Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fire & Ice : Winter Tomato Carrot & Ginger Soup

The classic Chinese medical texts describe Winter as the season of "ultimate yin". Darkness and cold predominate and people instinctively seek the yang energy of heat and light to counter Winter's icy nature.  This simple soup contains two strongly yang elements. Red is the color associated with the heat of Summer, the season of "ultimate yang". Ginger root is one of the most warming herbs in the traditional Chinese pharmacopeia.  This subtly sweet gingery recipe is a delicious formula for balancing ice with fire in the season of ultimate yin.

Tomato Carrot Ginger Soup:

1 leek, white part only, sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced
2 slices fresh ginger root or more to taste
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 can (1 lb 12 oz) whole Italian tomatoes with liquid
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon raw cashew or almond butter (optional)
1/2 roasted red pepper, sliced  (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

Place leek, celery, carrots, ginger root, garlic, bay leaf and tomatoes in a pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook on low flame for about 15 minutes adding a little water  if necessary to make sure vegetables are almost covered in cooking liquid. The vegetables should  be cooked until just tender enough to process in the blender.

Stir in maple syrup, nut butter and roasted red pepper if using, and sea salt. Remove bay leaf. Turn off flame and allow soup to cool before blending.  Hot liquids may create a vacuum in the blender during processing and can spatter even if the blender lid is in place.

When soup is blended taste and correct seasoning. Re heat gently without boiling before serving. If the soup is too thick,  add a little water or unsweetened soy milk or nut milk to obtain desired consistency.  Serve in preheated bowls.

Note: Whole canned Italian tomatoes are a good staple to have on hand during the winter months. Their flavor and versatility is excellent for winter cooking when fresh seasonal vegetables are less abundant.

Fire and Ice 

 Some say the world will end in fire,
 Some say in ice. 
 From what I've tasted of desire
 I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

- Robert Frost
(1874- 1963)