Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Curried Carrot Soup, or 'What to do when soup sets your mouth on fire'

Be excited: this soup is wonderful. Between the sweetness of the carrots, the warmth of the curry, and the heat of the cayenne, you have something very unusual, very delectable on your hands.

Be warned: if you don't watch your cayenne, you will wind up with something slightly atomic.

Be encouraged: in the event that you make your soup way too hot, there is a cure: milk. Yes, that's right, just a splash of milk tamed this soup, and allowed all of the other, really gorgeous, rich flavors to come through.

Happily, this soup was incredibly easy to make. Start by prepping your carrots.
Then, get some onions going in a Dutch oven with some olive oil.
Add the carrots.
Let that meld together for a bit.
Add in your curry and cayenne.
Add some stock.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then, break out your immersion blender and whaz it all up.
Taste: and if it is so hot, you think you might die, try adding some milk. I also tried orange juice, but I think the milk was more effective. If it is good, serve...
...and enjoy!

Curried Carrot Soup (adapted from
Makes 4-6 servings

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 pieces
4 cups (32 oz) low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 Tablespoons curry powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper* (I strongly recommend 1/4)
Coarse salt
Chives, cut into 1 inch pieces (optional)**

In a Dutch oven, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes. Add carrots to pot, add some salt,*** and cook for 5 minutes. Add curry, cayenne, and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Puree with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning.**** Serve.

*I added 1/2 teaspoon and that made it incredibly hot.
**The recipe also calls for sour cream to add at the end, which just is not my style, but maybe would help with the heat.
***I think adding salt at this layer is important to try and layer the flavors as much as you can.
****If too hot, add a splash of milk. If still too hot, you are in trouble.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Charming Molasses Chews

These cookies are very simple, but I think that gives them their charm.

The molasses gives these cookies a wonderful chew. Rolling them in sugar gives them a nice texture on the outside. And the balance of the spice is just right.

They are also very nice and light, so when you find yourself eating one after another, you don't have to feel bad at all.

Molasses Chews (called 'Molasses Cookies Moldow' in Joy of Cooking)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp baking soda
Sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Beat together butter and sugar, until light and fluffy [about 2 minutes]. In a different bowl, mix together flour, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and baking soda. Add that to the butter/sugar mix, also add the egg and molasses. Beat until well blended. The dough should be soft.* Refrigerate until firm enough to handle, about 2 hours.

Shape the dough in 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time, until firm, about 9-10 minutes.** Let stand briefly. Then remove to a rack to cool.

*My dough was actually fairly lumpy, and I have to press it together. I don't know if it was supposed to be like that, but the cookies ended up delicious.
**The recipe calls for 8 minutes, but mine are never done by then. They won't really look done when you take them out, but the tops will look crinkly, when they are ready.