Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Slice of Orange

Vegetarians, love them or hate them, they are people too and they want a decent meal. As a former vegetarian I am going to speak for the group when I say we don’t want some lame sandwich with sprouts and lettuce, we don’t want a vegetable plate or a frozen veggie burger and we don’t want what you’re eating minus the meat. We want a creative, tasty, well balanced meal and we want to leave the table full too. I know, I know those damn fussy vegetarians, they won’t eat meat and then they come with a list of rules for what they are willing to eat???

Most vegetarians are foodies because they have to be. Being vegetarian certainly forces you to think about your food and what makes food structures and layers of flavors. I mean, really, you can put bacon in anything and it tastes good. For many years the vegetarian cook books were left to Anna Thomas and Molly Katzen. Anna was too earthy for me and I need pretty pictures in cookbooks. I had a Moosewood cookbook in college as well and, it had things in it like tofu Shepherd’s pie. Dishes like that that give vegetarianism a bad name. Then I found Rose Elliot. Rose produces beautiful, healthy, delicious vegetarian food.

Many dishes from Rose’s Complete Vegetarian Cookbook are standards in my repertoire. My copy is over 15 years old and I know she just released a new version of it, so I can’t speak to the new one but I have purchased two different versions of older ones and I can say I thought it was worth it to buy it two times.

I usually make this dish on Easter, in fact it’s a solid tradition. But the other day we had a ton of carrots in the house, not much else and if you are following the weather in the Southeast then you know it’s too hot for clothes or food. So I took my version of Rose’s carrot soup and I made a cold version.

Cold Carrot Ginger Soup with Basil – Serves 6

1-1.25 Lbs. carrots (about 5-6 medium) – peeled and sliced
1 medium Spanish onion – chopped
1 medium Russet potato – peeled and chopped
1-1 ½” piece of ginger peeled and grated
2 tablespoons butter
3 ½ cups vegetable stock or water
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt or sour cream
½ teaspoon honey
1-2 tablespoons basil – chopped

Sweat the onions in butter for 5-7 minutes until they are starting to become translucent, add in carrots and potatoes, sauté for about 10 minutes until the potatoes get slightly soft, add in ginger, salt and pepper, add in ½ of the stock, bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes. Using a blender or immersion blender puree the soup, add in additional stock or water for desired consistency, add in honey. Chill the soup, add in yogurt and basil prior to serving.

Notes: This can easily be made vegan by using olive oil instead of butter, just be careful that the vegetables do not brown while sautéing them and omit the yogurt. I use a combination of stock and water to better control the sodium content.

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