Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday Dinner

Earlier today, I made it to the Ballard Farmer's Market.

In case you happen to not live in Seattle, various neighborhoods around the city have farmer's markets at different times during the week, so I suppose if you were really dedicated, you could go buy fresh-off-the-farm produce about 5 or 6 days a week! (Of course, some of the neighborhoods don't run the markets year-round). Ballard, however, runs 52 weeks a year. And it's within walking distance of my condo, which is even better.

I picked up some carrots, Brussels sprouts, celeriac (celery root), sunchokes, potatoes, and a bottle of hard apple cider. Let me tell you, if you have never had freshly picked carrots, you are in for a treat - they are super sweet and crunchy!

I had also picked up some sausage and other vegetables, including peeled cippolini onions, at Trader Joe's the day before.

My grand vision was to make a large pot of soup or stew, using the sausage.

So, I heated up some olive oil, and cut up some carrots, the celeriac, the cippolini onions, sunchokes, potatoes, and some turnips that I had in the fridge from last week's farmer's market. I also mashed some garlic cloves and threw them in. I tried to make all the cut vegetables approximately the same size. I then cut up the sausage I had purchased at TJ's, and in it went. The package of sausage suggested cooking them in beer, so I grabbed the last bottle of my winter ale from Pyramid brewery, and tossed that in, then added water to coat. A couple of pinches of salt and some ground pepper, a couple of bay leaves, and I let the soup simmer away.

Here's a shot of the soup it in it's raw state. (I would like to note that the dutch oven Daniel bought me is one of the most awesome gifts ever; I have used it a ton already!)

After it was done, I let it cool and stored most of it, as well as giving myself a portion for lunch tomorrow. Then I served myself a bowl for dinner.

You know what? ... It's bitter. I think it was the turnips, or maybe the beer (it was a tad hoppy). I kind of wish I knew of a way to take out the bitter flavor. It's not horrible, and in fact you can overlook it when you are eating the solids without the broth, but it's there.

Anyway, this is a learning experience for me. I don't think I will add turnips (or maybe not so many) next time, or maybe roast them before I add them in. And I usually use a much lighter beer, like a hefeweisen, which is created to be less bitter, so that might have something to do with it.

I briefly thought about adding something sweet to take away the bitterness, but that would be such an odd flavor that I decided against it.

Any ideas or suggestions?


rewinn said...

Would adding parsnips soak up some of the bitter? they're slightly sweet but perhaps not too much.

Do we know what chemical makes the turnips bitter?

rewinn said...

Two more thoughts, contributed by buddies from college:

* Salt may remove bitter even better than sugar:

* It's too late for this particular set of turnips, but my friend Argyle who's a chef in New Orleans suggests:

"peel them, slice them thin, poach the slices (changing the salted water at least once), drain them, season them with salt, pepper and nutmeg (and maybe a bit of cinnamon), lay them into a buttered casserole dish and drown them in a Brie-laden cream sauce and then bake until browned and bubbly. Honest. Argyle"