Saturday, July 26, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge #30: Farmer's Markets

I had to laugh a little when I saw the theme the wonderful (and fellow Portlander!) Michelle of Je Mange la Ville picked for July's Weekend Cookbook Challenge: Farmer's Markets! I don't think I'm going to shock anyone with the fact that I spent all day at the Portland Farmer's Market at the PSU campus, and had plenty of options for my submission.

I chose a recipe from the fabulous Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes: Recipes from a Modern Kitchen Garden by Jeanne Kelley. Ivonne over at Cream Puffs in Venice has praised this book, calling it "one of the most beautiful cookbooks [she has] ever seen!" so, of course, I had to get a copy. I wanted something that would really highlight a single, beautiful seasonal ingredient, because that's what the farmer's market is all about - getting the best of the best when it's at its peak.

I picked up some stunning carrots at Groundworks Organics' booth this morning, as well as some local shallots and (amazing) goat cheese. The recipe, which I tweaked just a bit to feature my local ingredients, was originally a sweet carrot soup with a dill gremolata. I substitued lemon basil for the dill (for obvious reasons), left out the orange zest (sadly, no orange trees in Portland), and added a swirl of local cream, goat cheese crumbles, and capers.

A deceptively simple recipe, the few ingredients worked so well together, it's easily one of the best soups I've made. I especially loved the salty capers and goat cheese paired with the sweet carrot that is the star of this dish. I can't recommend this enough. It took no more than 35 minutes, almost all of that downtime waiting for the carrots to cook, and cost next to nothing. A bonus, the soup itself is really low-calorie, being made of only carrots, shallots, a bay leaf, and water! Which, of course, I negated with my liberal use of cream and goat cheese. It's so worth it, friends. Trust me.

Happy weekend, and remember... Eat Well.

Sweet Carrot Soup with Basil, Goat Cheese, and Capers
Adapted from Leanne Kelley's Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes
(serves 4 to 6)

For Soup
3 tbs unsalted butter
2 large shallots, sliced
2 pounds fresh, organic carrots, sliced into rounds
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp sea salt

For Topping
2 tbs minced shallot
1 tbs minced fresh basil
3 tbs whipping cream
2 tbs capers
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until tender and golden brown. Add sliced carrots, stir to coat with butter. Add 4 cups water and the bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cover for 20 minutes, or until carrots are very tender. Remove the bay leaves, and puree soup with an immersion or standard
blender. Season with salt to taste. Divide into bowls and garnish with herbs, minced shallot, cream, goat cheese, and capers. Enjoy!


  1. Wow, Oakley -- this looks so good! Thanks so much for taking part in WCC...the roundup is now up :)

  2. That is such an incredible photo of the soup! It makes me want a bowl for lunch!

  3. Fantastic pictures! Thanks so much for taking part in WCC.

  4. Oh MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to try this. Thanks for posting.

  5. What a gorgeous soup! Looks so delicious too!

  6. Your pictures are beautiful. This recipe looks wonderful. And your blog is a delight!

  7. Hi Oakley! I found your blog through Michelle's WCC round up and your soup looks amazing! As does the rest of your blog :)

    I'm writing an article on cooking with veggies from your garden or the farmer's market and was wondering if I could ask you a favor? If you wouldn't mind could you email me at lamiacucina AT adelphia DOT net pretty please? :)