Week 3: Still Life with Turnips

With Saturday off and me out of the house playing gigs for about 8 hours, Andrew became preoccupied with doing justice to the turnips. He found a recipe from Alice Water’s Chez Panisse Vegetables for turnip and turnip greens soup, which he made for lunch. As I sat in the suburbs with my cello waiting for an overdue bride, Andrew texted me artful pictures of the cookbook and the ingredients and I felt pangs of longing for turnips that I have never experienced before. Chez Panisse Vegetables is an exquisitely presented treasury of recipes, with thick pages and sketch drawings all over the place that make the reader feel that even the simplest of dishes might magically transport them to a new life in a stone cottage in France and/or Berkeley.

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Turnip and Turnip Greens Soup

  1. Peel and slice one yellow onion and one garlic clove and cook covered over low heat with 1 TB olive oil, 1 TB butter, and a TB of water until soft.
  2. The recipe calls for one bunch of turnips, about 2 pounds total. Separate turnips from turnip greens. The recipe says that if they’re “young and tender,” you don’t need to peel them. We peeled ours, not totally sure about their status. Slice the turnips thinly and add to the pot; stew for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
  3. Add 1 bay leaf, chopped thyme leaves, a small piece of prosciutto (sadly, we didn’t have this), and 8 cups of chicken stock.
  4. Cover and simmer over low heat for a half an hour.
  5. Wash the turnip greens and cut them into 1/2 inch strips. Stir them into the soup.
  6. Simmer for another 10 minutes until the greens are soft.
  7. Garnish with shaved parmesan.
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This will be better once we put prosciutto in it

CSA vegetables used: turnips and turnip greens

Other ingredients used: 1 yellow onion, 1 garlic clove, olive oil, butter, bay leaf, thyme, chicken stock, parmesan

For dinner, we planned a dry curry with tofu and sugar snap peas which Andrew had looked up somewhat frantically as we were out running errands the day before (cucumber trellis, cat litter, etc). I was excited that the recipe could use both the CSA sugar snap peas and cilantro and Andrew because it gave him another chance to waste his life trying to pound ingredients into a paste in our diminutive mortar & pestle.

Phat Phrick Khing with Tofu and Sugar Snap Peas

The recipe is from Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats.

  1. Put 6 guijillo chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water, then let them sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Put 6 garlic cloves, 2 shallots, 2 Thai green chiles, 1 bunch of cilantro, 3 lime leaves, 3-5 inches of sliced lemongrass, a 1-inch knob of galangal, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper, and salt in a mortar & pestle. (The recipe makes a big deal about how using a food processor to make the paste will not taste as good. Our mortar and pestle was too small, so we did it in the food processor anyway).
  3. Heat 1 TB of oil, and fry the tofu until it’s dark and crispy. Remove from the wok.
  4. Heat another TB of oil, and fry the sugar snap peas until they’re blistering. Add them to the bowl with the tofu.
  5. Add one more TB of oil to the wok, and throw in the curry paste and sizzle for a minute. Then add the tofu and peas back in, along with 1 TB sugar and 1 TB soy sauce. Mix everything together.

Just like with the pad Thai, the ladna, the we had a great time stir frying in a wok on the grill. We had some anxiety about the curry being too hot and therefore inedible to us, but it ended up a pretty pleasant level of spicy. In the end, though we liked the taste, we weren’t totally thrilled with the texture of a dry curry, and found ourselves wishing that we had dumped in a half a can of coconut milk.

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CSA vegetables used: cilantro, sugar snap peas

Other ingredients used: garlic, shallots, Thai bird chiles, lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, white pepper, salt.

Next: Something with mizuna?

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