir together dressing ingredients (mine got a little curdled, but still tastes good, so don’t worry about it too much). Taste, adjust, and thin with water if needed. Toss lentils, carrots, beets, whole garlic cloves, greens, and leeks together, and then mix in dressing.

Best served slightly warm or room temperature, although it is also good cold.

Potato Leek Soup

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Before I get into potatoes, a few extraneous shares:

Most of you know this already, but you can share these reasons to cook at home (from Mark Bittman) with your friends.

Then, if you need an easy meal to get to started, try a grain bowl (from the New York Times)! Which is similar to many meals that I cook.

For flavor inspiration, check out this spice chart to pair spices from different cuisines (although thanks for telling me what cajun seasoning, or garum masala, or curry powder, consist of. Not. Oh, well).

However, you may be of the mood to instead vanquish the copious amounts of potatoes spilling out of your kitchen cupboard, and would like to pair them with delicious delicate leeks that are a traditional accompaniment (“Eat my leek!” was always one of my favorite of the Shakespeare insult playing cards I had a while ago (Henry V, Act 5, Scene 1), indicating that the person will have to retract their words. The internet also says it has something to do with Welsh heritage, although I am certainly not an expert. Despite the Bard’s influence, I assure you there is nothing shameful about eating leeks, they are rather amazing—like a mild, soft onion).

Potato leek soup is fantastically easy and shockingly delicious. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. Then add other stuff (cheese, bacon, etc.) when you get bored.

If you don’t want soup, make it into mashed potatoes and leeks by draining the water (save for another use!), adding a little butter and milk (or cream), and mashing.

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The rutabagas make it nice and golden here (this is a mix). You can peel the potatoes if you want, but I can’t be bothered. If you care about having it smooth, go for it. But I kind of like the rustic approach.

Potato leek soup
1 lb potatoes (red, gold, whatever), or a combination of potatoes and other roots (rutabaga, turnips)
3 leeks, or 2 larger ones
Butter
5-6 cups of water
Salt and pepper

To prepare the leeks, peel off one layer, then slice off a good chunk of each green part, washing underneath. You should end up with clean, mostly white slices.

Chop the potatoes into chunks and thinly slice the leeks. If you use other roots, like rutabagas, chop them smaller than the potatoes, since they take longer to cook. Melt butter in a pan and sauté the leeks and potatoes for a few minutes, until leeks are aromatic and a little soft, then add water (the amount depends on how thick you like your soup; you can always add more later if you like, but also make sure there’s enough to cover the potatoes). Bring to a boil, and simmer for at least 10 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. For soup, mash against the side of the bowl, or pull out your immersion blender and blend it all until smooth if you want it that way (I didn’t). Add salt and pepper to taste, garnish with a little cheese if you like, and serve.

Mashed, this is also good with melted cheese (I suggest cheddar) mixed in.

Yep, that easy.

Extraneous Sharing II

This is too good not to share: Elevating Dinner For One in the NYT. Take it to heart.

Also some data about diet and wealth from Mother Jones: Hopefully we can get some policy action to fix this some point soon. I’ll probably write a longer piece about more of the nuances eventually.

Finally, another reason to be a part-time vegetarian from the University of Cambridge: not only is it cheaper, but better for the planet (in case you didn’t know that already).

More recipes coming soon.