Sunday, March 29, 2015

At the Root of it All

I was talking to a friend who was excited that it was warm outside and I went outside and it was not fact, it was 36 degrees.  (At 32 you can see your breath.)  That is not warm to me.  But then again, if you compare 36 degrees to the 17 and below that we had for two or three weeks in the heart of winter, it is warm...really warm.

It is all perception.  If you base your perception on the benchmark of 0 degrees being cold and anything above, say 30 being warm...then today is warm.

Most of what we believe is based upon perception, which may or not be factual or true.  Take for instance these turnips.  I have been getting fresh veggies along with our meat and dairy from our local farm and I never know what they will give me.  These are Hakurei turnips.

I have never seen turnips this small.  My previous perception of turnips was a root veggie that you need to slow cook because it is dense.  I've added them to soups and stews and slow roasted them before and I really enjoy their taste.  But these Hakurei are not at all like their bigger, denser cousins.

My son and I were fascinated by this new veggie and read up on it.  These little guys are harvested in cold weather when they are young.  They are almost like a radish without the hot bite...maybe more like an apple because they have a gentle sweetness to them.  My son really liked them and we sat eating them raw.  They have a great crunch to them.

If you want to keep that crunch then think water chestnuts, and add them to the last part of the stir fry process or in a saute.  They will meld into any flavor and make a great addition to most meals.

They are sown in late Fall until early spring.  They need cooler temps to germinate so I guess it was good that it really wasn't that warm here or I might have missed out on this amazing veggie.

I can't wait to see what new food they send to me next!  I should have taken a picture of the bounty of food we got.  Along with the Hakurei turnips there were green beans, Roma tomatoes, a garlic bulb, broccoli, butter lettuce, carrots, red potatoes and a red pepper.  All these fresh vegetables are forcing us to make even more healthy choices.  Last night we had the most wonderful salad, everything was just bursting with flavor!

Tonight I am making potato soup to have with my salad.  I love potato soup.  I used to put butter and cream in it but now I can't so I am using a bit of olive oil and coconut milk to give it that creamy taste that I love.  The biggest thing that I put in my soup is love...really.

  • I peel and dice the garlic or if there is time I will roast it and add it in.  Today I will just cook it a bit in the oil to get out the yummyness before I add the broth.
  • Then in goes the broth.  I'm using chicken so that it doesn't overpower the gentle flavor of the potatoes but you can always use veggie broth to keep it vegan or even beef broth if you want a deeper flavor.
  • I peel and wash the potatoes and cut them up a bit so they cook faster in the broth
  • I gather herbs - but they are still a bit lethargic right now so dried will have to do:  depending on my mood I use different ones, today I'm using rosemary and thyme for that comforting woodland feeling I get from them.
  • Add any broth you need to cover the potatoes so they cook evenly and you just leave them alone for a while - about a 1/2 hour.  I still check them after 15 minutes just to make sure there is still enough broth.
  • When the cooking is done I mash the potatoes in the broth and at this point the broth turns into a thick puree.  I add in the coconut milk until it is a creamy blend and check the seasonings like salt and pepper and voila - cream of potato soup
Now in our family we usually would then proceed to add in cheese, bacon and / or green onions to make loaded baked potato soup.  I don't have any green onions today and I can't have the cheese (I will add the cheese and bacon for hubby) but a little sprinkle of bacon really adds a little flavor and a bit of texture IMHO.  If you want to keep it vegan then some fried onions would add a bit of crunch and a lot of flavor.  Really, you can top it however your heart desires, this soup is a very giving at it's base because it starts with love.


In the knitting front I finished more squares and put some of them together.  What a burst of color! These little squares are adding the dash of hues that I need to tide me over until spring really makes it appearance here.  I need to make a bunch more but I am truly enjoying how individual each one really is.

I've played around with using crochet or an I cord to edge them with and I think I will go with an I cord because it is lovely and you can use the Kitchener Stitch to attach the ends seamlessly together. I will show that to you later in the process.

Happy crafting!

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