Cats, Cookies & Kohlrabi
Finally, some rain! It’s been kind of a little bit drizzly for under 12 hours and people are already complaining. Get it together, Portland. I, however, am cuddled next to my pseudo-fire (okay, it’s a glorified space heater that is trying really hard to look like a real fire), snuggling with my kitties and baking cranberry pumpkin bread. Not all at once.
I took a trip to Missouri last weekend with my mama, sister and nephew to visit some of our family down thatwaway, so Souptober got put on a bit of a hold. Can I say it? Thank GOD. You guys, solid food is so good. Especially that cheesy, Cracker-Barrely, potato bake thing that my Aunt Terri makes. I mean, really.
I did make it through an entire three days in the Southerny-Midwest and did not visit a single Waffle House, which is a personal best.
Hey, sidebar – Do you ever call your pets things other than their given names? Or perhaps PRIMARILY inanimate objects other than their given names? My cat just tried to climb into my lap and I said “Not right now, Toaster.”
Other random monikers for her include Button, Bottom, Biscuit, Cheeken (like a chicken, but with big fuzzy cheeks) Sweater, Mitten, Muffin, PiePie, Sha-na-na and once – I have a witness, but no explanation – Mustard.
Her actual name is Emma. Sooo.
Milo most often just gets Fuzzart, Duster and Pants because he looks like a big feather duster wearing fuzzy pants.
But wait...there's soup! I had a lot of kohlrabi in my Zenger Farm CSA this week, so I decided to use it try a twist on a classic Leek and Potato – one of my favorites.
If you’re not familiar with kohlrabi, the taste and texture is similar to that of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but a bit milder and sweeter. It is delicious crispy and raw, but cooked down in broth in the way we’re using it today, it takes on a feel of a slightly more interesting potato. You should be able to find it in any good produce section, but it’s in season right now, so I’d urge you to collect at your local farmers market rather than a grocery store.
Let’s do this.
CREAM OF LEEK, POTATO & KOHLRABI SOUP
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 leeks – white and light green parts only, outer leaves removed, cleaned well and thinly sliced (leeks have a truly phenomenal capacity to hold grit in between those tight inner leaves, so what I like to do is give them a cursory rinse before I slice them and then rinse my slices thoroughly in a colander under cold running water after they’re all cut up).
2 stalks celery – thinly sliced
1 small bulb fennel (roughly 3 tablespoons) - thinly sliced
2 medium kohlrabi - peeled and cut into ½” dice (the outer later of kohlrabi can be very fiberous, which does not break down well in a stock or soup, so peel deeply to get the whole crust off. I peel off the skin, slice it into rounds and then cut off the outside of the rounds before I dice).
5 medium Yukon gold potatoes - peeled and diced (another pro-tip: after you dice your potatoes, take a little of that starch out by rinsing the pieces in a bowl of cold water. Swirl them around with your hands – the water will get very cloudy – dump the water, refill and repeat until the water is clear. It usually takes about three rotations. This will keep your potatoes from getting mealy when they cook down and will preserve that buttery sweetness).
1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
1 medium yellow onion – diced
Juice from one small lemon (2-3 tablespoons)
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 – 3 tablespoons sliced green onions (for garnish)
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Sautee leeks, onion, fennel and celery until soft, stirring regularly to keep from crisping or burning.
Add potatoes, kohlrabi and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for three minutes more, stirring frequently.
Add stock and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a low boil.
Reduce heat to low and add lemon juice.
Simmer for at least one hour, or until the kohlrabi is soft (it will take slightly longer than the potatoes).
Puree in batches in a cuisinart or blender (or use an immersion blender) until smooth. Return to pot.
Stir in grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste (I personally use a LOT of black pepper for this recipe. Love it.) Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Serve hot, garnished with chopped scallions.
I omitted the milk and heavy cream that normally is used in a “cream of” soup, because the buttery nature of the yukons keep it pretty rich on their own. That said, if you want to add a ½ cup of cream when you stir in the cheese, it won’t exactly HURT.
Also, I’m trying to not include wine with every recipe that I post up here, but a little dry white added when softening the leeks and onions is delicious and adds a little sophisticated zing.
Hey, you know what else I did? I pickled!
My sweetie and I used the interwebs to figure out that we made three quarters of a peck of pickled peppers (also cucumbers, carrots and green beans). His mantra for the day: “Quetzalcoatl quickly quantized the three quarters peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked.”
I’m assuming that I am Peter in this scenario, while he is the feathered Mesoamerican deity. Anyway, these are REALLY tasty and very easy to make. Shoot me an email if you want the recipe.
Also, CHOCOLATE CHIP, OATMEAL, PECAN & PUMPKIN COOKIES.
I really didn’t mean for this to become a cooking blog. I promise I will talk about some other things as soon as I stop being so excited about autumn and putting things in my mouth.