OK, are you suffering from the post election blues? Are you wondering how to spend your angst, now that the campaigns are over? I don’t know about you, but I feel I’ve lost 15 pounds of nerves and tension since Tuesday – now if only that could translate into real pounds... the pounds I've gained watching the TV talking heads argue for their candidates on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox and even PBS. How do we fill the void left by the Obama vs. Romney and Berman vs. Sherman campaigns?
Win, lose or draw, life as we knew it before all the primaries, misleading TV ads, snarks, debates and ballot casting will resume… sort of. But, everyday life is just that - everyday life.
Do not despair my fellow 'hoodites, the holidays are fast approaching to pump up our nerves once again, returning us to high anxiety. Can't you just feel hyper-ventilation awaiting in the wings to take your breath away as the first Christmas/Hanukkah decorations pop up in the malls in our ‘hood? The shopping, the party planning, the cooking, the gift wrapping, the card writing and sending... all there ready to raise blood pressure and send you searching for a dry martini.
But before I need to buy a new supply of small paper “breathing” bags (depleted during the campaign) and my shoulders get too tight from worrying about putting together our annual Christmas Eve party, Thanksgiving comes first... the time to reflect and be thankful for friends and family, for hearth and home… and for the fact that the contentious elections are finally over.
For the past few years we’ve ventured to Sacramento and the East Bay area to share this holiday with relatives, but this year we're staying closer to our ‘hood.
That means no forays into nearby wine country with my brother, Bob, and his wife, Nguyen… and no “Nguyen’s” carrot soup, a recipe she resurrected from the l977 edition of the Moosewood Cookbook. But, I’m thankful for the memory of this warm, sumptuous, delicious, creamy soup that still shimmers in my head, and for the fact that I have the recipe….
I thought I’d share. You might want to add it to your own Thanksgiving menu.
And, I hope you all have a joyous Thanksgiving filled with love, family and friends… which is what it’s all about.
1977 Moosewood Cookbook
2 lbs peeled or scrubbed, chopped carrots
4 cups stock or water
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium potato, chopped (optional, for heartier soup - Nguyen used a sweet potato)
3-4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1-2 small cloves crushed garlic
1/3 cup chopped cashews or almonds
1 cup milk
1 cup yogurt or buttermilk plus a little honey
½ pint heavy cream
¾ cup sour cream
2 pinches of nutmeg, ½ teaspoon dried mint, dash of cinnamon
1 teaspoon each of thyme, marjoram and basil
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Place carrots, liquid and salt (and potato if you’re using it) into a medium sized soup pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Let it cool to room temp.
Sautee the onion, garlic and nuts in the butter until the onions are clear. You can sprinkle in a little salt to help draw the moisture out of the onions. Towards the end of cooking, stir in the seasoning combo of your choice.
Puree everything together in a blender until smooth. You can deviate from the recipe at this stage and dump the sautéed onions, garlic and nuts into the pot with the cooked carrots and use an immersion blender to puree. It saves on dishes and energy.
Whisk in the dairy product of your choosing.
Garnish with toasted nuts… or toasted bread crumbs… or a dollop of sour cream or yogurt… or eat just as it is.