Jerusalem artichoke soup with goat brie and truffled mushroom sunchocke chip bites

Jerusalem artichokeaka sunchoke is not the most common root vegetable. It is a bumpy, fleshy root vegetable, surprisingly of the sunflower family plants. Its look resembles to ginger roots. Its underground, nutty, starch rich root is mostly used as potato in cooking although it has more distinct flavor.

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However it is a versatile vegetable with an amazing good amount of dietary fiber content. Can be eaten raw, boiled, sautéed, roasted, pureed, made into chips. Without a complete list, its best friends are garlic, cheese, lemon, olive oil, parsley, truffles, wine, thyme, tomatoes. If you are vegan the best nuts to combine it with cashew, hazelnut and walnut. You can leave the skin on, especially if you make chips, or if the dish is more rustic and color is not a problem.

This time I made a creamy soup and served it with goat cheese and truffled, sautéed wild mushrooms nestled in between sunchoke chips. It is great to serve them together, the creamy soup with the crunch of the chips and all the supporting flavors are really good. If it is too much work, you can make the soup and serve it with some mushroom and a goat brie toast. Also you can just make the chips with mushrooms and brie and serve them as hors devours.

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Sunchoke soup

Ingredients (yields 4-6)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 small, fresh thyme branch
  • 2 pounds jerusalem artichoke cleaned, peeled, cubed
  • 1 big garlic clove, grated
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cup of whole milk
  • 3-4 cup of vegetable stock or water
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt, black pepper to taste
  • chopped parsley and chive for garnishing
  • optional : sautéed wild mushroom for garnishing (see instruction at the chip bites
  • optional: toast to serve it with the soup

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Instructions

  1. Melt butter with olive oil. Do not brown it!!!
  2. Add a thyme branch in whole, so you can remove it easily. Sauté for a minute.
  3. Add cubed sunchokes. Sweat the artichoke for a few minutes, constantly stirring, making sure it will not caramelize.
  4. Add smashed garlic and some salt.
  5. Add the white wine. Let the alcohol cook off for a few minutes.
  6. Add stock/water (what you prefer) and whole milk.
  7. Bring to a boil.
  8. I removed thyme at this point so it doesn’t leave a very pronounced flavor. You can leave it if you like the taste but make sure to remove BEFORE blending!
  9. Cover, reduce heat and cook for about 15 minutes in slow simmer.
  10. Check with a fork that the sunchokes are really soft.
  11. There might be a bit of curdling of the milk because of the acidity in the wine. Don’t worry about it.
  12. Transfer to blender. Blend it to a very creamy consistency. Be careful when blending hot soup! Use a towel to cover the middle part of the lid instead of that small plastic bit. This way you can continuously let the steam out.
  13. If you want the soup to have a really creamy, silky texture, you can strain it through a fine mash strainer.
  14. Taste and season with salt, ground black pepper and some lemon juice.

Goat brie and truffled mushroom, sunchoke chip bites

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Ingredients

  • 1-2 big sun chokes, sliced 2nd thinnest setting on mandoline (you will need 6 slices for each person, to serve them 3 bites)
  • 1/2 goat brie round, sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp truffled butter (or if you have fresh truffles, go for it. In that case grate over the mushroom sauté when it is done!)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pack of 8 oz any kinds of mushrooms, preferably mixed and wild, sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley and tarragon

Instructions for the sautéed mushrooms

  1. Heat oil with butter.
  2. When it is foaming add mushrooms. Stir well, making sure that all the pieces get some of the butter.
  3. Sautee  on high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring at some points.
  4. Add salt and ground black pepper and sautee for another few minutes.
  5. When it is done add chopped fresh herbs and either serve immediately or cover with a lid if you need to wait a little bit.

Assembly

  1. Thinly slice (without peeling) the artichokes across their widest part using a mandoline and fry in batches until golden brown. Leave to drain on kitchen paper, season with salt and some black pepper.
  2. Place a piece of goat brie and some mushroom in between 2 slices of the chips.
  3. Serve them on a plate next to the soup.

ENJOY!

The best green soup. Watercress.

I have always loved watercress. Its peppery taste, crispiness, so amazing. My favorite pairing is definitely with salmon. I put it raw into salad with smoked salmon, make it into a  puree or foam to have with a piece of sous vide or baked salmon. Never disappoints.

But most importantly it makes a powerful, nutrient dense and easy soup. I have been making this soup for about 10 years, pretty regularly. I saw a recipe once from Raymond Blanc.

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He makes it into a decadent, creamy, thick soup with spinach and some classical French cuisine tricks such as butter 🙂 🙂 🙂 I made it several times and it is amazing. His very important advice, which I always keep whether I make his rich version or a healthier, lighter one, is to saute the leaves only for a short time then boil it with a little stock and immediately add ice cubes instead of water to stop cooking completely, preserving all the nutrients and color. I cook this soup. You can have it raw but the taste will be much stronger and it is advised only if you really like the taste of watercress. Also if you make it raw it is a good idea to add more spinach than in the cooked version, to lighten the flavor.

My version is very easy, takes 15 minutes to prepare the soup. Usually I make my soup with creme fraiche but this time I added some home made almond cream, to keep it vegan. Creme fraiche is the best dairy choice for this soup. Cream would be too heavy, sour cream too tart, creme fraiche is the perfect balance.

So, how to make the soup?  (aka instructions)

First of all wash the watercress and spinach and pat them dry. Chop the white onion or shallots. These are sweeter than yellow onion and suit the soup much better. Sautee the chopped onion on olive oil until becomes translucent then add the watercress and spinach and continue wilting them for a couple of minutes only. Add the vegetable stock. Cook for 2 minutes after boiling and immediately take it off the heat, add some ice cubes to cool it. This will stop the cooking immediately and the soup retains color and nutrients. Pour into your blender, add minced garlic, salt, pepper, almond cream or creme fraiche and blend to desired texture. It is good both with some chunkiness or creamy.

This time I made the soup with lamb’s quarters instead of spinach. I found these leaves at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. It is cultivated in some regions, but the plant is elsewhere considered a weed. It contains the same type of nutrients as spinach, including potassium, vitamin A, C, B6, Magnezium, Calcium,  but in a much grater amount. So it is definitely a recommended leafy vegetable.

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There are endless possibilities for garnishing. You can stick to only a few watercress leaves, you can serve it with a garlicky whole grain toast, some toasted nuts or even crumbled sheep or goat feta, if you eat dairy. If you are lucky to get lamb’s quarters with the purple tiny leaves, you can garnish your soup with it, the color is amazing!

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Ingredients (yields 4)

  • 1 white onion, chopped (or 2 shallotts)
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 cups of watercress
  • 3 cups of lamb’s quarters (or spinach)
  • 2 cups of good quality, low sodium vegetable stock
  • ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoon of almond cream (or creme fraiche if you eat dairy)
  • touch of ground nutmeg
  • himalayan salt, ground black pepper to taste
  • stir in a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.

For garnishing

  • watercress and lamb’s quarters leaves
  • radish flowers, or any edible flowers
  • optional: any toasted nuts / crumbled goat or sheep feta, matcha powder

 

 

 

Green gazpacho with grilled watermelon and goat cheese cream

I was about to make my favorite juice of cucumber, celery, watermelon, mint and lemon juice.

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And while I was looking at the cut vegetables and fruits I just decided to try and make a dish using them instead of juicing. This is how the idea was born.

I made a simple, green gazpacho using the celery and cucumber, added some chopped white onion, a garlic clove and a slice of the watermelon. Seasoned generously with salt, a little bit of lemon juice and a pinch of ground black pepper.

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I wanted to keep the clean freshness of the cucumber and celery. Why? Because of the grilled watermelon. In case you never grilled watermelon before I highly recommend you try it.

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It changes its taste drastically, also the texture is modified. The sugar gets caramelized and intensifies the flavor. It is the richness of the grilled watermelon that made me keep the gazpacho light and not to season it heavily. During grilling I seasoned the watermelon with some salt and cayenne pepper. The touch of heat was so yummy in the sweet, rich watermelon.

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I also made some goat cheese cream because it goes very well with both the watermelon and the greens. Its salty tang is just the perfect extra touch that really makes this simple, healthy, beautiful summer soup…. well, something special. 🙂

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For the vegan version the only change I made is to leave out the goat cheese cream. You can simply make a thick cream of any of your favorite nuts  and drizzle that over the soup. I decided to make the soup creamier with blending soaked cashews into the soup. This is the reason for the different color. This is a quicker way to make the soup, it is up to you how you want to make it.

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If you want to keep the soup raw you will have to skip grilling the watermelon. This will however change the taste completely. If you have a vacuum sealer, you can vacuum the watermelon, it will get compressed and its taste will also intensify and the texture will be modified too. This is a good way to make this soup entirely raw but also add something extra to the watermelon.

For garnishing in both soup I used the leaves and blossoms of anise hyssop and arugula oil.

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Anise hyssop has a bit of anise taste so if you don’t like that or just can’t find the herb, mint is a perfect replacement.

Hope you enjoy the version that suits your diet and celebrate the summer with this beauty!

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Ingredients (yields 4)

  • 3 cucumbers
  • 8-10 celery stalks (depending on the size and how much celery taste you like in the soup)
  • 1 thick slice of watermelon
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • salt, lemon juice, ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon chevre at room temperature (soft goat cheese)
  • 2 tablespoon goat milk (if you substitute with milk it will not have that intense goat chees flavor, but still works)
  • 4 slices of watermelon, keep the rind on while grilling
  • olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Chop all the vegetables and blend well in your blender. Season with salt, black pepper and a little bit of lemon juice. Pour in a container and keep in the fridge to make sure it is cold when serving.
  • For the goat cheese cream, using a fork mix the soft, room temperature chevre with the goat milk and season with salt.
  • Grill the watermelon just before eating the soup. It will be the best warm, off the grill with the cold gazpacho.
  • Brush both sides of the watermelon with olive oil. Season very lightly with salt.
  • Grill one side. While grilling, season it with cayenne pepper lightly, only on the second side.
  • Flip the watermelon and grill the cayenne pepper seasoned side too.
  • For plating pour the soup in shallow bowls, drizzle the cream in spots, add small cubes or triangles of grilled watermelon an sprinkle some chopped anise hyssop or mint or even basil over the soup.

For the vegan version

  • Follow all the steps as above. Leave out the goat cheese cream.
  • For a nut based cream simply blend same amount of soaked nuts with same amount of filtered water and strain. Use the cream as it says above in the instructions.
  • Alternatively if you want to save some time, or prefer, blend 1/2 cup of soaked cashew in the soup and make the soup a creamy texture.

ENJOY!

 

Smoky tomato gazpacho with condiments

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This soup was one of my entries to the easy summer eats. I love soups. And even more so I love tomatoes. When I was a kid I was really into tomato soup. My grandma made the most amazing one. Then one day she came up with this crazy idea that she would make it into a “lecso” soup. Lecso is a Hungarian vegetable stew made with onions, tomatoes and white Hungarian pepper. My answer was a firm NOOOOO. Peppers in my tomato soup? No way. But my grandma thought who cares what this little pumpkin wants. And she made her version anyway. But she didn’t tell me it had peppers in it. Until I finished with my soup, eating it all.

So don’t be afraid. The soup will only taste better with peppers in there. 🙂

This is a cold, no cooking, gazpacho soup. For that exact reason your ingredients have to be top notch. You can not get away with mediocre, bland produce here…. All the flavor will come from your vegetables, mainly the tomatoes.

Just add all the ingredients in the blender, blend it to a consistency you want. Towards the end add your seasoning and it is done. Tomatoes need lots of salt so don’t be shy. Buy some good quality salt which is good for you. I use pink himalayan. Remember without salt your food will have no taste. You don’t want to taste salt but flavors. Salt helps flavors to shine. It is imperative with tomatoes! I added pimento paprika, which is a smoked Spanish paprika. This will give the soup the smoky flavor I really enjoyed. If you use any other kinds, your soup will simply taste different. Go and get that smoked paprika! From the photo below I used those red tomatoes, the red pepper, the jalapeño and half of that big onion in the middle. If you can’t eat spicy, hot, just leave the jalapeño out.

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To make it a full meal I served it “Barcelona style”. Jamon iberico, spanish olives, marcona almonds and boiled egg as condiments. To make the perfect boiled egg you need to put your room temperature eggs in boiling water and cook uncovered for exactly 12 minutes.

Also toasted some bread, rubbed them with some garlic and drizzled with olive oil.  ENJOY!

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Ingredients for 4 persons

  • 5 big juicy tomatoes
  • 1 big red california pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 T dark cane sugar
  • 2-3 T sherry vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of olive oils
  • salt, ground pepper, pimento paprika
  • grated manchego cheese and chopped parsley for serving

And for the condiments

  • jamon iberico
  • spanish olives
  • chopped boiled eggs
  • marcona almonds
  • bread
  • 1 garlic clove to rub the bread once it is toasted
  • olive oil