“Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work. ” – Chuck Close
One of the highlights of my weekends is the arrival of the Brain Pickings email on Sunday mornings. I get up, grab some coffee, and settle in to read. It’s a weekly compilation of writings about creativity, arts and “interestingness”. Every week, there’s something I read that makes me pause and feel inspired. You should give it a go if you’re not subscribed already.
A few weeks ago, this piece about artist Chuck Close snagged my attention and I shared it with friends online…and it really caused a kerfuffle for some. The notion that the hunt for perfection – needing the ideal moment, the absolute perfect temperature to work in, a different chair to sit in or table to shoot on – is all just distraction. An effort to not work rather than create the perfect moment to do your best. He goes on to talk about his daily routine…how he puts himself in the moment to paint every day…and the inspiration comes and goes and you work through it. This rang so true to me because I’m so guilty of procrastination…of saying something can’t be done because it’s the third Tuesday of the month and the stars aren’t aligned in some such way so why even bother trying. Or some such thing.
So many things that I cook and photograph never make it to this blog because of self-scrutiny and the peer pressure I seem to impose on myself. “It’s not perfect so why would anyone want to look at it”. It’s ridiculous. This isn’t about perfection – it’s about sharing something that is tasty and meaningful. I’m working on being easier on myself here and just letting myself have fun – I like cooking and talking with you folks.
What does this have to do with soup? Nothing.
I bought some turnips at the market because, honestly, I couldn’t remember ever cooking with anything but the greens. I’ve never met a root vegetable I didn’t like so I figured what the heck. When in doubt, I make soup with it. The slight spiciness of the turnips was really wonderful all pureed together. Instead of using heavy cream or half & half like I might usually do in a “creamy” soup, this one has a bit of Greek yogurt stirred in at the end. If you wanted to keep this completely vegan, you can omit it and not alter the recipe too much. You could also tuck this recipe away for the summer months and serve it cold – a turnip Vichyssoise kinda thing.
Creamy Turnip Soup – serves 4 to 6 as a soup course or light entree
– In a large soup or stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it just starts to shimmer. Add the peeled & cubed turnips and stir to coat with the oil. Allow to cook for 6-7 minutes until tender but not brown. Pour in the vegetable stock until the liquid just covers the turnips by about 1/2″. Simmer the turnips until they are fork-tender – this was about 20 minutes for me. Add in the fresh nutmeg and the dash of cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot. If you don’t have an immersion blender, cool down the soup and puree in a high-powered blender. Allow to cool to room temperature and stir in the Greek yogurt. To serve, bring the soup back to a simmer. Garnish each serving with some freshly snipped chives, if you’d like.
Some other turnip recipes I’ve been pinning and putting away: