Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turkey Pozole

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, the media is full of military-style plans for tackling the big meal, but I feel that the real need is for a strategy to manage the leftovers. I'm game for one repeat of the turkey and trimmings, and there's nothing better than a turkey and cranberry relish sandwich picnic on an unexpectedly sunny post-holiday weekend, but after that I want a respite from all the rich and bland food. Turkey pozole is one approach to finishing off the bird with a meal full of spice and crunch.

We've joined Open Oak Farm's winter CSA, so we had plenty of fresh vegetables for a flavorful turkey broth, including carrots, onions, and kale and chard stalks that I simmered with the turkey remains.

For a spicy base, I used an easy recipe for Smoky Chipotle Salsa with Pan-Roasted Tomatillos from Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday. You sear halved tomatillos and garlic cloves and then blend them together with a chipotle pepper in adobe sauce (a tip on storing chipotle peppers: when you open a can, lay out the individual peppers with dollops of sauce onto a saran wrap covered cookie sheet, freeze them, and store them in a freezer bag for individual use). 

In a big soup pot, I combined this salsa with a couple of cans of cooked hominy, a diced roasted poblano pepper, and the strained turkey stock. The resulting soup made a fiery backdrop for lots of tasty toppings. Because I was feeling a little tired of turkey, I kept this on the side, to be added at one's discretion, along with strips of fried corn tortillas, sour cream, radishes, avocado cubes, cilantro, and plenty of fresh escarole from Open Oak Farm. A virtue of this soup is that it makes for excellent leftovers (not that you need any), since the broth improves in flavor and you add fresh toppings every time.

Turkey Pozole

Turkey stock
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
stalks from greens such as kale or chard, chopped
carcass of one roast turkey (meat removed)
6 sprigs fresh oregano
about 12 cups water
salt to taste

Chipotle salsa
1 pound tomatillos
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 chipotle chili in adobe sauce
salt to taste

2 15 ounce cans hominy, drained and rinsed (or cook your own from dried hominy)
chipotle salsa (above)
about 8 cups turkey stock (above)
1 poblano pepper (optional)

shredded roast turkey
corn tortillas, fried and sliced
sour cream
slice escarole or cabbage
sliced radishes
cubed avocado
cilantro leaves

1. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onions until glassy, Add the carrots, celery, and green stalks and continue cooking until soft. Add the turkey bones and fill the pot with water. Add fresh oregano and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for about an hour. Adjust seasoning. Cool and strain. You can make this a day ahead, refrigerate the stock, and then degrease by removing the hardened fat from the surface.

2. Remove the husks from the tomatillos, rinse and halve. Heat a large skillet, add a thin layer of canola oil, and place the tomatillos cut side down along with the garlic cloves. Cook until the tomatillos are charred, then flip and cook a few more minutes until they are soft throughout. Cook the garlic cloves until they are soft and slightly charred. Scoop everything into a blender jar and add a chipotle pepper and generous pinch of salt. Blend into a smooth salsa.

3. Sear the poblano pepper over a flame until the skin is charred. Put in a bowl and cover with a plate so that the skin buckles off. When it is cool enough to handle, scrape off the charred skin, deseed, and cut into a 1/4 inch dice.

4. Heat a large soup pot, add the salsa and the rinsed hominy and cook for a few minutes. Add the diced poblano pepper and about 8 cups of the turkey stock. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

5. Serve warm in shallow soup bowls with the assorted toppings.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Roasted Apple Sauce

I procured a box of these lovely liberty apples from SLO Farm at the Fill Your Pantry event a couple of weeks ago. We go through a lot of apples for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but with 20 pounds to use up, we needed to pick up the pace. So I hauled out our apple peeler (another kitchen gadget gift from my mother in law) and got to work on this recipe for Judy Rodger's roasted apple sauce posted as a genius recipe on food52.

The trick is to bake the apples, dotted with butter and covered, until they are soft, and then finish them, uncovered, at high heat that caramelizes the juices. The roasted apples were easily mashed into a sauce that made a delicious accompaniment to waffles for a crowd. And I could imagine them as a nice accompaniment to roasted fowl, if my kids hadn't devoured the remains. We have much to be thankful for this season, not least of which is living in this fertile valley with such delicious produce. Happy Thanksgiving.

Roasted Apple Sauce
Adapted from Judy Rodger's The Zuni Cafe Cookbook

12 apples (3 1/2 - 4 pounds)
2 tsp raw sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter
splash of cider vinegar (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel, quarter, and core the apples and arrange snuggly in a baking pan. Toss with the salt, sugar and cinnamon. Dot with butter and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

2. Bake for about 25 minutes until the apples are soft.

3. Raise the heat to 500 degrees. Remove the aluminum foil and bake for approximately 15 more minutes until the juice has evaporated and the apples have started to brown on their tips.

4. Remove the apples to a bowl and mash to the desired consistency. If desired, add a splash of cider vinegar. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Roasted Beet Vishyssoise

On top of being drizzly and gloomy, the weather has suddenly turned frigidly cold with a chance of snow. High time to cook up a creamy pot of soup. And one with a brilliant magenta hue wouldn't hurt. Here's a take on a family favorite of leek and potato soup (Vishyssoise) that incorporates roasted beets for a rich flavor and glamorous color.

When preparing this soup, I realized that all the extra parts of the vegetables that would normally be discarded (leaves, stems, and peels) could be recruited into service for a flavorful stock. 

And to make this into a real root to sprout recipe, I combined a handful of the tenderest beet greens with ginger and parsley for a pungent pesto garnish.

The final soup was elegant and soothing. It would make a nice accompaniment to blini or turkey panini.

Roasted Beet Vishyssoise
1 bunch beets, with greens (about 5 small or 3 medium sized)
4 small or 2 medium leeks
1 large onion
2 1/2 pounds potatoes such as Yukon gold (about 4 large potatoes)
olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 inch ginger

handful of flat leaf parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop off the beet stems and leaves and reserve. Wash the beets well. Peel them, reserving the skin for the stock, and cut them into approximately 1 inch cubes. In a ovenproof pan, toss the beet pieces in olive oil to coat and salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are soft and fragrant and just slightly charred around the edges.

2. Prepare the soup stock. Remove the green parts of the leeks, slice lengthwise, and wash thoroughly under running water. Chop coarsely. Peel and chop the onion. Rinse the beet greens thoroughly and discard any bruised or wilted leaves. Reserve a small handful of the tenderest and freshest leaves, with a couple of inches of stem, for the soup garnish, and chop the remaining stems and leaves for the broth. Scrub the potatoes well and peel them, reserving the peels, and covering the potatoes in cold water to prevent discoloring. Wash the ginger, peel it, and reserve the peels for the stock and the flesh for the pesto. Heat a large stockpot and add a glug of olive oil (approximately 2 tablespoons). Saute the onions and leek tops for a few minutes until they are glassy. Add the chopped beet stems and continue cooking until the vegetables are very soft, about 8 minutes, but make sure that they do not start to brown. Add 8 cups of water, the beet leaves and potato, beet and ginger peels, and parsley stems, and salt generously. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Strain and reserve.

3. Prepare the soup. Wash and chop the reserved leek whites. Heat a large soup pot and melt the butter. Add a small glug of olive oil (approximately 1 tablespoon) and the leeks with a pinch of salt and cook over medium low heat for about 8 minutes until the leeks are very soft. Add 6 cups of the strained vegetable stock. Cube the potatoes into approximately 1 1/2 inch chunks and add to the pot. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. Add the roasted beet cubes to the soup. Rinse the beet roasting pan with a ladle of vegetable stock and add this to the soup. Simmer on low for another 10 minutes. Then puree the soup with an immersion blender until completely smooth. Adjust seasoning and thin with a little more vegetable broth if necessary.

4. In the last few minutes before the soup is done, prepare the garnish. Put the peeled ginger in a food processor or mini chopper along with the reserved beet leaves and parsley leaves. Add a pinch of salt, a generous grinding of pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon). Chop into a coarse pesto.

5. Serve the soup warm with a dollop of the peppery beet leaf and ginger pesto.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Buckwheat Blini

This weekend the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project is hosting two events for consumers to stock up on locally grown whole grains, fresh ground flours, dry beans, legumes, and storage crops (garlic, onions, roots and winter squash). SLO Farm will be at the Eugene event on Sunday.

Fill Your Pantry Farm Direct Community Bulk Buying Events

Linn County Fill Your Pantry (Shedd):
Saturday, November 12, 2011
2 to 6pm
At the former Methodist Church, 30090 Hwy 99E (approx 5 miles south of Tangent)
Deadline for pre-orders: Friday, Nov 4

Lane County Fill Your Pantry (Eugene):
Sunday, November 13, 2011
noon to 4pm
Hummingbird Wholesale's new building, 150 Shelton McMurphey Blvd.
Deadline for pre-orders for Eugene sale: Thursday, Nov 10, 5pm

For more information call (541) 341-1216, or email info@lanefood.org

One locally grown and milled grain is buckwheat, which will be available at these events from Camas Country Mill, Lonesome Whistle Farm, and Open Oak Farm. Buckwheat is a good cover crop, but has a limited market. It is an excellent flour to include in gluten-free waffles and is a traditional ingredient in French savory crepes.    

Another great use for buckwheat is in Russian blini, savory pancakes made with a yeast batter. In my family, these are considered the height of elegance, and we often serve them on New Year's Eve. These delicate disks are the perfect receptacle for any number of toppings. Start with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream and then layer on caviar, smoked salmon, bacon bits, chives, or use another of your local bulk purchases to whip up a lentil caviar.

Buckwheat Blini
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup milk
3 eggs, separated into whites and yokes
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour (or for lighter blini, you could use a mixture of buckwheat and white flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
more butter for cooking the blini
Any of the following toppings: creme fraiche or sour cream, smoked fish, bacon bits, chopped chives, lentil caviar

1. Prepare the batter at least 2 1/2 hours before you want to serve the blini. Combine the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let sit until it foams, about 5 minutes.

2. Whisk together the milk and egg yokes, and reserve the egg whites for later. Whisk in the melted butter. Then mix in the yeast mixture, the flour, and the salt until smooth. Let the batter rest in a warm place for 2 hours or more as it expands.

3. When you are ready to make the blini, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff and then fold into the batter.

4. Warm a griddle on medium low heat and grease it with butter. Spoon out the blini batter with a soup spoon to form pancakes approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Cook until they form permanent bubbles and then flip and cook an additional couple of minutes on the second side. The blini should be lightly browned on both sides. Remove to a warm platter and rebutter the pan with each batch.

5. Serve the blini warm with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream and a sprinkle of any of the listed toppings.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Celeriac and Fennel Remoulade

With rain forecast, there will be no extra Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market tomorrow, but perhaps you are lucky enough to have some remaining root vegetables from last week, like these formidable-looking celeriac from Sweetwater Farm

A traditional French preparation for celeriac (celery root) is remoulade, in which the raw vegetable is shredded and dressed with mayonnaise. Looking for a lighter version of this dish, I experimented with adding in some shredded fennel root and dressing the fresh vegetables with a simple mustard and lemon vinaigrette. 

The resulting remoulade was refreshingly crunchy with just a hint of anise flavor from the fennel and plenty of mustard punch that made it a nice accompaniment for fish fillets. This would also make a nice salad for a holiday meal as a contrast to the traditional spread of rich and creamy side dishes.

Celeriac and Fennel Remoulade

1 medium sized celeriac root
1 large or a couple small fennel bulbs
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
6 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Use a knife to trim away the hairy outside of the celery root, and cut into chunks that fit into a food processor funnel. Cut off the stalks and trim the fennel bulb and cut into similar sized pieces. Shred in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

2. Whisk the mustard, vinegar, remaining lemon juice, and olive oil together. Pour over the shredded celeriac and fennel, mix, and adjust seasoning.