Carrot-Ginger Soup with Cashew Cream

If you want to waste the better part of an afternoon, the online Carrot Museum isn’t a bad place to do it. It has the history of carrots, fun carrot trivia and some very cool WWII posters featuring carrots. It was all interesting, but I kind of got stuck in the musical instruments wing.

The Carrot Museum is set up in such a way that I wasn’t sure if the whole musical instrument thing was just a spoof or not. I quickly did some fact checking on YouTube. Sure enough, there are many videos on how to make instruments out of carrots. There is even a Vienna All-Vegetable Orchestra. If I was late turning in this column, it wasn’t because I was in the basement drilling out my very own carrot kazoo.

As a kid, I loved raw carrots and watching Captain Kangaroo. Once he said that, in a pinch, eating a carrot could be a substitute for brushing your teeth. I liked to eat carrots more than I liked brushing my teeth, so I hid my toothbrush.

Whether or not that was the intended lesson, it’s what my 5-year-old mind took in. I told my mom that I couldn’t find my toothbrush and that Captain Kangaroo said I could just eat a carrot instead. Her response was that I had best find it. It was worth a try. I’m guessing I still got a carrot, but I don’t remember that part.

While carrots may not be a substitute for a toothbrush, they are still good for you. One cup of raw carrots is jam packed with about 428 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. They are also a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium.

If you are lucky, you will have carefully stored last fall’s carrot harvest in your root cellar and you are still enjoying local carrots. While luck may come into play, careful crop planning and proper storage will improve your odds. I am not lucky or prepared. Our carrot crop last year was meager, so I am now buying California carrots. I shouldn’t complain too much since I picked up a two pound bag of organic carrots for $1.99 the other day.

Keep your eye out for multi-colored carrots this summer. Better yet, plant some. The Hudson Valley Seed Library sells packs of Kaleidoscope Carrot  seeds. I plan to be the first one on the block with a purple carrot kazoo!

Carrot-Ginger Soup with Cashew Cream

This recipe is adapted from Rebecca Katz’s recipe in One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and Their Friends. The first time I made it, I started to peel the carrots. Three pounds is a lot of carrots to peel. Being lazy, I stopped about three carrots in and just chopped the rest. The soup was delicious.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 pounds carrots, washed (not peeled), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric (or curry powder)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
8 cups water or vegetable, chicken or beef stock (I use a combination of stocks)
1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt (to taste)

Method

  • In a large soup pot (6 to 8 quarts), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft. Add the carrots, spices and vinegar.
  • Add water or broth and salt. Cook until the carrots are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree soup. You can also use a traditional blender. Let the soup cool a bit before transferring it to the blender. Be sure to keep a towel and your hand firmly on the blender lid. Hot soup has a tendency to spew.
  • Ladle into bowls and top with cashew cream.

Serves 6

Cashew Cream

This cream is just plain delicious and would be good on a variety of things, including pasta, sautéed kale or a baked potato.

Ingredients

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Method

  • Soak the cashews in water overnight.
  • Drain and place cashews in a blender. Pulse a few times, then add water, lemon juice, salt and nutmeg. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.