As we continue to relive Groundhog Day, day after day (223 days and counting), I make an effort to take joy in the little things. Sometimes it’s the color of the sky at sunset or the color of the leaves as they change and fall. It could be the continual blooming this late in the season of morning glories climbing my garage or the smile on my face when I finish another knitted pumpkin. More often, it’s the deliciousness of something I eat.
Fortunately, it was another winning month with the recipes selected by Cook the Book Fridays from Everyday Dorie. On paper, neither was remarkable. In my belly, JOY! And the joy was compounded by being able to use my CSA vegetables in both recipes, so perfectly seasonal.
First were the Miso-Maple-Jammed Sweet Potatoes (though I’m two weeks late on sharing my impressions). Roast sweet potatoes are a frequent guest at my dinner table. Butter has always been their simple topping. It never occurred to me to dress them up further. This recipe tops the roasted potatoes with a complex compound melted butter concoction: butter, miso, maple syrup, and ponzu sauce (which I substituted with soy sauce & lemon juice – didn’t plan ahead).
The topping was more saucy than jammy. It also wasn’t very photogenic, too brown. In any case, the miso-maple jam was tasty and I’ll whip up more next time I roast sweet potatoes. I served the sweet potatoes with this Inside-Out Egg Roll Salad from Food 52. The Asian flavors of the two dishes complemented each other well.
Next was Bean and Tortilla Soup. This sounded kind of boring. I don’t always like Dorie’s soups, so my expectations weren’t high. However, with a chill finally in the air, it’s time to start having soup for lunch. The soup is a simple vegetable soup with Mexican seasoning. Tomato-based vegetable soups are not usually my favorite. Was I ever surprised! Even plain, this soup was better than expected. Dorie provides a long list of add-ins. I had most of them on-hand, so we went wild. Beans (black, which I just stirred into the base), sour cream, diced avocado, cilantro leaves, some of the onion and peppers used in the soup, shredded cheese and tortilla chips. We ate this for lunch for three days. And next time, I think I’ll double it. It was that good.
Two more winners. What a delicious Dorie fall it’s been. You can find both recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s Everyday Dorie. The corn is on page 226 and the soup on page 60. You can find reviews from my Cook the Book Friday friends here for the sweet potatoes and here for the soup.
To my US friends, get out and vote! Vote by mail if you can. It’s safer for everyone (voters and election workers). Follow all the instructions to be sure your ballot isn’t disqualified. If a non-USPS dropbox is a reliable option, use it. If your state has a tracking system, follow your ballot to make sure it arrives and gets accepted. Voting is a privilege, and it’s your civic duty to participate. I’ll get off my soapbox now…
P.S. WordPress changed the editor since I last used it in September. WHAT A NIGHTMARE! Any advice for navigating sanely? Ugh.
In the colder weather my favorite lunch is soup. Most weeks, I’ll make a pot. Most of the soups I make have a thick smooth base from pureed beans or vegetables. I enjoy brothy soups but don’t have as many in my normal repertoire. Enter this week’s recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Everyday Dorie for Cook the Book Fridays. Gingered-Turkey Meatball Soup is a brothy soup. It’s also hearty and delicious. Pretty simple too!
The hardest step (which isn’t hard) is making the meatballs. Ginger, fresh herbs, and lemon zest give the meatballs unexpected bursts of flavor.
Then you need to cut up some vegetables, whatever you are in the mood for or have on hand. I chose sliced carrots, sliced green cabbage, mushrooms, and spinach. At this point, you’re nearly done!
Bring the broth up to a boil. Homemade chicken or turkey broth would gild the lily here, but I used broth made from bouillon. Poach the meatballs by simmering them in the broth. I did this in two batches.
At the same time, bring a pot of water to a boil to cook the rice noodles which only take a few minutes to cook. The rice noodles rest in a bowl of cold water.
Once the meatballs are cooked, add the vegetables and meatballs to the pot and simmer until the vegetables cooked to your liking. About 5 minutes should do it.
If you’re going to finish the whole pot of soup in one meal, drain the noodles and add them to the pot to reheat. However, if you’re going to eat several meals from one pot, I suggest adding noodles to each bowl and ladling the soup over them. I warmed the noodles first by letting them sit in hot water for a few minutes.
Garnish the soup with fresh herb leaves. I used parsley and cilantro. And supply condiments to let everyone further flavor the broth with soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and rice vinegar. I made scallion pancakes earlier in the week, so I went a simpler route and used the leftover dipping sauce which contained all these ingredients.
I LOVED this soup! The flavors were interesting and satisfying. The combination of meatballs, noodles, and vegetables made each bowl a complete meal. Winter has only just begun, so I know I’ll make this again over the rest of the season.
On the other hand, I made the Apple Custard Crisp a few weeks back when it was on our schedule. It was right before I went away for Thanksgiving, so I didn’t get around to posting on time.
Apple crisp is one of my signature desserts. My own is quite different than this version however I’m always open to trying something new. I’ll be honest. I didn’t like the texture of custard combined with apples plus the flavor was too lemony for me. I also consider crisp to be a vehicle for streusel topping. Dorie suggested starting with half of the streusel in the recipe, I used all of it and still didn’t think it was enough. A fail for my house.
I said I’m open to new things. This week I made an Apple-Persimmon Crisp from the latest issue of Bake from Scratch magazine. It was a winner, with or without caramel drizzled on top. I’ve only eaten persimmons a few times, but the more I eat them, the more I like them. The flavor reminds me of melons. Try it, you’ll like it.
Happy Cooking all month, my friends! I hope you eat many delicious meals, both at home and shared with friends.
Speaking of friends, check out what the other home cooks from Cook the Book Fridays thought about the soup and the crisp. If you want to make them yourself, the recipes are in Dorie Greenspan’s Everyday Dorie. The soup is on page 75, and the crisp is on page 276.