In the interest of preempting temptation and setting new habits in place we’re been doing a load of cooking at home. In particular preparing meals ahead of time so there is no excuse come lunch to run out for a bite. Besides there’s nothing wrong with investing the time in a new habit.
There was a study done at University College London a few years ago that found that there is huge variation in the amount of time it takes to form a new habit. Anything from a couple of weeks up to months depending on the type of habit you’re trying to form and the techniques you use to do so.
We’ve set a goal in our house of having a well cooked and thoughtful meal each night. That usually involves an hour of work, and since it takes just as much time to make 4 portions as it does 2 we’ve been doubling up recipes and increasing portions so the work is done for upcoming nights and lunches. Some nights while one meal is cooking I’m also able to prepare another behind the scenes for upcoming days.
This Szechuan Carrot Soup is one of those added bonus meals and you can likely throw it together using stuff you already have in the cupboard. It is a cinch to make, and tasted absolutely delicious when we ate it a day later….and I don’t even like carrots.
Szechuan Carrot Soup
- 1 medium onion
- 1 or 2 ribs of celery
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 lb carrots, cut 1″ (or baby carrots for more sweetness)
- 1/2″ piece of fresh ginger (peeled & sliced)
- 1/4 tsp pepper flakes (you can always sub red Thai curry paste here as well)
- 3 cups broth (we had beef so that’s what we used)
- 1 1/2 Tbsps soy sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1 cup milk (you can also use silky tofu if you aren’t into the dairy, or use coconut milk for a Thai infusion )
Chop up your onions, celery and garlic. I threw mine all in the food processor and minced it pretty fine. In a large heavy saucepan cook onion, celery, and garlic in veg oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened.
Peel your knob of ginger, then slice it thinly.
I got a great tip from ‘The art of doing stuff’. Karen says the easiest way to peel ginger, is to just scrape the skin off with a spoon. and she was 100% correct! Just the brown stuff comes off leaving all the lovely ginger bits behind. brilliant!
Add the sliced ginger to the softened onions along with the chopped carrots, red pepper flakes, and broth and simmer, covered, until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes (until you can run the tines of a fork through one of the pieces easily).
Stir in remaining ingredients and in a blender puree mixture in batches (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return soup to pan and heat over low heat until hot, being careful not to let boil or you will ruin your milk bit. Ladle that good stuff out and add a dollop of sour cream, or plain yogourt to the top, even a squirt of lime juice…though it tastes pretty great left plain too.
Makes 6 cups of ‘ready to roll when you are’ soup.
Gourmet Magazine, April 1997