Thursday, June 17, 2010

TURNIPS? Surely you jest!

Well... I've never cooked with turnips before but it's time to start!  Turnips are in my CSA box this week and so I'm going to see what I can make with them.  (Photo above includes everything but the chicken and quail eggs that came this week.)  And here are those turnips:
I gave some consideration to mashed turnips Ina Garten style.  Seemed a little plain to me.

And considered slicing them like potatoes and making turnip chips with them.  But I'm not a big fan of fried foods, especially as I consider the additional pounds of baby elephant that are hanging out around my middle. 

And let's face it, the first thing I often do when I need a good food idea is google it with the magic words.  So I entered: "turnips bobby flay" in the search engine.  Yeah!  And I landed on a creamy turnip soup, which sounded really good.  Bobby Flay invited onion and garlic to the party (See Ina, that's why I love him) and it just sounds wonderful.

But if one is going to the trouble...  of making some food that one hopes will be delicious... then it might be good to try the main ingredient to see whatcha think.  I suspected that I did NOT like turnips, I don't know why exactly.  I don't like radishes, pushy little overbearing root.  And these LOOK like radishes.  I popped a little slice in my mouth and found them to be similar texture to potatoes, with a bit of a tangy sweet dirt flavor.  Not at all unpleasant.  TA DA!  We have food worth cookin! 

(Oh drat, I should have bought more butter when I was at the grocery!!)  Sorry, ADD digression.
So... I'm going to follow Bobby Flay's recipe, except add some taters and carrots.  And let's face it, two cloves of garlic is not going to be enough, especially these litttle ol things, so I'm using four.  Flavor is GOOD!

I started with the onions and garlic in the pot with the olive oil, per the Bobby Flay recipe.  I threw in the roots as I chopped them.  After about 10 minutes I tossed in what was left of my glass of white wine.  Yummm...  It smelled good in the kitchen but needed something.  So I went out to the herbs on my back deck and cut some sage and rosemary.  Into the pot it went.  Smelled even better after that!
After the white wine had cooked out I broke out the quart of chicken stock I had in the fridge from the last chicken.  I poured in enough to cover the roots, added some sea salt (salt early to enhance flavor, salt late to make it salty) and freshly ground pepper and popped on the lid.  I set the timer for 20 minutes and did my best to ignore it.  As much as you can ignore a pot of something that smells that good anyway. 
I opened it once to stir and the steam bit me on the hand, so I figured that meant it was time to turn down the heat a bit.  No problem. 

After 20 minutes I stuck the immersion blender in the pot and did my best to get it ultra smooth.  That didn't work too well so I transferred it to the blender and gave that a whirl.  The Bobby Flay recipe says to "strain it through a fine sieve" and so I did.  I ended up with lots of black pepper in the sieve, looks like I need to adjust my pepper grinder.  I tried the soup at that point and nearly fell over, it was WONDERFUL.
 Bobby Flay's recipe calls for "crème fraîche" which is great for a TV kitchen, but come on people!  I don't keep that on hand.  I tried the soup and really wondered whether or not it needed anything else.  My instinct was no, leave it alone.  But this experiment is about playing (not about the baby elephant growing at my waist line.)  So... I plurped two big dollups of sour cream in and stirred... then tasted.  It was the right choice, mercy!  Big creamy wonderful YUM!  I'm still struggling to put my finger on the flavors, in the end no one wins out over the rest.  It's harmonious, creamy and wonderful!   (I LOVE EATING!)  I garnished it with fresh green onion, sea salt and cracked pepper.  The onion was the perfect crunchy counterpoint to the ultra smooth and creamy soup.
 And that was my lovely lunch!  Now... what's for dinner?  I guess it's time to take another look at the loot from the CSA!  Hmm... 2 doz quail eggs...

Food is an art if the chef is an artist!
Savor the flavors,
-Carmen Rose   

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