Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Souper Tuesday

I've been learning all sorts of things here at a small farm and intentional community in upstate New York: composting, CSAs, herb drying, hand pollinating, seed saving. A post on those and other interesting tidbits is on the way in a few days. But by special request, I wanted to post a couple of recipes I tried out on Karl and Alison earlier today.
When I arrived at the farm on Saturday afternoon, I called dad -- as is my custom -- to let him know Ollie and I had arrived safely after our marathon 220-mile trip from the last farm in Essex. Since it was dad and I, the conversation invariably turned to food, and dad mentioned that he'd heard a recipe on "The Splendid Table" along the lines of a cold borsch. Raw beet soup! I was intrigued. As I'd accidentally picked a few too many beets yesterday for the CSA boxes, today for lunch I thought I'd take a crack at making it. I knew the ingredients, but not the proportions. How hard could it be? In truth, not hard at all. (The leek was not in the original ingredient list dad gave me, but it filled out the otherwise raw soup's flavor quite nicely... and it's seasonal... and was just sitting there on the counter gazing longingly at the Cuisinart as I was gathering the other ingredients.) Here's roughly the recipe for the experiment that, according to my lovely hosts (and willing guinea pigs), was quite a hit....
Summer Beet Soup
-1 leek, chopped, in olive oil for about 5 minutes
Meanwhile, puree in a blender:
-2 cups of unpeeled raw beets, chopped into chunks
-4-5 cloves of raw garlic, sliced
-2 cups of plain yoghurt (we used raw sheep's milk yoghurt)
Add leek to blender along with salt and pepper to taste. Puree once more. Serve with crusty bread and, if you're feeling adventurous, a side of the beet greens sauteed with olive oil, sliced garlic, raisins, a sprinkle of nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Are beets still boycotted at the White House? Let me into that kitchen....
Then for dinner, after I accidentally dug up a few onions while weeding the onion patch -- I'm loving these edible mistakes -- and Alison hooked me up with some fresh parsley on my way back to the house, I decided it was time to try to replicate my friend Ellen's vegan lentil soup. (The recipe is again an approximation, and not nearly as good as I recall Ellen's being but, ahem, she never gave me the recipe.) I forgot to add about 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, but otherwise here it is...
Ellen's Lentil Soup, Redux
Soak in cold water for 2 hours:
-1 cup of lentils (preferably red)
Saute in a large pot:
-2-3 onions, chopped
-6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
Add in:
-1-2 cups of unpeeled, cubed potatoes
-1 cup of unpeeled, chopped carrots and/or parsnips
-1 cup of peeled, cubed sweet potato (not in the original recipe but we had one from the food co-op lying around)
-lentils, drained
-6-8 cups of water
-2 bay leaves
-a whole mess of fresh parsley (1 cup?)
-salt and pepper (and red pepper flakes if you are less spacey than I am and remember to add some)
Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 45 minutes. Serve with toasted bread rubbed with raw garlic and olive oil.
Hmmm. I wonder if I might have to put together a second edition of cookmarks....

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


  1. Hello!

    This is Kevin from Route 1A Northbound in Essex County, Massachusetts. I am happy to find you safe and healthy on the internet here, and I trust that your travels have been fruitful (forgive the pun) and rewarding! I wanted to check in and see that you were well and it is a relief that New England's worst (its drivers) did not get the best of you.

    Let me know if there is any way I can support you on your pilgrimage! Again, I remain envious!


  2. Kevin! Good to see you here, too. Those drivers were something to contend with, for sure. Why is that? Did they have unhappy childhoods? Is it the weather in MA? Are they mad about the Redsox? ;)

  3. Once again my views on beets have been uprooted! It took me years to touch beets, but since my CSA seems to specialize in them, I've had to turn over a new leaf. But raw beets... who knew--the summer beet soup was delicious. (but now what do I do with the remaining two cups of plain yogurt?)


Thanks for your comment! Just making sure this isn't spam.... Thanks for your patience. :)Ibti