Between our air conditioning breaking earlier this week and the fact that it happened right during a mini heat wave (and is still not fixed!), I wasn’t overly ambitious with this week’s food travels. I decided to return to a cookbook that I had gotten right at the start of summer and since now we’re nearing the end of what I feel is the best season, it seemed fitting to cook from it.
What I loved most about Asheville, North Carolina were its stunning vistas, compliments of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And since now I am sweltering in this hot and humid heat, I would give anything to be back in cool, mountain weather. Here’s to dreaming:
Although it may seem a bit odd to make a hot soup when the temperatures are in the low 90s, I did indeed do that as I’m not the biggest fan of cold soups. I present you with Carrot and Ginger Soup (although my version got nowhere near as vibrant an orange color as the cookbook’s version did). The recipe adds a dollop of curried creme fraiche before serving but I opted to forgo it.
Both D and I really enjoyed it and you could especially taste the sherry and ginger in it. It’s definitely not your standard carrot soup recipe, it has more of a kick to it.
Carrot and Ginger Soup with Curried Creme Fraiche
2 onions, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped garlic
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
4 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sherry
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup minced peeled ginger
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3 tabelspoons salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 cups heavy cream
Curried creme fraiche
Sweat the onions, celery and garlic in the butter in a saucepan over low heat until translucent. Add the carrots and saute until the carrots are tender. Sprinkle with the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sherry and cook until thickened, stirring constantly to deglaze the saucepan and to prevent lumps from forming. Cook until the liquid is reduced by 3/4.
Add the chicken stock, honey, ginger, thyme, salt and white pepper. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the desired consistency. Stir in the cream and adjust the seasoning. Cook just until heated through; do not boil. Ladle into soup bowls and top with a dollop of Curried Creme Fraiche.
(Serves four to six)
Curried Creme Fraiche
1 cup creme fraiche
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
pinch of salt
Combine the creme fraiche, curry powder and salt in a bowl and mix gently.
(Serves four to six)
And for our main course I made Carolina Crab Cakes. I’ve made them before and have to say I prefer the recipe from my Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook more. The recipe from the Biltmore Cookbook was good, just not great.
I “started” a dessert but won’t be finishing it until Monday as I’ll be taking it to a Labor Day picnic dessert. Photos and a blog post on it are forthcoming so stay tuned!