Archive for February, 2009

Yes, you guessed it…I’ve started going to yoga. I am officially a Cantabrigian (n, a native resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts according to Merriam-Webster Online dictionary). Granted, I still try to look like a ballerina in class, I can’t hold a single pose, and I giggle when the teacher says “namaste,” but I do enjoy it and feel great afterward. After class a few weeks ago, I wanted to extend the healthy glow and was super hungry, but had virtually no vegetables in my fridge except for an almost full bag of shredded carrots a week past their use by date. They looked fine, showed no growth, and were not slimy at all. I figured I could turn them into a soup. I’m sure some of you out there are already horrified and will never eat in my home again, but come on….there are starving children somewhere in the world, this was much better than eating Ben and Jerry’s straight from the container, and I wouldn’t run this type of risk for guests. Moving on.

I checked out C&Z and searched for “carrot soup”– Clotilde had a recipe for carrot-mint soup and one of the comments mentioned replacing the mint with coriander. This sounded like a good starting point. I played around a bit and here’s what I came up with. It was great and will definitely reappear on my table for guests (with fresh carrots…).

carrot coriander cilantro soup

Carrot-Coriander-Cilantro Soup

Inspired by Chocolate & Zucchini’s Soupe de Carotte a la Mente I consider this a quick and easy meal because except for chopping the onion, there is virtually no prepping required, and everything is in one pot. The only major clean-up is the pot, your immersion blender, and a few utensils.

Serves 4 as starter or 2 as main

2T olive or vegetable oil

½ onion (red or white), chopped

1-2 t garlic, minced (1-2 cloves)

1 T coriander

~10 oz bag shredded carrots (can also use baby carrots or large peeled and cut carrots)

Ersatz chicken broth mix + 5-6 C water (or chicken or vegetable broth) – I use Osem brand but it does contain MSG

1.5 T chopped cilantro*

1 T lemon juice (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium heat; saute onion and garlic in oil until translucent

Add coriander; stir and heat until coats onion/garlic mixture and becomes fragrant – approximately 5 minutes

Add carrots and stir frequently until begin to soften, approximately 10 minutes

Add enough broth to cover carrots and at least 1 inch (if using ersatz chicken broth, don’t worry too much about mixing with powder beforehand)

Bring to boil, then turn down heat and simmer for ~15 minutes until carrots soften.

If using larger carrots, this might take longer; when carrots are soft, use immersion blender to puree, but allow some chunks to remain

Remove from heat and add cilantro, lemon juice if using, and salt and pepper to taste (may not need salt if using ersatz chicken broth powder); serve hot

* I keep chopped herbs in my freezer so they are ready to use in soups and other dishes. If my basil or mint plant is overgrown, or I have bought too much, I chop up the herbs, wrap in plastic in a roll so it is easy to measure by eye, and then store in a freezer bag. When I want to use these “fresh” frozen herbs later, they defrost really quickly, especially when dropped in a pot of soup.

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I have been writing content for this blog for several months, have told scores of friends about this endeavor, have been cooking and baking and trying to take pictures of my experiments, but have put off actually “going live.” I’m not sure what I’ve been waiting for.

I made the decision to pull together all of my recipes and cooking adventures and travel after meeting Clotilde clotildeDusoulier in Paris last November for a book reading and signing. If you don’t know who she is, you should. She writes Chocolate & Zucchini (she’s at the top of my list of favorite blogs…check out her French “edible idioms” if you love the French language as much as I do), and everything I have ever made from her site and cookbooks has turned out well. Coming from me, that’s saying a lot. At the signing, she suggested using a blog, at the very least, as a way to keep track of your recipes and maybe to eventually share them with the world. She signed one of her books to me: “Pour Gayle – le bonheur est dans la cuisine! Clotilde” — “happiness is in cooking/the kitchen.” More on Clotilde later, but suffice it to say that my visits to France have led to many memorable experiences.

A year and a half ago, I spent about a month taking dance classes in Paris and Nice. At a later time, I’m sure I’ll write about the amazing food I ate, the (mostly positive) reactions I got to wearing a Jewish star the whole time, but right now, I’m going to focus on the issue at hand and some words of wisdom I received from one of my dance teachers in Nice. I was taking a jazz and tap dance atelier (workshop) at OffJazz that taught me so much more than dance. Given the world renown of the the school as well at its amazing location, students came from all over Europe and the world to train with Gianin Loringett and Gianin's classother teachers. (I hung out with people from London, Paris, Cannes, Prague, the Hague, Denmark, Brazil, and Cuba, and have gone back to visit a few dancers in their home cities.) What I found amazing, besides the instruction, was Gianin’s ability to switch seamlessly from one language to another. I consider myself lucky to speak passable French, but this guy is amazing. Our last week, we had several Italian students in one of our classes and as Gianin was demonstrating some steps, he stopped and stared at one dancer standing back and watching rather than practicing and yelled out, “Non pensare, fare.” For the rest of us whose common language was English, he translated as only he could: “If you sit around and think and wait, the train will leave you at the station.”

So there we go. I’ve started my blog. I’m on the train. And since this is about food, I guess I need to post at least one yummy picture. So, here is an authentic salade nicoise from, yup…you guessed it, Nice.

salade nicoise a Nice

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