One of my food resolutions this year is to do more experimenting with dinner, vegetables in particular. I have fallen in a rut of steaming them, which is healthy and quick. But, I don't yearn to eat my vegetables, which shouldn't be the case because I like almost every veggie out there (sorry, Brussel sprouts).
I've always thought I was good at seasoning them, but even that doesn't seem to liven my appetite anymore. If any readers have suggestions that don't involve mass quantites of oil, butter and salt, I'm more than willing to listen.
Carrots, for instance, always get relegated to the salad pile and eaten raw. I almost never think to cook them, and I should.
I'm going to ease into that idea because it takes a while to cook carrots and I prefer cooked veggies I can get on the table in about 10 minutes.
I found this recipe while perusing our wire food stories. It comes from food writer David Tanis of the New York Times. I would probably start with 2 tablespoons of the oil and see if that was enough.
JULIENNE CARROT SALAD
3/4 pound medium carrots
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
1. Peel carrots and cut into fine julienne. Place in a medium bowl.
2. Put shallot, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Stir in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. Lightly salt carrots, add vinaigrette and toss well. Let marinate for 5-10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pile the carrots onto a serving platter and sprinkle with chives. Yield: 4 servings.
I am a mad woman about tomato soup. If it's on a menu, I will try it. I became addicted to the Campbell's variety as a child and still call it one of my main comfort foods. It's hard to admit I still like soup out of a can considering how many great tomato soups I've tried over the decades. I have never made it at home because I am the sole fan of that variety in the household. Still, when I host another soup potluck at my house, this recipe will my contribution. It is adapted very slightly from "Stir: Mixing It Up in the Italian Tradition" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009).
While this recipe calls for a dollop of sour cream on top, my choice would be to sprinkle some fresh Parmesan over the top and add a few croutons.
Spicy Tomato Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled, halved, and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
2 cans whole tomatoes
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Cr(*143*)me fra(*148*)che or sour cream, for garnish (optional)
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and very tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, plus the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded, about 30 minutes. (If you're in a hurry, you can skip the simmer time -- just add a bit less water.) Add the basil, season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat, and let cool briefly, about 5 minutes.
3. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large, heatproof bowl. Using a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap from the blender lid (the pour lid) and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam from the hot soup to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off).
4. Pour the blended soup through the strainer, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula or ladle; discard the solids. Taste the soup and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
5. Return the soup to the saucepan and reheat on medium low until hot. If you choose, serve topped with a tablespoon of cr(*143*)me fra(*148*)che or sour cream.
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