Monday, April 23, 2012

The Weekend That Wasn't

I was sick this weekend with a mystery ailment. Saturday afternoon I started feeling just generally bad, and a little achy. Then I realized I was pretty cold ... to the point of shivering. I crawled into bed with the heat turned up and the covers pulled up to my chin, and I could not get entirely warm. Within a few hours the chills turned into a fever. My temp climbed and climbed up to about 101, and for me that's a serious fever; my normal temp runs well below 98. I felt like my skin was on fire. A hefty dose of ibuprofen and a little more time, and it finally broke. The fever and chills hung around, just at a lower intensity. It was only late today that I finally shook the last remnants. There were no other symptoms other than a little queasiness, so I don't know what I had.

Needless to say, the weekend didn't lend itself to cooking. In fact, after lunch on Saturday I didn't eat anything but some Goldfish crackers, until I had a bowl of cereal Sunday for lunch. Today I've lived on some yogurt, and finally this evening some of my carrot-ginger soup that I had in the freezer. The idea of something warm and simple and liquid appealed to me, and I knew the ginger would be good for my still-wombly tummy.

I've been making this soup for many years, usually portioning it into individual servings for freezing. It's something I just made up on the fly one day because the idea appealed to me. I usually make it based on the amount of carrots I have on hand. I've never measured any of the other ingredients; I just eyeball everything. This recipe is more of a set of guidelines than a recipe. I've found since then that there are lots of carrot-ginger soup recipes around, but I've always just made my seat-of-the-pants version.

Carrot-Ginger Soup

I start with a little slick of olive oil in a medium to medium-large sauce pan. (You could also use butter.) I add chopped onion, sliced fresh ginger, sliced garlic, a LITTLE chopped celery (if I have any on hand, which frankly I usually don't), salt & pepper. Saute until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.

Add carrots, cut into chunks (or baby carrots), and enough low-sodium chicken stock to cover by an inch or so. (I have even used just water when I didn't have any chicken stock to hand. You could also use vegetable stock, obviously.) Bring to a boil, then simmer until the carrots are tender. Allow to cool, then use a blender or food processor to puree. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. At this point I might also add a sprinkle of nutmeg or thyme.

At this point you can freeze, or reheat to serve. You can enjoy it as is, but I usually either top with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt, OR mix in milk, half-and-half, or cream to make it "cream of" soup. If not adding the milk/cream, you can add more water or broth if the soup is too thick, which it sometimes is.

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