Cottage Cooking Club: March

Beets

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.

Beet Soup

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.

roasted vegs

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.

Frittata

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!!!!!

My backyard this morning...

My backyard this morning (March 28)…

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Posted on 28 March 2015, in Cottage Cooking Club and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Oh my!! More snow. I’m so happy you loved the beet soup! I thought it was terrific with that bit of horseradish – and so easy!! The frittata looks divine! I need to try that particular version again – though I’m sure part of the success you had was in your ingredients. I have to say, some I’ve never tried. I love that you used the beet greens too. I really like those a lot!

    Don’t worry – spring is around the corner!! (I say – even though it’s gorgeous out here, and the temps are rising, I don’t trust – we still have a week or so for a end-of-winter snow storm in the mountains to spoil any possibility of apricots, or freeze unsuspecting plants!)

    Hope you enjoy the weekend!

  2. peggygilbey814628432

    Hi Betsy, goodness, the snow and cold just won’t let go of their grip this winter (spring?) Even the ground buds seem confused, nothing seems to be emerging. Happy you enjoyed the beet soup, I thought it quite good too with the dollop of horseradish creme fraiche. Your root vegetable frittata looks terrific, much better than mine with your choice of ingredients and vegetable combination among those in your remaining winter pantry stock. Keep warm and see you soon.

  3. I can commiserate with you about the weather but in looking at this week’s forecast, I remain ever hopeful that spring is on its way!
    Your soup looks gorgeous! I bypassed this recipe and didn’t take note of the roasting method – I may have to give it a try after all. The frittata sounds wonderful. They usually are great vehicles for using up what’s at hand but you had a particularly delicious selection of vegetables.

  4. Hi Betsy, love your selections this month, everything looks so delicious. Hard to believe we are already halfway through. Beautiful picture of the snow. Have a great week!

  5. Betsy, your soup looks lovely, and your vegetable choices for the frittata sounds delish. I loved the the frittata, and the technique too. One dish meals are always a good thing! I hope spring arrives for you soon!

  6. I’m like you, Betsy, just love beets. I think my love affair began when I found cooked beets, vacuumed-wrapped in France. Then, eventually, I found small baby beets, vacuumed-wrapped in the US. I generally take that shortcut but will have to try Hugh’s technique. I think you made the Beet Tarte Tatin, right? It was wonderful also. I make frittatas also but don’t remember seeing this recipe although I went through the entire book before choosing my five. So many recipes to try. So many left undone. Glad you’re having fun with this. I am also.

  7. Great choices, Betsy. Your description of the frittata makes me want to make it again soon. And I want to make the beet soup, but I’m not sure Kevin will go for it. He’s a bit iffy on beets. Hope you get some spring weather soon!

  8. TheKitchenLioness

    Dear Betsy, now that frittata looks delightful – I really should follow your lead and use up some of the winter vegetables that are still lingering around in the freezer – it realkly looks wonderful and the method of preparation is rather family-friendly. The beetroot soup looks fabulous – a true end-of-winter-dish for all those beet lovers – yours has a fabulous color and I am glad that Howard and you agreed on this one – dill is always great with beets.
    Thank you so much for being part of the Cottage Cooking Club – I so enjoy cooking along with all of you and I am looking forward to the second half of the book.
    Hope the snow has melted by now.
    Andrea

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