To get to our daughter’s college in Pennsylvania, it isn’t necessary to drive through the state of New Jersey, but that is exactly what we did last Friday. My husband needed to see a client in a town that is not in his regular travel pattern and since we were sort of going in that direction anyway, he asked if I would mind adding a little extra time to our already lengthy drive. Ok, I agreed thinking a good book was all I would need to pass the time.
Ironically, my friend, Alicia, had just recommended a farm to table restaurant in Princeton named Agricola that she had just visited. She shared the restaurant’s first cookbook published last year at our book group’s kick-off dinner.
What are the chances that my husband’s client and Princeton were a mere 20 minutes from each other? Bingo – we had a lunch plan and a place to stretch our legs. Unfortunately, time was tight so I didn’t get to browse around the charming town of Princeton but I hope to on another occasion!
If you find yourself driving through (or near) Princeton, Agricola should be on your list of places to grab a meal. Only 3 years old, Agricola is warm, inviting and bustling with the energy of a young restaurant. Ingredients are sourced from their own Great Road Farm located just a few miles away, as well as other local purveyors. The restaurant is open for brunch on the weekends, lunch and dinner throughout the week. You can learn more about Agricola which means “farmer” in Latin by visiting its website.
Thinking I might blog about our experience and want to attempt one of the restaurant’s recipes, I brought the Agricola cookbook along on the ride so I could plan what to make. I settled on a soup recipe that looked both healthy and seasonal. I have been eating it for lunch all week. There is finally a cold snap in the air and what’s better than a warm bowl of soup? Maybe you can prepare a batch this weekend. I think it would also freeze nicely.
I have streamlined the recipe just a touch to make it more user friendly. The original recipe called for making a ginger oil a day ahead to use as a base for the soup but I have replaced that by adding a little more olive oil and more freshly minced ginger to the base. All the remaining ingredients are nearly the same, although I have also streamlined a few steps as well. The soup is rich and creamy without any cream. The flavor is amped up from other soups by the same name through the addition of fresh jalapenos, but for sensitive palates, you can certainly modify the quantity or leave them out entirely.
Here are a couple of pictures from inside Agricola and of course, our lunch selections.
Chilled Corn Soup with lobster, cucumber and thai basil was ultra decadent. Creamy, sweet and luscious, reminiscent in flavor of creamed corn…
Kale Salad with sunflower sprouts, spiralized carrots and watermelon radish with a pumpkin seed vinaigrette was described by The New York Times as a “perfect salad”. The ingredients accompanying the kale are swapped out depending on the season, but the dressing that is sharp in flavor from lime juice, cilantro, toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh ginger gives the salad its signature flavor. This recipe appears in the cookbook…
And a Turkey Sandwich with slow-cooked turkey, herb aioli, house cured bacon and pickled vegetables was fabulous. The sandwich was served with fries and a house made beet ketchup that I am going to attempt (recipe in the cookbook)…
And here is the Carrot Ginger Soup I made this week. Just finished another bowl as I am typing up the post!
See you next week!