Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Adventures of a Happy Cooker has an announcement: a daughter!  We share a love of food, cooking and family food adventures, and now we will share some of that with you! Approximately once a month we will take an ingredient or topic and give it a "mother-daughter" spin! 

       Hello!  Fille here!  As my mother mentioned, I will be joining this blog once a month or so to offer an alternative view point on a chosen ingredient or cooking style.  While my mother is my inspiration when it comes to cooking, we do have some differing methods and view points, and thought it would be fun to produce a "fair and balanced" blog.   So let the fun begin with carrots!

One of the things I dislike the most about carrots is the tendency of cooks to bring out their sweetness with sugar, butter and honey.  I am not a sweet fan - I tend to lean more on the spice and everything nice side of things.   So I created this dish to allow myself to enjoy the wonderful flavor of carrots, but in the manner that I enjoy them - with lots of spice!

Spicy Carrot Soup 
2 tbsp of olive oil 
1 lb of carrots (preferably fresh farm whole carrots but you can do the package of baby carrots as well), peeled and chopped 
1 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped 
4 small  baby Yukon gold potatoes, peeled 
1 medium onion 
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (more to taste) 
Red pepper flakes 
2 32 oz containers of chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup half and half (optional) 

1.  Heat oil in a large dutch oven soup pot over medium heat.  Add carrots, parsnips, potatoes and onion and garlic.  Sautee until onion is tender (maybe 10 minutes or so).  Add in Stir in chicken broth, salt, pepper and cayenne and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often. 

2.  Let simmer for approximately 30 minutes and then remove from heat.  Parsnips and carrots should be extremely tender.  Process mixture  with hand held blender or transfer soup to a blender and blend until smooth.  Stir in half and half if using.  Taste for heat level, and season with additional salt/pepper/cayenne to taste. 

3.  Serve in a warm soup bowl, drizzled with a touch of high quality olive oil, fresh parsley  and a healthy sprinkle of high quality red pepper flakes.  


A few alternatives:   If you like a smokey flavor, you may want to add a teaspoon of cumin as well.  You could also top the soup with sour cream, fresh chives or a little grated fresh parmesan cheese.  Topping with roasted pumpkin seeds is another delicious idea.  I also like to have something crunchy with any soup (I'm a huge texture fan) so I tend to serve with a toasted baguette, sliced and drizzled with olive oil and salt and chapped parsley for freshness.

This sounds so delicious, Fille, and so like you. You were always my "chips, pretzels and pickle" girl, preferring them to sweets! I like your variations too. Wish you were here to make it for me, but I guess I'll have to do it myself!
I do agree that some recipes treat carrots more like a dessert (and sweet potatoes, too) than a vegetable and the results can be cloying. That said, I  think that some sweetness  combined with the "heat" can emphasize the natural sweetness in the carrot. So I offer my recipe for "Dynamite Carrots" which I recently made with my SunCoast Organics Rainbow Carrots for a particularly colorful meal addition.


1 -2 Bunches of Rainbow or other sweet organic carrots
1/2 - 1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) chili powder
1 small jalapeno, minced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Scrub the carrots well. I do not peel my carrots, especially the Rainbow because you will peel off the color which also has the phytonutrients. I scrub them well instead.
Cut them into matchsticks, julienne style.
Add a little water to skillet and cover and cook the carrots for a few minutes until just al dente. Drain, if there is any water left.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and add the rest of the ingredients.
Pour over the cooked carrots and cook for a minute or so additional to make sure they are all coated with the flavored butter.
Serve and enjoy.

Make sure you use good quality chili powder for this. I use Penzey's and sometimes I add a little of their "Arizona Dreaming" spice to the butter too. It adds a little more depth to the chili flavor.
You could also use maple syrup in place of the honey for a stronger flavored dish.