Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gnarly Beets

Yo-y0 weather continues throughout the months of March and early April. One of those past weekends when we pulled the short end of the stick, I made beet soup. I'm not sure which came first - the sight of beets or the cold weather - for this sudden craving. Or perhaps I was yearning for the gorgeous ruby red color.

The beets I bought at the Union Square Greenmarket were large, and frankly even from the farmers market's standard, looking unruly. Far from the uniformly smooth and round ones you would normally see. They cried out "free-range", and I wanted to treat them with utmost respect. I could simply cooked the beets in the broth and puré them. But this time I decided to make clear soup instead.

First step is to make the beef stock. Sear the shanks in the big pot until they are brown all over, about 15 minutes. Then add water, throw in a few halved onions, bay leaves and peppercorn. Because it always produces multiple batches of stock, I would refrain from adding the salt. I prefer any stock to be flavor neutral for the later use. Cover the pot and just leave it on the gentle simmer for a few hours until the meat fall off the bone. While waiting for the stock, I steamed the beets. The end of Day 1.

So, dinnertime at the Day 2: this is the result. Add diced beets in the stock, salt & pepper to taste, a dollop of Crème fraiche adds a cool tang to the sweet & savory soup. You may ask, where's the meat? Well, the meat is in the freezer...waiting for the later reincarnation.

Ku Cake

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Comes Running!

What a difference one week makes! Last week, the Union Square was cold, wet, windy, and desolate. Only here and there stand the brave farmers tables, displaying the bounty of mostly brown colored produce & products... We could see our breaths. Our hands were stiff from cold. As we exchanged words, all were wishes for the warmer weather to arrive soon!

And the Daylight Saving Time began.

Suddenly, as if it were waiting for the sign, the clouds parted. The sunshine is strong. We shed our long boots and heavy winter coats! Will this be it? Will we be able to welcome the spring this weekend without further delay?

We'll see... The spring of New York City is notoriously capricious. We always get the one last hurrah of the winter storm in late March or early April - always after the early starter narcissus blooms - to remind us who's the boss. One day it's 70 degrees temperature, and the next day it's back to low 40's. It continues like this for a couple of months; this is the season when you have to keep both winter and summer clothes ready in our closet.

Just give us ramps! And all will be well...

Ku Cake