Tag Archives: food

Caramelized Carrot Soup

3 Jan

This post is coming to you a little later than I had originally hoped, but I have another new toy that I’ve been trying out, my Google Nexus 10. I’ve only had it for a little while, but so far I highly recommend it! Anyway, soup! Carrot soup is not something that I’ve eaten a whole lot of in my life, so I don’t have much basis for comparison. That being said, this soup was amazingly good! I suppose I shouldn’t expect any less from one of the most popular recipes in Modernist Cuisine.

This recipe utilizes what I consider to be one of the most intimidating and frightening pieces of equipment I’ve used, the pressure cooker. Now I have a feeling that most of my issues using the pressure cooker stems from my lack of experience with it (making this soup brings my total times cooking with it to two). I feel like the more I use it the less intimidating it will be, but it is required to make this soup, no ifs, ands, or buts. This recipe also gave my immersion blender one heck of a workout. While I highly recommend an immersion blender for this application, a traditional blender will get the job done in a pinch.

Here’s what else is needed to make soup:

  • Carrots (peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces)
  • Unsalted butter
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Carrot juice
  • Carotene butter

The only really negative thing I will say about this recipe is that the estimated time to make it is WAY off.  Since I made this after work one day, I made sure to cut all my carrots ahead of time.  Since that is really the only real prep work that needs to be done ahead of time, I’ll say that the 20 minutes of estimated prep time is pretty accurate.  However, the estimated time is only 40 minutes overall.  It took me at least that to make this soup even with the prep work already done.  The writers of Modernist Cuisine obviously didn’t take into account the fact that it takes upwards of 15 minutes just to get the pressure cooker up to operating temperature (or mine at least), and then 20 minutes of cooking after that.  But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s just say that this soup takes a little longer to prepare than the estimate time in the book.

So let’s get started!  Since the carrots were already chopped up, the first step is really simple.  I just let the butter melt in the pressure cooker over medium heat.  While that’s was melting, I mixed together the salt, baking soda, and water.  Once the butter was  melted, I threw the carrots and water mixture into the pot and gave it a good stir to coat all the carrots.  All to do afterwards is put the lid on the pressure cooker and let it do its thing.

When the carrots were done, I depressurized the cooker by running it under water.  This goes a lot quicker than I thought it would actually, so that was nice!  All that I did after that was use an immersion blender to turn the carrots into a smooth puree.

During the last minutes of cooking, I added the carrot juice to a separate pot to warm up.  Once I had my lovely puree ready, I stirred in the carrot juice to create soup.  The recipe says to add water, if necessary, but I found that I didn’t need any.  For good measure, I used the immersion blender some more to make sure the soup was really smooth.

Here’s where the Carotene Butter I made earlier this week comes into play.  It’s not enough that this recipe already has half a cup of butter in it.  Let’s add more!  At this point I worked in a couple tablespoons of the carotene butter with the immersion blender and added a little salt to taste.  And there’s soup!

This ended up making a very velvety, very delicious carrot soup.  We had it as a main course with some homemade bread and it was actually pretty filling, but certainly you could have this as one component of a larger meal.  It would be a very tasty complement to a winter salad as well.  I wish I had made a double recipe so that I could freeze it (oh yeah, this keeps in the freezer for up to two months!).  This is one that I’ll be making again sometime!

For next week, I’m going to go back and make the mac and cheese recipe that I didn’t get to make over the Christmas holidays.  My sodium citrate came in the mail this week so I’m very excited to see what it does!  But until then…

Bon Appetit!

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Hiatuses and My Christmas Haul!

28 Dec

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I may have added a few bricks to that particular road by trying to cook and blog so close to Christmas.  Sometimes life happens and I don’t always get to do things exactly as I had planned.  And I suppose I might have forgotten how busy the holiday season can be.  However, Christmas is over now and it’s back to the kitchen with me!

What’s great is that I got some really cool kitchen stuff for Christmas that will help me in cooking from The Modernist Cuisine!

First up, I got a very nice digital scale.  This is the third digital scale I’ve owned, and I hope this one lasts.  The first one had a good run and finally gave up.  The second had a cruel run-in with our toaster.  Apparently it warps and stops working if you leave it on top of the toaster oven while toasting.  I don’t plan on keeping this one on top of the toaster so as to avoid that problem in the future.  Eventually I would like to have another digital scale to handle very small quantities, but this one will handle most anything I can throw at it for now.

I also got a digital probe thermometer.  This is really awesome because I’ve wanted one for what seems like forever!  I haven’t had an occasion to use it yet but I’m very excited to test it out!

Lastly, and most awesomely, I got a pressure cooker!  To be honest, I have never in my life used a pressure cooker nor do I remember anyone in my family ever using one.  However, this one piece of equipment opens up a world of possibilities for modernist cooking.  I got a stovetop model, not an electric one, but that suites me just fine.  With a small kitchen, the last thing I wanted was another piece of equipment that has to plug in and sit on the counter.  While excited to try this one out, I’m also terrified that I’m going to blow up my house!  It has safety features and whatnot though so maybe this isn’t such a big issue.  🙂

The other thing that I’ll say is that I bought some sodium citrate online.  Another new ingredient for me!  I didn’t have much luck finding it in stores around here, which isn’t much of a surprise.  Actually, Kyle (the hubby) asked about it at our local pharmacy per some advice I found online.  The lady there looked at him like he might be a terrorist!  He had to, very quickly, explain that he only meant to make macaroni and cheese, not a bomb.  Hopefully we’re not on any kind of watch list now.

So between a new ingredient and several new pieces of equipment, I have plenty that I can write about!  I haven’t picked out a recipe for next week yet (I can’t make mac and cheese like I planned pre-Christmas until I get the sodium citrate) but I know I have a lot more to pick from just by having the pressure cooker.  If anyone has any requests or recommendations, by all means let me know!  Thanks for reading and I’ll post again soon!

Part One: Stocking the Modernist Kitchen

30 Nov

Glancing through the contents page for Part One, I couldn’t help wonder how I was going to get all this stuff in my kitchen!  My kitchen isn’t all that big, and space is at a premium for what I currently own.  As I read through the section though, I figured out that I already have a lot of the countertop gear (things like a blender, food processor, mixer, and ice cream maker) and the major elements of the conventional cooking gear come standard in most kitchens.  I mean, who doesn’t have a stove?  And most everyone has a microwave!  Most of the other suggested gear are things that I either have owned before and for some reason no longer do or want.  The few things I’m not familiar with don’t have to be overly expensive and don’t look hard to use.

Owning some of the fancier equipment in this section is more or less a pipe dream for anyone in my income bracket (I’m looking at you combi oven!), but I’m hoping I can pull some strings at work to be able to cook a few recipes using commercial equipment.  Hopefully being a Foodservice Consultant will have it’s advantages here!

And let me just say that cooking sous vide may be the best idea for busy moms I’ve ever heard!  All the steps are pretty simple and the method offers lot of time saving opportunities for busy families.  It seems like it would be a great solution for singles as well too as individual servings of dishes can be refrigerated or frozen for later.  Even better, cooking this way doesn’t require fancy equipment.  For those of you turned off by the idea of cooking fish in your sink though, many options are readily available for upgrading your sous vide setup.  I’ll go through sous vide and all the rest of the gear as I cook in the course of this experiment.  I want to see see how each piece fits into the modernist style of cooking, test each technique, and figure out how practical each method is for an average modern family.  I’m sure there will be triumphs and failures but especially after reading through the entire first part, I’m very hopeful for more successes than disappointments.

The last section of Part One deals with ingredients.  While I agree that the freshest ingredients will yield the freshest food, the practice is not one I’ve adhered to in my personal life as much as I’d like to.  I’m going to take this opportunity to make going to the farmer’s market more of a regular event and finally check out some of the ethnic grocery stores I’ve seen sprinkled around Charlotte.  I’m definitely excited to try some new things!

That’s all of Part One!  You know what that means, right?  It’s time to get cooking!  I think it’s only appropriate to start off with something from the Basics chapter, so next week’s recipe will be pulled from there.  I thank you for reading, and hope you come back to see what’s cooking!

Bon appetit!