As discussed before, I (Laura) am a little obsessive with vegetables, and more than once have been accused of being the “vegetable nazi” of the household. So, I set about making a meal for yesterday that I thought was going to have appropriately sized portions, and use a decent amount of vegetable (not too much, just enough).
In the end, dinner was good. The soup was tasty, and the slaw was a good start on an interesting slaw idea. However, I ended up making about 6 servings of soup, instead of 4, and a ton of slaw. All while using such an abundance of vegetable that all other ingredients (the few that weren’t vegetable, such as sausage, and yogurt) were marginalized.
The pumpkin slaw was an idea from a recipe in Fresh and Honest, Henrietta’s Table’s restaurant cookbook. The recipe calls for raw shredded pumpkin, cabbage, dried cherries and a creamy dressing. I shredded most of one pumpkin! Then used a third a head of cabbage, and some of our dried blueberries and blackberries (we ate all our dried cherries in one sitting this summer). This was all and all good. The only issue was that I didn’t make enough creamy dressing (a combination of yogurt and apple cider vinegar) for all this veggie slaw. In the end, we had plenty of yogurt, and I was able to up the dressing so the slaw wasn’t dry and bland.
It was pretty good. The raw pumpkin was a novel flavor that I think can be played with in some fun ways. I think the only thing wanting was the dressing. The original recipe for the dressing from Fresh and Honest used mayonnaise, along with sour cream and buttermilk. I think that the yogurt wasn’t full of enough ‘oily body’ to carry it off completely. Something to attempt in the future maybe with some homemade mayo.
Now the soup was supposed to be more along the lines of our normal sausage vegetable soup. I use a half a pound of Kate Stillman’s Sweet Italian Sausage and cook it until browned (usually also ripped open and crumbled into sausage meat bits in the pan- NOM). Then I cook onions, leek, carrot, potato, turnip, and usually kale along with a little stock and tomato. This time, I decided to be a little heavier handed with the turnip part.
So, we got a giant rutabaga from our Red Fire Farm Deep Winter CSA last friday. I like rutabaga, especially this variety “Gilfeather Turnip.” Is it a turnip, or a rutabaga? Does it matter? The argument over this is still a little heated in our household. Either way, we have a decent amount of these gilfeather turnips hanging around. I like them a lot (I think that most root veggies are underdogs, personally), and I though “well instead of adding a few other types of turnips, and only using half of this big one, why not just use all of it….. you know it should all balance out in the end.” Little did I realize that a two and a half pound rutabaga would be an awful lot of rutabaga.
The resulting soup was actually quite delicious. Most people think that rutabaga and turnips will turn your soups bitter. Not at all with the Gilfeather Turnip, and most fresh, well-grown turnips and rutabagas that I have encountered. The turnip chunks became soft and mellow- no bitterness, and imparted a deliciously complex and sweet flavor to the broth. We both agreed that combining the gilfeather turnip with cabbage, tomato, meat and either paprika or dill and caraway would make a delightful russian ‘style’ soup. Something to think about for future meals.
I also did not stop there. I also managed to roast a good bit of squash while making dinner so that Wednesday’s meal would have “enough produce.”
I keep on saying ‘the last of our delicata squash’ and then more and more keeps on cropping up, and I have been finding them in many unexpected places. I think, though, this really is the last.
I think this was the sweetest squash we’ve had recently. Buttercup is delightfully sweet, but I think this particular one was a winner amongst its buttercup squash brethren. It was so sweet that we both ate some of it like candy, put it on our oatmeal this morning, and also decided to turn it into our dessert for last night.
A while back, we had made flourless chocolate cake using squash and cocoa powder, based upon a great recipe from A Spoonful of Sugar Free. Well, we had to revisit them. They had been on my mind, in my dreams…. So, again, we enjoyed their chocolately loveliness. We followed the recipe, except adding a tiny bit of sugar, but leaving the buttercup squash to do the rest. We also put two Taza baking chocolate pieces on top of each cupcake before baking. The result was just as dreamy, moist, sweet and rich as before.
Although the evening was dubiously filled with way too much produce, it went by sweetly, and deliciously.