Looking towards Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 13th, I am honored to offer a guest post from the founders of the iconic Bloodroot Restaurant entitled Purpose, along with a lovely spring recipe happens to be perfect for the day we celebrate moms. I have long been inspired by Selma Miriam and Noel Furie, the founders of Bloodroot, which can be found in Bridgeport, Connecticut’s historic Blackrock neighborhood.
This unique restaurant has not only survived for decades, but it has thrived for over 40 years and is still led by Selma and Noel, the founders. The food is diverse, ethnically inspired, vegetarian, and delicious. The menu is constantly evolving, as new international cuisines are tested and added, but one thing remains constant at Bloodroot—Selma and Noel’s principles. An entire wall is dedicated to antique photographs of (mostly) anonymous women, Bloodroot’s posters, handwritten signs, and tapestries, which create a unique and welcoming experience. Still, it is the food that brings people – neighborhood regulars and destination diners – to Bloodroot.
I remember getting an email from Selma sometime after More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts was published. Her note said, “We like your voice in this book and would like to carry it.” How proud I felt. I know you will enjoy this essay from Bloodroot’s founders, my guest bloggers this week, as part of my Fabulous Women in Food series, as well as the recipe. Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a copy of the new Bloodroot Calendar Cookbook. Happy Mother’s Day.
Every restaurant, indeed every business has a purpose. Perhaps simply to make money. Perhaps to make a duplicate of what already exists – such as the best modernist food, or the most vegan, raw, gluten-free place to eat, totally organic, all food locally sourced, etc.
None of these are our main purpose,and one’s purpose determines what kind of food results and what the customer’s dining experience becomes.
Our purpose starts with our feminism. Others will have different definitions of feminism, but amongst other issues, to us it means: Not eating other sentient creatures, and so most of all, we want to be as vegan as possible. We also want to eat with the seasons as much as we can, and to use local farms and to buy from the farmer’s market in season, but we especially treasure learning the foods of people from all over the globe, and to find what dishes Latina, Asian, Mediterranean folks, etc. cook with no meat, chicken or fish. We want to learn and to cook from people all over, to use food as a welcome to everyone.
We truly believe that a world that promotes respect and admiration for others is a world we want to live in, and we believe that there is no art or craft form better to spread that respect than the sharing of food. That is our purpose, to learn other people’s food, and to share and promote from as many cultures as possible (no secret recipes!).
We believe we are unusual, in fact unique, in that we are unlike other restaurants.
- We are not health food
- We are not fancy food
- We are not really expensive
- We are not really cheap
- We haven’t a “trained” chef
- We don’t have a wait staff
We are political – that is feminist-vegetarian
- We don’t want to eat other sentient creatures
- We care about the environment
- We do care about health – just not the endlessly changing fads
- We love the idea of finding, cooking and promoting food from all over
I like what Syrians (and many other ethnic peoples) say: “We must share bread and salt between us to be friends”. We believe that understanding others happens best with food, and we want to be an agent of the sharing.
With that in mind, here is a recipe that is perfect for Spring and reflects our interest in different cultures from our newly released cookbook The Bloodroot Calendar Cookbook available from our website www.Bloodroot.com or at our restaurant.
Roasted Asparagus Avgolemono Soup with Dill
- Heat oven to 425°F. Cut tough bottoms from 3 pounds asparagus. Turn bottoms into a pot and cover with 6 cups water. Coarsely chop 2 large onions and add to pot. Simmer until asparagus bottoms are tender.
- Use a large soup pot to make a roux: Combine 2/3 cup grape seed oil and 2/3 cup flour over low heat until well blended. Add 1 cup white wine and bring to a boil. Add 10 cups unsweetened almond milk and bring to a simmer, stirring with a whisk. Add grated rind of 1 lemon.
- Use a Vitamix to purée asparagus bottoms and a bit of the cooking water. Add purée to soup pot with 2/3 cup lemon juice.
- Cut tips off reserved asparagus; turn into a roasting pan with 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and broil until nicely colored. Set aside.
- Cut remaining stems into ½ inch pieces. Turn into a roasting pan, add 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil with salt and roast in a 425°F oven until slightly browned. Set aside.
- Finish soup with salt and pepper to taste. If you like, add 3 tablespoons Seitenbacher broth powder. Soup should taste strongly of lemon. Add lemon juice and lemon rind as needed. Don’t reheat asparagus stems and tips when serving. Add stems and tips to each serving of hot soup and top with minced dill.
I have a copy of The Bloodroot Calendar Cookbook for one lucky winner this week. Follow the instructions below to enter. Contest ends at midnight on May 15th. U.S residents only, please. Good luck!