Roasted Carrot Soup with Chickpeas & Tahini

Me and Elizabeth

It’s been a rough couple of weeks chez Katie….clearly not in the way of good friends and a fun happy hour, but in the way of new recipes. The new recipes I’ve been making haven’t turned out badly per se, but let’s just say they’re not “blog material.” I’m going to have to revisit them to perfect them….not that I’m a perfectionist at all or anything :) Instead of remaking:

The molasses oat bread that I accidentally baked while it was rising, the gluten-free chickpea fritters that fell apart, the too-tangy cream of mushroom soup, and the way too easy *read: semi-homemade* (thanks Sandra Lee) caramel cheesecake bars…

I’ve been enjoying life in the city and many firsts. First Galentine’s Day brunch with the gals (where I did remake this delicious Baked Coffee Cake French Toast :) first rally, and first time at the DC zoo!!!

Galentine's Brunch

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Creamy Vegan Corn & Leek Soup

From the farmer’s market, I bring you this wonderfully creamy, vegan soup entirely inspired from the ingredients that called out to me at the White House market.

I love shopping at farmer’s markets – the love affair truly began in Lyon, France with the market, Marché Saint Antoine-Célestins that runs along the Saône River just a few blocks from the center of the city.  On a weekday morning, you’d stroll leisurely under the sycamore trees with a beautiful view of the cathedral just across the river as the vendors greet you and tell you about their freshest produce. However, the weekend market was an entirely different event, fun, but you may get your toes run over by little old French ladies toting their wheelie shoppers through the tight crowds. It’s all part of the charm :) The DC markets have a similar allure, but I can’t say I have the same rapport with these farmers – I got spoiled with the daily market just a couple blocks from my apartment in Lyon.

Now, if you live in California, you’re probably still in luck, but I actually made this soup in October, and sadly most of the DC farmer’s markets have now closed for the winter. A big bowl of this comforting soup would be wonderful right now, but it is truly the perfect summer-meets-fall meal. I used the last offerings of the summer corn and combined it with new winter crop of leeks. I didn’t really have a plan when I started, but lemme tell ya, this soup is out of this world. It’s smooth and creamy, bursting with flavor, and it’s also a healthy, vegan soup! So go ahead, have another ladle-full ;)

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Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower Soup

Mmmh! We’re so close to fall, I can literally taste it! This week was way too warm and muggy for it to truly be fall, but we did have one cool, very rainy day, so I made soup! IT’S REALLY ALMOST SOUP SEASON, PEOPLE. I’m SO excited to put my immersion blender to work! Soup is perfect. It is so comforting and filling, and it’s super healthy at the same time (well, unless you go the Paula Deen route :). This was my ‘Hey, you’re an amazing woman, and the world will be better after a lovingly crafted soup’ Soup. And guess what. It’s Friday! We made it through the week – thanks to roommates, friends abroad, a Downton marathon, a hilarious hermano, and a farmers’ market! :)

So here we are! I’m gonna be upfront here, I’m going against my New Year’s Resolution in the truest definition. I got a vague description of this recipe from a friend, and just decided to go with it! So it’s not exactly new….I made it up. You proud Mom? I only had the title of the recipe, and I just ran with it! :D

Full disclosure – I don’t like cauliflower, but as my recipe consultant assured me, it really just absorbs the flavors around it. I roasted carrots and cauliflower with a little salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme. Meanwhile, I sauteed some onions and celery for a good basic soup base. I threw it all together and added some cumin, curry, paprika, and a little white wine. It maybe got a little crazy –  it was an experiment after all, but don’t worry I’ve only ever made one soup that I just couldn’t come back from – and in the end, it was delicious!

 

*Here’s what I did!

Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower Soup

Preheat the oven to 450, and chop into bite-sized pieces and toss onto a baking sheet:

1 cauliflower
7 carrots

You want to make sure you remove the core of the cauliflower. It looks like this:

Just cut it right out. Then toss the carrots and cauliflower florets in:

2 T. olive oil
2 t. dried thyme
1 T. granulated garlic
Salt and pepper

Roast the veggies for about 40 minutes (or until fork-tender), tossing halfway through.

Meanwhile, finely chop:

5 stalks of celery
1 onion

Heat a little olive oil and a small pat of butter in your soup pot, and sautee the onions with garlic, salt, and pepper over medium heat until almost translucent. Then add the celery, and continue to cook for about 10 minutes.

When the carrots and cauliflower florets are done, add them to the pot. Add to cover all of the vegetables:

Vegetable stock (or water)

Blend the soup until a creamy consistency is reached. Then add:

2 T. each of cumin and curry
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 t. mustard powder
Dash paprika
Salt and pepper

Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings. Serve the soup with a dollop of:

Greek yogurt or creme fraiche 

Enjoy the soup among decorative gourds…cause it’s fall.

**French phrase for fun

Je vais te laisser avec ce photo de courgettes conjoints…c’est dingue.

I’ll leave you with this photo of conjoined zucchini…crazy.

¡Gazpacho!

What to do on the weekend when the heat becomes perhaps a little suffocating:

1. Go to the movies.
2. Sit inside a sports bar to watch the olympics aaand have a cold beer or two.
3. Go to a museum.
4. Make an icy cocktail – preferably to be enjoyed by a body of water.
5. Make GAZPACHO!!!

Gazpacho is the ultimate hot day meal. Not only does it transport you to Spain, but it is also very refreshing and light. Definitely enjoy it ice-cold with a glass of sangria :)  This recipe has been on my list for a while now, and it was so easy and lemme tell ya, the flavors are unreal. I wish I had done this one earlier in the summer – it’s going to be a mainstay for me now.

 

Here’s what I did!

Gazpacho

*like my mother, I looked at a couple of different recipes to get the idea and then just winged it, tasting as I went.

Chop into 1 inch pieces/open and add to a big, deep bowl (or into a blender/vitamix if you’re faaaancy):

-1 24oz. can of fire-roasted tomatoes
-2 red bell peppers
-1 green bell pepper
-1 large cucumber (first cut in half, and scrape out the seeds with a spoon- they can be watery)
-1 medium red onion
-3 cloves of garlic
-1/4 c. white wine vinegar
-1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
-several dashes of cayenne pepper

Now, blend everything up! (I used my immersion blender which works like a dream.) Taste it! Add more salt/pepper/cayenne/vinegar/olive oil as needed. Chill the soup (preferably for a couple of hours to let those flavors have a beautiful wedding and marry), and serve cold on a hot summer day or night. You could even bring a thermos of it to something like Screen on the Green – DC’s summer tradition of showing old movies at sundown on the National Mall (Who knew- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid! It Happened One Night! SO GOOD! And next week is Psycho…wish me luck.) Take a look! :)

 

**French phrase for fun!

Allez! Rafraîchissons-nous avec le gaspacho.
Let’s go cool off with some gazpacho.

Roasted Eggplant, Pepper, & Chickpea Soup

“Sometimes I’ll think about something you said, and I’ll laugh, and then the other people choosing tomatoes at the grocery store will wonder what’s so funny about that tomato.” :)

So after some impromptu (read: random, out of my crazy brain) soup-making, tonight I finally decided to pull out my “Love Soup” cookbook that, of course, came to DC with me. And guess what?! I found a card with that adorably accurate note on it from my mom stuffed inside. :) It only took me 5 weeks to find, but there it was! It’s so true too, and I secretly love when I laugh out loud to myself, and people around me think I’m crazy- mostly because it’s just so darned hilarious, and I’m thinking of you.

So then I made this yummy Roasted eggplant, pepper, and chickpea soup! I was starving, but decided to have an appetizer so that I could allow the proper time for the roasting- so key. And it had tomatoes, onion, garlic, and oregano in it too- classic! But the awesome part is the fun bzzzz with my immersion blender- totally professional :)

**French phrase for fun:

Les tomates sont drôles.

Tomatoes are funny.