A few days a week I am on my own for dinner. Usually I am lazy and I make a grilled cheese or reheat leftovers. Occasionally I get motivated to be creative and make myself a nice meal. When Ryan isn't around for a meal I like to make something that he wouldn't be crazy for, or something vegetarian. Ryan and I have lived together for about 3 years now and I learned real quick that a meal without some sort of meat or seafood is not really a meal. (Or it at least means a late night snack for a hungry husband) Before I lived with Ryan I would go a week or two without meat and not think anything about it. Sometimes, it's nice to a take a break from being a carnivore.
On this particular night I didn't have much in the fridge but I knew I had some homemade chicken stock, carrots, and a bit of fresh ginger that I need to use up before it starting growing things in the fridge. A few weeks ago Adam Roberts, the Amateur Gourmet, had "The Great Soup Battle of 2010". In this epic battle was an intriguing recipe for Carrot Ginger Soup. I've never had carrot soup before but the more I thought about it the more my mouth started to water. And, I had the major ingredients. So I started looking on some of my favorite recipe web sites (Epicurious and My Recipes) for additional inspiration. Although the recipe form AG's Soup Battle sounded tempting, the winning recipe was from Bon Appetit from 1997 that I found on Epicurious.
I sauteed onions, garlic, and ginger in butter until soft and then added the carrots and tomatoes and lemon zest. Look at how pretty!I let that cook for a few minutes then I added the chicken broth. Once the broth had come to a boil, I reduced the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes. (The recipe said 20 minutes or until the carrots were soft). I used my favorite kitchen tool, my hand blender, to blend the soup. I'm not a huge fan of smooth and watery soup so I only blended mine until there were a few chunks of carrot and tomato for texture. But that's just me. When you make your ginger carrot soup, you can do what you want. :)So the soup was blended, but it still tasted a little bland to me. So, I added a little cilantro, cumin, and a bit of Siracha (Thai hot sauce) for heat. When the carrots cook they get very sweet, so I added the heat for balance.
While the last of the spices were simmering away to perfection, I tore up some wheat bread and put them under the broiler and made little "poor man" croutons to serve on top of the soup. I also added some crumbled blue cheese and chopped scallions for texture and color. Not bad for a lonely Wednesday night?
So if you are cooking for one or just tired for the same old grilled cheese or PBJ for dinner, try this soup or any recipe that inspires you. You might end up with some tasty results.