February, 2007

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Creamy Carrot Soup
Feb 24th, 2007



This is a very gentle recipe - the taste is mellow, with the hint of cream rounding out the spice of the cumin, and the preparation is leisurely. Liquids simmer instead of boil, and everything is reduced to a soft, creamy, orange. I left the peas out because the idea of little blobs of green upset my vision of a smooth, velvety soup - but with the hint of India that the cumin brings to the soup, peas would be a natural addition, along with possibly some paneer cheese or tofu. With those additions and a little bit of thickening to the soup it could become a delicious sauce over some brown basmati rice.

Because the soup's flavor is so mild, it becomes important what you serve along side. Anything too salty drowns out the flavor of the soup. Choose other gentle dishes to nestle alongside this bright orange soup and you'll have a truly cozy spring dinner.



Creamy Carrot Soup with just a little Cream

2 tbsp butter
1 large Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp coarse salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 lbs of carrots, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 quarts water
3 tbsp short-grain white rice (Arborio)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) green peas
4 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint


Melt the butter in a large casserole. Add the onion, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the onion softens.

Add the garlic, cumin, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the carrots, water, and rice. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 50 minutes, or until the carrots are very soft.

Lift the solids out with a slotted spoon, and puree them in a food processor; return them to the soup.

Add the lemon juice and peas. Simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 5 minutes, or until the peas are tender. Add the cream, nutmeg and mint, and warm through.

Taste the soup for seasoning, and add more salt or lemon juice, if you like. To serve, ladle the soup into mugs.

-The Way We Cook, Sheryl Julian & Julie Riven
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Veggie Burgers for All
Feb 5th, 2007



I've been putting off writing about these because they turned out so well and I wanted to be able to write something more than "mmmmm, drooool, slurp." But nothing terribly witty or cogent is coming to mind, so I'll put in a couple of pictures and hope for the best.

These aren't the fastest things in the world to make, so I did all the cooking of lentils and sauteing of vegetables on one day and let the formed patties rest in the fridge overnight. Then it was easy to fry up the patties for lunch the next day. Extra patties freeze well and are great to pack for lunch in the morning along with some hummus and pita.



The patties are a little dry on their own, so either the Taratour sauce or something like hummus really is essential. I don't always love tahini-based sauces, but this one is perfectly tangy from the garlic and lemon.

I've got one of these babies left in the freezer, and I'm guarding it jealously. Mmmmm, drool, slurp.


Red Lentil-Chickpea Burgers with Taratour Sauce
makes 6 burgers

Burgers:
3/4 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 3/4 cups water
Salt
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for sauteing
1/2 cup minced shallots
3/4 lb carrots, cut into small dice (1 cup)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs, preferably fresh from whole-grain bread

Sauce Taratour:
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup water
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup minced scallions, white and green parts

To Serve:
6 whole-wheat pitas
Shredded romaine lettuce
Chopped fresh tomatoes


Combine the lentils and the water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. The lentils should lose their individual shape and cook into one mass. Cook them as dry as they can go without sticking. If you find the water has evaporated before the lentils are cooked, add a small amount of water and continue cooking.

Stir the cooked lentils with a spoon to break them up, and pour them into a medium bowl. Stir in the chickpeas.

Warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, carrots, and 1/4 tsp salt, and cook until the carrots are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, and peas, and cook until the peas are tender, 2 minutes. Stir the vegetables into the lentils along with the parsley, lemon juice, and cayenne. Stir in the bread crumbs. Taste, and add a pinch more salt if necessary. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, or until it is cool enough to handle.

Using your hands, form the lentils into 6 tight patties and place them on a plate. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until very firm, at least 30 minutes.

Saute the burgers: Warm a tablespoon of oil, or enough to coat the bottom of the pan, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Hold your hand about 4 inches from the pan, and when it feels uncomfortably hot, add the burgers. These burgers are a bit delicate, so do not crowd the pan. Saute until golden, about 2 minutes. Turn the burgers over and saute on the other side until golden, 2 minutes. Serve each burger in a pita with Taratour sauce, topped with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.

Taratour Sauce:
Whisk the tahini, water, garlic, lemon juice, and salt together in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the scallions. Add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, if needed to thin the sauce. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

-Myra Kornfeld, The Healthy Hedonist
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