First Soup of the Season: Potato, Leeks and Carrots

A quick dinner photo posted to Instagram resulted in a recipe request, so I apologize for the utilitarian nature of the image here. I am at a place with soup where I don’t typically work from recipes. Soup is a great confidence builder when it comes to experimenting with cooking. It’s also a perennial fridge-cleaning out meal, which I also dig.

However, I know the quantities I used because I chopped all the ingredients at lunch time and stored them in containers whose sizes I know by heart, so bingo, a recipe was born. I used organic ingredients from the farmers’ markets and quality is super important when you have a soup with so few ingredients. They all have to sing their song, ya know?

Herewith, the first soup of the season.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 T. unsalted butter or grapeseed oil
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups sliced carrots (I used orange and white ones because that’s what I had)
  • 4 cups sliced potatoes (I used fingerlings, but Yukon golds are my potato of choice for soup)
  • 4 cups water (or stock; I haven’t made stock yet this season so I used water)
  • 3-4 chives, snipped small but somewhat irregularly, right into the pot

Directions

1. Melt your fat of choice over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the leeks, stirring occasionally and cook 3-4 minutes until they soften. Add the carrots, and let them cook for another 2. Add the potatoes and the water. Bring the whole thing to a boil, and then simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.

2. You can serve this as is, but I love a good pureed soup. Transfer 3/4 of the soup to a blender (I used my Vitamix which makes things creamier without adding dairy), making sure there’s enough water in there to puree, and then puree it. Transfer it back to the saucepan. I do this because I like a little bit of texture here and there with pureed soups. Snip the chives over the pot, give it another couple of pinches of freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt, and you’re good to go.

Serves: 4 moderately hungry people, including 2 almost 6-year-old boys

18

09 2014

Warm Summer Broccoli Potato Salad with Corn Chard Hash

Last week, I had the great pleasure of hosting a farmers’ market tour in which our shopping list was directly inspired by what chef Jeremy Bialker of Two Rivers Brewing Company was putting together during his cooking demo. He walked the market, selected what looked good and took it from there. People wanted the recipe, but since this was on the fly cooking, we had to create one.

The idea is a warm salad plated with a cold salad, using market-sourced ingredients. You can certainly buy these items at the grocery store, but the farm-fresh appeal and taste really can’t be beat, especially during this time of year when summer and fall are running into each other.

Warm Broccoli Salad with Corn Chard Hash

  • 1 lb. purple fingerling potatoes, halved
  • ½ sweet Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped, stems reserved and chopped
  • 2 ears of corn, sliced off the cob
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup water, approximately
  • 3 cups broccoli, chopped
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  1. Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes until fork tender. Remove and reserve in a medium bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the Vidalia onion, chard stems, and corn over medium heat with 1 T olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Add the chard greens to the corn mixture and continue to sauté over medium high heat, adding the lemon juice toward the end. Keep in mind the green will reduce tremendously. Remove from the pan and keep covered.
  3. Add 2 T olive oil to the sauté pan you used for the chard and sauté the red onion until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add the broccoli and ¼ cup water to the pan to steam the broccoli. Gently stir the broccoli until it’s brightened and slightly tender, 3-4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, and add the potatoes and chopped parsley and mix to combine. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Komatsuna Cucumber Salad with Mustard-Bacon Vinaigrette

  • 1 small bunch red komatsuma, tough part of stems chopped
  • 1 pint grape or Sun gold tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cucumber, sliced (don’t bother peeling if it’s organic)
  • 2 T grainy mustard
  • 2 T white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup rendered bacon fat, room temperature
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  1. Whisk together the mustard and white balsamic vinegar in small bowl or glass measuring cup, and slowly drizzle in the bacon fat (see variation below) and whisk until emulsified. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  2. Assemble the salad in a large bowl and add dressing around the sides, tossing gently to coat.

Eggs:

You’ll need 4 of them.

  1. In a medium, nonstick or cast iron sauté pan, heat the remaining 1 T of olive oil over medium heat. Add the eggs, two at a time, seasoning each time.  Flip after 1 minute, then cook one minute longer.
  2. To plate the dish, scoop out some of the potato-broccoli mixture alongside the komatsuma salad. Serve the fried egg on top of the potato-broccoli salad with some of the corn-chard hash on top.

Variation: It’s unlikely that the average home cook is going to have rendered bacon fat on hand (I keep mine in a Mason jar in the fridge.). If that’s the case, you can cook the red onion and then add 2 slices of bacon that you’ve already snipped into small pieces with kitchen shears. Proceed with the recipe as directed until it comes time to assemble the salad. Scoop out 2-3 T of the bacon fat, bacon and red onion mix, and add it to the dressing base of mustard and vinegar. Instead of using 1/3 cup rendered bacon fat, use olive oil or grapeseed oil.

11

09 2014