Tag Archives: soup

Easter Bunnies Love Carrots

5 Apr

For Easter, most people think of ham and eggs.  But I think of carrots, because that cute Easter Bunny loves them so.  Not only are carrots a super food, they also are amazingly versatile. Different cooking methods highlight different flavors and can bring out surprising changes in how they taste.  Here are a few unique carrot recipes:

Turkish Carrot Salad

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seed
  • 1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt (or Plain Vegan Yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 small clove)
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots (3 to 4 carrots, depending on size)
  • 1 tablespoon mint, plus additional for garnish

In a small dry skillet over medium heat, gently toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool and grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, cayenne, sugar, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of the ground cumin. (For improved flavor, make the dressing an hour or two before assembling the salad.)

Right before serving, toss the carrots and mint together gently. Add enough dressing to coat the salad thoroughly. Adjust seasoning, adding more cumin and salt to taste. Sprinkle with additional mint.

Carrot Soup

  • 1 lb fresh carrots
  • 1 medium Russet potato
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (or vegan margarine)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 qt vegetable broth or stock
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper, to taste
  • A bit of parsley for garnish

Peel the carrots, then trim the top and bottom ends. Cut carrots into (roughly) same-sized pieces, about ½ inch to 1 inch thick, depending on diameter. Don’t worry about precision — the soup is going to be puréed anyway. You just want the pieces to be of uniform size so that they cook evenly.

Peel the potato and cut it into pieces about the same size as the carrots.

In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the butter over a low-to-medium heat.

Add the onion, garlic and carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is slightly translucent, stirring more or less continuously.

Add the wine and cook for another minute or two or until the wine seems to have reduced by about half.

Add the stock and the potato. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are soft enough that they can easily be pierced with a knife. Don’t let them get mushy, though.

Remove from heat and purée in a blender, working in batches if necessary.

Return puréed soup to pot and bring to a simmer again, adding more broth or stock to adjust the thickness if necessary.

Season to taste with Kosher salt and white pepper.  Garnish with a bit of parsley to make it pretty.

Pomegranate Balsamic Glazed Carrots

  • 1/4 cup pure pomegranate juice
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter (or vegan margarine)
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb. carrots, trimmed, peeled, and cut into sticks about 2 inches long and 3/8 inch wide
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup veggie broth
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 Tbs. lightly packed thinly sliced fresh mint

Combine the juice, vinegar, and honey in a liquid measuring cup and whisk. Cut 1 Tbs. of the butter into 4 pieces and refrigerate.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbs. butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the carrots and a pinch of salt and toss well to coat. Cook without stirring until the bottom layer of carrots is lightly browned in spots, 4 to 5 minutes. Using tongs, stir and flip the carrots and then leave undisturbed for 1 to 2 minutes to brown. Continue cooking, occasionally stirring and flipping, until most of the carrots are a bit browned in places and are starting to feel tender, an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium if the bottom of the pan begins to brown too much.

Carefully add the veggie broth, cover quickly, and cook until all but about 1 Tbs. of the broth has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium low, and add the pomegranate mixture (re-whisk, if necessary) and the cayenne. Cook, stirring gently, until the mixture reduces and becomes slightly glazy, about 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat, add the chilled butter, and gently toss with a heatproof spatula until the butter has melted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and stir in about two-thirds of the mint. Serve in a warm shallow bowl or on a platter, garnished with the remaining mint.

Spanish Carrots and Olives Tapenade

  • 1 Lb young carrots cut into 2 x ½ inch sticks
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBS chopped cilantro
  • 12 Spanish Green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS slivered almonds, slightly toasted

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based skillet, add the carrot sticks and cook, covered, over low heat for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until almost tender.

Add the garlic, parsley and green olives and stir to combine.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then toss the carrots over low heat for 1 minute. Stir in the slivered almonds and serve warm.

Happy Easter my friends!

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow – now we need more SOUP

2 Feb

It seems our varmint friend Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, so we will have 6 more weeks of winter.  This is good news for my ski bum friends, but bad news for the rest of my amigos who want to bust out their flip flops and tank tops.  Punk Phil’s announcement does have a silver lining – more soup is needed.  No matter which side you are on, you can agree that soup is the best winter meal.

Here are a few unique soup recipes for your pleasure.  Be well my friends.

(Panade) Bread Soup with Onions, Chard, and Mushrooms

Panade

INGREDIENTS

  • 12-14 ounces day-old rustic bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter (vegan margarine works too)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions (sliced vertically, from tip to root)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 to 8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 10 to 12 ounces fresh chard, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1/2 cup hearty red wine
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (vegan parm works too)

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Toss the cubed bread with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt. Arrange bread on a baking sheet and toast for 20-30 minutes or until nicely browned.

While the cubed bread is in the oven, prepare the onions. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and the butter on medium heat in a 5 to 7 quart Dutch oven. Add the onions and stir to coat with the butter and oil. Cook gently, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes. If the onions begin to dry out at all, lower the heat. They should begin to caramelize and lightly brown. Add the garlic, cook for a minute more, remove from heat.

While the onions are browning, heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms. “Dry” sauté them (sauté without any added fat) until they release their moisture and are lightly browned.

Cut away the tough central stems of the the chard leaves (discard, compost, or use for another purpose). Cut across the leaves into 1-inch wide strips.

Remove half of the browned onions from the Dutch oven and set aside. Spread the remaining onions evenly over the bottom of the pot. Layer over with half of the chard and half of the browned mushrooms. Sprinkle with pepper, half a teaspoon of salt, and thyme. Put down a layer of toasted bread cubes. Add the remaining onions, chard, and mushrooms. Layer on top the remaining bread cubes.

Mix together the honey and wine, until the honey is dissolved. Pour over the bread mixture. Pour the vegetable stock over everything.

Scatter the top evenly with the grated cheese.

Cover the pot with foil (not the lid) and seal it around the edges. Cut 4 or 5 vent holes in the top. Put it in a 350°F oven. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Serve immediately, digging into the layers to get a bit of everything for each portion, or let cool and refrigerate, covered.

To reheat, gently simmer a portion until hot. Plate and garnish with additional cheese and thyme.

Jerusalem Artichoke (Sunchoke) Soup

 If you like the taste of artichokes, I urge you to try your hand at making this soup with jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes). This is lick-the-bowl good.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (vegan margarine works)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 pounds jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat and cook the onions and celery until soft, about 5 minutes. Do not brown them. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt.

Add the jerusalem artichokes and the veggie stock to the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, until the jerusalem artichokes begin to break down, 45 minutes to an hour.

Using an immersion blender or upright blender, purée the soup. If using an upright blender, fill the blender bowl up only to a third of capacity at a time, if the soup is hot, and hold down the lid while blending. Alternately, you can push the soup through the finest grate on a food mill, or push it through a sturdy sieve. Add salt to taste.

Sprinkle with freshly grated black pepper to serve.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lbs plum tomatoes (about 12), tough stem point removed, and tomatoes halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 lb carrots, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs of eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

Preheat oven to 425°F, with racks on top and bottom of the oven. On one rimmed baking sheet, toss together tomatoes, carrots, garlic, 2 Tbsp oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread out on the baking sheet in a single layer, with the tomatoes cut sides down.

On another rimmed baking sheet, toss together the eggplant, chickpeas, curry powder, remaining 2 Tbsp oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Place both sheets in oven (tomato mixture on the top rack). Roast until tender, about 45 minutes, tossing the mixtures halfway through.

Using tongs, peel off and discard the tomato skins. Purée tomato mixture (including the juices) in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large pot. Stir in the eggplant mixture; thin with 3 to 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve, sprinkled with cilantro; garnish with toasted bread if desired.

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