Winter Root Vegetables

I've always loved the beauty and rustic simplicity of root vegetables in photography. Their colors are as hearty as their flavor. 

Whether puréed or roasted, they're savory, flavorful and filling on a winter day. Below I'm sharing a few tips on different ways I love to prepare them this time of year.


rootveg5.jpg

Puréed Soup

This soup is special because of its simplicity and the creative freedom it provides the chef. The root you use can be interchanged with any one of your favorites, as with the herbs and spices you add in. Choose your root and the herbs and spices to compliment it, and get cooking. Sauté your herbs, roots, salt and water (add celery if you'd like) until soft enough to then be puréed into a smooth consistency. One recipe, published by The New York Times, recommends then adding lemon juice (which really brightens the flavor), olive oil, more salt, and chili flakes or grated cheese. However you choose to flavor it, you'll have a hearty root veggie soup with a gentle flavor and a noticeable warmth.


Chunky Vegetable Soup

It's hard to get away from soup in the winter time, and that's not a bad thing. This soup provides a texture entirely opposite to the puréed soup above, but a warmth that's just as wonderful. I like to throw as many root veggies as possible into a traditional vegetable soup recipe, and then mix with fresh herbs from my garden and strong flavors like garlic or leeks. And, this is a great healthy alternative to some of the heavier, cream based soups that I (love and) often find as options out there.


Roasted

Roasting root vegetables is quick, simple and liked by all. Evenly slice so they roast in a uniform consistency, drizzle with oil and kosher salt, and roast on the middle rack of your oven at 425 degrees, I usually switch to the top rack for the last 5-7 minutes for an extra crisp. As long as I roast a veggie, the kids like them!


Thinly Sliced

Slice any number of your favorite root vegetables as thin as you can. Serve them up as a side dish or appetizer, alongside a little pot of room temperature butter (perhaps served in our butter pat dish) and a dish of black salt to sprinkle for garnish. One of my favorites to enjoy this way are radishes.

Seen here: our  linen waist apron

Seen here: our linen waist apron

 

 

Southern Kitchen Bucket List : Homemade Butter.

My neighbor John came over about a month ago and mentioned he had just made a fresh batch of homemade butter. My ears perked up. Well, this is something I haven't tackled yet... And, as if it were meant to be, this was perfect timing with the launch of our new Butter Pat Dish.

Like all made-from-scratch things, I love the simplicity and basic nature of making butter. And most importantly, if we don't learn these most basic skills we can't pass them down to the next generation and at some point they'll be gone. Oh, and if there's one thing you should know about me it's that I'm highly visual so I've tried to document each step of the way. So here's to making butter, and passing it along.

 

INGREDIENTS :

1 1/2 CUP HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM

1/8 TSP KOSHER SALT

heavy whipping cream
homemade whipping cream

With the whisk attachment, mix heavy whipping cream at high speed. It goes quickly through the stages and will just take a few minutes.

whipped cream consistency
homemade whipped cream
making butter

You'll see the cream begin to thicken (read : whipped cream, the best made-from-scratch thing perhaps ever) and as it mixes longer it will quickly begin to solidify and clump together, separating itself into butter solids and buttermilk. Once this occurs you can turn off the mixer to avoid buttermilk splattering all over your kitchen.

butter solids

Next, gather the butter solids into a flour sack cloth or cheese cloth.

straining buttermilk
butter solids
buttermilk

Then take the buttermilk and pour it through a fine mesh strainer or again cheesecloth to capture any remaining butter solids. I poured mine directly into a little jar to store for biscuit making, perfect.

squeezing out the buttermilk
homemade butter

Squeeze the remaining buttermilk out of the butter solids, wringing out as much as possible. Try to handle it as quickly as possible as the butter will begin to melt.

washing butter
salting butter

Wash the butter in a bath of cold water to remove any remaining buttermilk, as it will make the butter sour and not allow it to keep as long. The water in your bowl will be cloudy for several baths and continue until it runs clear. Finally, sprinkle salt and mix in.

wrapping butter

I rolled mine slightly into a log and wrapped it in a waxed paper covering to keep.

buttered biscuit
buttered biscuit

But of course be sure to enjoy it first! You'll love how fresh it tastes, and how easy it was. I loved seeing the whipped cream > butter > buttermilk components - would be a fun thing for the kiddos to help with.

To learn more or to tackle the Southern Kitchen Bucket List, click here!


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