Archives for posts with tag: Downton Abbey

Yesterday may have been the coldest day of winter so far. I don’t have proof to back that up except it was the first day I’ve worn tights under my jeans and had to use a scarf to cover my face and not just my neck. Also, I passed at least two people on the street who had near-frozen icicles of snot dripping down their nose. Even my yoga class went from an attendance of twenty the week before, to a measly six brave souls.

Luckily I remembered what my eighth-grade science teacher in Vermont taught me about layering: loose layers, wool is preferred, leave enough room for air to circulate and heat up, and most importantly tuck everything in so no skin is exposed in any way. New England common sense, of course, but wizardry to a girl from Long Island who never owned a pair of gloves.

So it was the perfect day to make soup. But instead of the usual hearty favorites—mushroom barley, bean chili,  chowder —my friend Jill and I settled on this carrot-ginger-miso recipe from one of our favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen. While not hearty per se it was warming and comforting and will keep you on track for hitting your new year’s whatchamacallits by being all healthy and vegan and whatnot.

We served the soup with a crunchy cucumber salad with ginger, sesame, and scallion from Cook’s Illustrated and a dark rye bread that Jill made with cocoa and espresso (it’s like your toast and coffee in one). Accompanied with the latest episode of Downton Abbey I forgot all about the blustery cold outside. (Will Matthew and Mary get together already, jeez.)

I’m publishing the recipe as is, but Jill and I agreed we’d make a few adjustments in the future. For one, the consistency was very puréed, almost baby-food-like, which, don’t get me wrong, can be enjoyable. But I’d increase the vegetable broth. Next, the recipe only calls for 1/4 cup white miso, but I’d ratchet that on up to 1/2 c if you’re feeling bold. As is you could barely discern the miso flavor. Finally, I’d add a tablespoon or two of rice wine vinegar if you have it, it was missing just a tiny acidic zing. But otherwise I really enjoyed it and would definitely make again.

Carrot-Ginger-Miso Soup
Makes 4 servings

2 tbsp olive oil
2 pounds carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 regular or 6 small garlic cloves, peeled or smashed
1 tbsp finely chopped or grated ginger (or more)
4 c vegetable broth
1/4 c white miso paste, or more
Toasted sesame oil, for drizzling
2 scallions, very thinly sliced, for garnish*

Heat the oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the broth and ginger. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Purée soup in batches in blender or with an immersion blender. In a small bowl whisk together the miso and 1/2 cup of the soup. Stir the mixture back into the pot of soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional miso.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil and scallions.

*You can do a quick pickle of the scallions by letting them marinate in a mixture of 6 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp water, 1 tbsp salt, and 1 1/2 tsp sugar while you’re making the soup.

Do you watch the BBC show Downton Abbey? I’d heard folks talking about it for the past few months (never understanding what they were saying when pronouncing Downton) and finally one late weeknight in the recent past I got on Netflix and tuned in. I was hooked faster than you can unlace a corset—which I guess isn’t actually fast at all—and am now through half the first season. I’m trying to pace myself because that’s so far the only season to watch.

Anyway…in one episode, a lowly middle class lawyer says something to the effect of “Well I work during the week but there’s always weekends and evenings.” And the pitch-perfect Maggie Smith, playing the Dowager Countess of Grantham, says in disbelief “What’s a week-end?”

Well your Countess, a weekend, in these parts of Brooklyn anyway, is when you put on your skinny jeans and lace-up shoes and walk around Williamsburg, stopping along Smorgasburg on the waterfront, getting coffee at Blue Bottle, brunching at Fabian’s or Egg, then shopping along the strip of Bedford Avenue.

I took in Smorgasburg on Saturday afternoon for a little nosh. First you have to spend 10-15 minutes walking around checking out the vendors. You don’t want to commit to a vendor too early then be disappointed to find there was better barbecue on the other side of the flea market. This is what happened to Y. He committed to a barbecue sandwich from Williamsburg’s Meat Hook—not a bad move, you’d think this would be among the best—but then later discovered even more mouth-watering brisket being barbecued on the far north side of the market. Too late.

Well I’m an experienced food market strategist. I was waiting for the right vendor when I saw a couple strolling, gobbling sandwiches with cilantro and something fried inside. I caught them mid-bite, asked from whence it came, and was pointed toward Dadar, a stall hawking Bombay street food. The sandwich above is a Vada Pao; for $5 you get to chow down on smashed potato and chickpea flour fried and served on a bun with a tamarind sauce, spicy peppers, and cilantro.

My next diversion was Kombucha Brooklyn’s stand. As some of you know, I am a sucker for kombucha on tap, so couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a $10 half-growler filled with fresh apricot kombucha. You can refill your buch bottle for $8 at Radish, Urban Rustic, Fresh Fanatic, and Khim’s Millenium, for starters. I told the guy I wanted to work for his company. I was only half kidding. That reminds me, I need to get business cards made. Ok it’s Downton time!

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