September 23, 2009

Carrot and Nasturtium Soup


A bowl of carrot soup garnished with nasturtiums
Carrot Soup

Nasturtiums are staging a coup in the vegetable garden, trying to take over everything. They need to be thinned, and are delicious, so I decided to make a salad with nasturtiums. Salad goes well with soup for a meal so I started thinking about what soup might be nice. I remembered the Pan-Roasted Carrots I made recently and realized that peppery nasturtium leaves would make a perfect seasoning for the carrots.



Roasted Carrot Soup

The first thing I did was roast eight carrots--I did them in the oven, drizzled with olive oil, at 350°F for about 2 hours. Then I minced shallots, celery, and another carrot and sweated them with some olive oil. Half an orange bell pepper left over from another meal got diced and added to the pot. Next, a chiffonade of two palm-sized nasturtium leaves went into the soup base, which was completed by adding a diced unpeeled apple.

Then I found four mandarin oranges and squeezed their juice into the pot. After the orange juice reduced, four more carrots were chopped and added to the mixture, along with a glass of Riesling and just enough water to cover the carrots. This was simmered until the carrots were done.

Everything, including the roasted carrots, was puréed in a food processor using just enough water to get the job done. The soup pot was cleaned out and the soup--a thick purée, really--was returned to the pot for finishing. It needed thinning, so I juiced six more carrots to produce about 1½ cups of juice. That did the trick nicely. Just ½ teaspoon of fleur de sel punched up the flavors a bit.

If you've been counting, you'll realize that I used carrots four ways in this soup:  roasted, sweated, simmered, and juiced. None of them were peeled, so I extracted the maximum flavors and nutrients that this wonderful vegetable has to offer. You might also notice that I added only a small amount of salt and no other seasonings.

Nasturtium Salad

Can't make Soup and Salad for supper without the salad that inspired me in the first place, so out to the garden I went, where I collected leaves from six different lettuces, some Italian parsley and cilantro, a few baby basil leaves, some peppermint, and the tomatoes that were ready to be eaten. Then I thinned out the nasturtiums a bit more, taking both leaves and blossoms. Rinse, tear, drizzle on some olive oil and balsamic, and dinner is served.
Salad made with garden greens, fresh tomatoes, and nasturtium leaves and flowers.
Nasturtium Salad


This meal was made entirely from the garden and left-overs from other meals. Total cost: zero! It also happened to be vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, which is a good thing, considering the chocolate mousse I made later.

8 comments:

  1. These are the healthy meals which my family will definitely love it. Thanks for sharing :)

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  2. Wow, what a gorgeous meal!! Eat your colors indeed. I don't have a juicer - what would you have used if you didn't have carrot juice?

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  3. Without a juicer I'd either plan ahead and buy carrot juice or just use water. Alternatively, leave it thick. Even thinned, the soup was pretty thick.

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  4. This is a FEAST for the eyes. So gorgeous and healthy to boot. Great post! Thanks!
    www.justchowbella.com

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  5. Excellent! I just did a post on 3 things to do with nasturtiums and will have to add in a link to this super idea. Thanks for posting!

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  6. Your readers with late season herb and vegetable gardens may well find that they will grow more than they can use, preserve or give to friends.

    They may want to visit www.AmpleHarvest.org - a site that helps diminish hunger by enabling backyard gardeners to share their crops with neighborhood food pantries.

    The site is free both for the food pantries and the gardeners using it.

    More than 970 food pantries nationwide are already on it and more are signing up daily.

    It includes preferred delivery times, driving instructions to the pantry as well as (in many cases) information about store bought items also needed by the pantry (for after the growing season).

    AmpleHarvest.org enables people to help their community by reaching into their back yard instead of their back pocket.

    Lastly, if your reader's community has a food pantry, they should make sure the pantry registers on www.AmpleHarvest.org. Its free.

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  7. Look at the vibrant color of the carrot soup and the the salad is just gorgeous. They are feast to my eyes.

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  8. I am so impressed, i have got a lot of Nasturtiums in my garden and just love fresh bread with a little salt and 6 flowers as a filling. yum I am inspired thank you.

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