Cottage Cooking Club: March
The Cottage Cooking Club is halfway through their journey of cooking through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cookbook, River Cottage Veg. To mark the milestone, our fearless leader Andrea of The Kitchen Lioness declared March a makeup month. As a farewell to winter and storage vegetables, I chose a couple of recipes that looked very appealing when my colleagues made them during the cool-weather months.
First, I made Roasted beet soup with horseradish cream which was in the lineup last month. Beets are one of my favorite vegetable. I never ate them until I was an adult, but once we were introduced, the love affair never stopped. I nearly always roast them, which makes them extra sweet, and I was excited to learn a new trick for roasting beets with this recipe. A few crushed garlic cloves, sprigs of thyme, and a bay leaf are added to the roasting pan and everything is tossed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper before covering the pan to go in the oven. I didn’t expect it to make much of a difference from my usual method (which is to just roast the beets plain), but let me tell you, the house smelled amazing while they cooked.
Once cooked, cooled, and peeled, the soup practically makes itself. Coarsely chopped beets are processed in the blender with just enough stock to get a smooth puree. Then, more stock can be added to get the desired thickness. I left it on the thick side, adding only about half the liquid called for. Howard was very excited that we were starting our meal with “borscht”. Even though he looked up and read me the definition of borscht from Wikipedia, I’m not sure this simple soup fits the definition. Regardless, with very few ingredients, this soup tasted of pure beet. All it needed was a dollop of crème fraîche mixed with horseradish and a sprinkle of dill for a gorgeous starter. We loved it.
I still had a few random root vegetables from my farm shares languishing in the vegetable drawer since fall. With winter officially over, it seemed time to use them up and get ready for greener times. The Oven-roasted roots frittata that the group made back in September was the perfect vehicle. I chopped a daikon radish, a kohlrabi bulb, and some carrots, then added a sliced shallot and roasted them until they caramelized. Before adding the eggs, I added some leftover roasted broccoli. I also steamed and chopped the beet greens from the soup beets and added them to the mix along with thyme and rosemary. Topped with some grated gruyere, the frittata was ready to pop in the oven.
Another success! I frequently make frittatas as a way to use up leftovers, but this recipe used a slightly different technique. I usually start it on the stovetop in a cast-iron skillet and finish it in the oven. Howard thinks the edges get too browned and take away from the dish. Cooking it entirely in the oven, as this recipe does, in a square pan, yielded an easier and more attractive result. This will be my new go-to technique! The only adjustment is added cooking time. Though it appeared the eggs were set, when I cut slices to serve, the middle was still a little runny. We were eating the outer pieces, so it was fine. For next time, I will raise the oven temperature, or it bake it longer, more like 30 minutes.
To see what the other members of the Cottage Cooking Club chose to make this month, check out their links here.
It’s March 28 and snowing outside. I know it won’t stick around long but, please, bring on springtime!!!!!