In the last few weeks, I learned that two good friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Two young, vibrant women I care deeply about are in for a fight, and while I’m confident in their ability to beat this, they’ll need all the help and support they can muster.
Over the last several years I’ve become very aware of how powerful food choices are with respect to health and wellness, and with Amie and Jenny in mind, I created this vibrant soup. It’s loaded with healthful ingredients – beets, cabbage, ginger and turmeric, to name a few – and it’s enriched with a bit of cream at the end, because in my mind, balance and a little indulgence are important to a healthy lifestyle. Plus, it takes the soup from red to deep pink, a hue that is very much in vogue in October.
Roasted Beet Soup
1 lb. red beets
3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup shallot, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon freshly ground coriander
¼ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 cups shredded red cabbage
¼ cup raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
½ cup heavy cream
plain yogurt or crème fraiche for garnish
Note: If the beets have their greens still attached, remove them and reserve – they’re great sautéed in a little olive oil.
Scrub the beets and cut them into halves or quarters if large. Toss with salt and olive oil, place on a sheet pan, add the garlic cloves, and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes, until they are tender when pierced with a fork. Set the beets aside until they are cool enough to handle.
In a deep, heavy bottomed pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt, and cook until just soft. Add the coriander and ginger, stirring through, and cook for a minute or two before adding the cabbage. Pull the skins from the beets and add the roasted beets to the pot. Remove the roasted garlic from its skins and add to the pot. Add the vinegar and water, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally and tasting to adjust the seasoning.
Puree using your favorite method (we use a stick blender), then stir in the cream off the heat. Ladle into bowls and add a dollop (or ribbon) of yogurt or crème fraiche. (You can, of course, make this dairy-free, omitting the cream/yogurt/crème fraiche, and adding fresh chopped herbs for garnish instead – cilantro, dill, parsley or fennel fronds all work well.)
Boston peeps: Amie’s husband Brad, one of my oldest and dearest east coast friends, put his musical mojo to work to arrange a benefit to take place at The Middle East on Saturday, October 17th beginning at noon. Live performers include Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses/50 Foot Wave), Bill Janovitz (Buffalo Tom), Travels, Drew O’Doherty, Colin Clary (The Smittens/Let’s Whisper), and Adam Brilla (The Broken River Prophet). Kids under 12 get in free, and those of us who are a bit older can purchase tickets here.
Not in the Boston area? Please sponsor Jenny as she walks in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in NYC on October 18th.
I didn’t get out of bed until 9:30 this morning. When I did, I bypassed coffee and breakfast, and instead headed downstairs to clean the kitchen. I scrubbed every nook and cranny, polished every surface until it gleamed, and spent 45 minutes on my hands and knees until the floor was so clean you could, as the saying goes, eat off of it. I do this from time to time, get this drive to purge and scour, make everything as fresh and shiny as the day we moved in, and though I am now so tired that my bones ache and my right hand is so cramped that it’s painful to type this, I feel lighter.
The sun is shining outside, for the moment. I showered and dressed and then I made butter, and to my delight I think I’ve finally nailed it. I promise I’ll tell you all about it soon, but now, I’ve got some cooking to do.
To those of you in the States, have a safe and happy holiday weekend, and I’ll catch up with all of you next week. And thank you, so very much, for your kind and encouraging words.
When I was a girl I danced. I took years of ballet lessons, then moved on to jazz and other forms. I loved it, and I danced freely and unselfconsciously. Then, as many girls do, I got a little older and grew uncomfortable in my own skin. I developed performance anxiety. I’ll never forget the day that I stepped onto a stage for a dance competition, and every step I had so carefully choreographed was lost, gone from my limbs and my memory, the minute the music started. The stage was so vast, and I felt so incredibly small and clumsy, with no right to be there, that I panicked.
I’ve been feeling a lot like the halfheartedly gothy teenager I used to be, lately, who refused to pose for photos and hid behind long bangs and eyeliner. Maybe it’s the weather, the relentless grey of the skies, the heavy fog and rain-soaked days, or maybe it’s performance anxiety, the fact that as wowed as I am that this site has been getting so much attention, and has even been mentioned in the same breath as some of the food blogs I most admire, this feeling of “don’t look at me, don’t look at me, I don’t belong here” is rising.
This has been so hard for me lately. I feel flat, uninspired. Monday’s dinner was fine, if rather ugly. Tuesday’s dinner was great, but it was another rendition of a chicken and bread salad dinner we’ve talked about here plenty of times. I have a fridge full of beautiful summer produce, but I have absolutely no clue what I’m going to make for dinner tonight, or tomorrow, or beyond that. I feel like every step I knew so well, every improvisation, has been lost. My head is full of little grey clouds, and I don’t have the foggiest idea how to get my rhythm back.
Things have been quiet around here this week for various reasons: I have taken on some additional responsibilities at work, I haven’t been taking care of myself the way that I should, the weather has been crummy, and I’ve been feeling generally exhausted and uninspired. I’m in the middle of a 3-day weekend, though, which should help to recharge my batteries a bit. I hope to be back to regular posting later this week.
A bout of nasty neck and shoulder pain has made it impossible for me to prep and cook, and as such has kept me out of the kitchen for most of this week. Luckily, Mike has kept us well fed, with Tuesday’s pasta feast and last night’s iron skillet pizza stuffed with diced salami, kale and roasted red peppers. I have roast chicken and Zuni bread salad to look forward to tonight, and then, of course, a weekend in which to regroup and recover.
I hope to be back in full swing on Monday with the usual recap, but until then, check out this piece on Examiner.com, with a nice shout-out to this little site and a compilation of other Rhody-based food blogs. I look forward to checking them out and I’m sure you will, too. Have a great weekend!
Just popping in briefly to say:
If you’re interested in entering for a chance to win free grass-fed beef courtesy of La Cense Beef, you still have time! The contest closes on Monday, December 1st. Go here to read the rules and enter.
Our Thanksgiving birds arrived yesterday. You read that right – birds. I’ll tell you all about it on Friday. :)
And finally, this has been a big year for us, with changes good and bad, but as I look at my life I feel really lucky that I have so much to be thankful for. To those of you who are celebrating, may you have a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving holiday.