Carrot Soup

We had an especially long growing season in Minnesota in 2015, but it was the end of October and I still had not cleared out the carrot patch I'd watered but otherwise ignored in our garden most of the summer and fall. I ended up filling a gallon-sized bag to overflowing with carrots that mostly resembled those "fun size" ones at the grocery store. But they tasted fantastic! (mental note to perhaps thin the carrots out in June next year...) It was too much volume to keep in the fridge, so I had to cook them down into something I could keep in the chest freezer.

I read several different carrot soup recipes, and played around with them to get the Asian flavor I was looking for, while using up what else I had on hand:


  • 3 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 stalk celery, cleaned and chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons five-spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice


Set a stock pot on medium heat and add the vegetable broth, peanut butter, and lemon juice. Let that warm up while you prepare your vegetables.

In a medium saucepan, saute the garlic and ginger paste in 2 tablespoons of butter for 2 minutes, then add the celery, red pepper, and onion, cooking for another 3 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots and the remaining tablespoon of butter and let that cook, stirring well, until the carrots are spatula-tender.

Combine the vegetables with the broth, and add the five-spice and pepper. Bring this to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes, then take off the heat.

If you have an immersion blender, stick that in the pot and go; otherwise carefully pour small batches into your countertop blender - this is a thick liquid that keeps its heat; take care to not get scalded.

I served some for dinner right away with rice and chicken, and put the rest in freezer bags.

The soup works very well as a side sauce for meat and rice; on its own I would add red pepper and chopped sausage. Lots of vitamins in here; I'm looking forward to eating this through the cold winter to come!

Lemongrass-Coconut Chicken Soup

I was inspired to construct this after reading through Ming Tsai's excellent "Simply Ming One-Pot Meals" and a productive trip through the St. Paul Farmers' Market on a summer morning.

We had reached the point in Minnesotan Summertime where all the vegetables were in-season and inexpensive; I'd returned with an overflowing bag and not enough refrigerator space: time to get cooking.


  • 2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 4 stalks of celery, washed and sliced
  • 2 medium white onions, thin-sliced
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 large leek, trimmed on both ends, washed, and sliced in 1/8-inch coins
  • Fresh ginger, sliced in 1/4-inch medallions - about 4 medallions
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass, trimmed to the light parts, crushed / scored
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 large chicken breasts, thin-sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 8 large Thai basil leaves, sliced


In a stock pot, set your chicken stock and fish sauce on medium heat to get warmed up while you handle the other ingredients.

Saute the lemongrass and ginger in the oil in a medium saucepan for about 4 minutes; swap those out and add your vegetables to saute for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the cooked vegetables to your stock pot, then cook the chicken in your saucepan. Once it has just turned white on the outside, add the chicken to the stock pot.

Increase the heat so that the mixture comes to a simmer, and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and coconut milk, stir and let cook for another 2 minutes. Add the basil and serve.

A simple bowl of steamed rice on the side is a light and aromatic complement. This is a good summertime soup, but also great for "I have a mid-winter cold" situations.