Tag food52

Roasted Carrot Soup

This roasted carrot soup won Food52‘s contest for Your Best Carrot Recipe, beating out 217 other entrants. It bested the predictable salads, slaws, and carrot cakes; not to mention some more surprising recipes such as Candied Carrot Balls and Carrot Cake Ice Cream. Perhaps more significantly, it topped more than twenty other carrot soups. It’s that tasty.

Roasting the carrots intensifies their flavor (not to mention their sweetness) and the ginger and thyme, which steep in the broth before it is added to the carrots, bring a subtle complexity to the bowl. This is not a carrot ginger soup. It is a carrot soup with a slight kick.

It is also ridiculously simple. The recipe calls for just seven ingredients: carrots, olive oil, vegetable stock, a sprig of thyme, ginger, onion, and garlic.

It isn’t a meal in a bowl, by any means. I served it with naan and some leftover pizza. The next time I make it, I’ll round out the meal in a less haphazard fashion, and when I do, we’ll hear the The Professor’s grade.

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Food52’s Smokin’ Hot Vegan Vaquero Chili

I found the recipe for SpiceBoxTravelsSmokin’ Hot Vegan Vaquero Chili soon after the food-blogger posted it on Food52, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. In part, I was fascinated by the beans themselves: no boring brown, the Vaquero is dappled in black and white, patterned like an Appaloosa horse.

Vaquero beans, chipotle, orange pepper, onion, carrots, spices

But the recipe also got me thinking: Given The Professor’s focus on taste, interestingness, and satisfaction, a good chili would be an easy A+, right? Mouth-tingling flavor? Check. Belly-filling beans? Check. And this recipe, with its surprise ingredient, seemed to check the interesting column too.

I had to try it ASAP. So I Googled myself to heirloom bean-grower Rancho Gordo‘s website to order some Vaquero beans, waited a week for UPS to deliver the beauties, and started them soaking.

Then I diced and sauteed and boiled. And boiled some more. And a few minutes more. Finally the beans were done and I stirred in the surprise ingredient: dark chocolate.

Food52’s tester had noted that “Adding the melting chocolate at the end more than compensated for the depth meat would have added, and rounded things out for a great balance of flavors.” The tester also mentioned that she had adjusted the spice, adding just one of the chipotles in adobo sauce that the recipe called for and only a pinch of cayenne.

So with the kids in mind, I added just one chipotle and nixed the cayenne altogether. I also cut down on the chocolate — a little. And there my problems began. For the recipe to work, the sweetness needed to balance the smokin’ heat. Yet I hadn’t added much of the spice. So the result was too sweet for The Professor and me, and yet still too spicy for the kids.

The Cook will try SpiceBoxTravelsSmokin’ Hot Vegan Vaquero Chili again in a few years, when her eaters are ready for more spice. In the meantime, any curious cooks out there should try this recipe. As The Professor said, “The chocolate makes the recipe very rich.” And when a meat-lover calls a vegan dish “rich,” that’s saying something.

You can find the recipe here. Note: I had to cook the beans much longer than the recipe indicates.

How to De-Kernel Corn

Scratch what I told you all a few weeks back about how to slice the kernels off of the cob! Nifty? This technique is brilliant!

A Nifty Corn Tip from Food52 on Vimeo.

food52’s Shrimp Burgers with Roasted Garlic-Orange Aioli

food52 (which, if you haven’t checked out yet, you really must) recently held a contest titled Your Best Use of Aioli. The winning entry was this recipe for Shrimp Burgers with Roasted Garlic-Orange Aioli, in which the aioli is used to bind the shrimp burgers and as a spread on the bun. I love shrimp, as does The Professor, so I had to try it.

While The Professor peeled and cleaned the shrimp, I made the aioli, beating the egg yolks continuously and oh-so-slowly pouring in the oil. Making aioli from scratch is certainly an arm work-out, though it’s not  as tricky as I thought it would be.

Then I started slicing and dicing. First the red pepper, then the shallots, the fennel, the fennel fronds, and the chives. The Professor had long since finished his cleaning job and headed up to his office to finish some reading when, finally, I I chopped the shrimp.

He returned while I was forming the burger patties, saying, “These burgers sure aren’t fast, huh?”

“Well a recipe always takes longer the first time you try it,” I countered. But he was right.

The end result was perfectly tasty — the flavor was subtle but recognizably shrimp-y, with hints of licorice and orange that upped the interesting-factor. But the burgers weren’t so mouthwateringly delicious that they justified the effort or the cost. (I’d used wild pink shrimp from Key West that sells for $15 a pound).

The Professor also suggested that the brioche buns I’d served the burgers with might be getting in the way of the subtle flavors. “These might be tastier served more like crab cakes,” he suggested.

The Professor gave them a B, saying he’d be happy to have the shrimp burgers — or cakes — now and again. And I guess I’m glad he didn’t ask me to make them again next week!