Acorn squash soup with celery root & other such things

As I patiently waited last night for trick-or-treaters to ring our doorbell, I set out to make a nice autumnal soup. We were greeted by only a handful of older kids, barely dressed in costume, so I had plenty of time to putz around with some crazy veggies. We came across another CSA box this week and if you know CSAs, you know that you can get some funky produce this time of year. Kohlrabi, I'm looking at you. Celeriac, yep, you are a weirdo.

I riffed off of a recipe from the fabulous Love Soup by Anna Thomas. Her undoubtedly delicious recipe called for kabocha squash and turnips. I had acorn squash and carrots, so I swapped those out.

To make a great soup, you should buy her book. To follow my adaptation, slice an acorn squash in half, scoop out the crap and then roast it on an oiled baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes alongside with three peeled and chopped carrots and a peeled and chopped celery root (celeriac). Meanwhile, sauté up a chopped yellow onion with a pinch of salt and rosemary in your big soup pot. Add in the roasted veg, a thinly sliced leek or two and a combo of vegetable broth and water to equal 4-6 cups. Two tablespoons of lemon juice, three spoons of maple syrup and a touch of cayenne rounds it out for a nice 20 minute simmer. Your immersion blender and a quick taste test finishes the job!

For years we lived on a street just a few blocks away, and no one came to our building to trick or treat. Now we live in what we thought was the epicenter of Halloween festivities-- walkable, well-lit, populated with families, well-decorated stoops and front doors-- and still, hardly any trick or treaters. The weather wasn't great, so I'll blame it on that. Meanwhile, I enjoyed this soup with a festive pumpkin pie martini and a crusty French baguette.

A tip for homemade veggie stock

Yum, frozen vegetable scraps! Click over to my post today on From Scratch Club for an easy kitchen tip for making your own vegetable stock from a stockpile of frozen scraps you collect throughout the week. I've included my standby basic veggie stock recipe too, a must for your Sunday Soup traditions. Head over here to read more!

Sunday soup: The Women's Bean Project

We've been loving the combination of fresh bread from our Community Supported Bakery with our classic Sunday Soups. Every Sunday, we go to the store, pick up our specialty loaf and then come home to see what we can make from all of it. Sometimes we make soup. Sometimes we don't. Sometimes we make a phone call to order Indian food. You know how it is.

This was a particularly lovely soup, made from a ten bean mix from the Women's Bean Project. The Women's Bean Project is a Colorado-based nonprofit that helps women break the cycle of poverty by teaching job readiness and employment skills in gourmet food production and handmade jewelry manufacturing. The program provides immediate income, support services, job training and a source of newfound confidence and independence to disenfranchised and disempowered women. One of Chris' colleagues gave us a package of Toni's Ten Bean Soup mix for Christmas. We paired it with the toasted almond, green peppercorn & black pepper loaf we got from the bakery.

Have you been making Sunday Soups? Do you have a recipe I should try out? I have a small stack of great soup cookbooks to work through, including Anna Thomas' Love Soup, which I absolutely adore.

sunday soup, sunchoke, turnip & carrot

Sunday Soup is back! Or as we lovingly refer to it, Sunday "Throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and cook it" dinners. That's really all soup is. You knew that, right? Most of our soups begin with a bit of oil or butter, a garlic clove or two and chopped onions. Saute them up, add in the rest of your veggies, some veggie stock and herbs and cook. Sometimes we finish it off by sticking the immersion blender in there for a minute or adding a bit of cream. That's it. That is my recipe for just about any soup.

In the interest of offering a more comprehensive recipe, though, I'll make one up below. We had odds and ends of vegetables in our fridge that we were desperate to use up; consequently, the Super Local Sunchoke, Turnip & Carrot Soup was born!

See what I mean? Just throw some stuff in a pot and eventually you might have soup. We were pleased to be able to make this soup from almost exclusively local ingredients: the vegetables, including the ones used in the veggie stock, were all from Kilpatrick Family Farm in Granville, NY. The olive oil comes from Dancing Ewe Farm also in Granville. We ran out of local butter, so that's where the recipe falls short. Oh, the salt and pepper aren't local either, but come on.

Sunchoke, Turnip & Carrot Soup

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • garlic, chopped
  • onions, chopped
  • sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes), cut into 1" chunks
  • Hakurei turnips, roughly sliced
  • carrots, roughly sliced
  • veggie stock
  • salt and pepper
What? You wanted quantities? I told you can just throw things in a pot. But if I had to guess, I'd say that we used at least a cup of chopped white onions, 2 cloves of garlic, maybe a pound (2-3 cups?) of sunchokes, 3 carrots, a bunch of Hakurei turnips (or one or two big regular ones), and 3 1/2 cups of veggie broth.

Heat the oil and butter over medium heat, and then add the chopped onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes until soft and then add the garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and saute for 7-8 more minutes. Add the veggie stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for 35-45 minutes until the carrots, sunchokes and turnips are cooked through. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender (alternatively, you can do this in batches in a regular blender or food processor, just be careful not to burn yourself). Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with a bit of cracked black pepper and Parmesan cheese, if you wish.

No sunchokes? Use potatoes. Never heard of Hakurei turnips? Ok, just use whatever kind you can find. It will work out, I promise. We used a combination of regular and sunny carrots and it was wonderful. The sunchokes give this soup a very earthy flavor, which we love, but just let that serve as a heads-up. It came together really nicely and helped free up some space in our fridge. Speaking of our fridge, we just got our last CSA delivery of the season. Sad. I'll wrap up the "Inside the Cooler" series this week, complete with my lessons learned and reflections from our first summer as CSA members. I'll wax poetic for awhile, make a few corny vegetable jokes and finish the season strong. I may even show you my Halloween costume from this year, which (SPOILER) re-used my costume from last year

sunday soup garnish, homemade croutons

I did make soup this week, but it was such a hodgepodge that I can't remember exactly what I used or how much. There was red potato, plus some carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, sea salt, pepper, light cream and my secret soup ingredient: a spoonful of prepared tomato sauce. I sauteed the onion and garlic and then simmered them with the potato, carrot and spices in homemade veggie stock. I blended it up and added the cream and my not-so-secret-anymore ingredient. It was the perfect non-recipe to clean out the fridge and keep me warm during a very rainy week here in New York. What is even better, though, are these homemade croutons.

We left the bakery this weekend with lemon & pine nut scones, spinach & pecan pesto focaccia with chevre and a sourdough baguette baked the day before. And a bag of this crazy good Gatherer's Granola. We dug into everything pretty quickly and decided we would use the baguette for croutons, a perfect soup accompaniment or anytime snack.

Rosemary & Thyme Croutons
  • one day-old baguette
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • salt
  • 2-3 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Slice your baguette into one-inch chunks and spread out on a baking sheet.
  2. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add in the the thyme and rosemary and cook for about a minute to let the butter absorb the flavors. Turn off the heat and slowly drizzle the herb butter mixture over the chunks of bread, being sure each one gets some loving. Sprinkle with salt and the Parmesan cheese.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the croutons are golden on all sides. Eat them straight out of the oven, on soup, salads or use them for bruchetta or tiny crostini.
This is one of those things that I almost didn't post because you all probably make your own croutons all the time because DUH, it's so obvious and easy. Like homemade vegetable stock, which I only starting making with any consistency a year ago. But in case there are any others out there who, like me, are easily impressed by simple kitchen recipes, try making your own croutons. They are a thousand times better than what you can buy in the store and they are a superb way to use up some older bread.