Monday, January 14, 2013

carrot soup with lemon tahini drizzle and toasted chickpeas

I woke up the other morning to find the food blogosphere all about chickpeas and carrots. These are just s few of the recipes I latched onto:

smitten kitchens latest carrot soup- I've made this twice last week-it's sooooo simple!
101 cookbooks morrocan carrot soup-I haven't made this yet but it's on the queue for Le Weekend
Amateur Gourmet's Anything Goes Salad-I've made this wonderful chopped salad a few times now. It's a great work salad because it's perfectly fine in the refrigerator for a couple of days, so I can make a lot.

The Smitten Kitchen Carrot Soup appeared first and there was absolutely no reason not to jump right into this because I had all of the ingredients on hand-the usual bunch of carrots, just waiting for their greater purpose, the questionable dregs of a jar of tahini (does tahini have a shelf life? he jar says nothing!),  a near empty jar of dried chickpeas and a newly purchased bag of za'atar (an new stranger to the little kitchen inspired The Amateur Gourmet salad up above).
I had to laugh when I read Deb's comment about her self-imposed carrot soup challenge, as it sounded very akin to my own evolution with most vegetables.
The soup is sooooo simple and flavorful on its own, but the addition of the tahini & lemon added that little kick of brightness. My drizzle work needs some finessing and it's far too fussy a finish for a simple carrot soup, but couldn't help myself after I'd poured that vibrant bowl of orange. The soupy canvas seemed to call to my squeeze bottle.
An equally inspiring discovery was the toasted chickpea. I've never toasted chickpeas before and when I pulled them out of the oven and tasted them I was blown away by how good they were...salty & spicy with a touch of crunch...just a brilliant snack all on their own.
Carrot soups collided today. A new cooking school recently popped up on my  radar.
Scanning their website, I discovered they were having an open house today. I pedaled by to check it out. It was inspiring and enlightening.
They demonstrated 4 recipes including a curry carrot soup. It was good. Thick and spicy...but not as good as this. A lot of curry and a lot of milk and cream. Not that there's anything wrong with that. If I hadn't just made this, I probably would have been singing the praises of that curry carrot soup. It was a tad more work (roasting carrots-and I looooovvvve roasted anything) than this super simple SK soup (everything gets tossed into the pot and sauteed-add stock-cook until carrots are soft-puree-done). 
Something I took particular note of: the chef/instructor said never to garnish a soup wth something that was not already a component of the soup. Hmmnnn...What am I to make of that? I loved the tahini swirl and toasted chickpea croutons.
Nevertheless, the carrot soup is definitely a keeper and I shall roast the carrots next time.

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