Soup

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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Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

Something happened this weekend that touched me. I got a note from a reader looking for a recipe (well, funnily enough, it was this soup recipe) that they couldn't find on the site. I get these messages once in a while, people looking for posts that, for one reason or another, no longer exist. I lost a few while transferring my site platform and I'm slowly adding them back (it's a bit of a process since I have to start from scratch and write the recipes, take the photos, etc). Anyway, I got a message over Facebook asking if I could share this soup recipe with them. I must admit that I don't always make the effort and will often say something like "I'm sorry, but the recipe is gone." but I decided it wouldn't be that hard to write it out for her.

A few minutes later, I received the following note: "You are AMAZING! Thanks so very much for your quick response. This is one of my favorites and exactly what I needed this weekend. I lost my grandmother this week and this is basically a hug in a bowl. Keep on cooking and sharing... you're actually touching people in ways you didn't even realize."

When I read this, I was taken aback. I hadn't expected my response to mean a whole lot, but here we have it... proof that even small gestures can have a huge impact. You never know what a smile will do to brighten up someone's day. Or how a simple compliment can boost someone's spirits. They're little things that we can all do. An important lesson as we head into a new year.

Soup was one of the first things I remember learning to cook (and I think for those interested in developing their culinary skills, it's a great place to start). The process fascinated me. Where so many meals consist of multiple elements that should work together (if done correctly), one bite of soup has to hit all the right notes. Preparing soup taught me how to properly season food. It taught me the importance of textures in a dish. And, above all else, I learned that with just a few ingredients, one can create a delicious, totally satisfying meal. 

This wild rice and mushroom soup was a staple when I was growing up, and I continue to make it throughout the winter. It's a hearty soup, but quite healthy too.  Most of the items in here are probably already in your pantry. 

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I was able to get all of my ingredients using Peapod, the grocery delivery service. It was a cold day (despite the pictures, it was in the twenties) and I was in no mood to leave the house. I've heard lots about Peapod. My grandparents use them and at least once a week the truck drives down our street to deliver to our neighbor. The driver was very nice and all of my groceries were brought straight to my front door. I have a feeling I'll be using it again during our next snowfall (which I really don't want to think about).

What really surprised me was how easy it was to order through their site. Sometimes online commerce can be a bit hard to navigate, but when I used it, I was able to find items quickly either through a search or by "shopping by aisle." Also, I don't know about you but I'm terrible at keeping track of pantry items so I loved that I could browse through the store and come across things like nuts or dried fruit and be reminded that I'd been meaning to pick some up. All of your orders are saved in the system, making it very easy to reorder groceries. 

In working with Peapod to create this post, I learned some things about the company that I didn't know. Like I had no idea they've been around since 1989, making it the longest operating Internet grocery service. Their markets include: Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and, of course, Massachusetts. To get more info about Peapod, head on over to the website... and be sure to check out their blog for recipe ideas.

Sometime in the next week, I'll be hosting a giveaway over on Instagram for a year long PodPass membership for one Boston-area resident. PodPass is a membership-based program that removes all delivery fees for orders over $100.  Be sure to follow me on on Instagram to get all the details about the giveaway.  

DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by Peapod. Thank you for supporting the brands that make A Thought For Food possible.

WILD RICE AND MUSHROOM SOUP

NOTE
If you do not own an immersion blender, you can just dice the vegetables instead of leaving the pieces bigger.

YIELD
8 servings

INGREDIENTS
1 cup cooked wild rice
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb white button mushrooms, washed and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
Salt
Black pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS
Set a large soup pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Let heat for 30 seconds and add onion. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, mushrooms, carrots, celery, mushrooms and rosemary and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vegetable broth and water, cover pot, and cook for 15 minutes. 

Stir in cooked wild rice to the soup and, using a hand blender, give it a quick blend to break up larger pieces. Season with salt and black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and top with fresh parsley. 

Dairy-Free Clam and Corn Chowder

There's something in the air. Not a chill, exactly (though it has gotten a little cooler, which I love). No, there's a sweet, dank aroma that's arrived. I noticed it when we took the dog out for a walk in the woods. Nature telling us that we're approaching the end of summer. As soon as it hit me, I immediately craved soup and, so, I made a pot of clam chowder. It's not your typical clam chowder and I know there are purists out there who might make a fuss about this being too fancy. But it really isn't. The major difference is that I used coconut milk instead of cream. I actually prefer it this way. It's rich in flavor, but doesn't feel heavy. Also, there's no bacon in it. Now, I have nothing against bacon and I totally see why folks love it so much, but I am baffled as to why every chowder recipe contains some. Let's ask ourselves... Does it really need it? In my opinion, it doesn't (note the smoked paprika, which provides a hint of that bacony flavor).

The funny thing is that I made this chowder last week and again over the weekend. On the Cape, my brother-in-law will often go out clamming in the morning. When he does, he'll return with buckets of beautiful, fresh, briny clams (sometimes there are snails and mussels thrown into the mix). Last Sunday, I suggested that I make a batch of this soup for his birthday dinner that evening, which he was totally on board with. So, clam chowder twice in one week. Not bad at all. 

Dairy-Free Clam and Corn Chowder

Note
To cut down on the cooking time, I've suggested using canned clams instead of preparing fresh clams, which is what I initially did when I made this dish. 

Yield
4-6 servings

Ingredients
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 celery stalks, sliced into thick 1/4 inch thick pieces
3 ears corn kernels
Salt
Black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 10 oz cans chopped clams, in clam juice
1 15 oz can full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Fresh dill

Directions
In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped yellow onion and cook for 30 seconds. Add the sweet potato and celery. Season with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the corn kernels, chopped clams, clam juice and coconut milk and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the sweet potato is cooked. Season with salt, to taste. Before serving, stir in lime juice. Ladle soup into bowls and top with fresh dill and freshly ground black pepper