Curried Carrot Soup

Dear Kaki,

This is just a post to say
I have eaten
the carrots
that were in
my fridge

and which
you would probably
have
in a salad

Forgive me
they were delicious
so spicy
and so warm

(POETRY!!!!!)

Curried Carrot Soup

adapted from Cook Without A Book: Meatless Meals* by Pam Anderson

Serves… quite a few?  Shoot, I don’t remember how many servings I got.  6?  8?  6-8?

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-2″ pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 large onion, cut into large dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, cut into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons yellow curry powder**
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup evaporated milk

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  In an extra-large mixing bowl combine the carrots, 1 tablespoon olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.  Toss the carrots until evenly coated.  Pour the carrots out onto the lined baking sheet and set in a cold oven on the lowest rack.

Heat the oven to 425*F and roast the carrots for 30-40 minutes.  Stir them occasionally to make sure they cook evenly.  (But don’t stir too much; you want the bottoms to really caramelize on the hot baking sheet.)  Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until translucent, 5-10 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute until very fragrant, another minute or two.  Add the curry powder and stir for a minute until very fragrant.

Add the carrots to the pot and stir to coat in the onion/garlic/curry mixture.  Add the white wine and simmer for a minute.  Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Once boiling turn heat down to low, partially cover the pot, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  The carrots should be easily pierced with a fork.

Using your immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth.  Add the evaporated milk and stir until fully incorporated.  Thin with water if soup is too thick.  Serve with cheese toast or the leftover croissants from the office breakfast tray.

Shown is a half serving.  Other half was already eaten!

Shown is a half serving. Other half was already eaten!

Yes, I ate this sitting on the floor.  We’re casual around here.

Here’s to a great week, my dear,

Caitlin

 

*The schtick of this book is that you mostly use formulas in the kitchen, not strict recipes.  So, for example, in this recipe Pam suggests you use two pounds of any root vegetable or hard squash (or even cauliflower!), and two tablespoons of any seasoning that you think would go with the vegetable.  I think I’ll try butternut squash and maybe cinnamon and some cayenne next.

**Preferably one you’ve used before, so you can tell if it’ll be spicy enough on its own.  The carrots roast up rather sweet, but the medium heat (in my case, ha) of the curry powder plays against that sweetness nicely. Add cayenne or a few dashes of our favorite hot sauce at the end if it’s not spicy enough for ya.

Molasses Rum Cookies

Kaki!

It’s been so long since I’ve seen you!  Too long.  When can we remedy this.*

I visited my long time friend Stephanie in upstate New York a few weekends ago, as she was someone else it had been much too long since I’d seen in person.  I got to spend time with her and her husband and their son Baylor, who is four months old and freakin’ adorable.  He smiles all the time, it is incredibly cute.  Plus it was great to see him while he was still just a little guy!

We spent one evening while I was there at a friend’s game night, to which I naturally brought some cookie dough.**  We may have killed it at Cards Against Humanity that night, but the cookies, the cookies killed it at tasting awesome.  These, Kaki, are the fall-flavor cookies I’ve been searching for!

Now the, upsides: you can totally taste the rum flavor in these babies, which I really liked.  They also have just the right amount of chewiness.  And they don’t use that much rum so you can bring the remainder with some Dr. Pepper to said party and boom, you brought dessert and drinks.  And the greatest guest award goes to…

There were a few slight downsides, though.  The dough is soft, really soft, and super sticky;  I found it difficult to work with.  But once you’ve dolloped them on the cookie sheet in little blobs they do flatten out all on their own in the oven.  Also, we had leftovers for a few days and they got a little tougher each day.  I’d say they have about three days of shelf life in them, which is shorter than I’d prefer for baked goods.  Do you have any good baking ingredient tips that extend shelf life?  Or would you store a cookie like this in the fridge, maybe?  I don’t typically do that, but maybe that’s what I needed to do.

Molasses Rum Cookies

adapted from TheKitchn

makes, um, a medium amount?  We didn’t count.  The original recipe says 18 cookies, which seems about right.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 6 tablespoons dark rum

Pre-heat oven to 375*F.  Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.  Add the ginger, clove, allspice, and salt, and stir to combine.  Add the baking soda and flour and stir again.  Add the molasses and rum and stir until the dough just comes together; it will be very sticky, not dry at all.

Dollop large spoonfuls on the prepared cookie sheet.  Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes.  (The original recipe notes the tops of the cookies will be all one color, without any light areas in the middle or dark areas on the edges.  I’m not sure I saw that distinct of a color change, but maybe you will.)  Remove from the oven and let the cookies finish baking on the hot cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Store in an airtight container for about three days.

IMG_20141025_095329_077

I can’t wait to make these again, Kaki!  Maybe next time I see you we can make them together?  And drink apple cider?

–Caitlin

*No question mark.  That’s a statement.

**We totally didn’t run out of time to bake them before we arrived and that’s why we brought the dough, no way.

P.S.  We also visited this great apple orchard while I was up visiting Steph.  It was called Bowman Orchard, and we picked apples and ate apple cider doughnuts and I proved my corn maze navigation prowess.  It was a beautiful afternoon.

Also, they had a pirate ship:

IMG_20141025_122343_296

 

And here is a grainy phone camera distance shot of the horses and fall foliage that were just too picturesque not to attempt to capture:

IMG_20141025_122228_907

 

And here is a close up of their adorable spotted pig:

IMG_20141025_131428_751

Chana Palak

Kaki,

This turned out sooo goood!

But I don’t know what to call it.  I followed a recipe for Chana Masala, but at the last minute I added some spinach.  Does that make it Chole Palak?  Does that have a different blend of spices in the sauce?  I’m going to call it Chana Palak, but let’s just establish that I can in no way claim this to be an authentic chana palak recipe.  It’s just freakin’ delicious, no matter the name.

Also?  I thought for sure I would want to add some feta cheese or sour cream to up the flavor, but it honestly didn’t need it.  Vegan wins again.  Who knew?  🙂

P1020530

Chana Palak

inspired by Cookie and Katie

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

Make your rice: Combined rice and water in a medium, lidded pot.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and leave covered to steam for another 10 minutes.  Set aside until chana palak is finished.

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Once shimmering, turn the heat down to medium-low*, then add the cumin seeds.  Stir the seeds around in the oil constantly for a minute or two, until you can really smell their lovely cumin-y scent.  (If you smell any hint of burning, it’s already too late; carefully wipe the oil and seeds out of the pan and start over.**)

Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and raise the heat to medium again.  Saute these aromatics for about five minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the garam masala, coriander, tumeric, salt, and cayenne to the onion mixture, stirring to evenly distribute the spices.  Toast the spices for about two minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the can of diced tomatoes and stir to deglaze the pan.  After the tomatoes have warmed through for a minute, raise the heat a notch or two and add the chickpeas.  Simmer the mixture for about 10-minutes, adding the spinach and cilantro at about the 5-minute mark.

Spoon over the rice and dig in!

Enjoy, Kaki!

-Caitlin

*I definitely read this instruction the first time I made this.  What do you mean, “lingering burning smell” in my kitchen?  I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

**See * above.

Recipe Recap

Kaki!

Fall.  Is.  Happening.

Acorn squash!  Soup!  Gingerbread!

So it still gets up to 85-degrees here, so what?  It’s a new season of tasty things I haven’t eaten in a year and I am all about it. Here’s what I’ve been making these days:

Mac-N-Cheese in Acorn Squash

Girl, have you made mac-n-cheese from scratch?  It’s way easier than I thought it would be.  It’s a white roux, plus milk, plus cheese.  Then you add some mustard and some other flavors.  Add noodles. That’s it.

Except of course I took it about four steps further, because I cannot leave anything alone.  I added 8 ounces of frozen (thawed and squeezed dry) spinach to the sauce, which is something I will definitely repeat.  I roasted acorn squash to serve as an edible bowl, which was tasty, though the texture between the roasted squash and the noodles was a little too similar.  I mixed Parmesan and panko breadcrumbs together and added them in the last 10 minutes of baking to the top of the whole mess.  That was a good choice their crunch added much needed texture to the dish.

Best part, though?  I made this at Cooper’s, and at the last minute we added some of this garlic-y bread dipping seasoning she had in her pantry (not that exact brand, but similar).  It made it, just amped up the flavor tenfold.

Split-Pea Soup

I’d never had split-pea soup before, Kaki.  But Elissa Altman mentioned it in her memoir as a really tasty and yet, er, cost-effective recipe, so obviously I had to try it.  I’m really glad I did, this soup is tasty.  But a couple of notes: this soup is mostly about the ham.  Great flavor, but it’d be hard to de-meat this particular recipe.  Also, it was really not that tasty just after I finished making it, but the next day it was way, way tastier.  I’m used to soups tasting better after a day or so, but this was a drastic improvement.

Gingerbread Cake Cookies

Tasty.  Really tasty.  The dough had a ton of molasses flavor, almost too much, but it mellowed a lot after baking.  Even so, these were just shy of what I was looking for.  I’m going to try this Drunken Molasses Ginger Cookie recipe next and see if it has that elusive, “This is it!” quality I’m looking for.

What have you been making lately, my dear?  Do tell. 🙂

Happy Monday,

Caitlin