Celery Root Velouté

January 28th, 2017

Celery Root Soup

If you would like a luxurious soup to serve as a first course, you couldn’t do any better than this Celery Root Velouté from Mimi Thorisson’s new cookbook French Country Cooking.  It is very simple to make and is quite different from any other soup I have made before.  Starting with a gnarly celery root, one of the least appealing vegetables I have ever seen, you end up with a thing of beauty.

Celery Root Soup

I love the idea of serving the soup with a crisp slice of bacon.  Crumbled into the bowl, it adds a crisp counterpoint to the velvety soup.  My husband and I both loved the flavors achieved with just a few ingredients.  The hint of mustard pairs well with the earthy taste of the celery root.

Celery Root Soup

Whether you serve this as a first course or as a light lunch, you can’t go wrong with this unique recipe.  Another winner from Mimi Thorisson.

CELERY ROOT VELOUTÉ

3 tablespoons salted butter
1 celery root (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into small cubes
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Extra-virgin olive oil
Piment D”espelette or mild chile powder
6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the celery root, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.  Pour in the milk and stock and bring the soup to a simmer.  Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the celery root is tender, about 20 minutes.

Purée the soup, preferable using an immersion blender.  Stir in the mustard and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Serve hot, drizzling each portion with a little olive oil and sprinkling with a pinch of piment d’Espelette.  Top each bowl with a slice of bacon.

Makes 6 servings

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Winter Salad

January 22nd, 2017

Winter Salad

We are spending more time in the kitchen this winter.  Usually we are in Florida this time of year.  But we sold the Florida house last spring and this is our first year experiencing winter in North Carolina. Granted we don’t have the brutal weather of the north, but it has been snowy, bleak and cold.  We’ve had fires in the fireplace, cooking some of our meals there.  There have been roasts and grilled poultry, lots of soups and casseroles.  All of this heavy cooking makes me hungry for something light and nutritious.

Winter Salad

This winter salad utilizes canned black beans and chickpeas along with easily found winter vegetables like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onions and celery.  It keeps well in the refrigerator and can be turned into several different dishes.  Served on its own it is delicious but you could also:

1. Serve it over ground beef tacos.
2. Mix it with couscous or tabouli.
3. Add to a green salad.
4. Add canned tuna and serve it in a pita bread.

Winter Salad

This bright salad is getting us through the dreary weather.  One bright spot is that we will be leaving soon for 6 weeks in a rental house in Florida.  It is in a different small town for us and we are looking forward to it.

WINTER SALAD

1 Can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 English cucumber, stripes peeled and diced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients through the chopped parsley in a large bowl.  Combine the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Add to salad and toss well.  Store in the refrigerator for up to a week and use as you please.

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Jamaican Chicken Soup for the Dark Days of Winter

January 6th, 2017

Jamacian Chicken Soup

The weather is frightful.  The skies are grey.  But the light still burns in our homes and on our hearths. We have put away the trappings of the holidays and are hunkering down for the long dark days of Winter. Warming soups and bread fresh from the oven are my preferred ways to fight the winter doldrums. And a great soup to brighten your days is this Jamaican inspired recipe.Jamacian Chicken Soup

With the bright additions of curry and allspice, this chicken, black bean and black-eyed pea soup hits all the right notes.  I added Himalayan red rice to the mix because I had it in my pantry.  I found it while cleaning out dated foodstuff.  Sometimes impulse buys get shoved into corners.   Himalayan Red Rice is grown in Nepal and has a red hued bran.  It is colorful for pilafs.

Jamacian Chicken Stew

We have a snow storm predicted for the mountains this weekend so I am happy to have a pot of soup and homemade Rosemary Olive Oil Bread stashed away.  Cooking is a good way to survive anything nature throws at you.

JAMAICAN CHICKEN SOUP

1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup red wine
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used Himalayan Red Rice)

Heat oil in a dutch oven.  Add chicken pieces and saute until browned.  Remove chicken and set aside.  Add onion to casserole and cook until transparent.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add all of the spices and cook over low heat for about 1 minute.  Add wine and reduce slightly.  Return chicken to casserole and add the remaining ingredients.  Cover pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to low and cook for at least 30 minutes.  Garnish with parsley or cilantro if desired.

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Cauliflower, Potato and Leek Soup

September 27th, 2016

Cauliflower Soup 1

Although the weather is still quite hot, Fall is in the air.  The leaves are starting to drop even though the colors have not changed much.  This time of year I start thinking about soup.  I was in the village of Saluda last week with a friend.  Saluda is a quaint town with an excellent bakery, unique eateries and two old fashioned grocery and hardware stores.Saluda 1

On one of the side streets we found this garden maintained by the local garden club with an antique shop at the bottom of the steps.

Saluda 2

Beyond the garden is the outdoor eating area of The Purple Onion where we had lunch.

Cauliflower Soup 1

I had their cauliflower soup with a half of BLT sandwich on whole wheat bread from Wildflower Bakery.  Both were delicious and I decided I needed to make some cauliflower soup at home.  My only regret is that I did not come home with a loaf of that delicious bread.

Cauliflower Soup 2V

 

 

I was very happy with the soup recipe that I came up with.  It is a combination of leeks sauteed in butter, cooked cauliflower, chicken broth or vegetable broth, and potatoes.  It is similar to the classic potato leek soup but is heavier on the cauliflower.  It has only two potatoes in it.  I used my emulsion blender to emulsify it and flavored it with herbs and lots of cracked black pepper.  If you prefer you can add some sauteed sausages or bacon to make it heartier.  We enjoyed it on a rainy evening this week.  Welcome Fall!

CAULIFLOWER, POTATO AND LEEK SOUP

2 leeks, trimmed, sliced and washed
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 32 ounce box of chicken or vegetable broth
2 medium size potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Bouquet Garni of thyme, basil, bay leaves and peppercorns
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets.  Stems removed
Freshly grated black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Cooked bacon or sausage (Optional)

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large stock pot.  Dry washed leek slices and add to butter.  Saute over medium heat until soft.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Pour the stock into the pot.  Wrap the herbs and pepper in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with twine.  Place in pot. Bring the liquid to a boil and add the diced potatoes and cook until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, chop the cauliflower and add to a large saucepan with water to cover.  Cook over medium heat until tender.  Save water and scoop the cauliflower into the stock pot with potatoes and leeks.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Emulsify the soup either with an emulsion blender or in a blender.  If using blender, divide soup into several batches.  Return to stock pot.  If soup is too thick add some of the cauliflower water until you reach the desired consistency.  Season to taste with lots of pepper and salt as needed.  Add optional bacon or sausage.

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Caribbean Pork with Black Beans and Mango Salsa

July 15th, 2016

Pork Caribbean Dinner 1

I would be curious if any of you have tasted Panamanian cuisine.  I have just been introduced to this  flavor profile. Panamanian cuisine is similar to other Caribbean locales and has been influenced by the Native Americans, Spanish and African immigrants who populate this land bridge between two continents. It includes tropical fruits, coconut, herbs like cilantro, rice and beans and seafood, pork and poultry.

I recently met Smith Anderson, founder of 980 Panama Gourmet Sauces. With his partner Alexis Gallardo, he conceived the idea of manufacturing sauces with ingredients straight from the fields of Panama.  All of their sauces are natural and gluten free. Alexis Gallardo, a native of Panama, had studied chemical engineering and was a part of his family’s manufacturing and distribution company that is the top exporter of natural vinegars in Central America.  Smith and Alexis formed their own company to produce flavorful sauces with an emphasis on freshness and quality ingredients.

980 sauces

Imagine adding Pineapple Coconut sauce to your caribbean rice dish or as a marinade for your favorite chicken.  The Wild Cilantro sauce adds just the right heat and flavor to tacos.  The Smoky Chipotle sauce would be great on ribs.  One of the newer sauces, not pictured above , is Caribbean Lime.  I used it in addition to the Wild Cilantro in the recipes I developed here. It has a bit of heat and a piquant flavor.

Pork Carribean Dinner 3 close

I marinated the pork cutlets in a mixture of the Wild Cilantro Sauce and the the Caribbean Lime Sauce with olive oil and vinegar before breading and frying.  The black beans were coated with a vinaigrette of olive oil, lime juice and the Wild Cilantro and Caribbean Lime Sauce. The Mango Salsa or Chatini comes from Dory Greenspan and is part of the cuisine of the island of Mauritius.  This is a meal worthy of sharing with friends and family with unique flavors and bright taste.

Smith Anderson has graciously offered to donate a four pack of sauces to one of my followers.  All you have to do is leave a comment below and like 980 sauces on Facebook. I will pick a winner by random drawing.

CARIBBEAN PORK

4 Tenderized boneless pork cutlets
1 Tablespoon Wild Cilantro 980 Sauce
1 Tablespoon Caribbean Lime 980 Sauce
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg beaten with a little water
1 cup Panko crumbs

2 Tablespoons oil for frying

Combine the 980 sauces with the olive oil and white wine vinegar.  Place pork cutlets in shallow rectangular bowl.  Spoon sauce over them, turn and cover both sides of pork evenly with marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Place flour in bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Place egg and water in another bowl.  Put Panko crumbs in a third bowl.  Dip pork chops in flour, then egg and then in Panko crumbs being sure that the chops are well covered.  Place chops and on large plate and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour to set crumbs.

Heat oil in large skillet and brown chops on both sides.  Place in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes to be sure that they are cooked through.

BLACK BEAN SALAD

1 15 Oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
1 large celery stalk, diced
1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 scallions chopped

3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon lime juice
zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon Wild Cilantro 980 Sauce
1 teaspoon Caribbean Lime 980 Sauce

Combine black beans with celery, celery leaves, tomatoes and scallions.

Combine the vinaigrette ingredients and pour over black bean mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour to combine flavors.  Serve as is or over a bed of watercress.

MANGO CHATINI ( Dory Greenspan )

Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, or to taste
1 large ripe but firm mango, peeled, pitted, and finely diced
1 spring onion, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne

Stir the lime juice and ginger together in a small serving bowl.  Add the mango, onion, and cilantro and season with slat, pepper and if you’d like, a pinch of cayenne.

Serve over Caribbean pork cutlet.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.