For a sample of Debra Daniels Zeller’s work in The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook: 200 Recipes That Celebrate the Flavors of Oregon and Washington (see my review of this cookbook), this Borscht recipe is reprinted by permission from the book. There were a few ingredients which were not local, so I’ve added notes about adaptations I made to substitute local ingredients. The results were both lovely and delectable. The surprising (to me) use of potato to thicken the beet soup gave it a smooth, creamy texture without the use of cream. Give it a try! Continue Reading
Here’s a simple, yet unique, tomato soup that I guarantee you will enjoy! It has a rich smokey flavor with just a hint of peppery heat. Continue Reading
When I mentioned to a friend on the phone the other day that I was making beef stock, there was silence on the line for a moment. Finally she responded, “Why? Doesn’t that take a long time?”
My reasons are simple. Besides the fact it’s the only way I can get stock made with local ingredients, the flavor of homemade stock is light years better than any commercial products I’ve tried. Continue Reading
Squash can be a little scary to work with in the kitchen. Getting through the tough outer shell can be a formidable challenge, to say the least, and the solutions often veer toward the dramatic. People use heavy meat cleavers, small hatchets, serrated electric knives, or they may drop squash from stairs or ladders onto concrete decks. I finally opted for safety, eating only smaller squash varieties with thinner skins, such as delicata.
This year, though, my friend Nancy Simmerman came up with a less drastic solution for almost any kind of squash. It still requires one cut to divide the squash in half along its “equator”–halfway between the stem end and the end where the blossom used to be, but then it gets easier. Continue Reading
Recently a friend called me and asked if I’d like a big batch of broccoli stems. She was freezing broccoli from her garden, and usually purees the stems to use for soups, but didn’t have room this year in her freezer. “Sure!” I said, and the next morning a big bag of stalks was on my doorstep.
For some people it’s weird, I know. Broccoli stems are often seen as trimmings, and discarded. I really like the flavor, though. I think stems taste sweeter and less bitter than the florets. They also don’t have the grainy floret texture that children and others sometimes find objectionable. Continue Reading
Making soup stock is a fairly simple process, but getting the flavors balanced can be a little tricky sometimes. Not so with this mushroom stock. It’s made with the tough stems and trimmings from fresh mushrooms (though dried mushrooms could be used instead, if necessary). Just about any combination of flavorful mushrooms will work easily and taste wonderful. Continue Reading
Late season tomatoes have the best flavor, in my opinion. They’ve been growing long and slow all summer, not in a hurry like their cousins, the early varieties. Soaking up whatever sunshine and moisture the year had to offer, they took their time to develop their rich flavor and deep ruddy color. Continue Reading
I really love the mild onion flavor of leeks, and I also love potatoes–all kinds of potatoes. Naturally, one of my favorite fall soups is Potato Leek Soup.
It’s a soup that excels for versatility. It can be served hot or cold. It can be rustic and chunkly or creamy in texture. Pureed smooth and with cream added it becomes vichyssoise, a soup traditionally served chilled. Continue Reading
Here’s a soup recipe I made recently from leftover vegetables and herbs that needed to be used before they became too ripe. The ingredients can be varied in almost every way you can imagine. If you want vegetarian soup, leave out the beef. If you have local chicken or turkey on hand, use that instead of beef. You can leave out or add just about any vegetable that grows around here. If you have homemade soup stock on hand, you can use that instead of water. Continue Reading
When you have a busy week ahead of you, it’s nice to cook something in enough quantity to use for a few days as leftovers. Soup is a perfect make-ahead dish, since the flavors of soup continue to blend once the dish is complete. As a result, the leftovers may be even more flavorful than the original servings.
This soup is fairly quick and easy to make, with a stick-to-your-ribs heartiness that is as welcome in a thermos on a chilly spring day as it is on the table. It’s an easy recipe to customize, too, by adding chopped greens, carrots, fresh herbs, or whatever local veggies you have in the fridge. Continue Reading