Carrot-ginger soup has a bit of a bite

Carrotgingersoup

There is a booth at the farmers market that has the best carrots I’ve ever tasted. I buy a bunch of them each week. Last weekend, they had a bulk bag of them, and I picked one up, determined to do something with them. I had seen carrot soup on menus before, but never felt terribly enthusiastic about it. But then I came across this recipe for carrot-ginger soup.

Carrot soup on its own has always sounded bland, but the ginger in this recipe really made it interesting. It was flavorful in a way I didn’t expect, and I enjoyed it for lunch for a few days after I made it. The best part is that it was pretty easy to make, too, as long as you’ve got some time to devote to the simmering process. As usual, I used my immersion blender for this, and it worked perfectly. I’d highly recommend using one if you have one in your kitchen.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons sweet cream butter
2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 cups chicken broth
2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and white pepper
Sour cream
Parsley sprigs, for garnish

In a 6-quart pan, over medium high heat, add butter and onions and cook, stirring often, until onions are limp. Add broth, carrots, and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Serve soup with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of parsley.

Rainbow salad is pure gold

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I love the farmers market in the fall. All of the vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables fill the booths in an enticing display that makes me want to buy everything and then run home and find new recipes to try. But, I only cook for one, so I remind myself to keep it reasonable and pick up different things each week so I can still satisfy my desire to be creative in the kitchen.

Last week, I picked up some homemade root beer, as well as some beets and carrots to use for a recipe I had in mind.

In addition to being ridiculously gorgeous, this carrot-beet slaw is also quite tasty. With the exception of toasting the pistachios, it’s also completely raw.

Because I bought bullseye beets instead of regular red beets, I had to roast them in the over for about an hour to encourage the flavor to come out. Had I gotten normal beets, I’d have used them raw.

As with most first attempts at a new recipe, I always follow the instructions exactly. I was hesitant about soaking the raisins in vinegar, but decided to trust the creative chefs at Bon Appétit because they certainly know more about cooking than I do.

I was floored by how good this was. There was so much flavor and texture to make this interesting and completely delightful. The parsley, mint, and red pepper flakes made the flavor so dimensional. I devoured it. And then went back for seconds because, with this salad, there is no guilt in going back for more.

Ingredients
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
6 medium carrots (about 1 pound), peeled, julienned
2 medium beets (any color; about 1 pound), peeled, julienned
1/2 cup (packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios

Combine garlic, raisins, and vinegar in a large bowl; let sit 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread out pistachios on a small rimmed baking sheet; toast, stirring occasionally until golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop.

Remove garlic from raisin mixture and discard. Add carrots, beets, pistachios, parsley, mint, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Add oil; toss gently.

Dutch oven delights turn into cold weather classics

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My best friend gave me a Dutch oven for Christmas. I’ve seen dozens of recipes I’d like to try and have pinned on Pinterest, but now I can actually try them. Since I’ve already used it for a few different recipes, I’ve decided that January will be Dutch oven month on my blog.

The temperature in Tahoe has been dropping to a single digit on a regular basis during the past month or two, which has put me in the mood for hot, healthy food. While this first recipe doesn’t require the use of a Dutch oven, I wanted to test its stovetop capability. The instructions for mine say it shouldn’t be put on high heat, so I wanted to see whether I could get anything to boil on a lower setting.

About six years ago, I clipped this recipe for White Bean and Rosemary Soup from O magazine. It has since become one of my favorite go-to recipes when I want to make soup. One tip I’d like to offer is to chop the rosemary as small as possible. Getting a larger piece in the middle of the soup is annoying. The croutons are good, too, but when I’m only cooking for myself, I opt for a piece of toast instead.

I recently attended an outdoor concert in the area and was an icicle when I returned home. It was so nice to have a pot of soup ready to heat up to help me defrost. It was just what I wanted.

Croutons
2 whole heads garlic
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt , plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 loaf unsliced whole wheat bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice off tops of garlic heads so the cloves are just exposed. Rub each head with 1 teaspoon olive oil; wrap loosely in foil. Roast 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven (but leave oven on); let garlic cool until comfortable to touch. Squeeze cloves from the heads into a small bowl; mash with a fork; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine half the roasted garlic with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Add bread and toss until well coated. Place bread on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes, turning once or twice, until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside. soup3

Soup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch coins
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) white beans, drained, rinsed and drained again
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

To make soup: In a large saucepan, heat butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth and remaining half of garlic and bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook 20 minutes, until carrots are very tender. Add drained beans and rosemary; cook 10 more minutes. With an immersion blender or in a food processor fitted with knife blade, puree half the soup until smooth. Stir to combine. Serve in bowls topped with croutons and drizzled with remaining olive oil.