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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
I also added in chopped ginger and my spices with the veggies while they simmered and softened.
Pureed it in batches in my food processer. . .
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.
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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