Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tostadas and Carrot Soup

Are you feeling the lack of posts, dear readers? Maybe just the tiniest bit? Rest assured that being so remiss takes its toll in myriad little ways. Since returning from Bulgaria just over a week and a half ago--or so, it was something like that, but now the time is all mushing together into a gigantic ball of things I'm supposed to do but haven't yet, I've made exactly one meal worth blogging about. And, really, the meals of note increase in direct proportion to the amount of time I am not working or otherwise engaged. Hint: If you have a vested interest in seeing more blogs per month from me, the most efficacious possible strategy would be to make it so that C gets a killer job making six figures in his chosen field. Should this happen. I will happily and gleefully rest on my laurels and spend the foreseeable future writing about veganism and food and politics and horror films. It sounds like heaven. So make it happen, okay? Okay?

Until then, I want to tell you about one meal I made that was, if I do say so myself, pretty damned good. In general, if I'm going to the trouble of making soup, particularly one that involves the blender in any capacity whatsoever, I'm inclined to let the rest of the meal kind of coast. I'll throw in some beans, steam up a kettle of kale, and call it a day. When I cooked up the plan for this carrot soup, though, I wanted to do a little something extra. It may be because while I was in Bulgaria, I started fiending for tortilla soup in a way that wasn't assuaged until I returned and made a big pot of it. As maybe a hangover of that impetus, I decided to fit the sweetness of the roasted carrots in this soup into a general theme of Mexican deliciousness.

Roasted Carrot Soup 2.0 (without cashews, cuz who needs 'em?)

2 lbs carrots, washed--about 8-10 carrots
1 medium sweet onion
sea salt
black pepper
garlic powder (optional)
3 cubes veggie broth
6-7 cups water
3-4 T dried basil
1 T dried mustard
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Slice carrots and onion thinly, then spread them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive and oil and sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender throughout, checking and stirring frequently. Process carrots with some of the water until smooth, working in batches as necessary. Collect processed carrots in a soup pot. Add remaining water, veggie broth cubes, basil, and mustard. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Adjust seasonings and thickness (by adding water) as necessary.

This recipe made enough soup for us to eat over three days, and, with the magical property belonging to all soups worth their salt, it only got better with time. On the first day, though, we had this soup with Lazy Tostadas (recipe follows) and some sauteed red cabbage because we are seriously, unrepentantly manic about our cruciferous veggies.

Lazy Tostadas

Corn tortillas
Refried beans
Prepared taco filling
Canola oil
Shredded vegan cheese (I used Follow Your Heart)

Preheat oven to 400. Brush tortillas with a thin coat of canola oil and bake until just crispy. They're going back in the oven, so no need to get super aggro about their crispness. You want them a little underdone at this point. Spread each tortilla with some refried beans, then top with taco filling, salsa, and cheese--in that order. Slide the tostadas under the broiler for just a few minutes, until the cheese gets melty. (Be vigilant at this stage! Broilers are useful, but if you're not careful, they will mess you up.) Let the tostadas cool slightly, then top with sliced avocados and serve.

Also, I'll put up a post soon with some of the highlights of my trip, including food pictures. Why would I go all the way to Eastern Europe and not take photos of what I was putting into my face?

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