Roasted Carrot Soup

Saturday finally arrived and even though I worked for part of the day, it was shorter than normal and at least an end is now in sight. Q and I had plans for the evening to join friends for our quarterly Around the World dinner party... tonight's theme was Italian and we were responsible for drinks so we grabbed a yummy bottle of Limoncello (bringing back memories of our great times in Capri, one of my favourite places in the world) as well as some red and wine Italian wines and Peroni. Q mixed the Limoncello with some sparkling wine and ice, and the party was off to an entertaining start. Alison brought amazing Crostini with Proscuitto, Goat Cheese and Fig Jam for appetizers, Shari created an out-of-this-world Osso Buco with gigantic veal shanks she'd found that morning at the market as well as creamy risotto, and Erin brought a cool and delicious Mango Panna Cotta to top off the meal. Such a great dinner all around and it set a high standard for subsequent countries of choice. Glad I ended up eating so much because otherwise the alcohol consumption would have taken an even greater toll.

Meanwhile, back on the homefront, the kiddies needed to be fed in our absence but since everyone's schedules are moving targets these day and I never know until 10 minutes before dinner who'll actually show up at the table, I wanted to keep it simple... and also, honestly, for my own sake so I'd have 15 minutes to get changed and put my face on for our night out. So I roasted up some carrots in the afternoon and made a quick soup for the three of them as well as one of Austin's friends. Our guest politely said the soup was good but my three were just "so-so" in their reviews. I took a quick sip and it probably would have benefited from a bit more seasoning but still seemed like a nice, light option with some bread and cheese to round it out. Perhaps followed by some popcorn later in the evening as they watched movies while we were out...

makes about one quart and serves 4
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 medium onion, medium dice
1 large rib celery, medium dice
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 cups homemade or low-salt chicken broth
1 tsp kosher salt 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
chopped fresh chives or chervil for garnish (optional)

Heat the oven to 375°F. Put the carrots on a medium baking dish and drizzle them some olive oil; toss to coat them well. Roast, stirring occasionally, until they’re tender, blistered, and lightly browned in a few places, about 1 hour.

Melt the butter in a medium (at least 3-quart) heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s translucent and fragrant, 2 to 3 min. Stir in the celery and ginger and cook until the celery softens a bit and the onions start to brown, 4 to 5 min. Add the roasted carrots, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and cover. Simmer until the carrots are very tender, about 20 min. Turn off the heat and let the liquid cool a bit. Purée the soup with a handheld blender.
Reheat before serving and garnish with chives or chervil if you like. Otherwise, refrigerate for up to five days; reheat gently and taste for salt before serving.
Rest of the week
March 25 Nobody was home for dinner... everybody did their own thing
March 27 Roasted Carrot Soup