Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Mommy's Pregnant Carrot Soup"

The day after I told Daryl that we are expecting our second child, he said to me (in the most loving way possible) "If you're pregnant, does that mean you'll be making carrot soup again?"When I was pregnant with Jonah, I bought a cookbook named The Well Rounded Pregnancy Cookbook by Karen Gurwitz. Some days, the only thing that I could stomach was soup, and so I really lived out of the "soups" section of this book. On days when I felt energetic, I would cook huge quantities of soup and freeze it in individual serving sizes. This way, the next time I felt sick or tired, I could just heat up some delicious soup. One soup in particular became our favorite very quickly: "Carrot Soup with Corriander, Curry, Ginger, and Chives." I shortened the name to Carrot Ginger soup, but it could also be called "Mommy is Pregnant! Carrot Soup" because I do seem to make and eat an awful lot of it while pregnant!The reason for this is: Ginger. The ginger in this recipe is often what I need to stop the nausea. When I am pregnant, I consume ginger in large amounts from ginger tea to ginger capsules to ginger cookies and ginger ale (canada dry has real ginger in it, and there are several local companies that brew and bottle true ginger ale!) Because ginger is such a key ingredient in this soup, I would like to talk about it for just a moment before giving you the much asked for recipe.

You can buy ginger in several forms. Each one tastes completely different and in general cannot be substituted for eachother. You can buy fresh ginger root (pictured above) in the produce section of your market. It usually hangs out by the garlic or the potatoes. This needs to be peeled and grated before use in most recipes. If you have one of those cheese graters that is like a cube that has all the different sides to it, wrap it in plastic wrap and use the side with the small bumps to grate it- all you have to do is remove the plastic wrap from the grater and scrape off the ginger. You could also buy pre-grated ginger. It works the same in a recipe as fresh, but might not be as potent. It is in tubes that look kind of like tooth paste, and it hangs out in the refridgerated section of the produce. There is also ginger powder, which you would find in the spices aisle. This is used mostly for baking and can NOT take the place of fresh ginger. It tastes completely different, and it is not as good for curing morning sickness moans. Candied or crystalized ginger can be found at natural foods stores and some bulk stores, or you could make it yourself. I carry this with me in car trips as I tend to get carsick, but I also usually have some in my purse or bag when I am pregnant to ward off any sudden nausea. It isn't really good for cooking with, but it really helps with motion sickness etc. I just chew on whole bits whenever I feel ill.

So now you know the scoop on ginger! The reason I threw that in here is because when I give this recipe to friends, they usually ask if such-and-such will do for the ginger. In short, no it will not. The way the ginger is prepared highly effects its taste and the way it interacts with the other ingredients. So here is the recipe the way that the book gives it, but I will add my own addendums in (...)

2 Tbl Olive Oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 yukon gold potato, peeled and chopped (I usually use up to three potatoes to make it nice and thick)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tbl fresh ginger, peeled and grated (I use a LOT more than this! Add it to taste, and if you're feeling particularly sick that day add a little more than usual)
1 tsp ground corriander
1 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken stock, (vegetable stock or water if you're veg.)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
1/2 cup chives (optional- I dont use them)

Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan or soup pot, over medium heat until it begins to "shimmer." Add the onion, potatoes, garlic, ginger, curry powder, and corriander while stirring. Heat until the onions are transluscent, 5-8 minutes. Add the carrots and stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.

(I allow the soup to cool before putting it into my blender, because I've overheated blenders by making this soup before I learned my lesson! You can always re-heat the soup later if it gets too cold) Puree in a blender until smooth. Add the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chives.

I usually will make about three times this recipe and pour it into the zip-loc storage containers. I divide some of it into single and double portions, for when it is just me eating the soup, and some of it into larger containers for family sized portions. Then I freeze it, and have a quick and easy, yet healthy, dinner when I am feeling nauseous and pregnant!

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