turnip lentil soup

turnip

The names have been entered, the results are in, and the press is gettin’ hot. That’s right, y’all. It’s time to announce the winner of Heed the Feed’s very first giveaway! Enter crowd applause sound bite here. Wait. I just have to say that I’m so pumped that so many of you wanted to participate and so pumped that you’ve shown so much love to Loveland Coffee. Cheers to you guys.

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Clears throat. And now, without any further hesitation, the winner of a pound of whole bean espresso and a pound of whole bean Ethiopian Yirgacheffe AND the title of HTF’s first ever giveaway winner goooes tooooo:

Gwynne Middleton! And check out her own personal food blog at The Crafty Cook Nook!

Super crowd applause sound bite! Congratulations! I know you will enjoy your new roasts.

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I figured before I skedaddled on out of here, I’d leave you guys with a recipe (this is a food blog, non?). My momma-in-law recently joined a CSA (community-supported agriculture) and invited my husband and me to join in the fun. We used to be a part of one, but for some reason could never keep up with the very large amounts of produce we were receiving each week and ended up composting a lot of it. But this CSA has half baskets, allowing smaller families to participate and helping them to not drown in the season’s finest.

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If you’re not familiar with CSAs, they are super cool. It’s basically a weekly share from a local farm (or farms) that includes fruits and vegetables that change fairly often. For example, if you received a basket of goodies from a farmer during a South Carolina summer, you’d probably receive corn, peaches, and squash. A winter basket may include kale, broccoli, or carrots. Our CSA is cool and usually throws in something that will make your head tilt for a few seconds. This past week was turnips. I like turnips. Turnips are cool. But I’ve only ever done one thing with turnips: roasted them. Tasty, but a bit boring this go around. I needed something new. I found a recipe online utilizing turnips in my favorite food group: soup. Hehh. And turnips are kind of nutritionally neutral. They are certainly not bad for you, though, and, in fact, have a good amount of vitamin C in them. So there. I just argued with myself. But you guys also know from a previous post that lentils love humans. They are the bomb powerhouse food. So…there.

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turnip lentil soup
prep time: 10 minutes cook time: 40 minutes yield: 8 servings
adapted from Whole Living’s Red Lentil Soup with Turnip and Parsley

ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 celery stalks, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
3 turnips, peeled and diced
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar (optional)
Coarse salt and pepper

create:
In a pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Increase heat to high and add tomatoes. Cook for 1 minute. Add lentils, turnip, and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, 30 or so minutes. Stir in parsley and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

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And, YES, you CAN cook those greens growing on that turnip root! And those babies really do have lots of good nutrients in them. They have a boatload of vitamins and no saturated fat. That is, until you add butter and bacon grease. Wink, American Southeast, wink, wink.

 

P.S. Loveland Coffee is now open at 7001 St. Andrews Road in Columbia, SC.

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boiled cabbage and sausage

I wanted to make this dish because I knew I never gave it enough credit when I was younger. You see, my grandmother used to make this all the time. It was served piping hot, with cornbread, in one of our glass bowls. I never really got to the glass bowl. I’d just stand over the stove, picking out the pieces of sausages, staring down into the steam at the goopy bits of boiled cabbage. I’d say, “I’m not hungry” and I’d sneak some breakfast cereal into the den after she was done eating. I’ll bet she was always wondering where the rest of the sausage went.

So, I said to myself, “Self, you’ve got to buck up. Pull your pants up a little. It’s just cabbage. Give it another try.” And, so, in between my obsessive viewings of Downton Abbey and trying to be social this past weekend, I whipped up a batch of cabbage and sausage.


You know what? It really isn’t bad. I’m not going to lie and say it’s my favorite food. Hah, I mean, it’s no biscuit or potato, but it’s definitely not the treacherous, horrible food I deemed it to be when I was a teenager. The cabbage kind of holds up its thickness and the sausage creates a less offensive cabbage flavor.

boiled cabbage and sausage
ingredients
1 pound minimally processed kielbasa sausage
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
dash of cayenne
2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp all natural cane sugar
1 head cabbage, chopped

create
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sauté the sausage until cooked through. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2 inch slices.
Add the olive oil and chopped onion to the hot grease in the pan. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook until onion is translucent. Sprinkle on the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is a blonde color, about 1 minute.
Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Add the sugar, cabbage, and sliced sausage and simmer on low, covered, for 20 minutes.


Boiled cabbage. Hm. Boiled…cabbage. That sounds so…unrefined. So rural. So rustic. I suppose you could call it “bubbling leaves” or something. But I think boiled cabbage works for me. Why? I’m originally from Lugoff. It is, indeed, a real place. And it’s pretty stinkin’ rural. People muddin’ in trucks. Wadin’ down in the river. Dirt roads for miles. So, yeah, boiled cabbage works.

field pea soup

Y’all, today’s high is 73. Seventy-three. I think people around the world are saying, “Argh, curse you South Carolina!” as they put on their coats and go to work in the nine degree weather. I have to say that I envy you a little. I’m a wintery, bundle-up, build a fire girl at heart. There’s something about winter’s silence that is beautiful to me, snow gently placing itself on the trees, forcing you to bundle up and make one pot meals that you can eat while your hands and arms are still wrapped in a fleece blanket. Man! That sounds so glorious. That’s it. I’m making some soup.

The last time I was at the farmers’ market I bought a bag of dried peas from a lovely family who does their own organic farming. They were really sweet, knew everything about each veggie and how to prepare it. I even had to go back because I thought I had lost my phone (my goodness, you’d think it were a child) and they helped me follow my tracks around the market. Anyway, they were just good faces to put with the food I’d be bringing home with me. Nice people stories!

They recommended boiling the peas with a ham hock, but I’m a lame southerner and didn’t have one, so for my recipe I used, you guessed it, bacon. This hearty soup is also filled with potatoes, carrots, and, most importantly, those pretty little peas.

field pea soup
ingredients
3 strips minimally processed bacon
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a sprinkle of cayenne
3 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups dried field peas, soaked overnight, rinsed, and drained
2 yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into cubes
touch of cream

create
Soak the peas in a bowl of water overnight (this creates a shorter cooking time) and rinse well. Set aside.
In a large Dutch oven on medium heat, add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon and allow to dry on paper towels. Chop into small pieces when cool enough to handle.
To the Dutch oven (which still holds the bacon grease) add the butter and melt. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook until onions are translucent and vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne and cook for a minute longer. Sprinkle the flour in and stir constantly for a minute longer or until the flour is cooked, turning a blonde color. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the peas and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Add the potatoes and reserved chopped bacon and simmer for 30 minutes longer until the potatoes are tender. You may need to cook longer (or shorter) depending on how soft you like your peas. Just before serving, stir in the cream. I think I used about 1/8 of a cup, just to make it a little richer.


Just so you know, I’m not complaining about our strange, unpredictable, “I’ll do what I want” weather. If God wants it like that, well, He is certainly better than I am. And I really do consider it a blessing to be raised in the good ol’ sunny south. Butttt…if we can fool that 73 into thinking he’s seven below because this soup is just so doggone cold-weather, wintry picturesque, well…then that’s just the bee’s knees.

roasted root vegetables

This past week I trekked on down to the local farmers’ market looking for inspiration or something that screamed, “Cook me. Cook me.” I guess I’ve been in a food funk, not that I haven’t wanted to cook or that food did something offensive or unjustifiable to make me say, “I’m appalled, I will eat you no longer.”, but my appetite has been quite boringly blah. I’ve been craving toast. And plain rice. And really thin soups. And pie. Wait, pie? Yeah, my body wants summery fruits like blueberries and strawberries and other things that grow when it’s a million degrees outside.

But enough is enough! No more of this nonsense. Self, you know you wait all year for the wintry goods South Carolina has to offer and you will take advantage of it. No talking back. That’s where the market comes in. It’s filled with tons of in-season, organic produce and friendly, down-to-earth farmers, and lots of stuff for winter cooking motivation, like root veggies. Root vegetables are called root vegetables because, well, they’re roots. They grow in the dirt. They’re the edible, underground part of a plant. They’re neat! Chillin’ down in the ground, gettin’ all cozy while the rest of the world freezes above it, the strong ones that survive the winter. Not that we have much of one around these parts, but, you know.

I chose to roast a combination of sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, and carrots. The carrots I found at the market were wild. They’re called purple haze carrots and have the same normal carrot color on the inside, but are surrounded by a dark purple colored outside. They taste slightly sweeter than your standard carrot and are good for freaking people out.

You know what else? Before this, I’ve never really had beets before! Or turnips! Well, I technically did have beets once, pickled, served alongside cheesecake at Junior’s in Brooklyn, but really? Cheesecake and beets? Let’s just say, cheesecake was gone. Beet bowl remained full. So, don’t be scared. I think they have a bad reputation as being grossly healthy, but you know what happens after these guys hang out in the oven for a while? They get caramelized and really sweet, like little bite-sized…like little bite-sized…well, like little bite-sized sweet vegetables. That’s all I’ve got.

roasted root vegetables
ingredients
1 sweet potato
1 turnip
1 bunch beets
1 bunch carrots
several tablespoons of olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

create
Preheat the oven to 375º. Peel the vegetables and wash thoroughly. Cut them so they’re all about the same size (for even baking) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss them around with your hands until evenly coated. Roast for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and can be pierced with a fork.

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. I’m sorry. I had to do it.

beef pie with sweet potato topping

I will not start this post by blabbing on about my obsession with Gordon Ramsay. But…it may happen somewhere in the middle. Warning. Hehh. Eh.

This recipe of Gordon’s is one of my husband’s favorites. Every time I ask him what he wants for dinner, he says, “Sweet potato pie.”, which, to most people, means something sweet, a dessert, a pumpkin pie alternative. But I know him well enough to decode his husband language to mean Beef Pie with Sweet Potato Topping. Actually, to be honest, I made a few changes to Gordon’s recipe. Oh my gosh! No! Please put the knives down. I promise it’s not blasphemy. Let me explain. Some of the things in his recipe I simply just don’t have available right around me. Gordon’s dish is called Venison Pie with Sweet Potato topping from his book Healthy Appetite. Now, I’ve known some people from down here in the South who have had fathers and uncles and cousins (who are technically only friends) who hunt and freeze 20 freezers full of meat and they eat it all year long and try to give it away to their friends as party favors (“Ya want sum meat?”), but my family doesn’t really…hunt. So, for me, Gordon’s venison pie is easier as beef pie.

I’m going to list the recipe here in the post with my small little adaptations that I made. I have Gordon’s exact recipe, so if you’d like to see it or use it, I will gladly tell ya all about it. Oh? Is this where my blab about my Gordon Ramsay obsession comes in? Okay. Okay. I’ll be brief. Basically, Gordon is the king of kitchens. It’s not that he can simply cook (and if that’s all he did, it’d be enough), but he knows management, sanitation, every culinary skill or rule ever invented, and when something is slightly off or even slightly on. That’s all I will say, but because I said this, just know that you can trust any recipe he gives to the world.

Oh, and sweet potatoes are totally in season right now.

beef pie with sweet potato topping
beef pie:
ingredients
1 1/3 lb all natural beef for stew
sea salt and black pepper
3 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
3 to 4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 rosemary sprig, leaves only
2/3 cup red wine
2 3/4 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb red potatoes

sweet potato topping:
ingredients
1 lb sweet potatoes
2/3 lb red potatoes
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup white cheddar cheese
2 egg yolks

create
Season the flour with salt and pepper and use to coat the beef. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large Dutch oven and brown the meat in batches until evenly browned, about 2 minutes each side. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the onions and carrots to the pot with a little more oil and stir over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until colored. Add the rosemary and cook for a minute. Pour in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Bubble until reduced right down.
Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Return the beef, with any juices released, to the pot. Partially cover with a lid and gently braise for 40 to 50 minutes until the beef is tender, giving the mixture a stir every once in a while.
About 15 minutes before the beef will be ready, slice the 1/2 lb of red potatoes into 1/2-inch thick circles (I peeled my potatoes, but you can certainly leave the skins on if you’d like). Season with salt and pepper and cook in a little olive oil in a wide, nonstick skillet until golden brown on both sides. Add to the beef pot to finish cooking. Once the potatoes and beef are tender, remove the pot from the heat and let cool slightly.

For the topping, peel all the potatoes and cut into 2-inch chunks. Cook in a pan of salted water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to the pan. Mash potatoes with a potato masher. While still hot, add the butter, cheese, and salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Cool slightly, then mix in the egg yolks.

Time out: Gordon’s recipe calls for double Gloucester cheese. The reason Gloucester cheese is Gloucester cheese is because it’s made with milk from cows who live in Gloucestershire, England. As you may assume, it’s not exactly around these parts very often. Double Gloucester typically has a stronger flavor than single and is usually larger. Have you ever seen those crazies chasin’ that huge roll of cheese down that hill? Yeah, that’s double Gloucester. Yeah, I’d chase that cheese too if I lived there. Check it out. (Y’all. They’re never gonna catch that cheese. Just sayin’.)

Heat the oven to 425º. Tip the beef mixture into a large pie dish or shallow cast-iron pan and top with the mash. Rough up the surface with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the sides. Grind over some pepper and serve.

This is like shepherd’s pie to the max. The wine gives it a crazy, deep taste and everything else is like the comforting ingredients you already know in beef stew. So, enjoy the brilliantness of it, the autumness of it, and the curl-up-date-night-movie-night-warmingness of it.
I keep walking into the kitchen and picking the potatoes out of the casserole dish, looking over my shoulders to see if anyone is watching me. Pretty soon it’s going to be beef pie with no sort of topping. Y’all know where my heart lies.

dried cranberries

Autumn in South Carolina is a little bit of a tease. And also a bit humorous. As soon as the temperature drops below 70 degrees, people find it necessary to pull out the coats and big socks. Hey, I’m not doggin’ ya. I’m just as guilty. Last night, the husband and I slept with five blankets and a puppy. With the radiator on. And fleece pants. And wool socks. And I love it. Even if SC is teasing us with little spurts of cold, I’m okay with that. I can be patient. And I’ll continue wearing my scarves and boots in 65 degree weather.

So! Since it’s getting cooler (eh, here and there), I like to think of foods that remind me of this glorious time of year. Heck, I think of those foods all year long. My friends make fun of me because I have Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” on my running playlist. It’s a good song, people.

Off topic.

I really like cranberries. No, not the kind shaped like a can. I like their tartness, the tiny bit of sweetness you have to search for, and their beautiful color. And they fall perfectly into this time of cooler weather and holiday menu planning! Dried cranberries are great because you can throw them into lots of recipes for a little pucker and raisin-like chewiness. Now, please don’t hate me. The process of drying cranberries (without a dehydrator) is a little time consuming. It requires very little hands-on work, but drying fruits takes time. It’s worth it. You know your result is fresh and you know what ingredients are in it. No guessing!

dried cranberries
ingredients
12 oz fresh cranberries
2 quarts boiling water
1 tbsp natural cane sugar (optional)

create
Preheat oven to 170º. Gently rinse the cranberries and place in a heat-proof bowl or saucepan (this bowl is not over heat). Pour the boiling water over the cranberries. Let the cranberries sit until their skins pop. Some of my cranberry skins popped instantly, but some took a little longer. It should altogether only take a few minutes. You can see that the skins almost look split down the middle.

Drain the water and toss with the sugar. You can certainly leave the sugar out if you’d like. Lay the cranberries in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven and leave them there for at least 8 hours.

I’m going to be honest. I dried my cranberries in shifts. If you’re brave enough to leave your oven on all night, an overnight drying should do the trick. I tried to dry mine on my day off so I could be awake and available (not that you have to do anything to them while they’re in the oven, but, you know, safety and junk). Of course, I realized there were things I had to do, so I ended up drying mine at random times of the day and and at different intervals each time. Not the best method, but it worked. You can store them frozen to last longer and they don’t need to be thawed before baking or cooking with them.

Mmm.

I love you, Autumn.

And I love you, SC. Thank you for busting your pride a little bit and bending over to the cool nights and having to see your natives carve pumpkins and wear sweatshirts with palmetto trees on them. I’m sure you’ll get us back next summer.