Monday, November 9, 2009

Two Sides Make a Whole

I must have Scotland on the mind because I made two recipes (see previous post for scones) in one weekend that reminded me of that fantastical, craggy place. While at St. Andrews, not only did I receive an introduction to scones, but also to pureed soups. Once again, my education began at Janetta's cafe (and ice cream shop!), where, as a server, my lunch was always complimentary. Each day, a three-foot pot sat on the stove around the corner in a tiny cook's kitchen simmering with a different, usually pureed, soup. The soups had gourmet flavors like curried carrot, apple and parsnip, winter vegetable, pear and celery root, tomato basil, honeyed carrot, yellow split pea, leek and potato...I couldn't choose a favorite. Each one was delicious and when paired with a buttered roll--sublime.

I have been trying to recreate those soups ever since. I don't feel that I have succeeded yet, and perhaps I never will. I'm sure a part of their deliciousness is tied to the very cobblestones of South Street.

When I saw this recipe for Creamy Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup in Cooking Light (can you tell I have a subscription?)--a spiced purreed soup that looked similar to my Scottish favorites--I had to try it. The recipe was part of a section of sides and starters. I picked out the Candied Walnut, Pear, and Leafy Green Salad to go with the soup, warmed some ciabatta bread and called it dinner.

The soup needed a little extra salt to bring out the festive flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweet potato, but it was well worth the tinkering. The recipe requires you to brown the butter after adding it to the pan--I can only compliment the original chef on this tactic. Browned butter is one of the great delights of my life--if you haven't tried it, you must! (I'm sure a future blog post will be devoted purely to browned butter.) I used an immersion blender to puree it, which worked beautifully and cut down on clean up. The salad was delicious as well, the best thing being the dressing. I ended up using brown balsamic vinegar because that was all I had, but it was still great! This dressing could work for other salads--very handy to have in your repertoire. To cut down on cost, I used only romaine lettuce and cut the ingredients in half to serve just the two of us.

So we felt quite gourmet last night with our steaming bowls of soup and salad plates decorated with glazed nuts and greens. The eating and tasting gave us something new to do. What a way to dress up an average Sunday evening!


  1. Colleen, this soup looks delicious! I get emails from Self magazine with recipes, and today's recipe was organic Carrot Soup with Ginger Essence ( It sounds like it has more of an asian twist. If I try it, I'll let you know how it goes!

  2. It's surprising how filling pureed soup can be. I can usually put away --a lot-- but a bowl and a half of this soup, a plate of salad, and a couple pieces of bread and I was stuffed!

    (Oh yeah, and a martini before dinner :) )

  3. Sarah, do let me know!!! Sounds delicious!!! Thanks for reading...xo

  4. I am a huge fan of fruit & nut salads - that one would be great with goat cheese or feta, too! Awesome! We LOVE soup at our house. Or at least I do and Bill humors me.

  5. haha, canNOT eat goat cheese for some reason, but do adore feta! I bet it'd be great!!!