Christmas Decorating, Homemade Bread, and Turnip & Kale Soup

Saturday morning was designated “Christmas Tree Decorating Day”. After a breakfast of fried eggs, sauteed spinach, and whole grain bread, we started the process along with some “soynog” (the lighter, soy version of eggnog). Sophie really got the hang of things by the end and figured out to hang the ornaments with us. Now it’s a fun game for her to keep rearranging them every time she gets near the tree.

It felt like the perfect day for cooking…cold outside, a little cloudy. I had seen a recipe on 101cookbooks.com that she calls her Easy Little Bread recipe. Honestly, it was just that – easy. The addition of the oats to the bread gave it such a rustic  flavor and texture. When you put some softened butter on a warm piece of this bread after it comes out of the oven you are in heaven. There is nothing like eating bread knowing that you made it yourself. The idea of it has always been intimidating to me but this recipe cleared my worries after it was done.

Of course, I managed to feel some anxiety during the process. Was the water warm enough for the yeast? What did she mean by the yeast “blossoming”? I made two batches of the yeast water just to make sure I knew what I was doing. I expected it to rise much more than it did before putting it in the oven, but it didn’t matter. Once it was in there it plumped up beautifully and had a beautiful golden crust.

We are part of a CSA from a local organic farm. Turnips were in our box and I was clueless on what to do them. After a little research, I found a great soup idea on Cannelle et Vanille’s site. So as the bread baked I made this soup.

I improvised a little based on what I had. She called for watercress but I had a bunch of kale in my farm box so I decided to substitute that. Once all of the ingredients were pureed together, it was this glorious green color. And best of it all, Sophie loved it. My child is so easy to please with food. I love that she will eat a green soup with kale, turnips, and fennel. It makes it so easy to explore different recipes when I have very willing tasters in my husband and daughter!

So as they weather cools down, warm up with some fresh baked bread and hot comforting soup. I promise you’ll feel better and a little more ready to face the cold winter ahead.

Bread Recipe
Recipe taken from 101cookbooks.com

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups / 300 ml warm water (105-115F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup / 5 oz / 140 g whole wheat flour
1 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 g rolled oats (not instant oats)
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
1-2 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing

Directions

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the honey and set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast blooms and swells a bit – 5 – 10 minutes. (i found it took a little longer this for it to swell)

In the meantime, mix the flours, oats, and salt in a large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well.

Brush a 8-cup loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter. Turn the dough into the tin, cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise. (mind didn’t rise too much)

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C, with a rack in the middle. When ready, bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Leave the bread under the broiler for a minute or so to give the top a bit darker color. Remove from oven, and turn the bread out of the pan quickly. Let it cool on a rack so it doesn’t steam in the pan. Serve warm, slathered with butter.

Turnip and Kale Soup
adapted from cannellevanille.com

Ingredients

2 Tbs olive oil
1 baby leek or 1/2 leek, white part only, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium fennel bulb, diced
1 1/2 medium pink/white turnips
5 mini/fingerling potatoes (or 1 medium russett), peeled and diced
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup packed kale (tough stems removed)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp lemon zest
Grated pink turnips, garnish
Yogurt, garnish
Extra virgin olive oil, garnish

Directions

In a medium saucepan/dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced leek, garlic, and fennel. Add a pinch of salt and cook for 3 minutes or until soft and translucent. Do not brown them.

Add the turnips, potato, kale, and chicken stock. Bring to a light simmer, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon zest. Puree the soup in a blender or with an emersion blender.

Garnish with grated pink turnips, yogurt, sprouts and olive oil.

 

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