Montag, 9. Mai 2011

Hunting for ramsons and two soups for spring

A gourmet at work.

The monster from the forest.

The little boy searches for ramsons.

Last friday my kids and I went to the forest to harvest some wild ramsons. Around here the season for ramsons is almost over because they are starting to get blossoms and getting a bit bitter, so we took the last chance to get some ramsons (We call them "Bärlauch" in german.) My daughter was just sitting aroung and trying to destroy the blossoms and my son helped to harvest the ramsons, but he ate all of the leaves he collected.

At the weekend I made two soups: A cucumber soup and a white asparagus soup.

Cucumber Soup


2 big cucumbers peeled, deseeded and cut in to big chunks (its better to use smaler cucumbers, which are used for pickling and cooking but it's diffcult to find them at springtime)

1 big onion, chopped

2 tbs of olive oil

1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock

1 glass of white wine

1/2 of soycream

a hand full of ramsons, roughly chopped

4 tbs of chopped dill

salt and pepper for seasoning

1. Put the onions and olive oil in at pot at medium heat and cook until the onions become a bit transulent.

2. At the chopped cucumbers and a bit of salt and cook for 4-5 minutes.

3. Add the white wine and waint until the alcohol is gone.

4. Add the stock and heat until it's boiling.

5. Add the rest of the igrendients and puree with a hand-mixer until smooth.

Asparagus Soup


the peal of 1 kg of white asparagus (safe the pealed aspargus for your maincourse)

4-6 stalks of pealed aspargus cut into medium siced chunks (you can't see them at the picture because they drained in the soup)

2 tbs of olive oil

1 glass of white wine

1/3 cup of magarine

4-6 tbs of wheat flour

1/2 cup of soy cream

some chopped herbs for garnish (I used dill and ramsons)

salt and pepper for seasoning

1. Saute the aspargus chunks with the olive oil until they've got nice brown marks.

2. Heat 1 litre of water in a pot along with the peal of the aspargus and boil for half an hour. Drain the stock and remove the asparagus peal.

3. Take an other pot, melt the magarine, add the flour, keep stirring and add the wine and the aspargus stock. At last add the soy-cream, season with salt and pepper and reduce until it's as thick as you like it.

4. Garnish white sauteed aspargus and the herbs.

Mittwoch, 4. Mai 2011

Stielmus Durcheinander

Stielmus is a name for the ediable greens of a special kind of turnip.
As far as I know it's only known in the Rhineland, Westfalia (both regoin in the very west of germany) and some parts of netherland.
It has a very subtile taste. It's very fresh and watery and reminds of daikon radish but lighter.
I think it would be great served raw in a salad but the most common and traditional way of preparation is to cook a stew with starchy potatoes, which is called "Durcheinander".
Stielmus, which is also called Rübstiel is one of the ancient, local vegetables, that is nearnly forgotten and it's even seems to get more unknown from year to year.
When I was a child it was available at most of the markets in my hometown Düsseldorf, which is the capital of the region and the state of Northrhine-Westfalia.
Nowadays it's hard to find and you have to go to a farmers market, a healt food store or a very well stock greengrocer at the market.
Last staturday I took out my kids for a little walk and went to the most famous greengrocer at the bigest market of the town called "Schier".
They have all the fruits and vegetables, you can imagine, the quality is out of the world and the prices are as high as nowhere else, but they seemed to be the only greengrocer carryin "Stielmus". That made me said because it's a really big market.
The stielmus was expensive, up to 4 € for two bunches of it with a waight of a bit more than one pound. That's really pricey for the greens of a turnip but the quality was out of this world. I and my two year old son began to snack the smallest and lightest little greens of it. He even learned the word "Stielmus" and wanted more and more.
Yesterday a went to the organic food store and looked for Stielmus but the price was even higher and it seemed to have lost most of its freshness.
If you want to cook it at home and can't get Stielmus, which should be the case for most of you, you could maybe try to cook it with chicoree, chard, or the greens of other root vegetables.

Stielmus Durcheinander


500 g of Stielmus, washed and chopped (throw away the biggest leafes because they are bitter and your aiming at the stalks)

500 g of starchy potatoes, peeled and roughly cubed

1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock

4 tbs of margarine

1 tsp of mustard

2/3 cup of unsweetened soy milk or cream or any other non-dairy milk

1/2 cup of white wine (optional)

salt and pepper for seasoning

1. Put the potatoes, stielmus and stock into a pot.

2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes get mashy. (about 25 minutes)

3. If there's a lot of stock remaining try to put it away.

4. Mash with a potato masher.

5. Season with mustard, salt, pepper, soymilk and wine.
The result should be like a liquid form of mashed potatoes, where you can stil reconginze pieces of the potatoes and the stielmus. Maybe some kind of potatoe risotto.

Enjoy as it is or as a side dish with fried tempeh, chickpea-cutlets or any other fake meats.