We've been getting lots of requests for our Roasted Beet Soup recipe.
Malaika and the Roots to River Farm crew are the kind of plan-ahead-ers that we are happy to have on our team. Last fall they had the foresight to plant, harvest and store all kinds of wonderful roots that we have been reveling in all winter.
One of our most popular dishes has been our Roasted Beet Soup, a warming and earthy comfort in a bowl (or cup). We get the most suprised reactions when we admit that this dish is vegan. The deep flavor and lack of butter and stock just don't seem to go together, but, it's true.
Stop by the Roots to River farm market this or any Sunday and stock up of beets, then try it yourself!
Roasted Beet Soup
Makes about 5 quarts
5 lbs beets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lbs red onions, chopped/sliced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 quarts vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sweet umami pepper paste or harissa
1 tablespoon freshly grated horseradish
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the beets on a foil-covered baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Cover with more foil and roast until tender, about 1 ¼ hours. Let the beets cool to warm and peel.
Heat the oil in a large heavy pot and cook the onions with ¼ cup salt until golden brown. Add the stock, vinegar, pepper paste, horseradish and beets. Blend in batches and thin with more stock if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
We've been feeling pretty cozy this February, mostly due to a whole side of pig from Double Brook Farm!
Last fall our friend Bryan Mayer came to visit us. Bryan is an expert artisan butcher and once in a while he stops by the farm to teach an incredible butchery class. He carves as whole animal (most recently, a deer) into chops and roasts and steaks, seemingly with no effort at all. When he taught our whole animal pig class, he forgot his saw, which meant he had to go real old school.
Bryan expertly removed every bone (ribs and all) from the side of the animal, then trimmed a little skin and rolled belly, rib meat, loin, and tenderloin up into a 20 pound meat cylinder known in the Italian Countryside as a Porchetta.
This month, we thawed it out, brined it for 2 days, rubbed it with fennel seed and other spices and roasted it for 7 1/2 hours until it completely gave up the fight. A few minutes under the broiler to crisp the skin and we carved it up for our Farm to Table Dinner. Yum.
This time of year, the gang at Roots to River Farm is swimming in produce. Every week we can another 100+ pounds of tomatoes, and this week we're smoking sweet peppers for homemade harissa.
You can buy harissa, sure, and it's pretty good stuff. The peppers are pureed with salt and let to ferment at room temperature so they acquire a pleasant sourness. We do this with our version, too, but only after a few hours on the smoker which adds more depth to the flavor.
After the fermentation is complete (about 2 weeks), our pepper puree will get dehydrated in the oven until it is a paste. If this process seems daunting, don't worry, we will have this for sale starting this winter.
We're still making our way through a deep pile of ripe tomatoes and today in Gnocchi Class we made a simple sauce to toss with the potato dumplings. It was a hit. The sauce is too simple to even be a recipe. Brown an onion and a couple garlic cloves in olive oil, then add 5 large ripe chopped tomatoes and cook down until it's a sauce. Season it and toss with the gnocchi.
1 lb waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold
½ cup all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cover potatoes with salted cold water by 2 inches in a large pot, then simmer, uncovered, until very tender, about 25 minutes. Drain in a colander and, when cool enough to handle, peel.
Force warm potatoes through ricer into a large bowl. Add flour, yolks, cheese and 11/4 teaspoons salt and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture begins to come together. Gently form dough into a ball and cut in half.
Knead each dough half on a floured surface until smooth, about 1 minute (if dough sticks to surface, dust lightly with additional flour). Cut each half evenly into 10 pieces. Roll 1 piece into a 14-inch-long rope (1/2 inch thick), keeping the remaining pieces covered with a kitchen towel. Cut rope crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces and toss pieces lightly with flour on work surface.
If desired, press a piece of dough against tines of a floured fork and push with a floured thumb in a forward rolling motion toward end of tines, letting gnocchi fall from fork into a well-floured shallow baking pan. Make more gnocchi in the same manner.
Heat the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat and cook, stirring until fragrant and caramel colored. Stir in the ramps and cook stirring 1 minute, then transfer the ramp butter to a large bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Just before cooking, gently shake gnocchi in 4 batches in a large medium-mesh sieve to knock off excess flour. Cook gnocchi in 4 batches in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until they float, then cook 1 minute longer. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the bowl with the sauce as they are cooked. Season and serve.
This is what we've been waiting for ALL. YEAR. It's August and we are up to our eyeballs in tomatoes. The joy.
Last weekend Shelley hosted an all tomato class making everything from Tomato Water Bloody Marys to Sweet Tomato Tarte Tatin for dessert. And, we're spending hours canning these ripe beauties to use all winter.
All-Purpose Tomato Puree
Makes 4 pints
This is our go-to out of season tomato for Minestrone we make in our knife skills class and the tomato sauce we make in our Italian class - anytime we want sweet sun-kissed tomato flavor as a liquid.
9 pounds ripe red tomatoes
Cut the tomatoes into pieces small enough to catch in the blender, discarding the stem end. Blend the tomatoes in batches if necessary, then pour the puree into a large heavy pot and bring to a boil. Boil the tomatoes until they have reduced by about ⅓ in volume and are slightly thickened. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and additional salt to taste.
Divide the puree between washed and sterilized jars filling to ½-inch below top of jar. Follow the steps to seal the jars, letting them boil for 10 minutes to seal the jars. Transfer the jars to a cloth lined work surface and let them cool until you hear the lids ping, 30 minutes to an hour.
My Grandmother was a mother of 7, you can imagine, she did a lot of cooking. So, her recipes are straight-forward and easy to make. The week we celebrated peaches at the school with an all peach class. We broke out her Magic Peach Cobbler recipe, and wow, it's still really, really good. Thanks Grandma.
Magic Peach Cobbler
From The Farm, Ian Knauer
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar, divided
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup whole milk
3 medium peaches
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place butter in a 3-quart baking dish, and put it in the oven for 5 minutes, or until melted. Remove the dish from the oven, tilting the dish to evenly coat the bottom with melted butter.
Whisk together the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, the baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk. Pour the batter evenly over the butter in the baking dish. Do not stir.
Cut the peaches into wedges and place them in the batter. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup sugar over the top of the peaches. Bake the cobbler until it is set and golden on top, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack. Serve the cobbler warm or at room temperature.
Of course, we're grilling all summer long and come September we'll be grilling ripe red shishito peppers. They're great; sweet, smoky summery goodness. We can't wait. Really. We can't wait, so we're grilling them now while they're still green!
Grilling green shishito peppers is the most common way to serve them. One trick, place the pepper over the coals before tossing them with any oil, that way the oil doesn't drip down causing flare-ups.
Grilled Green Shishito Peppers
Serves 4 to 6 as a small course
2 pounds green shishito peppers
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Preheat the grill, preferably with wood or hardwood charcoal. Spread the coals evenly with the grill racks over the coals, then place the peppers over the coals. Grill the peppers, turning occasionally, until they are charred in places then transfer them to a bowl. Toss the peppers with the oil and salt to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
We are in the middle of our Pies in July series. Each week we perfect our crust technique and make hyper-seasonal fillings. This week it's wineberries. But my very favorite pie, the one I make all summer long, is one made famous by food writer Laurie Colwin. Colwin was one of the first voices in this country to focus on seasonal, local food. We have a lot to thank her for - and this pie embodies that sprit.
Tomato and Corn Pie
Serves 6 to 8
I first learned about this pie during my formative years as a cook at Gourmet Magazine. The original was a standard in the kitchen of Laurie Colwin whose love of fresh food made her a pioneer in the 1970’s. This pie is now a standard in my kitchen. -IK
1 double biscuit dough (recipe follows)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
13/4 pounds large tomatoes, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick, divided
11/2 cups corn kernels (from about 3 ears)
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs such as; basil, dill, chives, oregano, thyme, savory
7 ounces coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1 3/4 cups), divided
1 tablespoons melted butter
Divide the dough in half and roll out 1 piece between 2 sheets of plastic wrap into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap, then lift the dough using the bottom sheet of plastic wrap and invert into a 9-inch pie plate, patting with your fingers to fit (trim any overhang). Discard plastic wrap.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Whisk together the mayonnaise and lemon juice.
Arrange half the tomatoes in the crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, half the herbs, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Repeat layering with the remaining tomatoes, corn, herbs, salt, and pepper, then sprinkle with the cup cheese. Pour the lemon mayonnaise over filling.
Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round in same manner, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal.
Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush crust with melted butter.
Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes a double crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 teaspoons melted
¾ cup whole milk
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl, then blend in cold butter (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball.
Divide dough in half and roll out 1 piece between 2 sheets of plastic wrap into a 12-inch round (⅛-inch-thick). Remove top sheet of plastic wrap, then lift dough using bottom sheet of plastic wrap and invert into pie plate, patting with your fingers to fit (trim any overhang). Discard plastic wrap.
Fill the bottom crust, then - if making a double crust pie - roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round in same manner, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal.
One of our favorite moments at the school is when we get a chance to hear your food memories. A single strawberry your grandfather handed you that he picked from his garden, still warm from the sun is such an incredible image of kindness and intergenerational love and learning. A hotdog you shared with your young brother on the boardwalk speaks of sun and summer and youth and sand between toes. Just wonderful stuff.
Shelley has warm memories of baking blueberry muffins with her grandmother, who she called Baba. They would stand side-by-side in the breezy kitchen of their Long Island barn and work together. Except, these were no ordinary muffins. Instead, Baba would pour the batter into an angel food tin and bake it as a cake.
Blueberry season is upon us! Make some of your own memories.
By, Eve Norton (Baba)
Makes about 8 servings
My grandmother (Baba) started the family tradition of making her whole blueberry muffin in a large ring tin, which is the way I like it best. -SW
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups blueberries
Preheat oven to 350°F and butter a 2- to 2 1/2-quart metal ring mold, a ceramic or glass baking dish, or a 9-inch cake pan.
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk together the milk, whole eggs, melted butter, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in flour mixture just until incorporated, then fold in berries.
Spoon batter into baking dish, spreading evenly.
Bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, if you can wait that long.
Note: To make individual muffins, bake for 25 to 30 minutes.