Friday, February 28, 2014

Making Musgo (OR my Friday night cleanse)

Throwing away food is like stealing from the tables of the hungry and the poor.   --Pope Francis 


We all know about busy work weeks, and how things can get ahead of us if we allow them.  I have just finished reading a very compelling book by Jonathan Bloom entitled  "American Wasteland"
 and must say that it has given me new resolve to not. waste. any. food.

I knew an older woman years ago who made a soup she called "Musgo".  I had never heard of such a soup, and asked for the recipe.  She said "Ha, there is no recipe.  You just throw everything from the fridge that 'must go' into the pot!"  I don't know if this is regional, or related to one's ethnicity, but up here, near Minnesota's Iron Range, they call the same soup 'booya'. 

It is becoming my Friday night wind down/relax/clear my head and thoughts exercise.  I go through the fridge, and evaluate how I must use what items before they spoil and I would have to toss them.  Believe me, this is much more appetizing and responsible than throwing away tuppies that look like petri dishes or liquified vegetables and fruits.

Tonight's "musgo" is a concoction of broccoli, roasted sweet potato and Brussels sprouts, eggs, spinach, boiled potatoes, and poached chicken left over from last night's dinner (to be served on the side).  I started out thinking that I would make Heidi Swanson's Broccoli Gribiche from her "Super Natural Every Day" cookbook.  You can see her website here 101 Cookbooks

But.  I had these must-gos, so this is what I came up with (and it was delicious!!)
I pulled together a variety of add-ons to the potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, and broccoli.  This gets the creative juices flowing if I can see what I have to work with right in front of me.  The quinoa didn't make the cut, already too many carbs with the sweet potatoes and the russets. The marcona almonds and feta didn't make the final recipe, either, but they certainly could have been added, were I in the mood.

Four eggs were hard-boiled for addition to the salad.  I always use organic brown eggs because I don't like the thought of chickens being fed slaughterhouse waste.  Much preferred is a free range, natural diet, both by me and am sure also by the chickens.  From spring to late fall, I buy locally produced eggs from a variety of friends in town that raise chickens.  But, thankfully our local grocer sells organic eggs so we can have them all year around.  Incidentally, the color of the eggshell is an indicator of what?  The type of chicken that laid the egg, not whether or not it is organic.

The roasted sweet potato and Brussels Sprouts from Tuesday night's dinner.

Fresh garlic was minced and left to stand for 10 minutes. This allows the separate compounds in the garlic clove, which are isolated until crushed or minced, to mingle.  This mingling is what you need PRIOR to introducing the garlic to heat.  The cancer-fighting component in garlic, alliinase, is heat sensitive and will be destroyed if introduced to heat before the enzyme is allowed to trigger the reaction.  Want more of this type of info?  Read the book and/or see the website here: Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson

I digress. But, before I can go back to the recipe and cooking at hand, I want to mention the roots on this head of garlic.  This head is a California product.  The roots are cut off with knives by the workers in the garlic fields.  Most supermarket garlic is from China, and you can tell because those heads don't have roots remaining.  Personally, I prefer to eat organic, but next would be anything grown in the US (big ag practices notwithstanding) because, frankly, anything from China is suspect to me after the way-to-frequent food scares over there.  Want to know more about garlic and how it is harvested?  Read the book "The American Way of Eating" by Tracy McMillan.  You can see her blog here American Way of Eating

The russets being crisped up with a whisper of extra virgin olive oil, the minced (and rested) garlic, and a sliced shallot.

The broccoli was stolen from Gracie's frozen organic stash (she eats broccoli to combat her cancer) and as it was a bit wet, I added the spinach on top of it and used the broccoli to steam the spinach.
The broccoli got just a kiss of char before I pulled it off the heat.

The dressing.  Wow, it's just delicious.
The dressed salad.  Colorful, earthy, hearty, and just what the doctor ordered for a very cold and snowy night on the Canadian border.  I hope this post will inspire you to be creative with the 'must gos' in your fridge, as well as inspire you to read any one of these excellent books.
 Bon Apetit!

Musgo Friday Night Salad

1/2 pound broccoli florets, either frozen or fresh
4 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 sweet potato, roasted
1 cup Brussels sprouts, roasted
2 russet potatoes, boiled (or leftover)
4 eggs, hard boiled, one yolk reserved, balance chopped coarsely
1 shallot, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced

First, saute the russet potatoes in a swirl of olive oil to crisp them up.  Add the sliced shallots and the minced garlic and saute another few minutes until the shallots are soft.

In a separate pan, add the broccoli and spinach.  If the broccoli is frozen, no water is necessary.  If the broccoli is fresh, add a 1/3 cup of water to allow for the steaming process.  Cover the pan and steam for approximately 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

The dressing:
1 hard boiled egg yolk
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Add the evoo slowly to the yolk, stirring until smooth.
Then add
2 tablespoons tarragon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of capers
Whisk until smooth.  I prefer to put all ingredients in the bowl, then whiz with an immersion blender.  But, if you don't have a hand held immersion blender, you can do it manually in the order listed with a whisk.  This is my adaptation of Gribiche, a French sauce incorporating mustard, cooked eggs, and an oil.

Add the dressing to the broccoli/spinach and potato mix.  Add in the roasted sweet potatoes/brussels sprouts medley and the chopped up hard boiled eggs.
Serves 4 generously.  I like this room temperature, but can be served chilled, as well.
recipe copyright K. Cyriacks 2014

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