Friday, February 20, 2009

Recipe for Lemony Carrot Ginger Soup (Σούπα με Καρότα, Λεμόνι και Τζίντζερ)

I’m sick and tired of my refrigerator being filled to the gunnels. Something must be done; the situation is dire.

Condiments and ingredients with a permanent spot in the refrigerator are a big cause of the problem. Preserved lemons, sourdough starter, 3 kinds of olives, 10 kinds of hot sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, Asian sauces, capers, anchovies, jam, milk, cream, orange juice, eggs, and who knows what else; it all adds up.

Cheese and salumi are always available at our house. And since I buy them at Costco, the single best source of cheese in Anchorage, they come in big packages and take up too much space. There are also the cheeses we bring back from Greece; we freeze what we can, but some can’t be frozen. They’re squatting on valuable real estate in the back of the refrigerator.

Produce completes the trifecta of refrigerator hogs. We eat a lot of vegetables and they take up space. Make that lots of space. When our Full Circle Farm CSA box arrives every other week, I struggle to cram in everything that needs to be refrigerated. I don’t always succeed.

Don’t get me started on the leftovers. They live perpetually on the verge of hurling themselves on anyone who is so bold as to open the refrigerator door. It’s quite a thrill when a yogurt container full of soup jumps out, drenching you and spreading its liquid goodness far and wide on the kitchen floor.

I can’t take it anymore. I’m done. I’ve reached my limit. I need a second refrigerator and I need it soon. I’m officially in the market for a used refrigerator. If you know of anyone in Anchorage who wants to get rid of one, or anyone who knows of anyone who knows of anyone, please let me know. In the meantime, I’m working my way through the produce.

Next up, three bunches of carrots; it’s soup time. Although I make a great Moroccan Carrot and Chermoula Soup, I decided on Carrot Ginger Soup, a recipe from the website of Beth, my partner this month in Taste and Create. Taste and Create is an event created by Nicole from For the Love of Food in which food writers are paired with a randomly assigned partner, and asked to cook and review one recipe from their partner’s blog.

Although I loved the concept of Beth’s recipe, it included orange juice, a flavor I don’t care for in savory dishes. Instead, I used lemon peel and juice. It was a fortuitous substitution; lemon’s tartness pleasingly balanced the sweet carrots and cinnamon. I added sautéed onions to bring out the soup’s savory notes, and crystallized ginger for its multi-dimensional sweet heat.

Sweet-yet-tangy Carrot Ginger Soup was a delicious treat on a snowy winter evening, even though it made only the tiniest dent in my refrigerator problem. We enjoyed the soup with Celery and Olive Salad, and were impressed by how much flavor we found in a simple dinner of carrots and celery.

Lemony Carrot Ginger Soup (Σούπα με Καρότα, Λεμόνι και Τζίντζερ)
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter
The yogurt or cream stirred in at the end helps smooth out lemon’s sharp edges, but isn’t at all necessary. The soup tastes great without the dairy.

2 cups diced onions, 1/2” dice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon peel
2 Tbsp. minced crystallized ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup plain yogurt or cream (optional)

In a Dutch oven, sauté the onions, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in olive oil until they soften and begin to turn golden. Stir in the carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, lemon peel, ginger, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until the carrots are soft.

Purée the soup with a stick blender (or in a blender or food processor) until it is very smooth. Return the soup to the pot, stir in the lemon juice, and cook for five minutes. Taste and add salt, freshly ground black pepper, or lemon juice, as needed. If using yogurt or cream, stir it into the soup. Serve immediately.


Peter G said...

The way you write about the state of your refrigerator had me in hysterics Laurie! Nothing beats a carrot soup with a touch of ginger...perfectly warming in the winter months!

Susan said...

LOL! Sounds just like my fridge. This soup, however, is nothing to laugh at - just beautiful.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

the variety of products available in a place like Alaska certainly makes refrigerator space a kind of valuable real estate. that isn't really a problem here.

at the moment, my main problem is getting everyone to eat BRASSICAs in various forms, after our excess garden crops of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.

i find the best way to use up excess produce is in soups. I also add excess veges into stews. recently i added cabbage in a black-eyed bean stew and decided they tasted better that way.

this soup looks beautiful - greece is gearing up for a cold spell in the next week, so it'll be soup time for us too

Peter M said...

I adore carrot soup with ginger...little dollop of strained yogurt and Bob's your uncle!

Cheryl said...

I can only laugh and empathize with the fridge story! I always wish that I could hire someone to clean mine out for me.
This soup sounds (& looks) wonderful. It's really cold here, as Maria mentioned, and soups on this week!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

I completely understand the problem with the fridge. For me, I feel so relieved when we manage to finish leftovers either in the fridge or in the freezer. My main problem is all these exotic sauces and condiments which I rarely use. They take so much space and they weren't cheap, so I don't want to throw them away.

This soup looks yummy. I've never used crystallized ginger, but sure sounds great in this soup.

Bellini Valli said...

I try never to miss the T & C event. Your choice looks amazing from your partners list:D

Lulu Barbarian said...

LOL! I wonder how long it'll take you to get the second fridge just as full. :-)

Simona said...

Very nice. I have some crystallized ginger left over from another recipe and you've given me a great idea for using it.

ΝικΝικ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ΝικΝικ said...

Σίγουρα όχι σαν το δικό μου ψυγείο!! Αυτή τη στιγμή έχει έναν χυμό (Λακωνίας), ενα κομμάτι φέτα, ένα μπουκάλι νερό βρύσης, λίγο τριμμένο κεφαλοτύρι (Δωδώνης), μισό φιλέτο κοτόπουλο (Μιμίκος), κρέμα γάλακτος και fishsticks....αααα, και πολύ χώρο!


Υγ. Μια χαρά τα ελληνικά σου, οπότε συνεχίζω κι εγώ με τα δικά μου!

Laurie Constantino said...

Peter, although I can now, I wasn't laughing when the soup jumped out at me!

Susan, glad to hear I'm not alone!

Maria, in the village my refrigerator is even worse - so much generosity. Your black-eyed bean stew with cabbage sounds really good. MMmmmm.

Peter, no Bob's my cat!

Cheryl, I hope you're keeping warm! As for your cleaning your refrigerator, maybe it's time to start training Izza (that's a joke!).

Nihal, you have EXACTLY described the problem. Before this I'd never used crystallized ginger in anything other than baking, but it was really good.

Val, I always WANT to do T & C - it's just remembering to sign up by the deadline. It's always interesting.

LuLu, you sound just like my husband.

Simona, I can't wait to see what you do with it!

ΝικΝικ, τόσο λίγο; Τι κρίμα!

FoodJunkie said...

I sympathize with the fridge situation Laurie and I think a second fridge just for the vegetables is not such a bad idea! I usually add some ground coriander seeds to my carrot soup, it really suits both the ginger and the carrot.

Laurie Constantino said...

Ioanna, ground coriander is a really good idea - it would go really well in this soup. Thanks!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Hah -- I've been trying to empty my fridge, too. I went through all of the condiment jars, and found there were at least four jars of hamburger relish -- which we do not eat. How they got there, four open jars, is beyond me. A bit more paring down comes every Sunday, when I empty whatever is in the vegetable drawer and make a big pot of soup from the contents.