Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Roasted Turnips, Cream of Potato Soup, Blueberry Buckle

Last night, not only did I cook dinner by myself (Rich got home just as I was finishing up), but I cooked three dishes: Roasted Turnips, Cream of Potato Soup, and a Blueberry Buckle.

The turnips and potatoes seem more winter than summer, but we have a lot of turnips (from the CSA) and potatoes (to go with the turnips but not from the CSA). Earlier, Rich was going to make "neeps and tatties" but a weekend trip with a delayed return screwed up our schedules, leading him to work late last night. Dinner responsibility fell to me. I do like to cook, but I'm a one-dish girl. I also didn't have the highest energy level last night and probably would have been happy with cereal or something similarly basic. In fact, when Rich called and asked what I was making, he said "it's not something with an egg on top, is it?" (Another of my favorites!). by the way, never comment negatively when someone else is doing all the cooking.

I made the blueberry buckle first. The idea had been to cook it Tuesday night and serve it Thursday night when a friend came for dinner, but it was too good looking to resist (sorry!) Maybe we'll get more blueberries this Thursday. This batch of blueberries came last Thursday and since we ate out Thursday night and left town Friday, we didn't have a chance to eat them, so I froze them (spread out on a cookie sheet). I needed a recipe that only called for one pint of berries and not a lot of eggs (I had been planning on using them at dinner but not on top of something!) since we only had 4 left. This one fit the bill. Changes I made were only to the topping because I ran out of sugar. I mixed some cinnamon with brown sugar to sprinkle on top. We ate it with peach ice cream.*

Roasted turnips: I have never used this recipe before and have never used a Mario Batali recipe before. He's, um, a little short on details. Do I peel the turnips? (I didn't.) How hot should the burner be? (I covered the full range and even popped the pan in the oven for a little bit.) I do think my turnips were a lot bigger than his -- I cut them in 8ths more than quarters -- but this took much longer than 8-9 minutes to saute to a light golden brown. Fortunately, the soup was still cooking. But the cake was also in the oven, and that's a lot to deal with. They did end up being tender enough and the paprika helped with the color.

Potato soup: I almost went with potato pancakes, which would have required using at least one egg. But soup seemed a little more hands-off and less messy. This recipe won because I had all the ingredients except cream. I just realized I skipped the cayenne step -- oh well. I substituted milk (2%) for the cream. The problem with this recipe is it gives you no sense of how long it should take. I had to cook the potatoes (cut in at least quarters) for at least 20 minutes on high to soften them enough. Fortunately for me, I guess, I started dinner and dessert 2 hours before Rich was supposed to get home from work.

The highlight of the potato soup recipe was I got to use the immersion blender! I ended up using the hand masher to start and then used the blender. I sliced up some scallions and cooked some bacon for toppings. We even put a little goat cheese on the soup.

The cake was already cooling when Rich got home and everything else was ready 10 minutes later.

* One of the downsides of downtown living is no grocery store. We walked about 3/4 mile in 90+ degree weather to the fancy market/restaurant. Except the market part was closed. Even though the sign on the door says it's open to 9. And this is the 2nd time we've been there that they closed early. The guy let us and 2 other people who had just shown up buy something since we were not paying with cash. And then they didn't even have vanilla ice cream. In retrospect, we should have just gone to the crummy CVS.

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