Monday, March 8, 2010

Week Six: Carrot-Ginger Soup

Don't be fooled by that fancy bottle; I buy the cheapest
vat I can find at the international store and refill it.

To start 2010, Mother Nature decided to impress us with her ability to freeze our patooties off for weeks on end. The one advantage of this was that groceries in need of refrigeration could be safely stored in the trunk of one’s car, which the cold would turn into a giant cooler on wheels. Go ahead, call me Pollyanna – you wouldn’t be the first.

So one day I stopped by the store on my way to work, purchased produce, and left it in the trunk. Among the items was a one-pound bag of carrots. They carrots froze, solid, in the space of nine hours. They must have a low freezing point, because A) I don’t recall anything else turning into vegetable- or fruit-shaped ice cubes and B) there is nothing else approaching the oddity of a bag of carrots in my freezer.

I’d been unable to admit defeat and stupidity by throwing the suckers away, and instead put them in my freezer, reasoning that they’d need to be cooked as soon as they were thawed. Last week, I thawed them and made soup out of them. Carrot-ginger soup, to be precise.

I’d had it in restaurants, and loved it every time. When I perused a number of online recipes, they seemed elegant, simple and easy. The pared-down aspect of it didn’t even seem to require a recipe, so I didn’t use one.

I sautéed a large, diced onion in about 4 T. of olive oil for about 15 minutes, then added about ¼ cup diced fresh ginger, 1 t. ground cumin, ¼ t. turmeric, ½ t. coriander and half a cup of water to keep the spices from sticking. Once the spices had a chance to warm up, I added 4 cups of water and the carrots, which I’d washed and cut into big chunks (I did not peel them because, now thawed, they were carrot-shaped sponges), about ½ t. salt, and about eight turns of the pepper grinder.

How I measure salt. It usually works out.

Half an hour later, with the carrots tasting cooked, I turned off the burner and let the soup cool until I wasn’t afraid that I’d burn myself while puréeing it. When I tasted it, I the ginger levels were on the order of wasabi, i.e., eye-watering. It was edible, but only just, and only if you went slowly.

But I still couldn’t bring myself to throw the stuff away. It had great color, the carrot flavor was strong and bright, and I am a stubborn Polack. So I put it in the fridge and thought about it, and in the morning, I turned to one of the three saviors of all Polish cooks: potatoes. (I ruled out the other two, butter and cream, on the grounds that I have recently begun counting calories, and it’s going well.)

Two of them, peeled, diced and boiled, then pureed with the soup, mellowed the ginger just enough to make eating the (now rather thick) soup as soup, but as I was tasting it, I thought it would be really good as a topping or a filling. For, say, ravioli.

But not this week.

Pretty, cheerful, delicious.

Deliciousness: Very nice, once I got the ginger in hand.

Difficulty: Not even remotely difficult.

Do-Over: Yes, but I might follow a recipe next time.

Details: See above for what few there are...


Anonymous said...

Thrify to the end! Your Grandmothers would be proud of you!
Mango Mama

HMDean said...

Aw, that makes me feel so warm inside -- but not quite as warm as that ginger did! ;P