Sunday, February 10, 2008

soup for a cold winter's day

Most of the time I like winter quite well; however, this past week has tried even my patience with Old Man Winter. The final straws: (1) getting the car out of the craggy, slippery, icy terrain of Lakeview's side streets, and (2) navigating Chicago's many dangerous potholes. Specsknits' "Things I like about winter" inspired me to make no less than three batches of soup in the past week.

The best recipe of the lot pairs carrots and coriander, a match made in heaven. The key is to use real carrots, not the tasteless, awful little "baby" carrots. Yes, peeling them is a pain, but they have so much more flavor.
Carrot & Coriander Soup
slightly adapted from Debra Mayhew's Cook's Encyclopedia of Soup

Serves 4-6

4 T. butter
3 leeks, sliced
3 C. sliced carrots
1 T. ground coriander
5 C. chicken stock (I use Better Than Bouillon's organic chicken)
2/3 C. Greek-style plain yogurt, non-fat, divided (you can substitute regular plain yogurt)
salt (if desired) and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 T. chopped cilantro, for garnish

1. Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the leeks and carrots and stir well. Cover and cook for 10 min. until the veggies begin to soften.

2. Stir in the coriander and cook for 1 min. Add the stock. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 min. or until the leeks and carrots are tender.

3. Puree with immersion blender until almost smooth. [If you don't have an immersion blender, let the soup cool a bit, then puree in a regular blender.] Add 2 T. yogurt. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning (salt & pepper). Reheat slowly. Do not boil.

4. Ladle into bowls and place a dollop of yogurt in the center of each. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.

* best served with warm, crusty sourdough bread *

I have an awfully hard time with food photography. Styling is a challenge, but the real problem for me is lighting. Any tips? I generally cook in the evening, and my Pentax Optio's flash just isn't up for the task. It would be nice to include photos with more of my posted recipes.

On second thought, it's not just my own photos of food that gross me out. TV commercials tend to be the worst -- they often stir up feelings of revulsion. What makes for good food photos?

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