Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Strawberry panna cotta

These past days have all been about food you can eat with a spoon or literally drink.

My mouth feels like the Hunger Games were held in it.

Cuts, gaps, stitches. The whole lot.
On Monday I had my three remaining wisdom teeth drilled, broken to pieces and yanked out of my surgically cut open and bleeding gums extracted and since then eating has involved very little chewing.

My first day was all about yogurt and ice cream. Might I add that there is just no fun in being allowed to indulge in pints of that stuff when it feels cold in one part of your mouth and hot on the other side, where it not so attractively dribbles out of the corners down onto your chin?

Yesterday, however, was a different story. Not only was I starving by then, but I was drugged and happy and had the whole day to cook without the kids around.

I had visions of making my own bread since I finally had all the time in the world to let it rise, only to remember I wouldn't be able to bite into its warm, crunchy crust once I pulled it out of the oven.

Next I thought of finally trying to make my own macarons, but I got tired just reading the many tips and precautions I would have to take.

Truth is I was heavily medicated on antibiotics and painkillers and didn't have the energy to get started on such a mastodontic task.

So I settled with what I do best: simple and tasty. Plus something that could be consumed with a spoon and stitched up gums.

I recently made a Bavarese that I wanted to post about, but the unmolding did not turn out quite as well as I had planned and the pictures I took were in the dark at a friend's house. Not blog material, so I had been waiting to make it again to post about it. At the last minute, however, I opted for a panna cotta, which is similar in concept minus the eggs and milk. Oh, and the cream is not whipped. The end result was not all that different tastewise or texture wise, and it was certainly quicker to assemble, but as I write this there is probably already a shouting crowd of inhabitants of Piedmont waiting outside my door with pitchforks.

Panna cotta (literally cooked cream) may be the quintessential Italian dessert but I am not much of a pudding person and have never been a huge fan. Not that I dislike it, I just don't love it. I mean, if I am going to have the calories, I may as well go for ice cream or a huge piece of chocolate cake.

I have to admit that making my own has somewhat changed my mind. Not only is there something comforting about seeing the fresh and few ingredients that go in there, do I need to remind you of the heavenly combination of strawberries and cream? Come on!

Also, promise me you will taste a spoonful of that vanilla bean and sugar infused cream before you mix in the puree... swoon! Honestly.
And there is something fun, that brings out your inner child, in using gelatin sheets. Wheeeee!

(Oh, about the gelatin in sheets. Although it is typically used in Italy for this recipe, I am aware it is not easy to find everywhere. I did some reading up for you and it seems that 1 1/2 teaspoons of powder/granules can be used to substitute 2 sheets. Or, if you prefer a vegetarian option, 1 teaspoon of agar agar can be used for every half liter (500ml) of liquid).

The thing that you will find the hardest is waiting for the panna cotta to set. Oh, and perhaps the unmolding. Read the instructions well.

Now that I made this, I am thinking of the possibilities... endless.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pecan Pie muffins - please read!

I already told you of F’s love for pecan pie here and here.

I also already told you that getting pecans here is no easy task (they used to sell them shelled around Christmas and I would stock up; now, if I am lucky I find them with their shells on) and that shelling them is an atrocious task, something you may do once every couple of years out of sheer love.

Luckily family and friends have caught on and keep us as stocked up as possible. One friend sends them from a Commissary in Rome, another packs them into her suitcase whenever she travels across the ocean. A relative is sending me a care package from NY as I write and F's bestman has them brought over from the pecan trees in his aunt’s garden in Brazil.

Yes, that means we are lucky and have great friends. It also means I have lots of pecans stored in my freezer (and is the reason the ones I used as props in the pictures have that dusting of white on them, in case you were wondering).

Do you see the gooeyiness inside?

It was Father’s Day here in Italy last Monday and I wanted to make my husband the pie he loves  because I haven’t made one in ages. But life got in the way, as it so often does. I got home late from work and picking up the kids, then I spent a good part of the time I should have been baking mopping up water from the floor after my daughter accidentally knocked over my great grandmother's vase (after I had specifically asked the kids not to play a certain game in the living room). And changing diapers. And making dinner. And emptying out the dishwasher. And setting the table. And hanging and folding laundry. And preparing the kids’ stuff for school. And. And. And. By the time I was done, not only did I not have time to bake a pie, I also had no desire or energy to.
Then I remembered a recipe I had mentally bookmarked more than a year ago for pecan pie muffins. Every post, article, comment I have read raved about them. I was curious but didn’t really get how a muffin could be as good as a slice of pecan pie. I mean, muffins are pretty dry compared to the gooey delight that is the filling of a pecan pie. Sure, this was quicker and easier to bake, so I thought it just made the baker more forgiving. I mean, how could it really compare?

See how it gets caramelized and crunchy on top?

5 ingredients and about 5 minutes later, my batch was in the oven.

Yes, I wrote 5 ingredients and 5 minutes.


Can you believe it?

No wonder the bakers were all very forgiving.

We pulled them out just in time for dessert. They were warm, chunky, nutty, gooey in places, caramelized.
And… they were A.MA.ZING. They have become our new all time favorite muffin.*

More gooeyiness and caramelization on the bottom...

It was a struggle to save that last one to take a picture of it in daylight. I actually had to come home a few minutes early from work to quickly snap a few pictures before picking the kids up from school. That is the other reason why the pecan props have that white fuzz (ice) on them. I just didn't have time to let them thaw completely... but I know you forgive me because now you have this recipe.

So I am on the outlook for more pecans, because F is totally addicted. Keep 'em coming guys!

They are so easy, it may take me even longer to bake another pecan pie.

Also, I haven't tried it yet, but they are supposedly fabulous warmed up in the microwave and served with vanilla ice cream or a pat of butter.

Oh pecan pie muffin, I love thee so!

P.S. I don’t remember where I read about these muffins the first time and I have seen them in a myriad of other places since and sort of memorized the recipe, so I am not linking back to a specific one. If I left a comment on anyone’s blog saying I would bookmark it and try it, let me know. I am sorry I don’t remember and will gladly link back to you and be eternally grateful for this gift you have given me!

* I made these again and baked them just a minute or two less and they were even better, with an even more moist interior.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Braised rabbit

When my daughter was old enough to have solids and most ingredients I stopped cooking separate meals for her and we started eating together as a family.

One day I made roast rabbit and cut the meat into small pieces for her to eat.

When she was about to put the first bite into her mouth, she asked me what it was.

"What is it?"

My husband and I looked at each other and for a split second wondered what we should answer. We were all too aware that she loved her bunny-shaped stuffed animals and her boardbook versions of Peter Rabbit and Guess How Much I Love You. But we decided to be true to our beliefs, to not lie to our children about food and where it comes from. So after the first second of hesitation, I answered in English:


She stopped short and put her fork down.

I knew it.

Then she pointed to the silver baby fork she was eating with and said "Babbit". Surely enough, on the fork were a duck, a rabbit and a pig.

I should've said chicken. I should've waited a little longer.

Then she picked up her fork again, stuck it in her mouth, chewed and exclaimed:


Before going into the oven

I may have already told you this story, but I can’t help thinking of it now that I am posting a recipe for rabbit, probably because I am aware that it is a controversial topic. I know some readers will click onto the next blog in disgust/horror.

In a lot of countries rabbits are eschewed as a protein source because they are cute, barnyard friends. The truth, however, is that we eat most of our barnyard friends, from cows to hens to ducks, so why make an exception for rabbits? In my opinion, you either eat meat or you don’t. I am not judging the  moral issue or personal taste. But if you are a meat eater, a chicken is as much an animal as a rabbit or a lamb, isn’t it? So, just because it ain’t as cute as Bugs Bunny, it is ok to go ahead and kill it?

After the oven
Also, if you eat meat, it is important that you understand where it comes from and how it ends up on your plate. Sterilizing the process by selling meat in aseptic cuts and unnatural shapes in plastic trays, or choosing to eat some animals and not others based on their appearance is just another way to distance yourself from your food source, making you less responsible of your actions. Let's face it, if you recognize the actual shape of a leg, if a fish is served whole instead of filleted, if you are eating an organ, you are more aware of the sacrifice that was made to feed you. So ultimately, eating responsibly and knowing what you are ingesting also tends to discourage waste. Maybe you will think twice about dumping that leftover piece in the trash if you are actually aware an animal was killed for your consumption. An animal (a cow, a pig, a hen, a lamb, a rabbit, a fish, even a horse!), not a pink unidentified rectangle of substance.

But back to rabbit. In Italy (and many other places of course), rabbit meat is quite common. They sell it at the butcher's and pretty much in any supermarket, usually near the poultry section. You can buy a whole rabbit, head on or off, or you can buy it quartered. Rabbit meat is a lean and healthy option for your diet. According to an interesting article I just read, rabbit has a low carbon footprint because they efficiently turn calories into pounds of meat (with the same amount of food and water they produce 6 lbs of meat vs. the 1 lbs produced by a cow). They are quiet and clean (much more so than chickens), and they eat leftover scraps and turn them into natural fertilizer, making them ideal as backyard animals for urban locavores.

They are also apparently much easier to butcher and clean than a chicken. Now I may just stick to buying mine at the supermarket and the truth is we cook rabbit because it tastes good but in today’s world of overconsumption I am always happy to learn about and consider all the other options out there for us.
I like braising rabbit because the meat is not at all fatty and tends to be a little on the dry side.
With this technique, it becomes pull-apart tender. You can use many different liquids, from wine to beer to marinades or tomato sauce, but this time I simply used vegetable stock. When the meat is ready you can serve it as a main course or make a delicious rabbit ragù by pulling it apart.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Salad with pan seared scallops, crispy pancetta and toasted corn muffin crumbs (with Thai-inspired dressing)

Don't ask me how my corn muffins turned into a mare e monti salad (the Italian equivalent of surf'n'turf), but they did. 

Oh, you want to know?

You sure?

Ok, you asked for it.

My son is in the "playing with food stage", which is extremely annoying for a variety of reasons:

a) I like table manners and civilized meals
b) he totally, completely and utterly ignores us when we tell him to stop demolishing everything on his plate or throwing morsels he doesn't like on the floor (or on our plates. Mr, keep that little piece of chewed up connective tissue on your plate, thank you very much!)
c) because his sticky, greasy little fingers dirty everything on and around (us) the table 
d) last but definitely not least, because I hate food waste.

Which means, I and F are the ones who usually ends up eating the leftover bits and pieces of his meal strewn across the whole kitchen.

Now, it is true that us moms do disgusting things like eat chewed and spit out morsels, food rolled-into-balls our children's leftovers.

And yes, we do clean what every orifice of their little bodies produce, sometimes with our bare hands - boogers/snot anyone?

Or how about when you are in the middle of the street and they decide they don't like that wasabi pea/nut/piece of licorice/... (insert any type of food that you are eating and that they insisted they wanted to try for about two hours non-stop) and spit it out into your hand?

Even if we do this kind of stuff, it doesn't mean we actually enjoy it.

But I digress.

You don't want to read this while thinking of a possible recipe. 

Back to food and waste.

The morning of the day I made this salad, my son demolished the last corn muffin and then decided he didn't want it anymore. And that is how it all started.

Do you still want to know about this salad?

Are you still in the mood for food?

If I promise you can use corn bread or muffin left overs (you can even freeze the crumbs so you have them handy when you need them the next time you bake some) that were not manipulated by dimply fingers, will you try this salad?

Was that a yes?

 Ok, then here goes.

This is a simple yet sophisticated salad you can make as an appetizer for a dinner party or for a weekend lunch. The thing that makes it interesting is the contrast between flavors (the sweetness of the scallops and the saltiness of the pork, the fresh greens), textures (the crisp salad, the tender seafood and the crunchy morsels of pancetta) and the colors.

I dressed it with a Thai-inspired vinaigrette, infusing olive oil with ginger, lemon grass and adding some fish sauce and lime juice. I also chopped up some coriander and mixed it in with the greens.

Last but not least, to add another layer of texture and flavor, I toasted some corn muffin crumbs and sprinkled them on top. Oh, but you knew that already.

It turned out pretty delicious, even my son didn't throw too much of it on the floor.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Of corn muffins and relationships

I woke up this morning and thought: I love my husband.

We have been married 12 years and been together almost 20, so you are probably thinking it doesn’t take a genius to get that. Or, if you are the cynical kind you are probably thinking: still?

Let’s just say that even if love is presumably the foundation of marriage, it is not always center stage. Life, we all know, gets in the way. Life is quite the diva, cherishing the spotlight, pushing and shoving its way to the front and relegating the true protagonist to the chorus line. Life is… well, larger than life, constantly changing costumes and starring in a variety of roles: work, finances, children, health.

You get the gist, you know what I mean. As much as you promise yourself things won’t change, they do, whether you have kids or not. Just more certainly and quicker if you have kids. And I am not implying they change for the worse, just that they are different.

There are still a lot of cuddles and horsing around, but it usually involves the children too. Kids are just incapable of watching/hearing you share a moment of laughter or tenderness without jumping right into the middle of it.

Your seemingly endless reserves of affection are more finite than you thought once your offspring, on which you reversed your supplies all day, are in bed. Instead of lying on the couch hand in hand, legs intertwined while watching a movie, you both lightly snore with your eyes half open, pretending to be awake.

Moments of intimacy are well planned and consumed behind locked doors in muffler mode. Gone are the days of spur-of-the-moment fun involving surfaces of your décor other than the bed.

I think we all at some point of a relationship (during a fight, when you reach an important milestone etc.) question how much of life together is routine, companionship or even the unthinkable, a very efficient way to rear a family or to share costs in an expensive metropolis. 

Sometimes it is so hard to see black and white, because contours have a tendency to grey with time. It is hard to tell the difference between a real feeling and the memory of it (like those childhood reminiscences you create in your mind through stories you have heard your parents tell over and over). It is hard to differentiate types of love when sex is no longer the driving factor of the equation.

But then Love, demoted to supporting role or even walk-on by the egotistic diva that is Life, has a way of creeping back when you least expect it. It waits quietly and patiently on the sidelines and then unexpectedly takes center stage for a solo that is so sweet and lovely that it is like watching your first  movie in color after owning a black and white TV.

That is how I felt this morning. Is it because he got back from a trip last night while I was asleep and waking up next to him this morning just made me happy? Is it because some sad news I heard from a friend set my mind racing, making me analyze every facet of my relationship? Is it because there has just been so much going on in our lives this winter that I realized having him with me along the way just makes it so much easier. The truth is it could be either of these reasons or all of them together or maybe none of them. I don’t know and I don’t care. All I know is that Love is the star today and that is all that matters.

Corn muffins are a little like marriage: they are every day food, not glamorous, but easily adaptable. They are a little sweet, slightly salty, moist and comforting yet with that unexpected grainy texture and bite.

The other day I brought some corn muffins to work and a couple of colleagues asked me for the recipe. I told them they could get it from the blog. As I was looking for the link to send them I realized I had never posted corn muffins! How did that happen?

I was very glad I still had a few at home to photograph.

I do not have my own special recipe for corn muffins and used this one because I didn’t have the buttermilk many recipes call for. I was actually also a little short on butter and used a couple of tablespoons of leftover coconut milk I had in the fridge. It worked fine as a substitute, and for those of you who don’t like coconut, there was not a hint of it once baked.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Short-cut Thai sticky rice

Yesterday, as I stood by the stove making dinner, I listened to my daughter speaking to her Daddy, who had just come home from work, in the other room.

 Daughter: "I hope we are grown up when you both die"
I don’t know what went through his head before answering but probably something along the lines of what I was thinking. That it is important to say the right thing, to help her understand that death is inevitable, that it is part of the cycle of life. That people die, sometimes unfortunately sooner than expected. But also to reassure her and comfort her, to let her know we will always be there for her, that she should not grow up being scared of losing us. That it is good to speak openly of death as a way of exorcising this fear but that is also important for a child to feel safe.


Daddy: "If we are lucky, God willing, we will die when we are much older than we are now and you will be all grown up".

After a moment of silence, during which she thought about what her father (the man who can do all and who knows everything) had said, she answered matter-of-factly:

"Or at least if you die before that, I hope you and Mommy have enough time to drop us off with a family".
I snorted from the kitchen. She had already figured it all out.

I think it is hilarious (if you can use that word for this subject) that in her 6-year old mind, Daddy and Mommy is a unit, a package deal. We go together like peanut butter and jelly, like Sandy and Danny, like rain and bad hair days. If Daddy goes, Mommy goes, same time, same day. Widow and widower are words that have not yet entered her lexicon. Thank goodness, might I add.

                            Source: via Nuts on Pinterest

As children, I clearly remember my sister and I saying things like: "When you die can you leave me that ring/blouse/dress?"  this to my mother. She still gives us a hard time about it (rightly so).
I try to think back and recall what went through my mind when I said those things. I seem to remember there was no angst, no reasoning. It was a simple statement, a rational thought about something that you are no longer able to rationalize once you grasp the meaning, the implications of death. The pain, the loss, the emptiness, the grief.
I love the candidness of children, their lack of filters. I love how straightforward they are and I am grateful for the insight they give me, because their simple approach to things in life helps me make mine less complex, less convoluted. More often than not, keeping things simple is the best way to live.

                                         Source: via Nuts on Pinterest

 Simplicity is sometimes a good thing in cooking too. It is often the humblest dishes that we love and crave the most. Also, talking about simplicity, sometimes we discover that something we thought was difficult or tedious to make is actually really, really easy.
Am I the only one who thought making sticky rice required several steps and age-old techinique?
I love everything about Thai food but whatever I order, I always get sticky rice to go with it. Perhaps it was the banana leaf it often comes in suggesting exotic ingredients and nimble hands wrapping the tiny glutinous kernels with special techniques that scared me off.
And then I found a big bag of glutinous rice at my local Asian supermarket and when I researched on line I found out I could make it in under thirty minutes in my own home whilst reading a book!
There are two ways to go: the traditional way, which requires a longer soaking (even overnight), a steamer (although a traditional bamboo steamer is not necessary) and more patience than I had at the time. And the microwave way (finally I have found a way to use my microwave, which helped me warm many a bottle in the past years but that I usually eye with suspicion), that is so simple I almost laughed out loud when I read it.
Now I’m sure that if you are Thai or you live in Thailand or you are an expert of all things Thai, you will notice a difference between the original method and this short cut and I don’t suggest you follow it. Although I may be wrong. But for all of those who enjoy recreating the vibrancy of flavors and colors of Thai food in their own home without being purists, this tasted totally authentic to me.

My source suggests that the microwave rice may turn out a little stickier, softer. The rice I made did not turn out soft at all, it was perfectly sticky and toothsome at the same time. Perhaps it is because I soaked it for longer than 10 minutes because I was distracted by the kids. Apparently if the rice is soaked longer it absorbs less during cooking and thus stays firmer. I, actually we all, thought it was delicious.

glutinous rice
glass bowl or microwave resistant container

Soak the rice for about 20 minutes in luke warm water. For every cup of rice pour in a little over a cup of water, so that the water level is just above the rice level. Cover and cook in the microwave at maximum power for three minutes. Uncover, stir and repeat this process until the rice is cooked and traslucent. Timing depends on how powerful your microwave is. I cooked and stirred three times for a total of 9 minutes.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Roasted lemon and red onion chutney

Saturday it was spring: sunny, warm beautiful beckoned many of us out of our homes and into the city's parks for a picnic.
I may have already told you about a park near our house that we often go to in the warmer months. It is a lovely, quaint garden tucked away behind an historic villa with a fish pond crossed by a little bridge, beautiful trees, a large and nicely kept lawn and a miniature playground. It is small and you may only enter with children and no dogs. I know this sounds unfair, but it is because of these strict rules that people can let their children crawl or walk in the grass barefoot without worrying about them stepping in/on the undesirable and often scary things that litter urban parks. It is so safe you can let your children run free and explore the secret trail beyond the bridge while you lie on a blanket and relax in the shade of a tree.

That is exactly what a bunch of us was doing, glass of red wine in hand, when we saw a woman approaching us followed by our children like she was the Pied Piper. She asked us if she could take the kids to the large park right across the street to feed animals. A couple of dads volunteered to tag along and when they all got back both fathers and children were brimming with interesting and funny stories.

That is how we found out about this group of volunteers who goes to these parks on their lunch break every day to feed the animals (mostly turtles, ducks and fish) and to make sure they are well. 

My daughter told me excitedly that a few weeks ago, when Milan was covered in snow, the pond had frozen over. If you share Holden Caulfield's curiosity about what happens to the ducks when ponds freeze in a city park, I can tell you that the Milanese ducks all huddled together in a wooden bird house by the water to keep warm, waiting for the volunteers. When they arrived with food, my daughter told me through big bouts of laughter, one of the ducks literally ice skated towards them.

Also, one of the huge carps that live in the same waters recently died and it was embalmed and is now exhibited at the nearby Museum of Natural History.

On their walk around, they also met a Brazilian turtle with a blue beak called Freddy who is a protected species. Apparently people often abandon illegaly imported animals in city parks.

My daughter and husband also met an alligator snapping turtle from Florida who eats pythons. To think I have probably walked by it a hundred times over the years and never knew were were compatriots!

Needless to say, my daughter and her friends loved every minute.
I think it is amazing that there are people out there willing to use their free time to care for animals and to teach our children about the environment that surrounds us. I can only express my gratitude towards these volunteers who take care of the little nature we have in big cities with passion by thanking them for turning my child's afternoon into a great adventure.

But you are here for a recipe, so let me digress no further. Remember that saying that goes "if life gives you lemons make lemonade"?
Lemonade? Not me, nossir. From now on I'm making chutney. Roasted lemon and red onion chutney to be exact. And you will too if you try this.
I was inspired by this recipe and the photos a few months ago. I had bookmarked it and finally decided to use up all that lovely citrus I had lying around.
I did however make some adjustments. Part of the changes were dictated by what I had in my kitchen, others by my personal preferences.

I used red onions instead of shallots. Also, I roasted my onions alongside the lemon instead of keeping them raw: whatever it lacked for in texture it made up for in color and flavor. The onion softened and caramelized slightly with the lemons and helped to further neutralize the acidity from the lemons. I made sure to use less honey so the end result wouldn't be too sweet. I also omitted the mint because I didn't have any, but I am sure it adds a lovely note and will definitely use some next time. What I am also thinking of adding when I make it again is some grated ginger, just a touch, to add some freshness and a teeny bit of heat.

When I served it my daughter eyed it suspiciously and stated with her typical 6-year old attitude: "I'm not eating that". I reminded her that our household rule is to taste before refusing something. Well, maybe I shouldn't have insisted because she ended up  making a huge dent in the supply. We ended up slathering this stuff on everything we ate yesterday and it was gone before nightfall. Not only di we drizzle it over crumbled feta and warm toasted bread, we mixed it into the vinaigrette for our salad and even used some on grilled meat. It would work wonders on roasted fish or even smoked salmon. Can you think of something else you would pair it with?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ginger miso carrot soup

Don't you sometimes wish you could touch up your life a little?
Add some color here, soften some sharp edges there?
Some weeks are a little duller than others. On those days a little contrast wouldn't hurt. Other times stuff just gets on your nerves. How about erasing it with one quick swipe?

Come on, you know it would be cool if you could sometimes  photoshop your day a little.
Keep the basics but tweak them a bit. If energy was low and stress levels high, you would just move a cursor up or down a line until you reached the percentage that suited you best.

I wouldn't mind cropping some aspects of my life these days, parts involving desks, meeting rooms, coffee machines, badges and monitors, but unfortunately you need more than a mouse or a touch pad to do that in the real world.

Truth is, I am not big on photo editing either. I get by with the really basic stuff and my limited knowledge  is just enough to try to slightly improve my amateur photography skills. Sometimes the light is so superb that I don't even need to turn to photo editing, but today I had a good recipe for you and a bunch of terrible pictures, the kind you take in a dark kitchen in a rush, with family members hungrily and impatiently waiting around a dinner table. So I decided I could distract you and tell you about the deliciousness of this soup anyway.
I was smitten with this soup the minute I laid eyes on it. It seemed like the perfect way to a) use up all those carrots I had in the fridge and b) devise another way of getting my kids to eat cooked carrots. They are slightly miso-soup-obsessed so I thought if I just called it miso soup and told them the color came from the miso paste, they would eat it. Guess what? It  worked perfectly and my daughter's jaw dropped when I told her right after she literally finished licking out her bowl that she had eaten carrot soup. That doesn't mean you don't taste the carrots, because they shine through, but every spoonful is accompanied by the tingling flavor of ginger on your tongue, the smoky nutty taste of sesame oil and the umami from the miso paste. It is Japan in a spoonful.

about 2 pounds carrots,  sliced thinly
about 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (or to taste)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely grated /chopped ginger (or to taste)
4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup miso paste (the recipe suggests white miso paste, but I only had dark paste so I started with less and added it little by little)
olive oil
toasted sesame oil
2 sliced scallions for garnish (I unfortunately didn't have any)

Cover the bottom of a saucepan with olive oil, heat it and add in the carrots, onion and garlic. Sauté for a while, then add the stock and grated ginger. Simmer covered until carrots are tender, about half an hour.
Blend soup and then mix together the miso paste with a ladel of hot soup . When it has dissolved pour it back into the pot. Taste and add more if you like. Season if needed and then serve in individual bowls, drizzled with the sesame oil and garnished with scallions.

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