March 6, 2013

Soup & Salad Snowquester

For those of you living outside the District, the meteorologists/media dubbed today's storm, "Snowquester".  To our dismay, snowquester was more of a rain-quester, but Justin had the day off, and I was able to work from home, so it wasn't all a loss.  But with the cold, windy rain, it was a perfect day for a big bowl of soup and a nice fresh salad.

Since we picked up a ginormous butternut squash from yesterday's share, we turned him into soup, using the recipe we posted about here.  Rather than crumble bacon on top, we seared up a couple pieces of pork terrine.  These went on the bottom of each bowl, and we ladeled the soup over it.  That way, when you dug in for a spoonful, you'd get a bit of the terrine.

The real star of tonight's meal though was the salad with a strawberry balsamic reduction.  We started by toasting up some walnuts and pecans, and by crisping up some pancetta.
 Then we chopped up a granny smith apple, and some radishes we had on hand.
Then it was time to make the dressing.  We chopped up about 6 strawberries and threw them into a saucepan with enough balsamic vinegar to cover them.

As the vinegar reduced, and the strawberries broke down from the heat, it started to thicken, and the sweetness of the strawberries started to come through.  It developed a smell, much like strawberry jam, but still had a bit of a tang from the vinegar.  Once it had reduced down to a thick syrup consistency, we whisked in a bit of olive oil.

Then it was time to build the salad.  We used the bibb lettuce from the share as our base.  Then layered in the apple and radishes.  The panchetta and nuts were sprinkled on top, along with some crumbled goat cheese.  Then we drizzled the dressing on.
All of the components worked really well together.  The apple was tart and crunchy, while the radishes added a bit of peppery spice.  The nuts also added a nice crunch, and the panchetta added some saltiness.  There was the nice tang and creaminess of the goat cheese, balanced out by the sweetness of the strawberries and reduced balsamic.
All in all, it was a great, hearty meal to warm us up through the rain/snow-quester!

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