Carrot Soup ala Deb

Something about wintery weather, those breezes that suck your lungs a little dry and a fresh dusting on snow that grows to ankle deep by afternoon...it makes me want to eat more bright, sharp foods. Orange is a color you can't miss in a snowstorm, and case in point I crave that earthy carroty (apparently yes, that is a word) crunch in the winter. Even better when served warm in a bowl or mason jar to warm your hands up.

So, in sweeps Deb from Smitten Kitchen with my dinner recipe for the week. If you haven't had the immense pleasure of reading her food blog yet, you're in a for a treat. If you haven't visited her site in awhile - go back through - you're bound to find the best recipe for anything from banana bread to meal you'd want to make for the pickiest relatives. Her titles are basically poetry...who doesn't drool a little at the thought of Morning Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel??!

Anyways, here it is. Carrot Soup, fitting for our first real snowy weekend of the winter here in Bellingham. 8 inches in a day, we were all in need of a little warm broth. Lots of listening to this. I tweaked the spices and ingredients a bit, here's the original if you want to peek. It looks like a lot of steps, but read through first and you can overlap what you're working on.

(the version here was doubled, generously served 6 with leftovers for lunch)

3 Tbs. olive oil
3.5 pounds carrots, washed and peeled, then sliced in thin rounds
3 ribs of celery, chopped finely
1 very large onion, chopped (shallots would also be excellent)
10 cloves of garlic, smashed and diced
1/2 tsp corriander
1 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne
Generous shake red pepper flakes
Dash of salt
Grind of  pepper
3.5 cups veggie broth (more if you want it thinner)
For later: generous 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Heat olive oil over medium, add onions and carrots. Saute for 10 or so minutes. Add celery and the rest of the ingredients/spices and let brown for a bit longer, another 10 minutes or until pretty tender. Put on the lid and take off the heat. Get out your blender, and ladle it into it in batches, pureeing and pouring into a large bowl. Transfer back to the cooking pot once you've finished.

Crispy Garbanzos
3 cups canned garbanzos, washed, drained, patted dry
1.5 Tbs olive oil
Generous grinds of Himalayan salt (Trader Joe's pink salt is my favorite)
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala

Next, heat the oven to 425. In a bowl, drizzle the garbanzos with oil and toss them in the spices. Lay them out on a baking sheet to toast in the oven. Keep an eye on them, mine took only 10 minutes or so to start getting crisped. Move them around with a wooden spoon have way through cooking.

Lemon-Tahini Dallop
5 Tbs tahini paste (not too expensive if you buy in bulk)
4.5 Tbs. lemon juice, or more
Pinch of salt
5 Tbs. water, you might need more

For the dallop, combine everything in a shallow bowl and whisk it until combined. If it's too tart add more water, or if you love the flavor of tahini cut back on the lemon juice.

Sesame Pitas
Large pitas (white or wheat), sliced into wedges
Himalayan sea salt
Hulled sesame seeds

You're almost done! Brush your pita wedges with olive oil and sprinkles with sea salt and sesame seeds. Crisp them in the oven for 10 minutes or less until browned, add the garbanzos half way through to reheat them for serving.

Get out your favorite bowls, gather your friends and family and dish up! Swirl in the tahini individually, garnish with garbanzos and parsley. Dip and go with the pitas, so you don't leave any behind in the bowl. Makes such easy leftovers for lunch the next day too. If you find spices to add/tweak let me know! It's a good canvas for trying out different blends of herbs and spices.

Stay warm friends. Brrr.

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