Thursday, May 9, 2013

Carrot Ginger Soup

A few weeks ago, there was a wicked stomach bug going around Brussels, a knock-you-flat-on-your-back-and-make-you-cry-for-your-mama kinda bug. When it came roaring my way, eating, working, reading, or doing anything remotely productive was totally out of the question. All I could really do was lay around and moan.

Once it had run its course, my appetite came back with a vengeance, and I craved something healthy, delicious, and familiar. Enter my Mom's carrot ginger soup. She shared this recipe with me years ago when I first started to get into cooking because it was fool proof. And it is!  Though it is incredibly easy, the flavor has terrific depth.

Try it for yourself! Its great with a salad, brie and pear grilled cheese, or asparagus, as pictured.

Mom's Carrot Ginger Soup

 1.5 lbs of carrots (peeled and chopped)
1.5 lbs of parsnips (peeled and quartered)
3 in piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)
5 tbs of unsalted butter
3 tbs of dark brown sugar
8 c. chicken-free broth
salt to taste
pinch of cayenne
Greek yogurt and chives for garnish

Preheat oven* to 350. Combine veggies in roasting pan, dot with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Add two cups of broth and put it in the oven for 2 hours. Combine mixture in a soup pot and add remaining 6 cups of broth. Add salt and cayenne and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Puree in the blender and serve.

*Since we don't have an oven in Brussels, I roast everything on the stove and it works beautifully.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Life's Primal and Most Innocent Delights

After a long, cold, gray winter here in Brussels, spring has finally sprung! Matt and I have been fortunate enough to have some of our favorite people accompanying the tulips and the irises, which can only mean one thing: lots and lots of waffles.

I love sharing our sweet little city with the people we care about. Though it lacks some of the Parisian glamor and the buzz of London, it is a terrific place for foodies to visit. I'm always amazed to find that some of the most delicious delicacies are mobile.

The best waffles in the city are sold out the back of vans (a fun fact that no one ever wants to believe). The hot dog vendors in our neighborhood also sell escargot. Patrons flock the mussel and oyster stands on the weekends that will happily serve you a glass (or bottle) of wine with your shellfish. And for our vegetarian friends, the frites are the very best you'll find anywhere ever. The same goes for the chocolate.

However, for two people that love to cook, we spend much of our time hosting at home in the kitchen. Homemade spinach burgers, carrot ginger soup, vegetable curry, BBQ tofu, and roasted tempeh were all noshed on in our humble abode over the course of the last few weeks. We're already dreaming up a menu for when my parents descend on us next Monday.

Julia Child said, "Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal." Throw in a few glasses of wine, and I'd say that's pretty much spot on.

More photos from our weekends with our guests to come!