Summer is a particularly difficult season for me to fully enjoy food, whether it's cooking or eating (Please see here as I complained almost exactly the same way a year ago to date). And I guess it should be the opposite because we have farmers markets everywhere (albeit most of their hours are inconvenient as all hell to people who hold 9-5 jobs and do not have summer vacations) and fresh produce and all that jazz. It's not though. It's mostly too warm and too humid in this city and on this coast to properly enjoy eating, walking or standing outside for food, and the same goes for my kitchen.
That being said, on a down day where my meat thermometer does not read 95 degrees in my kitchen, I will partake in some leisurely cooking, especially if it involves eating said product in a cool air-conditioned environment.
I like making soups because they are easy, develop a depth of flavor over time and can taste complex as all hell with a few ingredients and proper seasoning. The flavor and complexity of taste are intensified if you use your own broth/stock. Plus, you are then even more impressed with your own work when you know exactly what went into it. I use packaged broth/stock interchangeably and honestly have no preference for any kind or brand, except I avoid canned vegetable broth/stocks in particular and would rather use a chicken broth/stock anyway or a fake chicken alternative. I find that the veggie ones always have this strong tomato-like essence or coloring and fuck up your main objective. That's just me.
On Sunday afternoon, I made a variation of Bon Appetit's Moroccan Carrot Soup from April 2010. I wanted a carrot soup, looked up one on epicurious, found this recipe, and then came home to follow the recipe from the actual magazine, and low and behold I had already folded the fateful page for this soup recipe approximately two years ago. And never made it until yesterday. Oops.
The recipe calls for a handful of ingredients, all of which are fairly common: butter, white onion, carrots, chicken broth, cumin seeds (I opted for ground cumin), honey, lemon juice, allspice (omitted) and yogurt (also omitted). I was a little wary of the honey/lemon addition, but it adds a serious "What is this taste?" to the soup (in a good way), and the cumin is vital into even making it Moroccan. I'm sure the sauteeing of the whole cumin seeds and finely grinding them in my mortar and pestle would have been better than just adding the cumin to the pot, but for a soup this simple, I'm more of a "Why bother?" type gal. So I didn't bother.
The best part of this soup though? It was fucking orange as orange can be. Like, ROYGBIV type orange. Fucking awesome. The below picture does it no justice, as it is taken under the harsh, depressing fluorescent light in my office.
This is how it looks as leftovers with rosemary sourdough croutons made from an old Whole Foods boule. And I'm not talking "day old," I'm talking at least four days old - stale as hell until cut up and toasted on an iron skillet or sliced and served with cheese.