Friday, October 19, 2012

Orange-Scented Carrot Soup a good first outing with Ten Dollar Dinners cookbook

I’ve only caught bits and pieces of a few episodes Melissa d’Arabian’s Food Network TV show, Ten Dollar Dinners, but I liked it enough to buy her first cookbook when it came out in August.
    Named Ten Dollar Dinners like the TV show, the cookbook is full of delicious-looking and nutritious ideas for weeknight meals.
    I tried a recipe from the book for the first time this past week and was very impressed.
    Orange-Scented Carrot Soup (click for the recipe) was quick to make and required few ingredients, but had an amazing depth of flavor.
    The secret ingredient was dried oregano, which infused the soup with an earthy feel.
    The description “Orange-Scented” is a good one – there is a very slight orange taste on the edges of the soup, but nothing at all overwhelming.
    Serve it with some crusty bread and a salad, and you’ve got a great weeknight meal.
    I made this soup by myself, and took about 45 minutes from start to finish without any rushing.
    Roughly-chopped carrots and an onion are cooked in olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot, then minced garlic, finely-grated orange zest (orange peel) and dried oregano are added and stirred for a bit.
    The recipe I linked to on the Food Network website says to “deglaze the pan with white wine.” The recipe in the cookbook is clearer on this matter, saying to increase the heat to medium-high, add the wine and stir for about a minute.
    Chicken or vegetable stock (I used store-bought vegetable stock) and water are added to the pot, brought to a boil, then reduced to a gentle simmer.
    The soup is cooked for another eight to 10 minutes until the carrots are tender.
    The recipe says to let the mixture cool for five minutes before processing it in a blender or food processor. This is good advice, but if you’re using a hand-held (immersion) blender like I did, you don’t need to wait for the soup to cool first.
    The soup is served with a swirl of sour cream in each bowl.

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