Parsnip and Leek Soup

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Photo Credit:Jonny Valiant, 2011.

 

 

For those celebrating the religious calendar, Lent is upon us, and for many it is the time to give up meat in our diets. For busy home cooks, this soup can be made in ahead of time, basically because it is an uncomplicated vegetable puree. For an added touch you can dressed-up this soup with a touch of American whitefish caviar, the salty counterpoint to sweet parsnips in the mix, makes the soup plenty festive for Easter Dinner.

 

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
For the Soup:
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut 1/4 inch thick
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut 1/4 inch thick
3 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups water
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup whole milk

For the Black-Pepper Cream:
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
2 ounces whitefish or other caviar, for garnish

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Directions:
To prepare the leeks, rinsed well to remove the sand and grit. Cut the white and pale-green parts only into 1/4-inch-thick semi-circles and set aside.

To Make the soup: Cut a round of parchment to fit inside a large pot. Melt butter in pot over medium heat. Add leeks and a pinch of salt, and cover with parchment round (this will help keep moisture in). Cook, lifting parchment to stir occasionally, until leeks are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in parsnips, potatoes, chicken stock, 2 1/2 cups water, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt. Raise heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer gently, partially covered with lid, until parsnips are soft, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Working in batches, puree vegetable mixture in a blender, being sure to hold lid down. Return soup to pot, and stir in milk. Reheat soup over medium heat (do not boil).

To Make the black-pepper cream: Stir 1/4 teaspoon pepper into creme fraiche.

To Serve: Ladle soup into 8 small bowls, and top each with a dollop of black-pepper cream and 1/2 teaspoon caviar.

Cook’s Notes:
Whitefish caviar is a relatively inexpensive variety and can found at Whole Foods  Markets or specialty gourmet food markets.

The soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months. Stir in milk and rewarm over medium heat just before serving. Black-pepper cream can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

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Bloody Mary Shrimp with Jasmine Rice and Wilted Arugula

Just in time for Sunday Brunch….

The Bloody Mary Cocktail is a favorite choice of drink for brunch, and this dish was inspired by the popular cocktail that has been around since the 1920s.

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As with the cocktail, the highlighted ingredient is the  Worcestershire Sauce, which has a pretty unique culinary history unto itself. For the most part, Worcestershire Sauce is condiment used to flavor meats, gravies, soups and of course, Bloody Mary Cocktails. Among the other ingredients, Worcestershire Sauce is also made up of vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, tamarind, onion and molasses.

So here is a recipe that is just right for anytime of the day, because it is always five o’clock in the afternoon somewhere……

Enjoy!

 

PREP TIME: 10 Minutes
COOKING TIME: 20-25 Minutes
TOTAL TIME: 30-35 Minutes
Yields 2 Servings

Ingredients:
For the rice:
3/4 cup Jasmine rice
1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup arugula
salt, to taste
white pepper, to taste

 For the Sauce:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small Vidalia onion
3  plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon horseradish sauce
1/4 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
celery salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 lbs. 16-21 count Gulf Shrimp, peeled, veins removed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 lemon, halved
1 stalk celery,diced for garnish

Preparation:
1. Prepare the ingredients. Peel the onion and mince. Rinse tomatoes and dice into 1 inch cubes. Mince the garlic. Rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towels, Rinse arugula. Rinse the celery and cut into 1/8 inch dice.

2. In a small pot, bring the jasmine rice, 1 1/4 cups water, and a pinch of salt to boil over high heat. Stir once,cover and reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 12 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to stand, still covered for 10 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and set aside.

3. To make the Bloody Mary Sauce, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When oil is  shimmering, add the onion and saute until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook until softened. Add horseradish sauce, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 cup water and stir to combine.

4. Season the shrimp with  celery salt and black pepper to taste, thyme, and the Old Bay Spice. Add seasoned shrimp to the sauce in the pan and cook until shrimp are pink and opaque, 1-2 minutes per side. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper as needed. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

5. To season the rice, add arugula to warm jasmine rice and stir to combine, allowing the arugula to slight wilt.Taste the rice and add salt as needed. In a medium bowl, combine celery, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 1 squeeze of lemon juice. Taste and add salt and white pepper as needed.

6. To serve, divide jasmine rice and arugula evenly between two plates. Top with shrimp and tomato sauce, Squeeze the juice from the other half of the remaining lemon over the shrimp and rice. Garnish with the celery salad and serve hot.