Monday, December 29, 2014

The Cottage Cooking Club | December Recipes

The CCC cooking through River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall




My selections for December:

Roasted Baby Beets with Walnuts and Yogurt Dressing
Brussels Sprouts, Apple, and Cheddar
Curried Sweet Potato Soup
Quick Chickpea Pasta
Roasted Roots with Apples and Rosemary
Salsify Puree 

Click here for the complete list of the December recipe choices.


Well, I made four out of the six recipes I chose this month. The beets for the Roasted Baby Beets with Walnuts and Yogurt Dressing are sitting in the fridge as I type this and I hope to get it made soon.

As for the Salsify Puree, I was unable to find this vegetable. I did not want to make a substitution (such as parsnip), for I chose this recipe because I have never had salsify, let alone hear of it. This vegetable is also know as the oyster plant, because when cooked it has an oyster like flavor.



Brussels Sprouts, Apple and Cheddar


This is a raw salad made up of Brussels sprouts, apples, cheese, nuts, and thyme, with a simple vinaigrette of lemon and oil.


The thinly sliced sprouts were tossed in lemon juice along with the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. The apples, also sliced thinly, are added next and tossed into the salad (I tossed the apple slices in lemon juice to prevent them from browning, before adding them to the rest of the ingredients). Next, cheese is added and tossed once again, and then topped with nuts.


This salad has potential. It really wasn't very flavorful, though it was beautiful. I would like to try this again, using my go-to dressing, and using a smoked cheese.


Curried Sweet Potato Soup


Now this soup has incredible flavor. By far, the favorite of the month. And how can it not be? This soup is made with the most delicious ingredients - including several of my favorite; sweet potatoes, curry, lime, garlic, chili, cilantro, just to name a few.


This most delicious soup is made by sautéing onions until they are soft and translucent - then garlic, ginger, chilies, garam marsala, and curry powder are added and cooked for another minute, or until the spices are fragrant. Cubed sweet potatoes are added along with some broth, salt, and pepper, and allowed to cook until the potatoes are tender. This is then puréed and mixed with coconut milk.

Just before serving, some cilantro and lime juice are stirred in, I omitted the cilantro in the soup, and used it as a garnish only, along with some yogurt and a sprinkling of pepper.

This is one recipe you won't want to pass up. It's delish!


Quick Chickpea Pasta


I almost did not choose this recipe, for the picture in the book makes this look rather dry. Which it can be. But I love garbonzo (chickpea) beans, and I love pasta, so I had to give it a whirl.

The orecchiette pasta is the perfect vehicle for cradling the garbanzo beans.

Talk about quick and easy! 

The most time consuming part of this recipe, is waiting for the water to boil; and while one is waiting, you heat some oil in a fry pan and quickly sauté some garlic and fresh chili pepper (I used a freshly dried pepper) just until it is fragrant - you don't want to burn your garlic. I also added the beans to the fry pan to heat them up, rather than adding them to the pasta water as Hugh suggests.


The cooked pasta is added to the pan with the garlic mixture & beans, sprinkled with some salt and pepper, and a splash of lemon juice, and topped with some Parmesan cheese.

Yes, it comes out a tad on the dry side, but nothing that a little reserved pasta water stirred in (as I did) or buttered pasta wouldn't cure. 

This is a great dish for when you need to get something on the table pronto. 


Roasted Roots with Apple and Rosemary


Once again, another quick and easy recipe, not to mention wholesome and delicious.


Here we have a mixture of root vegetables and apples, tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, and rosemary. You can choose whatever vegetables you prefer, I used fingerling potatoes, turnip, parsnip, rutabaga, celery root, and carrot.


The vegetables get roasted in a 375°F oven for about forty minutes, or until browned and tender. Then the apples and rosemary are added and cooked until the apples turn golden.


I love roasted vegetables - one of my favorite ways to prepare them. I never thought to add apple to my roasted vegetables; what a wonderful addition it made. I would also add some garlic and thyme to this as well next time.


To see what recipes the other members chose for this month, head over to the December LYL post on the CCC website, by clicking here.

We have been asked not to publish the recipes here on our blogs. We encourage you to go out and purchase the book and join us on this fun and healthy adventure!



 

18 comments:

  1. Dear Cathleen, that sweet potato soup of your looks so velvety and wonderful - I was just discussing it yesterday (again) - we loved the deepth of flavors as well and I am not surprised that it was your favorite this month. Your Pasta looks fabulous and I love your presentation o fthe Roasted Veg - so neat, looks pretty elegant to me. The Brussels Sprouts salad is one photogenic dish, that´s true and you did a fabulous job with it. The salsify is rather common in Europe and it has a wonderful flavor that is hard to describe, we call it "black roots" around here and it was of my beloved grand-mother´s favorite veg - I have eaten it many times but never as a Purée before - it had the most wonderful texture and snow-white color.
    All the best and a big thank you for your participation and support of the CCC - wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year!
    Andrea

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    1. Lucky for you, you can get salsify! I was quite intrigued - wish I could have found it.

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  2. You've sold me on trying the sweet potato soup. You make it sound as incredible as it must taste. Your photos are beautiful also. Did you use a mandoline to slice your brussels sprouts. I am into roasted vegetables these days. They just make everything more flavorful. Did you make the roasted parsnips and chips last month (I cannot remember what everyone made) because they are delicious as well. Be sure to try the Spanikopita when you have time. It's delicious. Very good post this month. Isn't this fun?

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    1. Mary, the soup is fabulous! I'm sure you will enjoy it - I hope so anyway. I just used a knife to slice the sprouts - I was going to use the mandoline, but did not feel like pulling it out, and the sprouts are so small, not sure how they would do with the finger guard, and I did not want to attempt not to use it!

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  3. Your recipes all look so delicious! I didn't make as many/what I had planned, but all of the recipes look wonderful. Good to know about the pasta, as I have all of the ingredients. Happy New Tear!

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  4. All beautiful, Cathleen! I was wondering about the dryness of the chickpeass, as well, thinking about what I might do to change it. I will give it a try with your suggestions. The soup is gorgeous!

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  5. Everyone of your selections are just beautiful! Those root vegetables look amazing!! Happy New Year, Cathleen!

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  6. You've sold me on the sweet potato soup too. Fruit in savory dishes doesn't go over well in my house, so the others would need to be made for just me, even though they look delicious. Hope you have a happy new year, Cathleen!

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    1. Betsy, do try the soup! I really, really, enjoyed this one.

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  7. Everything looks fantastic! I picked up some sweet potatoes based on the early reviews of the soup; yours looks beautifully smooth and velvety (I'll aspire to achieving that texture). I would have loved those root vegetables but family is so finicky about fruit in their savoury dishes, I didn't try it. Maybe I'll make just a small batch for me and include the garlic and thyme you suggested.
    Happy New Year!

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    1. I hope you enjoy the soup, Zosia! The apples are slice rather large - they could always be picked out. ;)

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  8. Hi Cathleen, great recipes you picked this month. Your presentation is wonderful, I had a really hard time photographing the soup. It was my favorite as well. Happy 2015!

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    1. Thanks, Cheri. I always have a hard time photographing soup and bread.

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  9. Everything you made looks wonderful! I made the soup and the roasted vegetables and loved them, too. Happy New Year!

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