Saturday, 14 July 2012

Baby it's HOT outside!

Wow are we hot and humid in Ontario!  The summers seem to be getting hotter every year.  We get up fairly early and even then it is quite warm and if there is a breeze it's warm too.  We get about an hour to move around before it becomes really uncomfortable and we retreat to the A/C in the house.  Our A/C works really well (knock on wood) and because we are a bungalow the house cools down quickly, but every now and we'll be reading a book, taking a nap or working on the computer and wonder why the room has become so warm?  Checking to see if the A/C is still on and this is what we will find.  Our Ceilidh fast asleep on the floor register soaking up all the nice cool air!  She is about 13 yrs. old, deaf and has a triple coat which is very thick and heavy.  No matter what room she is in she lays down on the register and takes a nap.   I guess a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!  

Sweet Ceilidh

It was market day yesterday and of course off I went without looking in the fridge first to see what we had and what we needed.  We didn't actually need very much so it was a quick visit, grabbed our weekly iced coffee treat and came back home to get out of the heat.  Carefully finding a place for everything in the fridge and deciding what I was going to use first I came upon not one, but two bags of carrots.  Guess what, I bought Sweet Nancy carrots at the market!  I know, this week it's me!  (One in three! - inside joke.)  So what to do with lots of carrots - of course, make soup!  But it's hot outside so who really wants to eat soup - me!  I love soup!  Hot soup, thick and chunky soup, thin and cool soup, any day, any time! 

Summer Carrot Soup

olive oil
8 large carrots, washed and cut up into chunks
2 onions chopped into chunks
3 cloves of garlic sliced
salt and pepper
water - enough to cover the carrots and about an inch more (like my measurements?)
milk or cream
Grains of Paradise seasoning (the epicentre brand) or whatever you would like!

I put enough olive oil in the pot to coat the bottom then threw in the onions, carrots and garlic and let them have a party together until everything was coated and began to show some browning or carmelization for flavour.  I added the seasonings and then topped them up with water (you could use stock but I mine was frozen still).  I left everything to simmer on a medium heat until soft and then using a hand blender whirled everything until it was the consistency I wanted - slightly on the chunkier side.  Back on the heat I added some milk and then slowly a bit at a time the ground Grains of Paradise, tasted, and then added a bit more until I thought there was enough.  The grains look like little peppercorns and have a peppery scent but the taste is very rich with hints of cardamom and ginger.  It really added a wonderful flavour to the soup.  Usually I add cumin but this was peppery with a little bit of heat!  We ate our soup luke warm and later in the evening I had some straight out of the fridge - so cold and delicious!

Carrot Slaw with Sunflower Seeds

The other bag of carrots became Carrot Slaw with mayonnaise, dijon mustard with truffle aroma essence (it sounds so much better en francais), salt, pepper, raw sunflower seeds and don't laugh - chopped sweet pickles!  My mum used to always put a spoon of relish into mayonnaise/mustard  based salads to give them a little tang and sweet flavour!  There not really noticeable but they make all the difference when they are added.  

What would you have made with the two bags of carrots?  Any family favourites to share?

Eat well!

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