Root soup

In preparation for the root soup I've been planning to make for the last week, I looked up the notes I wrote to myself on January 3, 2016 in Simplenote while making my first version of it. After re-reading, I decided it should be a blog post instead. Apparently I even took a picture beforehand! 🙂

FWIW, I don't think it matters much what roots you use or the quantity, but here's my standard grouping:

  • Rutabega
  • Turnip
  • Celeriac (celery root)
  • Parsnip
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Garlic

Change that list based on what looks good when you're buying roots.

And now – my notes! All of the times are in real time, so yeah… uh, start cooking at 1:40pm.

The leek water

8 cups water on medium heat with top of the leek from 1:40 until 1:53, then add 7 twists of ground black pepper and increase heat to medium high. Keep covered except to stir a couple times until it hits a low boil around 1:58. At this point, take off the lid and stir with vigor! Your onions are almost ready in the other pot.

The soup pot

1/2 cup water on low heat in big pot with onions and garlic from 1:45 until 1:55, then notch up the heat a bit to low medium so that onions and garlic start sizzling. Stir to keep from sticking. At about 2:00, it's time to start thinking about adding the leek water. Steam is coming off the bottom of this pot and your onions are more and more translucent.

Let's combine!

Turn the burner on the leek pot down to medium at 2:03. Remove the large pot from the burner and start scooping leeks from the leek pot into somewhere else, leaving a dark brothy water behind. Once that's mostly clear, transfer the water into the big pot and move it to medium heat. Make sure your other burners are off, the leek pot is done!

At about 2:06, add the large mass of root vegetables in various cube like shapes to the big pot. Things are going to be crowded, but that's okay. Add 8 more cups of water and cover. Turn the heat to medium high. We'll now wait for it to boil again.

While waiting for things to boil, get the spices ready to go. I decided on fresh cilantro, since we had it and it smells so good. I also have cumin, which can do no wrong in most pots. A few dashes of cayenne will work, and of course… Salt!

I'm making this up as I go, so let's see what happens.

I hit rolling boil at about 2:26, so I took the cover off and stirred before turning things down just a touch to stop the boil while keeping a simmer.

I then stirred in the cilantro. I dashed (twice) some cayenne and stirred. I dashed (several times) cumin and stirred. And I measured a quarter teaspoon of salt and stirred.

Heat is now down to a medium-low at 2:33, things are calming down quite a bit and I'll cover it after stirring one last time for the next 20 minutes or so.

Or hour.

I stirred a few times while slowly reducing the heat over time. Things went from boiling to simmering to still simmering to really, still simmering to a calm when I finally planted the dial on low at about 3:20. I then added the more edible white leek, another dash of cumin, another dash of cayenne, and a smidge of salt. Stirred, and then covered. The root veg are super hot right now, so I'm thinking of removing it from heat entirely so that it's nice and tasty and edible right at 5.

Eating at 5:20!

My moka pot recipe

I'll use the moka pot several times and then go months before doing it again. Now that we're in a house with a gas stove, the success rate on a repeatable recipe has gone up, but I'm sure I'll pause again soon and go back to another method.

So that I don't forget it in the future, here it is:

  • Grind setting of 13 on the Baratza Encore
  • 22oz of coffee (Doma Chronic), gently tapped to settle once in the filter
  • Pre-boil water, then fill just below the pressure regulator on a 6 cup moka pot
  • Immediately assemble the base, filter with coffee, and top and put on the stove at just above 3
  • Watch with lid open. Once things start sputtering a bit, close lid, count a few seconds, then remove from heat.
  • If you feel wasteful, cool the pot with cold water. Otherwise, just pour it and set it aside.

That seems to be the most consistent so far. I've tried with a finer grind and with more coffee, but it never comes through as smooth.

I'll update this post for myself to confirm the instructions for other coffee varieties.

Sustainable beer purchasing

Pullman Disposal, which manages our local waste pick-up, recently announced that glass is no longer accepted as part of its single-stream recycling. This is disappointing as a resident, but after poking around a bit, not surprising.

Pullman sells and sends a large amount of sorted recyclable material to China.

China, as part of a new National Sword policy, has implemented stricter control on imports of contaminated scrap and recyclables. When things like paper are contaminated by glass shards, they can't be recycled effectively and recycling is no longer profitable.

This doesn't make it impossible to recycle glass in Pullman, as we can drive it a few miles out of town and dispose of it on its own, but it does add that hurdle of inconvenience.

How does beer consumption fit in?

Beer bottles make up the largest share of glass in our recycling bin every other week. The best way to avoid frequent trips out to the dump is to avoid consuming beer in bottles. And, as this 2008 article "The eco-guide to responsible drinking" attempts to show, it seems reasonable there are more ecological ways to drink beer than from a bottle.

Here's how I'm going to approach sustainable beer in 2018:

  • Look for cans over bottles. Aluminum can be recycled more efficiently and cans are lighter to transport.
  • Buy beer from local breweries. The shorter the distance the beer travels, the better.
  • Use growlers. Kegs are super efficient for distributing beer and can be reused for years. Growlers are filled from kegs and can also be reused for years.
  • Homebrew! Brewing new beer is fun and it doesn't have to be distributed in anything.

The approach that covers the best combination of variety and sustainability is probably going to be walking the half mile down to our local brewery to refill my growler, buying aluminum cans of beer from other regional breweries, and spending more time in 2018 making my own beer. 🍻