Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pear Bear Muffins

I got the idea for these cuties out of the book below when it came through the library.  The recipe itself was a success for us, but you could use any spice muffin recipe.  After having pears galore for several weeks before making these, we had no pears on this day, so, I used apples.  Eh, oh well. The ears look more like horns, but okay.  I used raisins for the eyes instead of using small chocolate chips.  These were a crowd pleaser . . . for my crowd of one, that is.  (But I got inside information that the kids at school admired the funny muffin in his lunch.)  The recipe used is here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Carrot Soup

I have developed an obsession over this soup.  It all started with the book French Kids Eat Everything, an absolutely charming book about a family who, for realz, moves to France and it changes their entire eating routine.  As in - shatters the American way of eating and wins the family (and the reader) over to the French way.  I loved this book and found it truly inspirational.

So after finishing the book, I wanted to make a soup that was true to itself and didn't have anything "canned" in it.  I happened to have a lot of carrots on hand, and that is how I settled upon this. (In the book, she talks a lot about feeding babies and young children what would essentially be purees of vegetables and then adding aromatics like garlic and onions.  It developes their tastes.)

This soup is from the Moosewood Cookbook, 1977.  At first glance, you might think "Ug, this looks long."  Stay calm, friend.  It is easy. 

Carrot Soup from the 1977 edition of Moosewood Cookbook

2 pounds peeled or scrubbed, chopped carrots
4 cups stock or water (okay, okay, I used canned chicken stock)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium potato, chopped (optional, for heartier soup)
3-4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1-2 small cloves crushed garlic
1/3 cup chopped cashews or almonds

Choose one:
1 cup milk
1 cup yogurt or buttermilk plus a little honey
1/2 pint heavy cream
3/4 cup sour cream
(I have been using the sour cream option)

Seasoning choices:
-2 pinches of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon dried mint, dash of cinnamon
-1 teaspoon each of thyme, marjoram and basil
-1 teaspoon grated ginger
(I have been using the grated ginger option)

Place carrots, liquid and salt (and potato if you are using it) into a medium sized soup pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer it for 12-15 minutes. Let it cool to room temp.

Saute the onion, garlic and nuts in the butter until the onions are clear. You can sprinkle in a little salt to help draw the moisture out of the onions. Towards the end of cooking, stir in the seasoning combo of your choice.
Add seasonings to soup pot and puree in a blender until smooth OR, if you have it, use an immersion blender.

Whisk in one of the dairy products. This soup freezes beautifully.  I have been making batches and freezing them in lunch-sized containers.
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