Carrot-Ginger Soup

Carrot-GingerSoup

After the weekend, when I eat out and have more time to cook indulgent things, I’m often wanting something a little lighter. This Carrot-Ginger soup is quick to make, full of fresh and natural ingredients, and has texture and comfort of a cream soup without actually being one. The ginger, apple, and cinnamon give the soup a lightly sweet flavor without overpowering the flavor of fresh carrots.

Also, given its quick cooking time, it’s great for a weekday lunch or dinner– and it’s vegetarian and gluten-free, which seems like an added bonus.

moonrise-kingdom-international-posterOn the side I’d recommend another light & sweet addition– Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom (2012). It features an all-star cast and Anderson’s typical cheery, quirky design, but is perhaps a little more mild in terms of content and so wouldn’t put off an Anderson Newbie. The story focuses on Sam & Suzy, two 12 year olds who have been deemed “troubled” by the adults and run away to the outskirts of their New England island to create their own paradise called Moonrise Kingdom. The film speaks to the innocence and purity of first love and is full great 1960s design and music. Not to mention all of the great deadpan humor–Edward Norton’s scout troop leader is one of my favorite Wes Anderson characters.

Carrot-Ginger Soup

Serves 6

2 T butter

2 medium onions, minced

1 T fresh grated ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp salt

1 T brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp thyme

2 lbs carrots, peeled & sliced ¼ inch thick

4 c water

1 ½ c apple juice

½ tsp baking soda

1 T apple cider vinegar

Melt butter in a pot over medium high heat. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the carrots, water, ¾ c apple juice, and baking soda. Bring to a boil, and then simmer over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Transfer soup to a blender (you may have to work in batches) and blend on low until smooth, about 1 min. Return pureed soup to clean pot and stir in apple cider vinegar and remaining ¾ c apple juice. Bring to a simmer once more.

Serve with a drizzle of cream and a few cracks of fresh black pepper.

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Lemon-Rosemary Gnocchi

LemonRosemaryGnocchi

It was officially spring two weeks ago, but today it’s gray and overcast and the wind is biting and even my dog is avoiding going outside.

I love the fresh food and flavors of springtime cooking, but seeing as I’ve spent most of today under an electric blanket, I wanted some sort of comfort food as well. So here’s what I came up with.

This Lemon-Rosemary Gnocchi has the fresh, bright flavors of spring paired with a delicious, warm creamy sauce that makes it perfect for the post-winter-pre-spring blues. The soft gnocchi, indulgent pancetta, and warm cream make a surprisingly wonderful marriage with the bold peas, fresh lemon, and fragrant rosemary. It’s also a quick one-pot dish, which is my favorite kind for so many reasons.

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What else to put on the menu? I’d recommend serving with steamed veggies or roasted asparagus on the side. For dessert: a viewing of Enchanted April (1991). This sweet film, in the style of a Merchant-Ivory type production, tells the story of four women escaping the dreary winter who meet while on vacation in Italy. The beautiful surroundings and new friendships revitalize their lives and opens the door for love. A perfect viewing to escape a dreary day.

 

Lemon-Rosemary Gnocchi

Cooking Time: 30 min

Serves 6

2 lbs potato gnocchi

3 T olive oil

1 lb chicken breast

5 oz diced pancetta

2 heaping tsp minced garlic

2 T chopped fresh rosemary

Zest from 2 lemons

3 T butter

Juice from 1 lemon

1 c heavy cream

1 c grated parmesan

1 c peas

salt and pepper to taste

Cook the gnocchi according to the package’s instructions. Before straining, collect ¼ cup pasta water. Set pasta and pasta water aside.

Dice the chicken so that it’s roughly the same size as the gnocchi. Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large pan, and then add the diced chicken along with half the pancetta and half of the garlic. Cook until chicken is lightly browned and the pancetta is crispy. Remove any excess fat and take the cooked meat out of the pan; set aside.

Add the rest of the pancetta and garlic into the pan. Once the pancetta is crispy, add in the butter, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary. Once the butter is melted, add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan. Slowly add the cream, stirring constantly, then sprinkle in the parmesan. Stir until the parmesan is melted and the sauce is creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I just added a few cracks of pepper).

Add the cooked chicken back in, stirring until hot. Then add cooked gnocchi and pasta water. Finally, add the peas and stir until hot.

Serve immediately with a sprinkling of parmesan and lemon zest.

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