Soup and Salad: it’s for dinner

Have you had enough winter yet? I am usually pretty good about appreciating the season we are in, but this week’s below freezing mornings, hail, rain, and blah skies have me down a bit. Groundhogs Day was mostly cloudy here; do I believe this large rodent? Do you pay attention to Punxsutawney Phil?  The bulbs are showing their tight green shoots, the buds on the magnolia and lilacs are beginning to swell, and the wheat fields are deep green carpets because we have had rain; those harbingers I can believe. To help placate my seasonal blues, I purchased asparagus. This is as much ‘Spring’ as Robins are to me. Although the Robins have been around nearly all winter this year, go figure.

Walla Walla is hosting “February is for Foodies” events with loads of exciting food options in the local restaurants.  With Fat Tuesday next week, Valentine’s Day the following weekend and our industry event on the 22nd this month is destined to be full of incredible gastric opportunities.  All the more reason to enjoy eating healthy meals at home in between.

Salt cellar and pepper grinder.
Salt and pepper, basic seasonings, but such personal taste.

Asparagus Soup and Jicama ‘Slaw’ were quick and easy and delicious! I wanted the soup to be somewhat creamy without dairy since I don’t do dairy, so I used new potatoes. The salad was all root vegetables and a tahini-ginger dressing. Hubby and I each salt and pepper to our own tastes as I don’t cook with added salt, ever (a soap box for another time).

Asparagus Soup

1 pound asparagus, chopped into two inch pieces

2-3 cups broth, I used my homemade stock with no added salt

2 cups potatoes, diced into 1″ pieces (I leave the skin on)

1/2 cup scallions, chopped

For two good-sized servings, easy to expand for the number you are needing.

Place the broth, asparagus and potatoes in a medium soup pot and cook to soften the vegetables. When fork tender, remove from heat, purée to smooth. You can reserve some of the vegetable pieces before you purée if you want something to chew on. Serve, garnishing with the scallions and salt and pepper to taste.

Jicama Slaw with tahini-ginger dressing

1 jicama, medium size, peeled

1 celery root, medium, peeled

3 carrots, medium size, peeled

Grate all and toss to mix up before adding the dressing below.

Dressings: (basis of the dressing has been lost to me, but I tweaked it to my preferences over time; the salad is my own concoction)

1/4 cup tahini

2 tablespoons sesame seed oil

3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice

1-3 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce, to taste (I use <1 as it is still too salty)

2 tablespoons honey

1 large clove garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh turmeric, finely minced

Put all dressing ingredients into a tall jar with a lid and shake hard to blend. Pour over the grated vegetables, stir in and set aside for the flavors to blend for an hour before serving. This makes a large salad and keeps in the fridge for several days.

Although we didn’t imbibe with dinner, this would have been an interesting wine pairing evening.  A dry or low residual sugar, acidic white (my favorite) would have been best: Locati’s Pinot Grigio or Sangiovese Rose or Lagana’s Sauv Blanc or Riesling would have been something from our fridge that would have gone well with both soup and salad.

Come on Spring, as much as I am loving snow shoeing on the weekends, I am ready to get into the garden again. Cheers!

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