We had an unexpected snow day yesterday and since our offices at Oxmoor House were closed, my husband and I decided to enjoy it to the fullest. Took the dogs for walks in the snow and around the neighborhoods to check if we can help anyone. Tidied up the house floor to ceiling, caught up on our reading and watched a couple of movies. Oh, and had a couple of cocktails in front of the fireplace.
Things are slowly going back to normal today and we’ll have to catch up on our photo schedule the best we can. I secretly wished the roads were still undrivable just so that I could watch the pup frolic in the snow. Bailey is like a kid with a new toy everytime he steps outside (5 year old lab-pit mix), while Tippy (17 year-old collie-sheltie) enjoys the freezing temperatures on his old bones.
It’s been a fun day also spent in the kitchen making soups to keep us warm and cozy. Lunch was an old Food&Wine recipe I had clipped a while back (Bon Appetit also has a version of it in this month’s issue that I have not tried yet), Spicy Pork And Kale Soup With Harissa. It’s an interesting blend of Asian flavors (soy sauce, galangal,..) and Moroccan ones (harissa). It works really well together and we polished off a couple of bowls with joy. The original recipe called for ground chicken but without the possibility to go the store, I used what I had in the fridge. Dinner was super aromatic Root Vegetable Soup, thick and creamy, that I served with Croque Monsieur.
A simple and good eating day…
Spicy Pork & Kale Soup With Harissa (adapted from Food & Wine)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated galangal (or ginger)
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 pound ground pork (or ground chicken)
8 cups vegetable stock (or water)
6 cups torn kale (ribs removed)
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon harissa
8 oz dried or fresh fettucine (gf or not)
Extra harissa to garnish
salt and pepper to taste
red chili flakes
In a large stock up, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, galangal, white pepper and ground pork and cook until cooked through, about 10 minutes, breaking the large pieces of pork with a wooden spoon as you cook.
Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the kale, soy sauce, shaoxing wine and cook until the kale is tender, another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper according to your liking.
While you prepare the soup base, cook the fettucine according to package directions, drain and cover with a towel to keep warm.
Divide the noodles among your serving bowls, laddle the soup and serve with extra harissa if you like it spicy. Garnish with a red pepper flakes for even greater heat.
Notes: I had fresh harissa leftover from a photo shoot but I also keep this one on hand in the fridge. I have found that in a pinch substituting shaoxing wine with the equal amount of Cognac works well. I know…who knew?!
(Mostly) Root Vegetable Soup
Serves 4 as a main dish
1 small head of cauliflower
3 cloves garlic
3 to 4 small Vidalia onions
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 turnips (peeled and quartered)
3 parsnips (peeled and cut into 1-inch thick rounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 or 2 parsley sprigs
1/2 to 1 cup water, or veggie or chicken stock
Preheat oven to 375F and position a rack in the middle.
Trim the outer leaves from the cauliflower head. Cut in quarters, remove the core, and cut the cauliflower into medium size florets. Place on a large baking sheet.
Peel the garlic and place on the baking sheet with the cauliflower.
Trim the white part from the green stalk of the Vidalia onions. Keep the white part and cut into medium sized chunks. Wash well under water and place also on the baking sheet.
Finely add the butternut squash, turnips and parsnips to the same baking sheet.
Drizzle with the oil, salt and pepper. Place the parsley on top and roast for about 20-25 minutes. Remove the rosemary.
Let cool slightly. Place in a food processor, start running the machine and add enough water to have a creamy soup. Re-season if necessary with salt and pepper.