meatless monday: curried carrot and sweet potato soup, grilled sweet potato bread, Fu ManBrew from Monday Night Brewing



Happy New year, everyone! I know more most folks this was the first work day of the year (not for me!), so I wanted to treat you to a nice warm bowl of soup and a crisp, cold beer– the perfect combination for the weather today that looked like a spring day with the cold bite of winter.

The carrot and sweet potato soup here is inspired by the big box we received from The Dirt Farmers. Golden, Purple, and Orange carrots went with half of a giant sweet potato into this soup that was hit with curry flavors to give it a warm, spicy bite. The root veggies were perfect vehicles for the big spices. The other half of the potato made its way into a savory bread similar to banana or zucchini bread, but with a buttery taste (even if no butter was used). By grilling the bread, it became the perfect bread compliment for the spicy soup, with just a little sweetness and nice texture. Avocado provided a nice creamy note to counter the spice as well. The dish was very well balanced.

The Fu ManBrew was perfect compliment. A witbier from Monday Night Brewing, a star of the Peach State Ale Trail, this pairing added some crispness and ginger notes that meshed with curry and ginger flavors of the soup. The complimentary flavors let the beer pick up notes from the soup while being cooling, not jarring. Being a bright, crisp witbier, Fu ManBrew added needed lightness to the meal that would have been very heavy otherwise. I highly recommend it.

Curried Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
3 cloves garlic
1/2 large sweet potato, grated
Several sliced peeled carrots (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp curry powder (or mix of garam masala, turmeric, fennel, coriander, Cayenne, and pepper)
1 tsp red pepper flake
3 cups vegetable broth
1 dash rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the shallot and onions about 3 minutes. Add the potato and carrot and saute for about five minutes. Stir in the spices and heat another minute. Pour in the broth and vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and heat another 20 minutes. Blend the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Finish by stirring in the cream.

Savory Sweet Potato Bread

1/2 large sweet potato (1 1/4 cups)
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 medium shallot
1 clove garlic
Olive oil to saute
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup suger
1 egg
2/3 cup canola oil
1 avocado
1/4 cup toasted walnuts

Grease a loaf pan and heat oven to 350.

Mix flours, baking soda and powder and salt.

Saute the shallot and garlic in oil for 2-3 minutes, allow to cool. Add to flour mixture

Grate the potato and stir in the egg, sugar and oil. Slowly mix in the flour until well mixed. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle can be cleanly removed.

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat.

Slice the loaf into 1/2 slices and place diagonally on the hot grill pan. Grill 4 minutes and rotate 1/4 turn and heat an addition 4 minutes.

Place the grilled bread in a shallow bowl and ladle soup around it. Garnish with sliced avocado and toasted walnuts.


Enjoy the warm flavors and happy new year!


wildcard wednesday: new orleans style barbecue shrimp


What is it really?

What is it really?

Welcome to the month of April where it is oddly appropriate to deceive friends, so I thought I would kick off our series of Wild Card Wednesdays on food from the Mississippi Delta with a deceptive dish. How many of you, like me, fondly remember Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue from Forrest Gump listing all the ways to prepare shrimp. The intriguing list went on and on, but on the first thing he says is “you can barbecue it” and well you guys, this is it.

It is deceptive because it is not grilled, not cooked over a flame or even on a flat top. The shrimp is slowly sauteed in a bath of butter, worchestershire and spices. It is almost as though it is mimicking the flavors of barbecue without coming close to a smoker. It is a favorite of New Orleans shrimp joints and fine dining establishments alike, all with different spins, different flavors or techniques, but the basics are always butter, garlic, and worchestershire. More specifically:

Without Lea and Perrins, you are doing it wrong

Without Lea and Perrins, you are doing it wrong

This is actually a very simple dish in execution. It doesn’t take long, has relatively few steps, and it is best served with a big hunk of bread and a bib. With a dish like this, you’ll get messy, get full, and get happy (just like a trip to the place of my birth- New Orleans).

I chose to serve this with grilled broccoli and Fresh Market’s wonderful rosemary and sea salt bread. It was a wonderful compliment to the layers of spices and seafood flavors.

There are few better things than sopping with this bread.

There are few better things than sopping with this bread.


New Orleans Style Barbecue Shrimp

1 1/2 pounds wild caught, shell on shrimp
2 sticks of butter
2 lemons, juiced and peeled
1/2 cup Lea and Perrins Original
1 tbsp kosher salt
1tbsp paprika (the spice of bbq)
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp white pepper
5 whole bay leaves
1/2 tsp minced onion
4 cloves fresh garlic
1Tbsp heavy cream
Green onion to garnish

In a heavy pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and add the lemon juice and peel, worchestershire, and all the spices. Bring to a simmer and let it rest for five minutes.

Add the shrimp and bring the heat to medium. Stir until the shrimp start to turn pink. Add the cream. Cover the dish and remove the pan from heat and let it sit for 15 minutes to allow all the flavors to marry.

Transfer to a bowl and top with the green onion.

Dig in with your hands and get to sopping!

Grilled Broccoli
In Emile Henry from Robinson Home

In Emile Henry from Robinson Home