I love leisurely Saturday mornings. It’s what I look forward to all week long. On the agenda, after my morning coffee (nothing officially starts before coffee), is a trip to the farmers’ markets.
Stop #1: U/14th Street;
Stop #2: New Morning Farm;
Stop #3: Silver Spring farmers’ market (and that’s just Saturday).
On Sunday, there’s Dupont Circle and Palisades…it’s always fun to see what awaits. The difficult part, restraining myself from buying too much and then figuring out what to do with it all (to include strategically finding a spot [read: stuffing it into] my cramped apartment-size refrigerator).
Am slowly getting into a fall/autumn state of mind — wool socks, comfy sweaters, and big bowls of soup to stay warm. While it’s not my favorite time of year from a weather standpoint (gray skies, sigh), on the brighter side, I do look forward to the array of produce that thrives this time of year.’Tis the season of roots. With roots, come carrots. Lots and lots of carrots, in all colors of the rainbow — purple, red, orange, tangerine, yellow, and even white.
Hard to walk past colorful collages of carrots without them catching your eye (I’m easily swayed). I conducted a blind taste test, and while the orange carrots were the sweetest (just by a hair), for the most part, they tasted identical regardless of color.
Taste aside, from a visual standpoint, these carrots add an eye-popping splash of color to your plate (which is particularly noticeable when served in the raw, for example, in a salad). Oh, the things that get me excited. After all, we do eat with our eyes first.
With carrots in hand, this soup quickly came together with the rest of my farmers’ market finds — fresh, young ginger, lemongrass, and cilantro.
It’s a simple, homey, warming soup.
Enjoy this soup on its own, jazz it up with some coconut encrusted shrimp, or simply garnish with toasted coconut (or toasted nuts [such as hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts]) and fresh cilantro leaves.
Ginger. Have you tasted young, fresh ginger? It’s tender, juicy, sweet, and mild…
I’m a bit of a ginger addict, love tossing some in my juicer for one of my crazy morning concoctions. Ginger gets me going in the morning.
For the coconut shrimp:
1) dust the peeled shrimp in all-purpose flour (seasoned with salt and pepper);
2) dip the shrimp in a bowl of egg wash (I used just the egg whites), and;
3) coat the shrimp well with dried shredded coconut.
After experimenting with baking versus pan-sauteing, decided that I much preferred the pan-sauteed shrimp. Simply heat a little oil (used coconut oil) over medium-high heat, and when hot, add the shrimp and cook until the coconut is nicely browned and the shrimp is cooked through, no more than a minute to a minute and a half per side is all you should need.
Time to make more soup…
Carrot Lemongrass Ginger Soup
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 pounds of carrots, peeled, and chopped into roughly 1-inch pieces
1 heaping tablespoon minced lemongrass plus one ~ 3-inch piece of stalk, sliced in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 14-ounce can of coconut milk
3 1/2 to 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
toasted coconut for garnish (optional)
toasted and chopped nuts for garnish, such as hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts (optional)
cilantro for garnish
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft and translucent, but not colored, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, ginger, minced lemongrass, and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
With the back of a chef’s knife or wooden spoon, gently pound the lemongrass stalk to release its fragrant oil.
Add the coconut milk, stock (start with 3 1/2 cups), and lemongrass stalk. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook about 20-25 minutes until the carrots are tender. Remove the the lemongrass stalk. Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until very smooth (adding more broth if needed to achieve desired consistency).
Taste and season as needed. Garnish with toasted coconut or nuts and fresh cilantro leaves.