The End of #BEDN

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Mash-upToday marks the end of Blog Every Day in November (#BEDN). Yay! I made it! I’m really proud of myself and I’m glad I took part in the opportunity. I also have to say that I’m a little relieved. I have a new appreciation for those who do blog every day. It’s really hard to stay motivated and come up with good content when life presents you with plenty of distractions! Overall, I’m very grateful for the variety of new post ideas and of course, new followers and readers who have stopped in to visit.

So how am I spending this last day of November? Well, I’m messing around in the kitchen with some new produce items from the Good Food Collective. One of these items is celeriac or celery root. This item has a mild celery flavor and is often used in soups and French cuisine. I did a little poking around online and recipes were varied and some were quite rich. We just discussed how I have to clean up my food choices and so I was inspired by this Jamie Oliver recipe because I saw the potential to keep it healthy while improvising with a few other ingredients I had on hand.

I can’t recall if I’ve told you about my love for truffle salt or not. I discovered it several years ago while I was working in retail. A friend was peering at the Dean and DeLuca catalog while raving about how she loved sprinkling it on her popcorn. I was immediately intrigued and went to Williams-Sonoma and almost had a heart attack when I saw the price tag. I rationalize paying the price because it’s so flavorful and I use such a small amount that this jar really lasts forever. It’s basically a finishing salt flecked with tiny pieces of black truffle. As my friend suggested, it is wonderful on popcorn, but also adds amazing truffle flavor to rice and potatoes. I knew I had to find a way to work it into a healthy mash-up of potatoes and celeriac. These are so delicious – you will not miss the butter and cream in traditional mashed potatoes at all!

Lady Sensory’s Chub-Checker Celeriac/Potato MashCeleriac

See what I did there? Ha!

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed

1 celeriac (celery root), approximately the size of your fist

2 medium-sized red potatoes (also approximately the size of your fist)

6 tbsp water

2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp chives, finely chopped

Cracked black pepper and truffle salt, to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp of cracked pepper and 1 tsp of truffle salt)

Wash potatoes and celeriac thoroughly, peel, and chop into chunks that are roughly 1/2 inch to 1 inch. Warm the oil in a heavy pot on the stove over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes until slightly golden. Add the potatoes and celeriac chunks and cook for another five minutes or so. Raise the heat to medium and add 6 tbsp of water. Bring to a strong simmer (almost boiling but not quite), then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes. Add the parsley and chives, then mash with a potato masher. These are supposed to be a bit chunky (like in the picture above). Finish with the pepper and truffle salt, adding a little at a time until you reach the desired flavor. This should serve 2 people or one very hungry person.

Happy December!

Blog-Every-Day-in-November-with-Rosalilium

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Date Night?

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Apparently, today’s Blog Every Day in November (#BEDN) topic is “Date Night.” Do you feel like Sigmund Freud yet? I think I’m about to sit on your couch and talk to you about why I don’t have a date this weekend. Can’t we just exercise some wish-fulfillment and alleviate some oral fixation by filling our mouths with delicious comfort food?

I actually planned a hot date with my Le Creuset. I know what you are going to say. Despite the fact that our torrid relationship has caused me a burned arm, a broken foot, and smashed toe, I’m taking responsibility for my kitchen antics. This well-built French mofo knows how to treat a girl right. 

Lady Sensory’s Shut Up and Eat Your Feelings Dreamy Potato Leek Soup:

I had to do a little research for this one and I decided to take elements that I liked to create my own version. This soup is a bit fussy but it’s totally worth it. I like to think of it as a blind date that went much better than I initially imagined. If you want to make it vegetarian, feel free to use vegetable stock or water to replace the chicken stock.

2.5 lbs of potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks (I used a mix of red and white boiler potatoes)

3 extra medium-sized potatoes (this is optional – see below)

5 leeks, green and white parts sliced into 1/4″ pieces

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced

1 tsp each of salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence (you may need additional salt and pepper toward the end of the soup preparation)

1/2 cup dry white wine

8 cups chicken stock (I used a mix of stock and broth, which is fine)

1 bay leaf

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 cup of heavy cream

2/3 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped

1/3 cup chives, finely chopped

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving (bonus – add the cheese rind to the soup if you have it handy)

Plain Greek yogurt, also for serving (you can use crème fraîche or sour cream if you like)

I'm not showing this to gross you out, this is how the pan looks before you deglaze it.

I’m not showing this to gross you out. This is how the pan looks before you deglaze it.

Start by preparing your leeks and potatoes and preheating oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I actually washed the potatoes in the dishwasher (no soap) on the top shelf and it worked really well! Warm a large (6-7 qt) fancy pot on the stove at medium-low temperature (Le Creuset, or any heavy cast iron pot that can easily transfer from stovetop to oven). Add the olive oil and butter, then add the garlic. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the chopped leeks and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the leeks turn bright green and start to soften. Add the potato chunks, raise the temperature slightly and cook for about 5-7 more minutes. Transfer the pot, uncovered, to the oven and roast the potatoes and leeks for about 45 minutes, stirring at 10-15 minute intervals. While they are cooking, boil the 3 remaining unpeeled potatoes in a pot of lightly salted water. This part is optional and only to add a bit of chunky texture to the soup. Drain when tender and set aside. During the last 15 minutes of cooking the potato/leek mixture in the oven, add the Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper and stir. The reason behind the delayed seasoning is that salt causes the vegetables to release moisture. The goal is to get the veggies to brown on the bottom of the pot for added flavor, so you want to have very little moisture until the end. When the 45 minutes are up, remove the pot and place on the stove top. Transfer the cooked potatoes and leeks to a separate bowl and warm the pot on medium-low heat. Add the 1/2 cup of wine and start deglazing the pan by stirring with a rubber spatula. Add the stock, a little at a time, stirring until all 8 cups are incorporated. Begin to pulse the potatoes and stock together in a food processor in small batches (or use an immersion blender) until smooth and transfer back to the large pot on the stove. Add the bay leaf and cheese rind (if you have it, seriously – don’t stress out if you don’t have the rind). Allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Zest and juice the lemon and add that and the cup of heavy cream and stir until incorporated. At this time, peel the 3 cooked potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks, and add to the soup. Combine the parsley and chives in a small bowl or ramekin. Turn off the heat and sprinkle half of that mixture into the soup and reserve the rest of the herbs for garnish. Pour soup into a bowl and finish with a little grated Parmesan, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and a sprinkle of herbs. This batch makes hearty servings for about 8-10 people. Now savor this rich deliciousness with the knowledge that this could be the start of something very special.