Friday, July 22, 2011

Soup, Salad, Toast

Every night I open the fridge and see a two pound bag of carrots staring back at me. I try to avert my eyes, look past the lonely bag. Finally I had to face them. Carrot soup based on a Moroccan spiced recipe I found on Epicurious. I sautéed a chopped onion and a chopped leek in butter and added in the peeled, chopped carrots along with a good quantity of ground cumin and a dash of red chiles. I covered the carrots with chicken broth, brought them to a boil and then let the vegetables simmer for 20 minutes until tender. I puréed the soup and added in 2 TB of honey, almost a full TB of lemon juice, about 1/4 tsp of all spice and plenty of salt and pepper. I served the soup with a dollop of yogurt dusted with freshly ground cumin. The soup has a gentle warming flavor that would be equally at home on the Thanksgiving table or starring in a spring lunch. James, not generally a fan of cooked carrots (hence my hesitation to use them) easily finished his bowl (he almost licked it clean).
Remember that mega-cucumber harvest yesterday? Today a good number of those lemon yellow cukes became a salad with thinly sliced onion and feta cheese dressed with white vinegar and olive oil.
I've been eyeing this recipe from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook for quite some time. We have peppers growing in the yard and eggs in the coop. These savory crostini are dressed with an olive oil -- not mayonnaise -- moistened egg salad covered with thin slices of prosciutto and topped with strips of rosemary pickled peppers. I took seeded Jimmy Nardello peppers from our garden, rubbed them with a little olive oil and salt, and placed the flattened peppers under the broiler for about 10 minutes (around 8 inches from the heat) until they were just blistered. Meanwhile I heated white vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, sugar and fresh rosemary until the sugar dissolved. I let the mixture simmer for about 3 minutes. With the peppers in a jar I poured the hot liquid over top and let it cool. I used the peppers right away but they keep just about indefinitely in the fridge and brighten everything from roast beef sandwiches to summer salads.

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