Tag Archives: whole wheat pastry flour

The Tale of Too Many Turnips

3 Jan

It’s the last night of our three-day New Year’s weekend and we decided earlier this afternoon that wanted to cook something fun–something that would allow us to hang around the kitchen, drinking wine (or even better yet, leftover champagne) and listening to Underground Garage on Sirius, all while purporting to be productive. The fridge was overflowing so I was sure there would be something exciting within. What I found was a lot of turnips. Three bunches to be exact–turnips that had survived our last CSA box and turnips that showed up in our latest shipment on Friday. The husband loves turnips and was excited by this turn of events. I don’t dislike turnips but I wasn’t nearly as intrigued as I would have been by a hidden stash of wild mushrooms or even a big bunch of kale (crazy, I know). We also had a bunch of potatoes (russet potatoes, small yellow-fleshed potatoes and red potatoes) courtesy of both our CSA box and overzealous Chanukah shopping, some giant leeks (CSA) and a plethora of yellow onions (again, Chanukah shopping). The answer to our turnip bounty or predicament, depending on who you asked, seemed to be soup. The onions would provide a good balance to the sweetness of the turnips and the potatoes, some heft and creaminess, helped along by some goat milk. The goat milk appeared as the result of a dinner party bread pudding and also needed a home. We would have way too much soup for two people but the leftovers could sustain us through a long week of being attached to our desks. And the best thing about soup is that it’s extremely conducive to drinking leftover champagne, half of bottle of which happened to be in the fridge, nestled alongside the turnips. Here’s what resulted from our holiday soup-venture:

Four Onion and Turnip Soup

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cups mixed leeks, shallots and yellow onions, diced
  • 3 heaping cups peeled and cubed turnips
  • 3 heaping cups cubed yellow-fleshed potatoes (we didn’t peel ours but you may want to for a more appealing soup color)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (add more broth and/or water if needed)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup milk (I used goat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 small bunches green onions, chopped
  • 1 handful of fennel fronds, chopped
  1. Heat the butter and oil in a soup pot over low to medium heat until the butter starts to foam
  2. Add the mixed onions, shallots and leeks and cook, stirring often, until the onion mix is softened but not browned
  3. Season the onion mix and then add the turnips and potatoes, stirring to coat them with the onions, olive oil and butter
  4. Cook the veggie mix for about 5 minutes and then add the broth and the wine
  5. Bring the soup to boil and then turn down to a simmer
  6. Cook the soup until the vegetables are soft and you can easily squish a potato on the side of the pot with your spoon (this will take about 30-45 minutes, depending on how young and tender your veggies are)
  7. Using a blender, puree the soup with the milk (if you have an immersion blender you can do this right in the pot–just be sure to take it off the heat first)
  8. Return the soup to the pot if you’ve used a blender and season to taste; reheat gently if necessary
  9. Heat the additional two teaspoons of olive oil (extra virgin is preferable) in a small saucepan
  10. Add the green onions and fennel fronds and saute just until they soften, then season to taste
  11. Serve the soup topped with the green onion/fennel garnish

p.s. If you’re feeling ambitious and/or too lazy to go to the store (as in my case), try making this easy oat and herb bread to go along with your soup. It comes from my first-ever and still-beloved vegetarian cookbook, Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin, and it’s yummy, healthy (especially if you sub in whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour) and pretty much impossible to screw up.

Herb Oat Bread from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unbleached flour (I replaced this with whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used 1/4 cup unbleached flour–you could probably use all whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/8 teaspoon crumbed dried rosemary
  • Note: I had various fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, basil) leftover from holiday cooking so I used about a handful of minced fresh herbs instead
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/4 cups plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F; butter and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan (I used parchment paper instead)
  2. Place the oats in a blender or food processor and grind until almost powdery; pour into a large bowl and mix in the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and herbs
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the oil and honey and heat until just blended; remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt and beaten eggs
  4. Pour in the flour mixture and stir until just evenly moistened (do not over-beat); scrape into the prepared pan
  5. Bake 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean (if the top of the bread begins to darken before it finishes cooking, lay a sheet of foil over the top of the pan and bake until done)
  6. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes before removing from the pan; cool completely before slicing

A Muffin Kind of Morning

3 Apr

I don’t make muffins a lot. Actually, I don’t even eat muffins a lot. I have nothing against muffins, they just don’t fit in my lifestyle. During the week I go to my old standby of shredded wheat n’ bran and string cheese for breakfast (trust me it’s good) and on weekends when I thankfully don’t have to wake up at 6 am, I take advantage, sleep in and tend to go for a lunchier type of brunch or skip breakfast altogether. However, muffins do hold a special place in my heart. Before my body betrayed me and decided I must have at least 8, preferably 9 or 10 hours (if I can swing it on a weekend) of sleep per night, I used to wake up early and make muffins with my dad. While my mother and brother slept, we whipped up delicious breakfast treats to enjoy before we were subjected to some manner of educational trip.  He’s still an early bird and still makes muffins, biscuits or popovers on weekend mornings and after visiting my parents in January, I decided I should do some breakfast baking. California’s March weather obliged, with sheets of rain and chilly misery–the perfect muffin making weather. So a couple of weeks ago, while my husband was at the gym, I decided to whip up some muffins. I remembered seeing a recipe for savory ricotta muffins in my Mollie Katzen breakfast book, Sunlight Cafe, and was very excited about my burst of early (well early-ish) morning domesticity. Until I read the recipe. And realized, not only did I not have enough ricotta, but I didn’t have dill, chives, buttermilk or baking soda. But it was raining and I was determined: determined to make these muffins and determined not to leave the house on an ingredient run. So I improvised a bit. I’m not quite sure what the muffins should taste like exactly, but I came close enough that I think they would be in the ballpark of what I produced. To serve, Mollie suggested cream cheese, tomato, cucumber and maybe some smoked salmon. We had some smoked salmon spread from the amazing Pasta Shop in Oakland and I served the muffins with that, alongside a salad with lettuce, endive, walnuts and a lemon vinaigrette.

My Savory Not So Dilly and Somewhat Full of Ricotta Muffins

Adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Cafe

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (Mollie used white but says in her book that wheat pastry flour is an acceptable substitute, except for yeasted breads)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder (I Googled my lack of baking soda predicament and learned I could add more baking powder instead)

4-5 tablespoons sugar

About 5 tablespoons mixed herbs, chives and/or green onions (I did a mix of rosemary and finely sliced green onions; Mollie suggested dill and chives)

1/2 cup ricotta

1/2 cup fresh goat cheese (This was my substitute for the missing ricotta)

1 cup milk mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice (my solution to the missing buttermilk)

2 large eggs

4 tablespoons melted butter

1) Preheat your oven to 350 and lightly spray 8 standard muffin cups with nonstick spray (if you like smaller muffins, do 10 cups)

2) Combine your dry ingredients and herbs in a medium bowl

3) Put the cheese in a second medium bowl and beat in your soured milk (or buttermilk). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with a medium sized whisk after each addition

4) Pour the cheese mixture, along with the melted butter, into the dry ingredients. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, stir from the bottom of the bowl until all dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix; some lumps are ok.

5) Fill your muffin cups, going all the way to the top for big muffins and 4/5 of the way there for smaller muffins.

6) Bake in the middle of your oven for 20-25 minutes or until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the muffins on a rack to cool and wait at least 30 minutes before serving.