Perfectly Autumn

One of my favorite bloggers and chefs (and people!), Chef Robin White, is hosting Soup Week on her blog this week, just in time for the autumnal chill in the air. I have known that Robin was doing Soup Week for a little while, and I am really happy that it wasn’t last week when we were plagued with warm, uncomfortably humid days. Then, only gazpacho would do. But yesterday, yesterday was one of those autumn days to savor with some sunshine and crisp, cool air that had we wearing 2 fleeces by the end of it!

Before we get to the soup, let me share a little bit about the rest of the day, which started with a visit to Union Restaurant for a delectable brunch with my friend Kari who was visiting Boston to puppy sit for her brother. I didn’t photograph brunch because we were talking too much, but it was another great meal at Union.

After brunch, we said our goodbyes to Kari (and the puppy!) and headed to Andover’s Smolak Farms to meet our friends for apple picking and cider donuts, man’s best invention Smile

Smolak Farms is close enough to Boston for a short visit, but far enough away that it felt like an afternoon in the country. The rows of apple trees, farm animals and fallow deer, a barn, hay rides, and of course the tantalizing smells of sugar, cinnamon, and apple cider make it a worthwhile visit despite the pretty big crowds.

Smolak Farms smolak farms
fallow deer smolak farms
image smolak farms

After I visited all of the animals, we headed straight to the orchard for some apple picking. It took us quite a long while to find trees that had apples actually on them and not on the ground, but once we did we filled our bags. The photo above on the left side shows a fearless Julie, climbing to the top of the trees to get the prime apples. Always bring a rock climber apple picking with you, I say.

apple picking in MA

While at Smolak Farms, we also visited the farm store for cider donuts, cider, and sugar pumpkins for cooking with. I can’t decide if I want to make something sweet like a pie or cheesecake or something savory like a soup. I do love my pumpkin soup!

apples pumpkin picking in MA

The one somewhat (ok, really) disappointing thing about the day was that Smolak offers pick your own heirloom tomatoes. I had grand plans of picking bundles full and making soups, tarts, and salads. Instead, most of the tomatoes looked like this.

heirloom tomato

It would have been one thing if there were no tomatoes left, but to see literally thousands completely rotten on the vine was upsetting. They shouldn’t have been allowed to get to that point. If no one was picking them, they could have been picked for a school or a soup kitchen or something. If there’s a reason, I would love to know why, otherwise it is a shameful waste of food.

Despite the tomatoes, we had a really delightful day full of fresh air and beautiful fall scenery. Hopefully I will get to pick my own heirlooms next summer. I will be waiting for it!

The evening part of the day was spent making Carrot Ginger soup for Robin’s Soup Week. I started with her original recipe, which you can find here:

http://www.chefrobinwhite.com/?p=834

I made a few adjustments because I am just like that. I used organic veggie broth instead of chicken broth, and I added curry powder and crushed red pepper to put a spicy spin on it.

I started with a large yellow onion and a bag of organic carrots, chopping both and adding them to melted butter in a heavy soup pot.

image

I also added in chopped ginger and my spices with the veggies while they simmered and softened.

carrots

Pureed it in batches in my food processer. . .

carrot ginger soup

And then I added in the broth, a little bit of orange juice, and a little more curry powder. I let the whole thing simmer while I baked a store-bought baguette. I had planned to bake fresh bread, but spending the day seeing friends was more important.

Right before I served the soup, I stirred in a few spoonfuls of heavy cream into each bowl. I didn’t have the ginger cream or blood orange that Robin used, but I did buy truffle oil, so I added a tiny bit of that.

carrot soup

This photo is not very pretty at all, but the soup tasted AMAZING! I will be eating it for lunch and definitely making it again. It felt so cozy and comforting but also delivered lots of good carrot nutrition. We each had a Shipyard pumpkin beer alongside of the soup.

What is your favorite soup?

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Tags: apples, autumn, carrot soup, Food, Smolak Farm, soup

  1. Jessica @ How Sweet’s avatar

    That soup just sounds delicious – very comforting!

    Reply

  2. Emily’s avatar

    ooh soup week, I have a lentil soup post ready to go for tomorrow! Carrot ginger is something I’ve never made at home – but you make it looks easy!

    Reply

  3. Michelle’s avatar

    I think this carrot ginger soup looks pretty tasty! I love making soups in my slow cooker and letting it cook all day. My favorite is a spicy tomato lentil soup with chicken sausage! I’m thinking of making it this weekend and maybe some homemade bread bowls!

    Reply

  4. A Boston Food Diary’s avatar

    Several things: I love the idea of soup week- I want to join this endeavor! I love fake out soups-ones that appear rich and creamy but are actually good for you and hearty. They make me happy.
    Second-the picture of that “foraging” pig is completely adorable. I would like to hug him.
    Third- your soup looks delicious- and sounds even better. I love that you used carrots as your base- I think that they are a way under used vegetable :-)

    Reply

  5. Enrico’s avatar

    love it.

    Reply

  6. Heather @ Side of Sneakers’s avatar

    Aww I love farms with fresh apple cider! There was one near where I grew up & we visited every year. I’ve yet to find one where I live now!

    Reply

  7. Amie’s avatar

    Great post! I was also there over the weekend – such a cool place. Went home with some cider, a pumpkin whoopie pie, and their delicious apple cider donuts.

    See a few photos here! http://www.amiefedoradesign.com/f-stop-photo/2010/10/2/on-the-farm.html

    Reply

  8. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

    The soup sounds very comforting.

    I’m glad you like Union so much. I’m heading there for the first time in a few weeks to check it out for myself.

    Reply

  9. Shannon’s avatar

    Mmm, cider donuts :) and cider! yeah, smolak farms has a tendency to advertise things past their prime… went for raspberries and there was hardly anything there. definitely soup season, although i don’t know that i have a favorite!

    Reply

  10. Sues’s avatar

    I grew up in Andover near Smolak and love it there :) Looks like so much fun! Also, I’ve been thinking about carrot and ginger soup ever since I had it at an event last winter… Definitely NEED to try a version of it. Looks and sounds delicious!

    Reply

  11. Justin’s avatar

    Leah just saw carrot-ginger soup at whole foods today and suggested we make it this weekend. This looks like a great recipe to follow.

    Reply

  12. Susan’s avatar

    That soup does look delicious! Smolack is actually right near my work, but I’ve never been. I should go.

    We tried to make chicken soup in our new slow cooker this weekend. We learned that orzo soaks up broth really well. You live, you learn.

    Reply

  13. Katie’s avatar

    Love that soup idea! I always mean to make something with the carrots as a base and you gave me some great inspiration! Love your pictures from the farm, they came out really well!

    Reply

  14. Kimmy’s avatar

    I also am obsessed with the cute little piggy! They had a few baby pigs at the Newburyport Farmers’ Market the other week and I wanted to take them home! Apple picking is up on our list for this weekend, can’t wait! :-)

    Reply

  15. kim’s avatar

    I so agree with the tomatoes!
    Smolack farms sounds like Wellwood Orchards, can’t ever turn down those cider doughnuts!

    Reply

  16. Belinda @zomppa’s avatar

    What fantastic photos! I’m going to have to visit this farm. Red Sox – I knew there were many reasons why I like you!

    Reply

  17. torviewtoronto’s avatar

    flavourful delicious autumn soup
    check out the event in my site

    Reply

  18. Megan’s avatar

    I was sooo disappointed with the tomatoes when I went too! the apples were good though. I love how your friend is up in the try. I definitely did a little bobbing and weaving to get the good apples, but I refrained from climbing!

    The soup sounds wonderful!

    Reply

  19. Alison’s avatar

    I love autumn-filled weekends! I’m going to New Hampshire on Saturday for many of the same things: farms, soups, plus apples and pumpkins. Can’t wait!

    Reply

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