Lately I've noticed the signs of aging around my eyes. No not wrinkles or crows feet, my eye sight! I've been needing to wear my reading glasses more than usual and while glasses are the new "sexy smart chic", straining to read a book is not especially sexy or chic. On my last trip to my favorite produce shop, I took it as a sign (one that I could see) that there were an abundance of well-priced carrots. Carrots have always been a staple in my cooking repertoire. They are versatile, nutritious, quick and easy to cook or incorporate into raw dishes.
My Homestead-man (a.k.a. Maestro), is a scientist and reminds me on occasion, that carrots are also excellent sources for beta carotene, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. Carrots lower the risk of cancer, lower blood cholesterol, can aid in weight loss and are good for improving your vision (BINGO!). Plus they are really pretty - who doesn't like eating vibrant colorful food. But anyone, even the vision-impaired can grow sick of crudites or honey glazed carrots. Here's a "garden to table" dish that will keep your bod healthy, trim and your eyes wide open. Oh and the kids love too.
"The Better to See you With, My Dear" Carrot Soup
(makes 8 servings, prep time: 10 minutes, active time 45 minutes)
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
3 large carrots, chopped
1/8 cup fresh ginger, chopped 2 Tbsp red miso paste
1 Tbsp wasabi
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 liter of water
1 cup yogurt
1 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat olive oil and stir in garlic, sesame and onions until they are golden brown. Reduce heat a bit above a simmer and add water and miso paste. Stir until miso has dissolved. Allow liquid to come to a boil, then add carrots. Reduce heat to medium and let cook for about 30 minutes. The liquid will have reduced a bit (this is good).
Now add ginger and wasabi, stir and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Using a portable hand blender (or you can pour soup into a blender/food processor), blend the soup to a smooth texture. Soup should not be watery - leave some texture and a few small chunks if you prefer. Add the coconut milk - this will thicken the soup, make it creamy (still good for you creamy) and will soften the tang and sting of the wasabi and ginger without losing the flavor. Add soy sauce, salt and pepper .Let simmer for another 5 minutes and Omani (Japanese for "finished").
To the Table:
Serve soup topped with a drizzle of soy sauce and a crumble of nor (Japanese dried seaweed) with a side of crispy bread. I like to add a dollop of plain yogurt. (All Japanese ingredients can easily be found in the ethnic food section of your neighborhood market or at Asian specialty food shops).
What's your favorite carrot-inspired soup? Let me know if you love it as much as we do
Eat up, xo Lisa