Two of my favorite things to cook with are lemon grass and Garam Masala, a blend of spices similar to curry, but with a sweeter, often milder aroma and taste: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garam_masala . Fresh lemon grass has a wonderful scent that explodes when the stalk is pounded prior to using, imbuing a dish with a subtle citrus flavor.
Our Discussion Group is meeting this evening to talk about immigration and resilience (http://nyti.ms/XOI8by.) A lo-carb menu that’s easy to prepare ahead is perfect for a pre-discussion dinner. This special carrot soup will be our entree. I’m also serving Grilled Artichokes:
(https://glutenfreegus.com/2013/02/07/grilled-artichokes-with-creamy-sesame-sauce/ ), steamed asparagus in a citrus vinaigrette sauce, cheesy corn scones, and… haven’t yet decided what’s for dessert.
Masala Carrot Soup – Serves 8-10
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of lemon grass, 1 outer layer peeled, cut into 3″ long pieces, and pounded (a heavy ice cream scoop works.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Garam Masala spice blend
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary)
2 pounds carrots, washed, (peeled if you must), and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1 sweet potato, peeled, and cut into chunks
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tablespoons sweet balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
Fresh chives to garnish
1. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onions and saute until soft. Add the pounded lemon grass, garlic, Garam Masala, and rosemary; cook for a couple of minutes to toast the spice and draw the oil from the lemon grass. Take care not to burn the garlic.
2. Pour in the stock; add the carrots, sweet potato, and apple, bring to a boil and cook covered for 30 minutes.
3. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. When cool enough to handle, strain the solids, taking care to pick out and disscard all the lemon grass stalks.
4. Using a food processer or blender, puree the solids in batches and return to the liquid. Add the cream and heat just until boiling. Season to taste.
5. Serve in heated soup bowls and garnish with chopped fresh chives. (If you like, add a drizzle of cream fraiche or sour cream thinned with milk.)