Let it be known: We are big fans of the state of Vermont here at Eat Boutique. It’s not that much of a stretch, of course – many of us are New Englanders, or New Englanders at heart, and we love the entire region. But there is just something about Vermont and I was ecstatic when I recently came across a cookbook by the name of Dishing Up Vermont. Vermont recipes, made with Vermont-centered ingredients, offered up by Vermont chefs, farmers and food makers. I was smitten at my first flip-through.
While Dishing Up Vermont doesn’t bill itself as a cookbook that specializes in fall foods, it certainly has me heading straight to the farmers’ markets and into my kitchen to cook up quintessential New England savory dishes and sweet treats. It may be that Vermont – and the region as a whole –really comes alive in autumn.
As it turns out, October might just be the prettiest month of all in New England. I mean, people travel here to SEE LEAVES. Yes, they are lovely, colorful leaves, but still, that’s saying something. I heard the other day that this year’s colors might be delayed because of the odd weather we’ve had this summer and fall. I’ve also read that we won’t be getting the best of the foliage this year, and that instead of vibrant golds and bright oranges, we might see more burnt red and ochre. This Boston Globe article suggests that while people are still traveling to Vermont, they are paying more attention to damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene than the leaves. Sure enough, it’s been a rough few months for our neighbors up north. It has been heartwarming to see the food community gather close and support one another during these tough times, as we witnessed with our friends at Fat Toad Farm while they raised funds for their fellow farmers at Evening Song Farm. It has been incredible to see an entire state – and in many cases the entire region – rally around this cause.
So here’s what I have to say all of you: Visit Vermont. Eat their incredible food. Support the farmers and food makers who already work so very hard year-round, only to have been devastated by the big storm this summer. Be inspired and share what you have with your friends, loved ones and neighbors.
In that light, I wanted to share a great recipe with all of you today from Dishing Up Vermont. This soup felt familiar, but like much of the recipes in this cookbook, there was a nice kick and a few new ideas that inspired me (loved the bright taste of orange juice here). It makes me happy to think that this healthy, warming soup will see me through the fall and much of winter. With my next batch, I plan to invite my family and friends over to enjoy it with me.
Curried Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup
From Dishing Up Vermont by Tracey Medieros
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-4 carrots, peeled, ends removed, and cut into small pieces
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons sweet curry powder (such as Penzey’s brand)
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth or water, or as needed
- ¼ cup orange juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat Add the carrots, the sweet potatoes, onion and garlic. Saute until vegetables are tender and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and continue to cook for 1 minute.
- Add the vegetable broth to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the carrots and potatoes are fork tender, approximately 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and puree the mixture with a handheld blender, or transfer mixture to a blender or food processor in batches, and puree until texture is smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add more broth or water.
- Transfer puree back to stockpot (if necessary), and slow whisk in orange juice. Heat through, and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chives, crÃ¨me fraiche, or homemade croutons.
- My soup was much thicker the next day, so I added water as I reheated it.
- I don’t often keep orange juice in the house, so I used the juice of a whole orange, which worked wonderfully.
- If you don’t have an immersion blender–I can’t recommend them enough. It’s my favorite kitchen tool!
- I loved adding my own homemade croutons to this comforting soup, recipes below.
This is a great thing to do with stale bread heels that you don’t eat in time. I often collect those bits and pieces in a bag in the freezer and make them into croutons or bread crumbs as needed. This time, I had almost an entire loaf that wasn’t going to be eaten in time– I made huge batch of croutons to have on hand for fall salads and soups. These croutons, stored in a tightly sealed container, will stay fresh for up to a month.
- 1 loaf of bread (I like using a hearty, seeded multigrain), cut into small ½ inch by ½ inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For variety: add herbs, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 .
- Cube bread and add to a large bowl. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss well.
- Spread the bread cubes in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until croutons are golden brown.
Want to help Vermont residents and farmers? Visit Vermont Response for more information. There is a big service day planned for later this month on October 22 with the goal of a big push to prepare the state for the looming winter. For more information, check out Vermont Clean Up Day.
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