Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Z is for: Zanahoria {Carrot Soup}

I know what you're thinking....

"There she goes again...loosely interpreting the alphabet for the sake of the blog."

And you would be right.

Sort of.

Yes, zanahoria is the Spanish word for carrot. But this is actually a recipe from my host mom, Delores, while I was living in Barcelona back in 2002. So, using "zanahoria" instead of "carrot" is actually the right thing to do.

First of all, if you've never been to Spain, I *highly* recommend adding it to your list of places to visit. Barcelona captured my heart in a way no other city ever will, and for that I'm forever grateful and nostalgic.

Delores also captured my heart. Not with her cooking exactly, but with her graceful, generous, easy way about her that I adored. Along with my randomly-selected roommate, Kasey Passen (who became one of my dearest friends), we took that city by storm and ate our way through Europe. Delores had some...shall we say..."interesting" dishes she made during our time there. (Ahem...one included spaghetti with mayonnaise. Ewww). But she also had her culinary moments of genius. Kasey and I carefully recorded our favorite recipes, and I'm sharing one of them with you today. I present: Crema de Zanahoria.


The great thing about this recipe is it's ridiculously easy and it only uses a few ingredients. Now, truth be told, Delores' recipe uses potatoes. But I'm trying to cut down on the potatoes and bread these days, so I opted for cauliflower instead. I spotted this beautiful "carnival" cauliflower at the store and knew it would be perfect for this dish. Honestly, I loved the slightly sweet and nutty taste it added (and it's yellow!) I may never make this soup with potatoes again.


Once you've chopped up your veggies, heat some olive oil in a medium stockpot on the stove. Saute the garlic and onion until soft. Add the carrots and cauliflower and cook a couple more minutes. Cover with broth and simmer until vegetables are soft. (About 45 minutes to an hour).


Using an immersion blender, puree cooked vegetables. Alternately, you can use a regular blender, working in batches...but be mindful of the hot vegetables by using a towel to cover blender, allowing steam to escape. (This is why you should just buy an immersion blender).


Then comes Delores' secret ingredient. "Quesiitos." In Spanish, this means "small cheese." When Delores talked about quesiitos, she was referring to Laughing Cow cheese wedges. So that's what the recipe technically calls for, and by all means use them (I love those things). However, I happened to have some of these Trader Joe's Goat Cheese Medallions in the fridge, so I used a couple of those. Wow. It really stepped the quesiito flavor up a notch. Puree your quesiito of choice in with the hot soup. At this point, you might need to add more water or broth to achieve the desired consistency.


Season with salt and pepper and top with a swirl of olive oil and some toasted pine nuts and fresh herbs.

Cream of Carrot Soup

by Jaymee Sire
Keywords: saute soup/stew gluten-free low-fat vegetarian carrot cauliflower goat cheese

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled & sliced (or other vegetable of choice)
  • 1 large head cauliflower (or 2 pounds potatoes peeled and sliced)
  • 3-4 cups broth or water
  • 2 "quesiitos" (Laughing Cow cheese triangles or goat cheese medallions)
  • salt & pepper
  • toasted pine nuts (for garnish)
  • chopped herbs, such as basil or cilantro (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute onions and garlic until soft.
  2. Stir in carrots and cauliflower (or potatoes if using) and cover with broth or water. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer until vegetables are cooked (about 45-60 minutes).
  3. Puree vegetables and add cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with olive oil, toasted pine nuts and herbs and serve!
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Nutrition

Calories: 150
Fat: 5 grams

2 comments:

  1. Where is the best place to buy an immersion blender? I learned my lesson blending hot pumpkin soup the hard way when it exploded all over my kitchen last Thanksgiving :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can buy them pretty much anywhere. (WS, C&B, Amazon, Macy's, etc). The Cuisinart Smart Stick is pretty good and reasonably priced. Though I blew mine out and had to get a new one for Christmas last year. My mom got me the Bamix one instead and I love it. http://www.bamix-usa.com/ I think WS has them now, but you used to be able to only order directly from them.

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