Wednesday, February 07, 2007

winter root and fruit

I could be talking about us, pictured here in front of the Ecology Center Booth at the Sat-BFM, or the produce in the bags seen at the lower right, or what I'm thinking about when the shot was taken. (Thanks Rosalie!) You see, I get a seed stuck in my head, and the cycle begins. It germinates and begins to infiltrate the soil in my mind, branching into unknown territory while passing by the familiar. It takes shape, and at a critical point in this early life, I glimpse what it may become. The idea has roots now, and as a carefully attentive gardener, I must decide if I need to nurture this one, or concentrate my energy on another. To weed or not to weed........that is the question. When this pic was taken, I had one of those "hare brained" ideas in my mind...

The idea started as seed while writing a comment on a beautiful post by callipygia about "Finding Heat". I was thinking of the orange items in our produce and I inadvertantly germinated the seed in my head. With a little prompting, I was bent on seeing this root through to fruition.

These crazy thoughts often revolve around an ingredient. Sometimes, I picture myself in the past, with a glut of some particular crop. I have to feed my family, and by the looks of it we will be eating this item for at least a month. (Okay, in leaner times in our history I would be eating said item for EVERY MEAL, not just experimenting with it several times.) First we have it in the fashion we are familiar, expand on the theme maybe and then end up at the inevitable; grossed out and feigning fullness. I know I'm not the only person out there who has looked at an ingredient, closed there eyes trying to invoke some knowledge from an etherial realm, and asked out loud: "Please, may I find a new way to prepare this, for I am sick and tired of (insert bland or boring recipe here) and I will absolutely hurl if I have to have (ingredient identified above, for example: persimmon) prepared this way again. For the love of god, please."

We go hit the Farmer's Market for inspiration, and drop by for some yummy ketchup from Happy Girl Kitchen (for some fries at a later date), drop by River Dog Farm to pick up some golden beets and super sweet carrots, and manage to kill another hour listening to fine music and hitting some of our other favorites. In fact, I'm positive that as the photo up top was taken, the monkey was busy working on a "meat stick" from, who else.

We got back on the bike, and peddled our way home. I often do my best thinking while exercising, and the ride did me good. I needed to work on some spices, but the idea was growing, and the first glimmer of the end was in sight. I wanted to incorporate the cilantro we purchased and it made me think of it's seed form. A curry spicing! It was an idea just crazy enough that it might work. I wanted to see what produce might find it's way into our hands the next day before making my next move.

With a bag of oranges on our table (their glowing spheres plucked that morning in Reedley at H's folks place) it made me think of Pearl. My friend J there made a chilled beet soup that had a touch of orange in it and I loved it. Knowing this was comforting. It seemed my thoughts had some basis in reality, so I watered them, with some nutritive beer during SB41, and slept on it.

Even though I was making two other items, I thawed and blended my goo-yu. The multi-tasking led to another of our recent episodes where the monkey nabs the camera and begins clicking away, but the result captured this messy shot. I looked at the slop and immediately wished I had pulled this idea as a weed.

My director of photgraphy remained enthusiastic about me combining the roots and goop and wanted me to simply pour it all in a bowl. She needed redirecting. Knowing her past work with a mortar and pestle, I set her to measuring out some spices while I prepped the roots for roasting. When finished, I blended the cooked roots, goo/slop, veggie stock, and some orange juice. It needed the spices. I set it on the stove, lit the burner and started mixing. With our powder incorporated, it was a sweet carrot and beet soup, with a bright citrus nose and curry-likeness. The persimmon was there, but really only if you knew about it. While this type of ingredient showcasing might not sell any cookbooks, and really maybe should not be shared at all (like that nightmare from the other night where I'm on the Iron Chef and the secret ingredient is Fuyu), it will get me to finish the aforementioned (see, I'm even sick of typing the word) glut of fruit without barfing. Many a recipe in this world was invented because someone wanted to hide an ingredient without their family/kids (think: green usually) or perhaps even king (think: poison) taking notice. I'd call this a smashing success with those criteria......

a decent reason to put persimmons into a soup, rather than tossing them:

6 big carrots
3 medium golden beets
3 runny fuyu
2 sweet oranges
1 cup veggie stock

spice mix: (this time, I'm gonna expand on this one later)
1 t coriander seed
1/2 t cumin seed
1/2 t brown mustard seed
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground turmeric

Peel and chop the carrots and beets into half inch cubes, toss into a shallow pan, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and bake at 400 for an hour, stirring once or twice. While roots are cooking, grind spices into a powder and give a dry roast in a hot pan until the smell punches you. Set aside. Make a slice in the side of the persimmons over the food processor and squeeze into it, removing any seeds if you find them and discarding the skin. Blend. When roots are tender and getting brown edges, remove from oven, toss into an empty blender with veggie stock and hit the switch. Add the goop and juice from them oranges and give another go until smooth. Pour into pot and begin simmering. (Carefully, remember beets, persimmons, carrots=orange dots of very effective dye.) Adjust the quantity of spice to suit your palatte and cook for about an hour. Garnish with a bit of cilantro to show people that you know it and coriander are really the same thing. Serve with high alcohol beer so that people forget about the persimmon.

DISCLAIMER/WARNING: I take no responsibility for such wreckless usage of persimmons that might occur in your home as a result of this post. In fact, such carefree actions performed in front of the children may cause a sort of confusion within the normal rules, resulting in them also taking a creative stance with the combination of their lunch items. In this pic, the fruit, in taking after her roots, decided to combine raw almond milk onto leftover penne with freshly grated parm. Didn't really strike me as too yummy, but with her having witnessed and taken part in my soup the night before, I didn't really feel that I stood on to firm of authoritative ground when it came to explaining why we don't normally do such things in our home. Yet another example for this parent that it is of the utmost importance to choose your battles wisely....


Mallika said...

Hola from the land of the potato. Interesting to see how the same rules apply to big moneys like husbands and other wild creatures.

Lovely soup recipe (I´m specially liking the Indian spices)...

Mallika said...

Monkeys, I mean...

Callipygia said...

All of this oranginess is positively sunning, I mean stunning. The soup sounds delicious and will encourage me to look deep into my freezer next time I make a pot. Now I am really inspired, just think: persimmon ice cubes for sangria, peanutbutter and persimmon gloop sandwich, persimmon teriyaki sauce, persimmon jerk chicken, persimmon lime ceviche, persimmon-passionfruit-kiwi pavlova, persimmon panna cotta...Oh my god, step away from the persimmons.

D-man said...

mallika: Thanks for popping by.....and that monkey thing, you had it right the first time because monkeys cost big money.

To hear that you are liking the spice is a huge compliment for me, as I frequently check out your site thinking of you as a magical spice fairy, so, thank you VERY much. Come on by again.

callipygia: In response to your thoughts I'd say; interesting, never thought about that;
no frickin' way;
call it hachiyaki and I'm all over it;
I love ALL jerks;
probably will stay away from that one;
sounds great.........what is that?;
definite maybe.

And you end by stealing my thunder without knowing, because the next seed is planted and the working title WAS: "Sir, please step away from the persimmons and no one will get hurt here....."

Lis said...

The soup sounds delish and I love that you are cooking with winter fruits and veggies. =)

Stacie said...

so jealous! I used to spend lazy Saturday mornings at the Berkeley Famers Market myself! The bounty in your parts is amazing! Now living in rural Nowheresville, I would just about kill somebody for a persimmon! Now I'll go daydream of Berkeley some more...

cookiecrumb said...

Orange soup! Yeah, huh. Very winter. I'm actually intrigued by the addition of persimmon. I've got one left, softening.
Oh, well. Off to make that broccoli-tofu soup I forgot to get around to yesterday. It'll be green.

D-man said...

lis, I've been trying to cook with more and more local stuff and being at the Farmers' so much is one great way to do it. (Talk about stating the obvious huh?) With not as much selection as other times of the year roots and fruits rock!

Stacie, go ahead and almost kill for that persimmon...cause you can revive 'em now!

cc, if you get around to using that persimmon let me know how. And, I never got around to that bacon salad either, but it will wait a bit since the greens are outside my house and the bacon, is bacon.