Monday, October 29, 2018

RECIPE: Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup with Fennel, Crispy Onions, and Pine Nuts

I made this soup to use up odds and ends, and liked it so much I had to share. NOT make this with raw fennel seeds!  As I've said many times, fennel (both the bulb and the seed) changes dramatically when you cook it, going from very strongly anise flavored to mild and delicious.  If you don't roast the seeds the soup will taste like licorice (blech!).

Cauliflower Broccoli Soup with Fennel, Crispy Onions, and Pine Nuts
Serves 4 - 6 depending on how thick you like it

3 c. cauliflower
6 c. broccoli
2 medium yellow onions, sliced 1/4"thick (about 3 c.)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
4 T. ghee
up to 4 c. water or broth (I used water)
2 t. himalayan pink salt
1 t. fennel seeds, toasted* and ground in a mortar and pestle
1/2 t. pepper flakes or to taste
1/4 c. crispy onions**
2 T. pine nuts, toasted*

Preheat oven to 400F.

This step is only for people who get their brassicas from a biodynamic CSA:  because our farm uses NO chemicals, and brassicas are susceptible to the cabbage butterfly, we often find tiny caterpillars in them.  The first time I saw one it skeeved me out; but now I'm glad they're there because it's PROOF that our farm is not using pesticides!

Here's how I get rid of them:  First I cut the veggies into florets, squishing any that I find lurking on the stems; then I blanch the veggies in boiling water for 3 minutes to extract those that may be hiding in the florets.   If there are any in the bag you used to bring the veggies home, you will want to squish them, too, or you may have white butterflies in your kitchen in the middle of winter. (Ask me how I know this...)  I don't know if they'll feast on your house plants - we dispatched them immediately - but I wouldn't risk it.

If you get your cauliflower and broccoli in a grocery store, you won't have to blanch it but I find  that it speeds up the roasting process and prevents under-cooked veg with burned extremities.

Remove the blanched cauliflower and broccoli from the boiling water with a slotted spoon or skimmer, and transfer to a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Add the ghee, onions and garlic and mix to combine.  Roast for 45 minutes turning every 15 minutes to prevent burning.

Hold back half of the broccoli and transfer the rest of the veggies to a food processor or blender.  Add the salt, red pepper, and ground roasted fennel seed.  Puree, adding water/broth as necessary to create a creamy soup.  We like it fairly thick, you may prefer it thinner.  (Because I have very little fridge space, I add the water/broth to the bowl as I serve it, so that the leftovers take up less space in the fridge.)

This makes 4 cups of puree.  I add 2 cups of water for a fairly thick soup which makes four 1.5 cup servings.

Serve topped with the reserved broccoli, crispy onions, and pine nuts.

* To toast fennel seeds or pine nuts, heat them in a dry pan over med-low, stirring often, until they're light brown, about 3-5 minutes.  Watch closely so they don't burn.  Transfer to a plate to cool.

** To make crispy onions,  Melt 2 T. ghee on med-high.  Add 1 c. thinly sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark brown but not burned, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel to drain.  Store in a glass container or they will go soggy.

Monday, October 22, 2018

RECIPE: Beet Horseradish Cheese Dip

This beautiful dip comes together in seconds but it needs to sit for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

Beet Horseradish Cheese Dip
Makes 2 cups

Mix all together using more or less horseradish depending on how much heat you want.  We like 2 t.

Allow the powder to rehydrate and flavors to develop, about 20 minutes.

RECIPE: Habanero Carrot Hot Sauce

The only reason I'm posting this recipe is that (1) there is an error in the original and (2) with a few adjustments, it's possible to make this 100% biodynamic (if your CSA grows habaneros, carrots, onions and garlic)!

Here's the original: Habanero Carrot Hot Sauce

I've made this twice now and it does not make 6 quarts, it makes five to six PINTS, depending on how much water you use.

Biodynamic Habanero Carrot Hot Sauce
Makes 5-6 pints (10-12 cups) 


  • 15 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 30 medium habanero chiles, stemmed
  • 2 cups peeled chopped carrot
  • 4 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/4 c. himalayan pink salt
  • 1/3 c. biodynamic sugar (available at Whole Foods)
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 2 cups biodynamic apple cider vinegar (available at Whole Foods and Amazon)
  • 1 cup biodynamic lime juice 

Roast the garlic in a casserole, turning regularly until soft and browned in spots, 10-15 minutes.  PEEL the garlic.

In the same pot, combine the habanero, carrots, onions, salt, sugar and water.  The more water you use, the thinner (and hotter) your sauce will be.  I prefer a thicker sauce that I can dilute as needed.

Partially cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.  Cool.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer to blender or food processor leaving most of the water in the pan.  Puree until super smooth.  I used a blender and had to do this in two batches running each batch for 2-3 minutes to get it totally smooth. 

Add vinegar and lime juice to taste.  I used a 3 to 1 to .5 ratio of puree:vinegar:lime.

I transfer it to woozy bottles with a shaker top and store it in the fridge.

If you'd like it thinner, you can use some of the cooking water (which will have some heat); if you'd like it less hot, use more vinegar/lime.

I have found that if I use too much liquid, it separates once I jar it (as you can see in the photo above), but when it's super thick it's hard to get it out of the bottle.  Perhaps that's why the original poster stores it in clamp-top jars.

I use a little more sugar because organic sugar is less sweet than white sugar
I add the vinegar last because it includes the mother and cooking will kill the mother
I save the water and use it when I want a lot less heat.

RECIPE: Cauliflower Soup with Sumac and Dill BEST EVER

I was apprehensive the first time I made this because the ingredients were so unusual.  But, it looked so good that I gave it a chance and not only was it the best cauliflower soup I've ever eaten, it might be the best soup I've ever eaten!

I adjusted the ingredients slightly based on what I had in the fridge.

Original recipe: Mediterranean Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup with Sumac and Dill
Serves 4


  • 2 heads cauliflower, separated into florets, including the core
  • 4 T. ghee, melted, divided
  • salt and cayenne
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 t. ground turmeric
  • 1 t. ground sumac
  • 2 t. ground cumin
  • 2.5 t. ground paprika
  • 4 cups broth (I used veal, you can use vegetable or chicken instead)
  • 1 c. cream or half-and-half
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 T. chopped fresh dill

Preheat oven to 425F.
Arrange the cauliflower on a baking dish and mix with 2 T. melted ghee.  Roast, stirring every 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned, about 40 minutes.  Salt (I always salt after roasting because the veggies shrink so much).

Heat 2 T ghee in a large saucepan and saute onion until translucent.  Add garlic, turmeric, sumac, cumin and paprika.  Stir for a few seconds until fragrant.

Add 3/4 of the roasted cauliflower, reserving the rest for later.  Stir to coat with spices, then add broth.

Bring to a simmer on med-high heat.  Cover and cook until cauliflower is tender, 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool slightly.  At this point you can either use an immersion blender to create a chunky soup, or transfer to a food processor and create a creamy one.  I used a food processor.

Return to heat and stir in cream or half-and-half and then lemon juice.

Serve topped with the reserved roasted cauliflower and sprinkled with dill.

RECIPE: Easy Sunshine Kabocha Cream Soup

Honestly, I had no idea Sunshine kabocha was SO TASTY!   It's a richer color than blue kabocha, and denser than regular pumpkin so you don't have to evaporate excess liquid before using it.  It's little too dry for pumpkin pie (Butternut is actually best for that) but it's wonderful for everything else!  I've used it to make gluten free pizza/tart crust, in Pumpkin Martini's, and in this easy soup.

Although blue kabocha is a long-keeper, sunshine kabocha is more perishable so I've been roasting it, pureeing it (I use a food processor and I remove the skin first), and then freezing it (new canning rules advise against canning pureed pumpkin).  I freeze it in pint jars since it's so dense and a little goes a long way.

I cut each pumpkin into quarters, brush the cut sides with melted ghee, and then roast at 400 for about 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  I let it cool in the oven,then remove the skin and puree in the processor.  Here's what it looks like pureed.  Isn't that a beautiful color?!:

This time, I made little divots in the top to see if that would result in a level surface once frozen, since it always seems to bulge up in the middle.  I'll report back shortly on whether that worked....

Easy Sunshine Kabocha Cream Soup
serves 1


Mix sunshine and milk.  Season to taste with salt and hot sauce.  Heat and serve.  (I eat it cold, right out of the jar!)


I have been roasting 3-4 squash at a time (I pile the slices on top of each other if they don't fit flat in the pan) so I've been putting large amounts of pumpkin seeds in the trash.  We don't compost these because we've heard they survive.

Well...two days ago something turned our trash bin on its side, extracted the ONE bag with the seeds in it, ate them, and then wandered off, leaving large footprints behind.  We're sure it was a bear, and the only way we know it was after the seeds is that it missed one. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

RECIPE: Mashed Celeriac with Garlic and Thyme

The first time I made this was for a Thanksgiving dinner where we had one guest who couldn't eat potatoes.  It was so tasty, and so easy, that I've been making it ever since!  It looks just like mashed potatoes and tastes even better (IMO).

The celeriac used in the photo below have been in our fridge for ONE YEAR!  I use celeriac over the winter whenever a recipe calls for celery, and I always have a few in the fridge.  When summer rolled around and celery appeared in the farm store, I forget I had them.  When I discovered them in the back of the fridge at the end of summer, rather than compost them I decided to cook them to see how they held up.  They were DELICIOUS.

And that, my friends, is the beauty of biodynamic agriculture!  When root vegetables are harvested on a 'root day' they last a year! 

This is the recipe I started with: Smashed Celeriac

Mashed Celeriac with Garlic and Thyme

Serves 4

4 medium celeriac, cleaned and chopped into 1/2" chunks
4 T ghee
1/4 t. ground thyme leaves
4 large cloves garlic, sliced
1 c. milk
1 t. himalayan pink salt
Opt: pinch cayenne

Combine celeriac, ghee and thyme in a medium saucepan and saute on medium-high until celeriac is lightly browned, about 5 min.

Add milk, garlic and salt and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to med-low and simmer until garlic and celeriac are soft, about 20 min.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer celeriac and garlic to food processor bowl.

OPT*: raise heat under the pan, and reduce the liquid to 1/4 c.  Transfer liquid to processor bowl.

Puree, check seasoning (I added a little cayenne) and serve.

*You could use the liquid without reducing it but the puree will be a little loose.  This method makes the texture very close to 'mashed potatoes'.