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Are you planning to make vegan or are you just looking for more creative ways to get your vegetables than blanching your broccoli? “Acorn: Vegetables Re-Imagined: Seasonal Recipes from Root to Stem” offers a lot of ideas – most, but not all vegan – from the titular, award-winning Vancouver restaurant, co-authored by owner Shira Blustein and chef Brian Luptak.
A cookbook in the form of a “giant art project” (in Luptak’s words), it reflects Acorn’s fine-dining approach, so expect dishes to take a little more finesse and (usually) many more components. There is a handy section to teach you the basics, such as pickling and canning, and the recipes also come with extra notes and advice on plates to help you get them out. just like that.
That said, you are encouraged to be creative and “choose your own adventure” when cooking, as in this potato pine nut soup. It’s a delicious way to use leftovers and be more sustainable in the kitchen, and it’s clean, perfect for winter comfort.
Acorn’s Potato Pine Seed Soup
(Caramelized garlic, German butter potato and pine nut soup, Aleppo pepper powder potato chips and smoked sunflower oil)
“No more lies! Soup on a restaurant menu should be an indication that the kitchen is working to minimize food waste, by depleting vegetable garments and leftovers that would otherwise end up in the landfill. We always have a rotating soup that helps us utilize our ingredients as best as possible while remaining seasonal.With that, we could not help but include this recipe for one of our favorite winter soups.It is as comforting as it can be, as your favorite oversize wool sweater.You are welcome to be creative and add any clean vegetable strips you have lying around. “
For the Aleppo pepper powder:
- 15 dried Aleppo peppers (see note)
For potato chips:
For the soup:
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 8 German butter potatoes, peeled and scrubbed clean, in quarters
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) white pepper
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) raw pine nuts
Make Aleppo pepper powder:
Put the dried peppers in a Vitamix and blend until the mixture has a powdery consistency. Add the remaining ingredients and blend for another 5 seconds or until well blended. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.
Note: Aleppo pepper is a milder red pepper. If you use fresh Aleppo peppers, there are many methods to dry them. We usually dry them in the dehydrator for about 18 hours at 145 ° F (63 ° C) or in the oven at 165 ° F (74 ° C) for 6 hours. Before drying them, wash them thoroughly, cut off the stems and remove the seeds. Save and dry the seeds separately if you want the extra heat.
Make the potato chips:
Wash the potatoes and cut them into slices with a mandolin set to 1/8 inch thickness. In a thick-bottomed, high-sided pan, heat the oil to 275 ° F (135 ° C). Work in batches of a dozen or so, carefully placing the sliced potatoes in the oil, making sure not to overfill the pan. Stir in the potatoes often at the beginning, then turn them halfway through the frying.
When the moisture bubbles dissipate, use a slotted spoon to gently remove the chips and place them directly on a kitchen cloth or paper towel to absorb excess oil. Transfer the chips to a bowl while still slightly warm and toss them with about 2 tablespoons of Aleppo pepper powder. Store in an airtight container lined with paper towels or paper towels at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Make the soup:
Add olive oil and garlic clove in a large saucepan over low heat so they can slowly caramelize to a light brown color and release the sweet and soft roasted garlic scent. Add the onions and sweat until soft and translucent. Add all the remaining ingredients and 6 cups of water, bring the soup to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by a quarter.
Work in small batches and blend the soup in a Vitamix until silky soft. Once mixed, check for spices and adjust as needed.
When mixing hot ingredients, always remember to leave a small air opening in the top of the container to let the pressure and steam escape during mixing. We recommend removing the plastic cap in the center of the Vitamix lid and covering it loosely with a paper towel.
Divide the soup evenly between six bowls. Top each bowl with a small stack of Aleppo pepper powder potato chips, and drizzle a little smoked sunflower oil on top. Garnish with fresh watercress or micro green and a little freshly ground pepper to taste.
Recipe excerpt from “Acorn: Vegetables Re-Imagined: Seasonal Recipes from Root to Stem,” by Shira Blustein and Brian Luptak, reproduced by agreement with Appetite of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada. Copyright © 2021 Shira Blustein. Photograph by Gabriel Cabrera. All rights reserved.