I rarely make soup, but now that I have a sore throat it seemed like a good idea, and when I remembered that I had bouillon cubes, well, that was that. I threw in a bunch of the vegetables we have lying around: tatsoi (a green leafy thing), carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi, and leeks. The bouillon cubes were meat consomme stock. They didn’t have instructions about how much water they go with, but I vaguely remembered 3 cups from my risotto making, so I went with that. I ended up adding water a few times as the soup boiled. And yes, it boiled, even though it probably should have simmered. Whatever, there’s no meat in it for me to make rubbery. I put the celeriac, kohlrabi, and carrots in first for, I don’t know, 20 minutes? and then the leeks and tatsoi in for another maybe 5 or a little more. The carrots, leeks, and tatsoi came out great. The celeriac and kohlrabi were a little too soft, and the kohlrabi just doesn’t taste like anything anymore, so I don’t think I’ll use it in soup from now on. And the liquid has a weird sweetness to it, that I’m thinking may be the missing flavor of the kohlrabi (I know carrots are the obvious culprit for sweetness, but it doesn’t taste like carrot). I don’t think it’s a good thing. I like using the tatsoi this way, though.
So I have now used random assortments of farmshare vegetables in salads, soup, pasta sauce, and sautes. Although my rutabaga is shriveling up and we have thrown away more old greens than I like to think about, I haven’t done too badly.
I picked up this week’s vegetables from our farmshare today, and I was feeling guilty about not having eaten much of last week’s yet, so I decided to make a veggie dinner tonight. I knew I wanted to use the bok choy I got, but I didn’t know what to do with it. The internet wasn’t too helpful, because most of the recipes I found required ingredients I don’t have and effort I didn’t want to expend. So I decided to just saute the darn things. We have carrots for days, and they are aromatics, so in they go too. I’ve been wanting to try kohlrabi, so after googling it to see that yes, you can saute it, and no, it doesn’t have some bizarre taste that would throw off the dish, I added that too. I was going to use olive oil but I thought the flavor from the butter might be nice, so I went with that, and then ended up adding some olive oil because I was afraid of the butter burning.
I tried a little bit of kohlrabi before cooking it, and it tasted like broccoli plus some kind of flavor I hadn’t had before. Not bad, but not my favorite, for sure. But it was delicious cooked! Overall the dish was a lot better than it should have been considering the amount of thought that went into it. And now I know what kohlrabi tastes like.
Incidentally, the farm also taught me that I like ripe tomatillos. I haven’t brought any home to cook with, but I did take a bite out of one there at the farm to see what it tasted like, and when they are yellow, they are delicious. I would eat them like apples! I always thought they were some weird vegetable that was only good in small amounts cooked into other things or something, so I had never used them, but now I’ll be looking out for them at the store. Unfortunately at the farm most of them aren’t ripe.
I had some chicken broth to use up after my last batch of risotto, and a bunch of vegetables from this week’s installment of my farm share. Most of the vegetables are leafy, but I did find fennel and carrots. These are aromatics, and I am currently lacking the aromatics (shallots or onions) that I would normally start a risotto with. I must admit, though, that I have never cooked fennel before, so I wasn’t exactly sure how strong it was or how to cook it. I should have paid better attention to Iron Chef America: Battle Fennel last night. I used some of the green stem and some of the white root, and sprinkled some leaves on the top at the end. I learned from Iron Chef that you can eat practically every part of fennel; I love foods like that.
The flavor wasn’t too strong; the risotto came out pretty well, with just a general soft, fresh sweetness to it. Nice. The only problem was that, even though I started cooking the fennel before starting the rice, and then cooked them together the whole time, the fennel was kind of tough. At the very least, I’ll mince it in the future. The internet says that fennel has that problem, and peeling it and cutting it thinly seems to be the general consensus on how to avoid it. Here’s a post on good things to do with fennel, which I am mostly linking to because I love the tagline of the blog: “I wrote you a restaurant review, but I eated it.”
For anyone who doesn’t know how one makes a carrot fennel risotto, the procedure is as follows:
Sweat aromatics in olive oil. Meanwhile, start heating some broth in another pot.
Add arborio rice and cook for a couple minutes.
Add a splash of wine and let it cook off.
Add broth, a ladleful or two at a time, to the rice. Stir.
Add more broth when the last installment is gone. Do this about 3-4 times, until the rice is the texture you want; if you normally like your starches very soft, you may want to cook it slightly less than you think you should, based on a past “adventure” I had with mushy risotto.
Add any other stuff you want to be in your risotto. Parmesan cheese is recommended.
Serve immediately. Yes, for real.
I used about 100g of rice this time, and I think it was just about right. I’m really bad at eyeballing it because it grows so much when it cooks, so I’ve taken to measuring it on my baking scale.