Lucky Day and Carrot Soup

Despite the fact that St. Patrick’s Day is still a few days away- which is also my father’s birthday as a matter of fact- the luck of the Irish was definitely on my side today.

I love writing in the mornings, with the early-day sunshine and a few cups of coffee; it feels fresh somehow. But I had a bit of unexpected business to complete before class and writing had to wait until tonight. No worries. I’m still feeling lucky.

As usual, I park for class and am collecting my things from the back seat of my car. Hat, apron, knife kit (quite a fun bag of tricks, actually!)… check. I notice someone is waiting to pull into the tight space beside me so I stand to give them room, and my door shuts.

Frick.

Everything I need is inside. I’m outside. Forty-five minutes and sixty dollars later, my car has been unlocked.

And today isn’t just another day of aspic and duck terrines. Next week is our practical midterm exam. We have a limited time to prepare a set menu start to finish on our own to be tasted and graded by our chef instructor. Today and tomorrow are practice days- on the clock- where we’re able to divide the duties with a partner and prep the same meal: once today and again tomorrow.

But in any class of eleven students, there will inevitably be an odd man out. Or woman. And it is my lucky day.

I’m late getting started and organized waiting on gear from my locked car. The hours pass ridiculously quickly, but I’m somehow able to pull off the meal solo. Definitely room for improvement before Monday, but overall not terrible. Huge sigh of relief: I decide that I really did get lucky on this one. I truly can’t complain about getting double practice.

So tomorrow’s menu will be exactly the same as today’s, but hopefully executed just a little bit better. And perhaps there will even be time for a food photo shoot. But if you’re dying to make some sympathy carrot soup in the meantime, you’ll find the recipe below. It’s simple but perfect.

Midterm Menu:

  • Salad of Mixed Greens with Herb Vinaigrette
  • Purée of Carrot Soup with Mint Compound Butter
  • Potato Purée
  • Vegetable du Jour (white balsamic roasted zucchini today)
  • Chicken Breast Supreme, boned from whole chicken
  • Beurre Blanc Sauce

Purée of Carrot Soup, yields four 6-oz servings

  • 1 oz butter
  • 1 lb carrots, chopped (about 5 large)
  • 1/4 lb onions, chopped (about 1 medium)
  • 5 cups of vegetable, chicken, or light beef stock
  • Optional sachet: bay leaf, couple sprigs of parsley and thyme and a few peppercorns tied into a bundle with cheesecloth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Melt butter in a sauce pot. Sweat carrots and onions in the butter briefly without browning.
  2. Add stock (and sachet if using) and boil until vegetables are completely tender. Remove the sachet. Strain the vegetables and reserve the stock.
  3. Carefully transfer the vegetables to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth, adding stock as needed until consistency is silky but slightly thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve hot as is, finish with an herb compound butter, or top with creme fraiche and finely chopped fresh herbs.
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10 thoughts on “Lucky Day and Carrot Soup

  1. Sometimes, it’s pressure that makes us excel. Congrats on your practice. Too bad about your car, maybe it was a blessing in disguise (except for the sixty dollars). Good luck on your tests. Eat well.

    • You’re right about pressure! I’ve never loved it, but it definitely gets easier with practice. Thanks for the test luck. Maybe the locksmith is buying lots of fresh veggies with his sixty bucks… 😉

  2. You are FRICKIN’ amazing. I love your writing! I can totally picture you locking your keys in the car 🙂 You are going to rock your meal and you are going to do it solo and it will be the best, I have no doubt. P.S. Hat, apron, knife kit…do you watch Dexter?

  3. Sounds like it was definitely a crazy start to your day but glad to hear that things resolved themselves by dinner time! Dragging all the chefs kit around is such pain, I swear I have permanent backache!!! Good thing it’ll be resolved with a massage by weekend 🙂 good luck for your mid terms next week (i have one next thurs- first one yikes!)

    • Ah! A massage- perfect! Well deserved I’m sure. And good luck on your midterms next Thursday!! What will it be like for you? I’m always fascinated at the differences, and similarities, from one school to another. I can’t imagine you doing anything less than fantastic! Can you take pics for a grade too? 😉

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