potage crécy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An easy version of a classic French carrot soup.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbps butter
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1.5 pounds carrots*, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium waxy potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced, optional
  • dash of cayenne, tsp of curry powder or ginger, optional

Garnishes:

  • parsley, cilantro, or chives
  • Greek yogurt, sour cream, or crème fraîche

In a large soup pot, cook the carrots, onion, potato, and garlic (and the fresh ginger if you are making the carrot-ginger soup version) in the two tablespoons of butter over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the 4 cups of stock (I usually use 2 cups of stock and 2 of water, because I use my homemade stock, which is fairly concentrated) and the pepper and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove soup from the heat and carefully puree using a stick blender, food mill, or process in batches in a blender. Return the pureed soup to the pot, stir in the heavy cream (light cream or whole milk also work well, but you should make it at least once with heavy cream!) and taste for seasonings. Add salt and additional pepper as necessary. A dash of cayenne pepper is a nice addition here as well, and if you didn’t use fresh ginger, a teaspoon of powdered ginger can be added. Sweeter curries also compliment the flavors of carrots, and adding a teaspoon or so of curry powder gives a delicious curried carrot soup. Heat and stir well to blend flavors.

Serve with chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, and chives are favorites) and/or a little crème fraîche, sour cream, or Greek yogurt. A green salad and crusty French bread round out the meal. Bon Appétit!

*Note: This soup is very good with grocery store-bought carrots. However, if you can access locally grown carrots from your farmers market, they elevate the soup to divine!

Wine pairing:

My favorite wine to pair with potage Crécy is Viognier, and there are several very well-crafted Virginia Viogniers that would be wonderful with this soup. Of course, a French Viognier would be a lovely pairing and nod to the origin of the soup (Crécy is the area in France with the reputation for growing the best carrots!). The herbal and floral aromatics in really fresh carrots compliment the floral components in Viognier beautifully. Another wine I would recommend for this soup is Albariño, another aromatic variety that has its origins Spain but has been planted in Virginia as well. Cheers!

Veritas 2011 Viognier from Afton, Va. Elegant and balanced. Floral aromatics with varietal characters of apricot, pear, honeysuckle, and orange blossom.

Another Virginia Viognier from the Northern region. This wine is unctuous and decadent with tropical fruit aromatics and a rich mouthfeel.

Horton was the first to plant Viognier in Virginia and has been a champion for the variety. In 2011 Viognier was named Virginia’s state grape!

Domaine des Salices 2009 Viognier. A vin de pays from the Languedoc. A good value (retails for about $15) Viognier from France.


Roasted tomatoes

This is what I do with late season tomatoes, when they've started to lose optimal flavor and texture. 225F oven for approximately 3 hours, depending on size. Salt and pepper optional.

Roasted tomatoes will keep in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for several days.

lunch: summer vegetable saute

sauteed a small amount chopped onion and slices of slender squash in olive oil and butter. I like these to get a little color so I turned up the heat.

Once the onions and squash had some caramelization, reduced the heat and added minced garlic, 2 min. Added chopped tomato, parsley, salt, pepper. Served with bread and wine leftover from last night.

kachcumber salade

One of my favorite Southern summer sides:

Combine chopped tomatoes and cucumbers (peeled if you prefer) in a bowl.

Optional: add a little diced sweet onion.

Toss with a generous amount of fresh chopped parsley, red or white wine vinegar, olive oil (about 2:1 vinegar to oil), salt and pepper. (Also delicious with fresh cilantro or basil.)

Marinate at room temperature or chilled for an hour or so before serving.

Bon appétit!

Wine pairing: A refreshing white or dry rose with crisp acidity to stand up to the vinegar. Pinot grigio and Albarino come to mind. Cheers!

grilled spinach, peach, and arugula pizza

Peaches are one of my favorite summer fruits, and we bought South Carolina peaches today at Oasis, our local global market. The spinach and arugula were picked from our garden.

Start with grilled pizza dough, and a charcoal fire on one side of the grill only (for indirect heat), cook dough over the coals until bottom is lightly browned and crisp, rotating as necessary for even browning. The dough will form bubbles as the yeast produce carbon dioxide. Flip dough over (the cooked side is now the top of the pizza), flatten the air bubbles, move off the coals, and coat dough with olive oil. Add crumbled chevre.

Move the dough back over the coals and rotate to cook the bottom evenly. Once the bottom is browned, move dough over to indirect heat and add spinach, arugula, and 1-2 chopped peaches that have been tossed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

Close the grill and let greens wilt and peaches warm through, 2-5 minutes. If you’re feeling inspired, grill the peaches while the dough is cooking before adding them to the greens mixture.

Serve with balsalmic vinegar and fruity hot sauces as condiments.

Bon appétit!

Wine pairing: Viognier, with its varietal descriptors of peach and apricot, and its floral aromas, would be perfect with the peaches in this recipe. Virginia wineries are producing some fabulous Viogniers. Rose or Albarino would also pair well with this pizza. Cheers!

tropical fruit salade

Lunch today. One of my favorites – especially in winter just before, after, or if I’m really needing a tropical vacation. I’ve had similar salades in San juan, St. Barth, and Hawaii.

Chop several different tropical fruits (mango, papaya, pineapple, avocado, kiwi, banana, etc.) and serve over a bed of greens. Pomegranate is a lovely addition in winter. Hearts of palm are frequently served in the versions I’ve had closer to the equator.

Sprinkle with grated coconut. Maybe throw some chopped cashews, macadamia nuts, or sliced almonds on there.

Dress with fresh lime or lemon juice and olive oil. Chopped fresh cilantro adds a nice herbal contrast.

Bon appétit!

Wine pairing: Something with rum – mai tai, painkiller, pina colada, rum punch. A fruity white wine such as a New Zealand Sauvignon blanc or a Viognier from Virginia or France would be lovely.

lemon pasta with spring greens and feta

We finally (!) have some greens in our garden ready for picking. One of my favorite ways to serve them is tossed with pasta:

Cook whole wheat pasta until al dente. (We use about 5.5 ounces for 2 servings; rotini is a good choice for catching the bits of feta and oregano.)

Meanwhile, sweat 1-2 cloves of minced garlic over medium-low heat in 3-4 Tbsp olive oil until tender and fragrant, but not browned.

In a separate bowl combine 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice and 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano. Add the garlic and olive oil, freshly cracked pepper and a big pinch of salt, Whisk to blend.

Add the pasta. Toss in some greens – baby spinach, arugula, fresh basil, tsatoi, etc.

Crumble 2-3 ounces of feta cheese and stir to combine.

Finish with a drizzle of really good olive oil.

Bon appétit!

Wine pairing: There are some fabulous whites from Greece that would compliment the Greek flavors in this dish. I am most familiar with the grape Assyrtiko, but there are several others worth trying (Roditis, Savatiano). This dish would also pair well with Pinot grigio from Italy, Albarino from Spain, most any crisp white wine with little malolactic fermentation or oak influence. Cheers!