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Ravishing Roasted Carrot Soup

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Roasted Carrot Soup

Roasted Carrot Soup

I buy big bags of carrots. Many of these carrots get juiced, grated, peeled, baked, salad-ed and snacked upon, but sometimes we don’t quite make it through the bag before they start to get bendy. I had just such a dwindling bag of carrots taking up valuable real estate in my fridge the day before New Year’s Eve, and so my brain began to whir…

Knowing that I was having family over for a simple dinner to ring in the New Year, I started thinking of what else I had and what I could do with these extra carrots. I knew I had lots of onions and lemons, a bit of feta cheese and some Kalamata olives, this had me thinking Greek. Recalling that I had Epicure’s Souvlaki seasoning and El Greco Secret Sauce, a plan came together.

While this was a simple dish to throw together, I actually prepped it the night before so I could have more time to relax and reminisce about the year that was ending, the soup was greeted with rave reviews and encores of second and third helpings!

Ravishing Roasted Carrot Soup Ingredients

Ravishing Roasted Carrot Soup Ingredients

I knew I had to share this recipe when my Instagram post was shared by Epicure on their Facebook page as part of their weekly round-up of images shared on Social Networks featuring their products.

Recipe for Roasted Carrot Soup

makes 8 servings

Soup Ingredients:

8 medium carrots, peeled and cut into finger size pieces

2 medium purple onions, sliced in finger width sections

1 head garlic, peeled and hard bottom bits cut off

2 TBS Epicure Souvlaki Seasoning

2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cups dried red lentils

6 cups water

juice of 1 lemon

Salt and Pepper to taste

Garnish Ingredients:

1 TBS Epicure El Greco Secret Sauce

2 TBS water

1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Feta Cheese

Kalamata Olives

Method:

1. Pre-Heat oven to 400

2. Spread carrots, onions and garlic on baking sheet, sprinkle Souvlaki seasoning and Olive Oil and toss to coat

3. Roast vegetables in oven until golden brown on the edges (approximately 30 minutes)

4. For garnish: Mix El Greco Secret Sauce and water, let stand for 5 minutes and then add Olive Oil, cube feta and slice olives

5. Remove vegetables from oven and allow to cool while placing a soup pot with the red lentils and 6 cups of water on high

6. Once water is boiling, add vegetables turn heat down to medium and cook until lentils are soft (approximately 10 minutes)

7. Add the lemon juice and puree with an immersion blender

8. Add water, salt and pepper to achieve desired consistency and flavour

9. Serve soup in bowls and garnish with tiny cubes of feta, sliced Kalamata Olives and a smattering of prepared El Greco Secret Sauce from Epicure

I also served a simple salad of thinly sliced bell peppers and cucumber (using my Epicure Ceramic Slicer) dressed with Epicure’s Greek Dressing seasoning mixed with red wine vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

If you would like to purchase Epicure seasonings or cookware, please visit my online store: www.juliaustine.myepicure.com or contact me for samples.

What is your favourite way to use up a carrot surplus?

The Mystery of the Disappearing Salad

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I don’t have a picture of the salad in question to show you, because it just keeps disappearing so quickly!

Have you ever just thrown some tasty ingredients together, making it up as you go, and somehow it turns into something so crazy delicious that you and everyone else can’t seem to get their fill? It’s a wonderful feeling when it happens. Instead of just recreating somebody else’s recipe, you have designed a dish of your own. I used to fool around with a Southwestern pasta salad with corn and chorizo and it was always pretty good. But, I’m trying to up my nutrients and dial back on the wheat, so I started playing around with it even further. In the fall, I subbed black quinoa for the pasta, added black beans for more fibre and went crazy with the veggies. My fellas went for seconds and made lots of happy sounds as they ate.

I ended up making an unseemly amount and took some of the overflow to work. I set it out at lunch time and invited everyone to dig in. Many of them hadn’t tried quinoa yet and displayed some reluctance to dive in. But, I persisted and after the first couple tried a bite it disappeared quickly. Almost every single person asked me for the recipe, but I didn’t really have one. It was just thrown together. I’d tell them a bunch of ingredients and then remember something else later and have to update them. Some of my coworkers even made their own versions at home! The highest of compliments.

When my husband, Exec Chef, came home that night he asked if there was any of the salad left and was disappointed when he found out that I’d taken it to work. For a guy who doesn’t do leftovers, this was pretty impressive. As autumn turned to winter and I couldn’t get any flavourful tomatoes or fresh corn, I took the salad in a new direction and switched in roasted root vegetables as a seasonal substitution. So, I present you with not one, but two recipes and there may be more versions to come!

 
Black Beauty Salad: Autumn Version
Dressing Ingredients:

juice of one lime (or maybe 2 if they are on the dry side)

splash of extra virgin olive oil

Tbs of dijon mustard

Salt and Pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup dry black quinoa (or red quinoa or white quinoa)

2 chorizo sausage diced (Freybe makes a nice one)

1 can black beans or 1 cup dried black beans (rehydrated and cooked)

1 ear fresh corn sliced off (or 1 cup frozen)

2 medium tomatoes diced

1/2 bunch cilantro minced

1/2 cup black olives (sliced)

1/2 cucumber diced

1 red onion diced

2 green onions sliced

Method:

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the quinoa, turn down to low and cover. Let it cook for 15 minutes, or just make extra when you have quinoa for breakfast.

Cook the chorizo on medium heat until the edges get dark and crispy.

Drain and rinse the beans. Toss the beans, corn and red onion in withe chorizo once it starts sizzling.

Let the quinoa and the chorizo mixture cool for a bit, so that they don’t cook the other ingredients. Then mix them all together and withe the dressing.

 
Black Beauty Salad: Winter Version

Dressing Ingredients:

juice of one lime (or maybe 2 if they are on the dry side)

splash of extra virgin olive oil

Tbs of Dijon mustard

Salt and Pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients:

1 medium parsnip diced

2 medium carrots diced

1 bell pepper diced (red, orange and yellow work better than green)

1 cup dry black quinoa (or red quinoa or white quinoa)

2 chorizo sausage diced (Freybe makes a nice one)

1 can black beans or 1 cup dried black beans (rehydrated and cooked)

1/2 bunch cilantro minced

1/2 cup black olives (sliced)

1 red onion diced

2 green onions sliced

Method:

Preheat oven to 400. Toss the parsnip, carrot and bell pepper with extra virgin olive oil and salt & pepper. Spread them out of a baking sheet and roast until golden (about 25-30 minutes)

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the quinoa, turn down to low and cover. Let it cook for 15 minutes, or just make extra when you have quinoa for breakfast.

Cook the chorizo on medium heat until the edges get dark and crispy.

Drain and rinse the beans. Toss the beans and red onion in withe chorizo once it starts sizzling.

Then mix all the ingredients together and toss with the dressing.

Now, watch it disappear right before your very eyes.

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