At breakfast today my husband and I were talking about the variations in temperature around us. Freezing cold mornings give way to warm, sunny afternoons, followed by nights made for cuddling under down comforters after an evening by a blazing fire. Such is the state of affairs in New England―we are reminded that soon there will be more cold outside than warmth, that we’ll be indoors more than out, that we’ll need to reach out more to friends and family to stay connected during the long cold winter ahead.
We live in a rural area, our house isolated from neighbors. When we first moved here from the city, winter was really tough, not so much because of the cold, the ice, the snow but because of the isolation. I found it hard seeing people less, connecting with people less on a casual basis out on our road near the mailboxes or at the pool with my children in summer. So, this variation in temperature is a reminder to me that winter means reaching out to friends and family more to staying warm. Equal to the need to put on heavy coats, waterproof boots and fleece lined mittens, I need to stay in very close touch with the folks I hold dear in the world―short texts to my son off at university have been replaced by longer, more thoughtful email exchanges. I send a note to my Pilates instructor to let her know how much I love her class, how much stronger I feel afterward. I contact my friend with two little ones at home, to see how they are, what new developmental tasks they are facing at this hour. Invariably, I am touched both by how much my reaching out means to others and by how the warmth in my heart is emblazoned by their responses. As a result, I feel as bright as the flower.
Golden Potato Soup with Turnips and Microgreens is another way to stay warm in winter. Creamy without the addition of cream, otherwise bland potatoes are mixed with cooked turnips to give the soup both a golden color and slight bit of spice in every bite. Serve the soup accompanied by toasted dark bread and rich bleu cheese. This immensely versatile soup is perfect for now, and a recipe you will want to keep on hand throughout the winter to make again and again.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
P.S. I was reminded this morning that my husband has a charming story titled A Variation in Temperaturepublished in TQR stories. You will also want to know that his first novel, The Hour of Parade—an intricately woven tale of love, lust and murder finds a Russian cavalry officer journeying to Munich to find the French officer who killed his brother in a duel—will be published later this month and for sale exclusively on Amazon.com. You can order a print or e-copy. All the details on that will be made yours shortly. We are very excited about this new chapter in Al’s professional life!
Golden Tomato Soup with Turnips & Microgreens
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
For the soup:
- 4 small turnips (about 1 pound)
- 2 small potatoes (about 8 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 carrot, scrubbed and thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 cups water, light stock or broth
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- Sea Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 to 6 slices dark bread, such as pumpernickel or dark rye
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened, or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons blue cheese or gorgonzola, at room temperature
- Micro-greens, greens or fresh herbs, finely chopped
- Trim the turnips and peel neatly with a paring knife. Cut into wedges and then crosswise into slices about ¼-inch thick. Do the same with the potatoes.
- Melt the butter or heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the turnips potatoes, carrot, and onion slices. Give them a stir. Cook for about 5 minutes , stirring occasionally. Add the water, stock or broth and bring to a boil. Add the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Purée the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or in batches in a standing blender. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
- Toast the bread, then spread with the butter or olive oil and softened blue cheese or gorgonzola.
- Ladle the soup into serving bowls and sprinkle each serving with microgreens, greens or fresh herbs or both. Accompany with the toasts, either floating in the soup or alongside.
- This soup is from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison. I made a few small changes to the original recipe.
- You can make this soup in a slow cooker or crock pot. Prepare according to the manufacturer’s suggestions.
- If you don't care for turnips, make the soup entirely with your favorite potatoes instead. Sweet potatoes would be an excellent substitution for the turnips.
- Consider serving this soup along with Pan-grilled Chicken Breasts with Greens,Market Morning Salad, Harvest Vegetable Stacks, Boston Brown Bread or Parmesan Scones instead of the dark bread toasts.