Sunday, October 24, 2010

Beet, Carrot and Onion Soup with Garlic and Herbs

I have been wanting a Vitamix machine for some time. A few weeks ago, our old Hamilton Beach from the 1970s died. This is a machine that Nick brought to our marriage, 25 years ago, and he doesn't remember from where it came. It was probably one of those 'donation' items familiar to college aged-people - it goes like this --- grandma (or whoever) has two blenders, and gives you one of them. This blender was the only one we've ever had until now. I know it is an old blender, because one time, I toured Ike and Mamie Eisenhower's house (it's on National Park property) in Gettysburg, PA. They had the same blender Nick and I did, and Mamie died in 1979. (Ike died earlier).

Our Hamilton Beach died because I had some old parmesan cheese, and I was trying to use the blender to pulverize the cheese so I could sprinkle it on something I was cooking. You know the hard little bits of cheese you have left over from some long-ago culinary escapade? Not moldy, but hard. Well, that was the cheese I was trying to pulverize. The cheese, instead, knocked a hole in the plastic blender container, so that was the end. Besides, the Hamilton Beach was tired.

So, I debated for two weeks before spending a LOT of money (well, a lot by my standards) on a Vitamix.

This baby cooks. Literally! Mostly, I've been using it to make breakfast type smoothies (I experiment with flavors and textures I think will work). This morning, I tossed in 5 frozen strawberries, a half banana, about 10 dried cranberries, 2 oz each cranberry and orange juice.

So at lunch today, I made some soup. Just thought the recipe up as I went along. This machine is so powerful that ingredients COOK through pure friction. Friction is so powerful if you let the machine run long enough, that the ingredients get almost boiling hot, and steamy.

Beet, Carrot and Onion Soup with Garlic and Herbs (serves 2)

1 large beet, peeled and roughly chopped.
1 carrot, same as above.
1 small onion, same as above.
1 clove garlic, same as above.
2 sprigs parsley. 2 more, reserved for garnish.
1 large sage leaf, 2 small ones in addition, reserved for garnish
1 cup chicken broth.
2 T sour cream(for garnish).

Put all ingredients except for sage and parsley garnish, and sour cream into Vitamix. Whirl that baby. Bombs away...the cat scuttles out of the kitchen due to jet-engine noise simulation.

Let pulverize for 5 to 7 minutes, until liquid is steaming. (hot). Watch the liquid go up and down and round and round. Hypnotic red-orange color. Beta carotene and good stuff is practically transluscent in the autumn sunshine.

Pour into bowls and garnish with sour cream and herbs.

Although this was good, it wasn't fantastic. A little 'raw' tasting. Next time, I will soften the roots and garlic in a tablespoon olive oil on stovetop first. A little conventional cooking and carmelization would take this food from good to fantastic.

And if you conventional cook the ingredients before blending, you could make this soup with a regular (non Vitamix) machine.

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