vegatarian

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup
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A bowl of hot soup soothes the soul in ways few foods can. Even the process has a calming effect. The peeling and chopping of vegetables, the smell of them sautéing, the steam that escapes as it simmers on the stove. I find the whole experience comforting. I've made many batches over these last couple of months to serve to dinner guests (anyone else exhausted from all the holiday gatherings?). This carrot soup was for our friends who just had a baby a few weeks ago. We spent the afternoon at their home, cuddling with the little one, who slept soundly in my arms until she was ready for more food or wanted to be changed, all things I could pass her off for her mommies to do. It made my heart soar to see how happy the two of them are with their new addition. 

I'm looking forward to this coming year and all the dishes I have rattling around in my head. To be honest, things felt a bit disjointed over these last twelve months. There was a lot to juggle... the Cape house, work, travels... and I found it challenging to focus. But I'm feeling like this soup is the right direction. Cooking the things I love to eat and just sharing that with all of you. Here's to a great 2018! Cheers!

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Carrot Ginger Soup from A Thought For Food www.athoughtforfood.net
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Carrot Ginger Soup from A Thought For Food - www.athoughtforfood.net

Carrot Ginger Soup

Yield: 6-8 servings
Special Tools: Blender or Immersion Blender

Ingredients:
2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups vegetable broth
Salt
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons yellow miso paste (use gluten-free miso to make this fully gf)
Sesame oil (optional)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Cook onion for 3 minutes, stirring often, until. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Add chopped carrot, cover with 4 cups vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. 

Transfer the soup contents to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth. Add miso and maple syrup and blend to incorporate. Taste for seasoning and, if necessary, add salt. Transfer the mixture back to the pot. The soup will be on the thicker side, but you can thin it out with another cup of vegetable broth. 

Serve in bowls with a light drizzle of sesame oil and chopped cilantro on top. 

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Garlicky Penne with Butternut Squash, Broccoli Rabe and Cannellini Beans

I've stopped accidentally marking things with "2016," which is how I know we're fully set in the new year. I'm kind of excited to see what these months have in store for us. There are lots of unknowns, of course, but unlike previous years where I felt nervous about the uncertainty of it all, I'm now going to try to approach it all a little differently. Try and go with the flow a bit more. I don't have any resolutions this year. There are the same ones that linger with me each day... read more, exercise more, travel.  On that last item, I think we're going to struggle a bit with finding time to do a big trip this year as this past fall, Eric and I (along with his brother and his wife) purchased a house on the Cape.  It needs a bit of love, so we'll be spending any available days working on that. With that said, the two of us are looking at doing a couple of long weekends this winter to some spots around New England. This weekend, we'll be staying in Northampton. It's a cute town, one that I really haven't spent much time in (my last real visit was in '99). In February, we're hoping to take a drive up to Portland, which has been on my list for a while. From what I've heard, has an incredible culinary scene (which is just what we want to experience when we travel). Always looking for recommendations (though we have quite the list going here), so if anyone's been, feel free to share your favorite spots. 

GARLICKY PENNE WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH, BROCCOLI RABE AND CANNELLINI BEANS  

SERVINGS
6 people

INGREDIENTS
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 lb broccoli rabe, trimmed and washed
1, 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained of liquid and rinsed
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1 lb box of penne
Olive oil
Salt
Red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. In a bowl, toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread across the baking pan in a single layer. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, stirring the butternut squash every 15 minutes to allow it to cook evenly.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook penne as directed on the box, but five minutes before it is done cooking, add the broccoli rabe. When the five minutes are up, drain the pasta and broccoli rabe into a colander. Transfer to a serving bowl.

In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Add beans to the pan and cook for another 30 seconds. Pour garlic, beans, and olive oil on top of the pasta and toss to coat the penne with oil. Transfer roasted butternut squash to the serving bowl, followed by the toasted almonds and red pepper flakes, and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and, if necessary, season with additional salt.