This is a very short story about how I develop new recipes. It includes my newest recipe.
Situation: So, one day, you have a lot of carrots that you need to use before they spoil. Yes, they're good for the compost bin, but I don't usually shop for composting ingredients. I prefer, instead, to shop for dinner and lunch ingredients.
Solution: On this particular day, I had 2 lbs of carrots, some green onions (scallions), red and yellow peppers, and 2 beets. I always have onions, garlic, canned goods and an assortment of spices, so I began with what became the first step of my recipe. I peeled, cut and roasted the carrots with an onion and garlic. Next, I pureed everything and stirred in water (you can use chicken stock) and a few spices. Because my mind had wandered to Asian-inspired spices, I also used sesame oil and a can of coconut milk. After tasting and adjusting for salt, I realized that the soup was lacking balance and excitement, so I added lime juice for brightness, a tiny bit of sugar and a little chili-garlic paste.
Now we're talking!
Savoring: The only thing I needed was a garnish. Send in the chopped peppers and scallions and the julienned beets. What a great color contrast! An orange canvas with red and yellow and green bits and shreds of ruby red in the center. Creamy Carrot Soup--good looking and delicious!
Here We Go:
2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into equal pieces (about an inch or so)
1 medium sweet onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 large cloves garlic (skin on)
salt & pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I just drizzle a generous amount over everything)
Roast everything at 400F for about 45 minutes. Toss once during roasting to ensure even caramelization (the little burned looking bits). Remove from oven and allow to cool. Throw everything into a pot and puree with a hand/immersion blender. (If you only have a traditional blender, wait until everything has cooled, pour it all into the jar along with half of the water or chicken stock listed below. Blend, then pour into a pot.)
Stir in the following with a slotted spoon or a whisk:
3 t. chili-garlic paste
1/8 c. sugar
2 t. curry powder
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. turmeric
1/4 t. ginger powder
4 c. water or chicken stock
1 (19 oz) can coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
Stir over medium-high heat until everything is heated through thoroughly. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a mix of red and orange finely chopped peppers and sliced scallions. Dress the center of each bowl with a large pinch of raw julienned beets.
I peel the beets, hold from the stalk end and shave on a mandoline. Then I gather a few slices and slice across into long, thin strips.