I love Austin, I do. I could make a big list as to why (climate being near the top, nothing like wearing a t-shirt in January), but today I'll just focus on one reason: Local food.
There's a huge local food movement here, which I suppose is understandable when your climate allows you to grow things year-round. As a result of how easy it is to find local food, 90% of my produce ends up being as such. In other words, I'm totally spoiled.
An abundance of local goodies, and spending my entire day with food at school, makes me crave simple and fresh things when I get home. And when simple ingredients taste so darn good, you really don't need to put much effort into making them taste awesome. That adds up to a win-win - I get to eat delicious food, and don't have to slave in the kitchen for it. Huzzah!
This cold raw beet soup involves blending grated carrots and beets with orange and garlic, a splash of water and a little salt. Simple, yes, but if you've got excellent and sweet produce, that's all it takes. I really like garnishing pureed soups with creams, pestos or toasted nuts, and any of those would work well here. Today I made a parsley cream because it's what I had, but you'd be heading into wonderful borscht territory if you used dill instead. Even basil pesto would be fantastic stirred into this soup.
Raw Beet Soup with Parsley Cream
2 small beets, peeled and grated
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 medium orange, peeled and segmented
1 small clove garlic, minces
1/4 teaspoon salt
Water, for consistency
2 tablespoons cream (store-bought sour cream or homemade cashew cream)
1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
1/2 lemon, juiced
1. For the soup: In a good blender, blend the beets, carrot, orange, garlic, salt, and enough water for a creamy consistency. The kind of blender you have will impact how smooth this gets - it works beautifully in a Vitamix.
2. For the cream: Stir the parsley and lemon into the cream. To make a homemade cashew cream, blend a big handful of cashews with enough water to get a smooth cream of your desired consistency (I like it pretty thick). You'll have to work at this a bit if your blender isn't very strong, but it'll still work.
3. Spoon the cream into the soup and enjoy cold! This would be great with a salad, or a piece of bread like I enjoyed. Unpictured was the lovely dill pickle I devoured while eating this - something about pickles and beets, I tell ya.
Hope you folks have been surviving the week - I know I'm trying. Let's hope eating fresh food like this will help me ward off my mini nagging cold, and then I can enjoy regular energy levels again. Take care out there!