If you don’t want anything in your life to change, say, for example, your food stereotypes?
Don’t read this book.
Because if you do, one chapter in, you might start saying things like, Maybe I could like mushrooms! Or fish! Or pickles! And so you will, try some of those things, I mean, after a lifetime of not, and you won’t hate them, not even a little, and you’ll suddenly see an entire world of menus and restaurant options that you’ve always overlooked, and, really, everything will change.
Now the second thing (which could seem unrelated): If you buy a birthday present six months early, don’t, please, make that present be for me.
Because if you do, you could be talking to me one night, about something simple like what what you did that day, while I eat forkfuls of tender pot roast and whipped mashed potatoes, and just randomly, I’ll tell you, You know, I think I’m going to buy a Le Creuset French oven next week, and you won’t be able to hold it in, that you bought me one, so within minutes, I’ll be opening the big box, uncovering the cream-colored, beautiful, beautiful cast-iron pot inside, ruining the surprise. And I will have to make something in it, right away.
(While we’re talking about my Le Creuset, which my wonderful plan-ahead mom had planned to give me in August, I may as well show you a picture:)
Isn’t she lovely? I’m thinking of naming her Lucy.
Anyway, the pot isn’t really the purpose of this post—I just really like talking about it—but the thing I made inside the pot is: creamy, comforting carrot soup.
This soup is the kind of recipe I would normally pass on: its primary ingredient is a vegetable, carrots, no less. I mean, you know that I like carrots in a French slaw, but in soup? A lot of times, soups tend to concentrate flavors, strengthening their power, which, if we’re honest, could be the very last thing you’d want to happen to carrots.
However. This soup is good. Like, insanely good. So much so that I am completely and totally happy it was the first thing Lucy made (that sounds weird, now reconsidering the name thing). It is creamy and sweet, comforting on your throat and your stomach. You’ll recognize the earthy taste of carrot, but along with it are hints of spicy clove and punches of sauteed onions and garlic.
I ate two bowls of this soup, right away. It’s wonderful with swirls of cream and bits of chopped parsley on top, where each fragrant, colorful bite dissolves on your tongue and sends warmth through your body. It’s healthy, as the recipes have been this week, but, more importantly, it’s delicious, and, really, that kind of change is worth finding, anytime.
Adapted from Bon Appetit, May 1996
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 pound carrots, peeled, sliced
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 whole cloves
2 cups (about) canned chicken broth, stock (or water or vegetable stock)
1/2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of sugar
1/8 cup chilled whipping cream
Chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, garlic and cloves, and sauté until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups broth. Cover and simmer until carrots are very soft, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Remove cloves from broth and discard. Puree soup in batches in blender (or with stick blender in pan). Return soup to same saucepan. Mix in lemon juice and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Thin to desired consistency with more broth. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Whisk cream in medium bowl just until slightly thickened, about 10 seconds.
Stir soup over medium heat until heated through. Ladle into bowls. Drizzle cream over. Top with parsley. Serves 3 to 4.