What We Crave on a Rainy Day

Even though I love to travel and explore, I am really a homebody inside. I like to be home, gather my friends around me, and cook for them in the warmth of my kitchen. It is especially true these days as my parents are with us once again for a few weeks. It is crowded, noisy with children craving their attention, but most of all, joyous.

My parents really are the best house guests ever – my kids’ faces say it all.

“Did you already make a list?” my mom asked over the phone as she was getting ready to board the plane. She knows I always have a grocery list – of course I do! I am always cooking and shopping for food. “I am craving soups” I told her a few hours later. She had just deplaned and I was already sharing my cravings for food. She agreed. I knew then we would be lots of soups.

We loaded up on celery root, fennel, sweet potatoes, different varieties of winter squash, legumes (we are making my favorite garbanzo and cabbage soup this week), apples, pears, and all things autumn on our first visit to the market.

The rainy weather for the past few days has been the perfect excuse to stay home and cook. Even the kids love to help out in the kitchen as Miren’s new favorite activity is to whisk eggs for me. We let her sit on the kitchen counter while she beats the eggs for waffles and muffins, and Jon carefully stirs the soup. My mom guides them through the process. They seem to listen to her more than they listen to me. It makes me smile.

We cooked a celery root, fennel, and sweet potato soup that we served with almond and parsley pesto. It is one of my new favorites. I can never get enough of celery root.

Also caramelized onion, fennel, and purple potato tarts in a buckwheat crust. So delicious. This buckwheat crust recipe is from the book so I cannot share it with you just yet, but do make these tarts with whatever other crust you like. I beg you — make them. You will thank me. So easy and so good.

For dessert, chocolate and pistachio cakes. We also made fig and red currant custard with hazelnuts. This one is sweet and really silky. Both are adaptations of recipes from the book. Believe me, I am recipe testing every chance I get.

My mom and I will continue with our obsession to cook. We cannot help ourselves. Are you the same way?

Oh and yes… I am still waiting for autumn to arrive. Sooner than later, please.

Celery Root, Fennel, and Sweet Potato Soup with Almond Parsley Pesto

Almond and Parsley Pesto

1 clove garlic
1/4 cup blanched almonds
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
3 Tbs grated Idiazabal cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil

In the food processor, finely chop the garlic and almonds. Add the parsley and chop until it turns into a chunky paste. Add the Idiazabal and salt and process until combined. Drizzle in the olive oil while processing until it turns into a thick paste. Reserve.

Celery Root, Fennel and Sweet Potato Soup

serves 4 to 6

2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 medium fennel bulb, diced
2 medium celery roots, peeled and diced
2 japanese sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
3 sprigs thyme
1 quart chicken stock
salt and pepper

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and fennel. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the celery root, sweet potato, potato, thyme, and chicken stock. Bring liquid to a boil over medium high heat, reduce heat to medium low, cover the pot, and cook for 15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Puree in a blender. Add water if soup is too chunky. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the soup with the almond and parsley pesto.

Purple Potato and Caramelized Fennel Tarts

makes six 4-inch tartlets or one 9-inch tart

1 batch of your favorite savory tart dough (see this or this)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
3/4 tsp salt, plus more for topping
1/2 tsp black pepper, plus more for topping
2 sprigs thyme
1 lb (450g) small purple potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (with a mandoline)
Sprouts or microgreens, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F (200C).

Roll your tart dough to 1/4 to 1/8″ thickness. Fill your tart pans with the dough. Chill the dough while preparing the filling.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and fennel. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook the vegetables until tender and slightly caramelized, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Fill the tarts with the caramelized onion and fennel mixture. Top with the purple potatoes slices overlapping.

Bake the tarts for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy and the crust is cooked. Sprinkle potatoes with a bit of salt and pepper and serve with some sprouts or microgreens. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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67 Responses to “What We Crave on a Rainy Day”

  1. Oh I indeed will have to try those caramelized onion tarts. That sounds so delicious. Enjoy your parents visit…how wonderful they get to enjoy another culture!

  2. Dzoli says:

    A feast fit for a king.And such beautifully presented:)

  3. The tarts look amazing. I love autumn’s produce. It may be my favorite season. I love the chocolate pistachio cake as well, I might have to try a variation myself!

  4. My mom doesn’t cook much, so I can;t say that we have many moments like that. But with my grandma is a whole other story!

  5. Those tarts look and sound amazing indeed! Looking forward to seeing the buckwheat crust recipe.

  6. Joy says:

    So beautiful and yummy! Sweet post :)

  7. Karine says:

    My mouth is now watering at 10:45 P.M.. I am so screwed lol

  8. Soup sounds amazing right now, you are right. Mothers are great for encouraging our obsessions aren’t they?

  9. MikeVFMK says:

    Beautiful post, Aran. It’s great that your parents are back, for both you and your children. And nothing beats a rainy day more than time spent in the kitchen with family. If every rainy day had food like this, I’d be doing a little rain dance. Thanks.

  10. Andrea Reh says:

    That soup looks absolutely exquisite – it’s almost summer here in New Zealand, but I’m tempted to give this one a try.

    Andrea x

  11. Marielle says:

    “Even though I love to travel and explore, I am really a homebody inside.”

    Me too! Your styling and photography is stunning.

  12. Sukaina says:

    The pesto with almonds sounds delightful. Only ever tried mine with pine nuts. Will have to give this a go. Enjoy the time with your parents and have a fantastic seminar in France :)

  13. tinajo says:

    These pics are yummy and makes me drool! :-)

  14. Laura says:

    My mom and I are also obsessed with cooking, you are not the only one! I also have an obsessed father who has a very different style than my mom and is the most amazing cook I have ever met. Gorgeous photos as always! Love the purple potato tart.

  15. maddalena says:

    you make me feel good already, just looking at the wonderful pics and the tasty description …… could a russet apple go into your celery soup as an ….. intruder?

  16. Tine says:

    Those tarts look delish!
    I looove savory tarts…

  17. Wonderful rainy weather food! I particularly like that comforting soup.



  18. Y says:

    Grandmothers are amazing, aren’t they? I wish I could spend more time with mine.

  19. Nieves says:

    Las fotos son preciosas Aran! la historia detras de ellas aun mas…
    Los dias de lluvia tienen todo su encanto

  20. Abigail says:

    oh yes, i am exactly the same. an incurable homebody (who ended up moving to a different country!) and i have dreams of the kind of home where my family and friends always feel at ease and we can gather to cook.

    my parents and some family were visiting us last month and everyday i looked forward to getting home after the sightseeing to cook.

    but, my favorite memory will always be going to the market with my mother. we were like kids in a candy store and we always came home with too much! sharing that excitement for food is really such a wonderful feeling…

  21. Wowies those recipes all sound like winners. Particularly keen on the parsley pesto. Looking forward to the buckwheat pastry recipe.

  22. Your pics and recipes are amazing ! I really like your purple popato tart !

  23. Just beautiful – I love how your images and filled with such light.

  24. I love figs at the moment – so delicious!

  25. It’s always a thrill having family visit; I feel exactly the same way Aran.
    Your soup is just what I need to warm me up. It’s cold today!

    ps Love seeing those little dimpled hands picking up muffins :)

  26. Irene says:

    I love celery roots and I’ll definitely cook this soup. Thanks!

  27. Juliana says:

    I too love to travel and explore but also love to be at home. My mother and I are both obsessed with food and cooking. When she visits the first thing she asks is what we will eat. The second is if I have any new cookbooks to look at. When I visit her, it’s the same!

  28. Roberta says:

    Hi Aran! Beautiful post, inspiring as ever!
    I love soups, even though I don’t cook them often, maybe it’s because of italians’ obsession with pasta (could you imagine telling your husband there’s not pasta for dinner…?)

    Just a question: what is celery root? I’ve never seen it here. May I sobstitute this vegetable with somthing else?

    Big kiss, enjoy your family reunion!

  29. The soup looks amazing, the tarts look amazing, the cakes look amazing and the custard also looks, well, amazing! Fall is my favorite time of year and I am so glad you are making such good use of its bounty!

  30. Carmen says:

    Cada martes llego a tu blog y me voy apuntando recetas…..ultimamente pruebo muchas. La crema de hoy yo la hago muy parecida para mi bebe y para mi…esta deli.

  31. Those tarts look absolutely divine – worth hunting down some purple potatoes for. Beautiful photos, as always.

  32. Itxaso says:

    Aran, zelango suertea dekozun gurasoakaz hainbeste bider egoteko!! Banabil pentsetan ya datorren urteko biajean Zeanurire, igual maiatzean, aman urtegune be bada orduen eta.

    Jo, asko gustau jatazan sagarrondoan argazkiek, zelango lekuek dekoguzen etxean eh.

    Coloradoko tailerra zoragarrie izingo da baia beste baten izin beharko dau, etxerako biajea ingo dot lehenengo. Bueno, eta probauko dot zuk esan dozun errezeta fazile eta esangotsut ia zelan urten dosten. Mosu handi bet eta ondo segidu.

  33. Ola says:

    everything looks so elegant and inviting to join on your pictures! I love the colors! Hopefully your autumn will be full of cooking:)

  34. Itxaso- bai, suertea itzela dekot gurasoakaz ezta? Ni be datorren urtean lehenago joatea pentsetan nabil, ekainan hasieran edo. Ba Coloradora etortea ondo egongo zan. Ez da oso garestie eta lekue oso polite da. Etorri! :)

    Thanks all for your sweet comments!

  35. April says:

    I’d really like to know where you purchased the gingham cutlery…I need the blue and white for my daughter’s Wizard of Oz party!

  36. Amanda G. says:

    That soup sounds divine! And I am such a soup lover. Where did you get those printed spoons? There are so pretty!

  37. April and Amanda- I got the spoons some in Madrid and some in St jean de Luz France this summer. Not sure if you can get them in the US. Anthropologie was carrying the plain colors but not the checker ones.

    Thanks all!

  38. I made your carrot and apple soup from your last post! It was DIVINE, my whole family loved it! My husband complains usually that I make too much ‘orange slurry” — (I really like carrot soup in any incarnation) — but this one he didn’t complain about, he liked it the best out of all the ones I’ve tried!

  39. Eléonora says:

    L’effet tartelette est très jolie dans le visuel…Comme quoi, on mange l’écran avec plaisir !!!!

  40. pablo diaz says:

    Hello, I am juan of Argentina.
    I like all his work! His passion in every detail, every color, every element that you put his photos.
    This makes me want to cook something and estimate things that I normally do not see in the kitchen.
    Be still like that!

  41. Coco says:

    We have had similar rainy days and I love being in the kitchen when it is dark and gray outside. Beautiful recipes Aran!

  42. Hi Aran,
    Have you ever tried carrot greens in your parsley pesto? They have a similar taste, and I know when I pull my babies up from the garden I can’t bear to waste all that beautiful green-age. :)

  43. Coco- yes i imagine it must be similar in your area. I’m ready for fall!

    Amanda- that sounds wonderful! Will have to try it next time.

  44. Love this post!! Makes me think about trying to spice up a couple of my grandmothers traditional soup recipes :) As well as trying out this recipe. Suddenly our Dutch autumn weather doesn’t look so bad.

  45. Lauren says:

    Mmm, the soup sounds like the perfect thing for my to try this week. It’s so sweet that you and your mom share an obsession in common!

  46. Anonymous says:

    another lovely post. i too love autumn cooking with root vegetables and apples. what better way to welcome the season than cooking with those you love.

  47. These foods look tasty and nutritious and I wouldn’t really mind staying at home during the rainy season if it would mean splurging on these!

  48. I absolutely adored reading your blog. The pictures are incredible, they’re like food for the eyes! I look forward to reading more!

  49. Not long to wait for Autumn…never heard of garbanzo and cabbage soup so I guess I will need to do some research. Beautifully presented and photographed as always. You even make an empty bowl look pretty! Great Blog always a joy to come back.

  50. a. maren says:

    just lovely. i’m so excited to try one of your fennel recipes, i have never used it before…

  51. wow it is so appealing to me , i will definitely try this recipe

  52. Oh! Delicious food, you know. lol

    This my website Calories fudge

  53. Your blog is seriously one of my happy places. Sometimes the internet overwhelms . . . then I go to your blog and am at once calm and just resting and delighting in your beautiful photographs! (And imagining the flavors of the recipes.)

  54. Hannah says:

    Stunning photos, as always! Fall has arrived here and I’m very happy (and in a soup mood!). This looks like a delicious one to begin with. Thank you for sharing.

  55. Sini says:

    There*s nothing that can beat the warmth and comfiness of one’s home.

  56. Your photos look incredibly gorgeous! Wish I could photograph food like that, I recently realized that it is not just about making it look good, but also knowing how to photograph it.
    Do you think you can take a look at my blog and give some advice? I haven’t posted much about food mostly because it just doesn’t look very nice



  57. Everything looks simply amazing. I think I know what we’ll be trying this weekend.

  58. Yummy !!! I recently posted about qatari gastronomy , you may like it. My blog is about fashion and qatari culture seen from a westerner point of view! Hope you like it!


  59. Seems really delicious. I want those cupcakes now!

  60. Emily says:

    I tried making the Potato and Caramelized Fennel Tart tonight. It was delicious and fulfilled my craving for onions perfectly. I’ll definitely be making it again. This was my first recipe of yours (since I just found your blog) but you can bet I’ll be going back through to find some more.


  61. Pamelas7 says:

    Love your work! Its so personal and creative. Just started following your blog.

  62. Hi Aran, thanks for sharing the Celery Root, Fennel and Sweet Potato Soup recipe. I really love celery root as an ingredient, but I always stick to the traditional [I am Belgian] potato and celery root puree. So this weekend I am changing it up :-). Also, compliments for your blog … you make everything sound and look delicious. Sofie. Btw I love Basque food! :-)

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