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Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Seasons: Syrup...and soup

By MARY MCCLINTOCK

How are you enjoying maple syrup this season? On buckwheat pancakes made with Four Star Farm’s locally grown and freshly ground buckwheat? On French toast made with local bread, eggs, and milk?

A tasty way to enjoy maple syrup and help feed our hungry neighbors is to attend the Franklin County Community Meal Program’s annual Breakfast and Auction (see below). In 2012, FCCMP fed more people than ever before in their 28-year history.

Maple syrup enhances soup as well as pancakes. You can get syrup, carrots, and lots more at the next Greenfield Winter Farmers Market on Saturday, March 16, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Greenfield High School. Visit www.greenfieldfarmersmarket.com for information.

Give With Your Heart to the Community Meals: Breakfast and Auction to benefit the Franklin County Community Meals Program, Tuesday, March 19, 7:30 to 9:00 a.m., Deerfield Academy Dining Hall (snow date, March 20, same time/place). New England Maple Syrup Breakfast – tickets only $5. Call (413) 772-1033 to reserve tickets. Check out www.fccmp.org for auction item postings.

This week we’re eating. . .

GLAZED CARROT SOUP WITH

CUMIN YOGURT AND PEPITAS

Here’s the soup Brass Buckle Café served at the Winter Fare Soup Café. JD Hairston said, “Every ingredient in our recipes is a crucial building block in an end-product that should be absolutely delicious. Often the best and easiest way to ensure this result is to shop locally and according to the seasons.” 

By JD Hairston, Brass Buckle Café, Main Street, Greenfield

for the soup:

8 lbs. carrots

1/4 C. maple syrup

12 T.  butter

salt

12 C. vegetable stock, preferably homemade

1/4 C. pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)

1/4 C. ginger juice (optional, see below*)

for the yogurt:

1/4 C. plain whole milk yogurt

1/2 tsp. freshly toasted and ground cumin seed

1/8 tsp. freshly toasted and ground chili de arbol or good-quality chili powder

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine yogurt, cumin, chili powder, and pinch of salt in small bowl. Set aside. In cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan, toast pepitas until they begin to puff up. Remove from pan and set aside. Warm vegetable stock in saucepan on stove. If you have sprigs of fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme handy, infuse warmed stock with these herbs for a couple minutes to add a special touch to this delicate soup.

Take eight pounds of carrots, ideally good-looking ones without cracks, peel and slice very thinly into 1/8” thick rounds, either with a mandoline or very carefully with knife. Toss these in large, deep roasting pan with maple syrup and butter, 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a splash of water. Cover roasting pan with piece of parchment paper and put it in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until carrots are fully cooked and soft, but not burnt around edges. Carefully remove pan from oven and let it cool.

Working in batches, scoop cooked carrot rounds into blender and add generous ladles of the warmed vegetable stock and blend very well. Transfer pureed soup into stock pot and repeat until all carrots are blended. To finish soup, add stock to puree, stirring well after each addition until it has reached consistency of light gravy; that is, not so thick that it stands up on a spoon, but not so thin that it sloshes around like water. Add salt to taste, and, optionally, ginger juice. To serve, ladle soup into warm bowls and garnish with drizzle of cumin yogurt and sprinkling of toasted pepitas.

 * Ginger Juice is an optional accent to the rich sweetness of the soup. To make Ginger Juice, pulse 1/2 lb. fresh ginger in food processor or grate finely on microplane. Take ginger pulp in your palm and make a “thumbs down” over bowl. Squeeze pulp in your hand and juice will run down and drip off your thumb directly into bowl.

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