Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dark Days Dinner # 7: Soup's On!

For some reason, energy levels are low and time seems to be going by particularly fast these days, so I was happy to come up with another fast and easy Dark Days meal to make on a week night! I wrote a a few days ago about some goodies I found at the Ithaca Winter Farmer's Market, and I knew that potato leek soup was going to be on the menu soon.

Serendipitously, my go-to food blog featured what she called a baked potato soup this week.
It was a sign. 
I'm sure of it.

Of course, having found celeriac at the market for the first time (or should I say having found for the first time celeriac while at the market?), I had to change things around a little and add that in. 

Well, that and I mis-read the directions and cooked the garlic and potatoes together for the whole hour (plus some). I added a lot more leeks that the recipe called for,and being the garlic lover that I am, I did add the cooked cloves back into the soup.  Also, since I had local heavy cream, I used it at the end rather than the recommended sour cream.

Despite all this, it turned out delightful, and hit the spot on this chilly winter night.

Along side we needed some green, so I made a quick salad of the fresh baby spinach from the market, local carrots and very not-local pomegranate seeds. My picture of it is out of focus and does not do it justice - the light fruity flavor was just perfect along side the hearty rich soup. 

I can tell I've not been eating enough fresh greens lately as I could just not get enough of this tonight!

The finishing touch was fresh home made bread from my parents, made with flour from a local mill, but not necessarily with all other local ingredients. But man-oh-man did it taste good.  Our little bug could not get enough - I wish I'd taken a picture of THAT!

What did I learn / How local was I?
  • I had a few blatent non-local infiltrations to the meal this week:
    • I failed to prepare any local chicken (or vege, for that matter) broth, so I did use about a teaspoon of powdered bullioun in the soup from I have no idea where. If I was to do it again, I now know that this soup could definitely handle the richness of the venison broth I do have in the freezer!
    • I already mentioned the pomegranate seeds on the salad, but I also topped it with just a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I think next soon I need to figure out how to make vinegar or add it to my list of "permanent exceptions"!
    • I topped the soup with just a touch of chopped bacon, which I already had cooked in the fridge so couldn't justify frying up the local stuff just for a few pieces.
    • I think quite a few of the bread items were not local; probably things like canola oil, wheat bran, sesame seeds were all in there, to name a few.
  • Other than *those* items, I think I made the 50 mile radius again!
    • Local heavy cream and butter made from it from a nearby dairy
    • Leeks, carrots, spinach, celeriac and potatos from local farms (all within less than 20 miles)
    • Garlic from my father's garden
  • Hhhmmm.  My exception list might be longer than my local list this week.  Yipes.
  • Perhaps most importantly though, I learned that I'm going to grow celeriac in my garden next year!  That stuff is amazing - it smelled of citrus as soon as I cut into it, and then of a mix of lemon and celery as I chopped. It added a great bright flavor to the soup with just a bit of crunch. Lovely!

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