leave your inhibitions at the door
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to do meatless Mondays and I’ve been pretty successful at it. I didn’t follow it for a lot of the holidays – Memorial Day, Labor Day, blah blah blah. But I’d say I went meatless about 90% of the time. Not bad in general, really good considering I’d eat braised pork shoulder for dessert.
I wanted to challenge myself with this for a couple of reasons. I’ve been relatively healthy but my last check-up indicated my cholesterol and blood pressure levels were starting to inch up. They were still in the normal range but it was recommended I make some diet changes. I don’t think blood pressure is impacted much by meat consumption, but cholesterol sure is. So I figured cutting down meat consumption by 1/7th is a good way to keep that in check. Another reason for the challenge was to expand the culinary toolbox, which I think it did.
One reason that’s NOT on my list is animal welfare. A lot of vegetarians don’t eat meat for moral reasons – they don’t want to kill an animal to feed themselves. If you read about my episode at Frontier in Chicago, you’ll know that’s not a concern for me. Although I must say that I’m all for raising livestock ethically and sustainably because it makes a better product. Vegans take it a step further and don’t eat or use animal products even if the animal is kept alive – like eggs or dairy. To each his own.
When I came across this recipe, I had a ton of carrots on hand and the chilly weather called for some soup. It came from Gourmet and was described as vegan, due to its use of unsweetened almond milk.
So no cow had to spend its life in servitude to produce milk or cream for this soup. I’m no 18th Century theological expert, but I believe almond milk is carefully – and ethically – extracted from the bountiful teats of little almonds.
Seriously, is that food? It’s all-natural, but is it really “natural?” Can you really feel good about it if it’s form is a result of processing and not nature? To me, this isn’t food. I know that half of what’s in my beloved Taco Bell meals isn’t real, either. But at least that tastes great. Straight-up almond milk tastes like ass.
The almond flavor did add to the overall finished product and it wouldn’t have been the same without it. So it’s use here did serve a purpose. I’d probably have a problem with it if they put this fake stuff in there as just a milk or cream substitute.
Whatever. The soup was delicious and I would totally make it again.
Curried Carrot Almond Soup
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cups water
2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk
4 cilantro sprigs, leaves and stems reserved separately
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 – Cook onion in oil with 1/2 tsp salt in a 4-qt heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add curry powder, red-pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
2 – Add carrots, water, almond milk, cilantro stems, and 1/2 tsp salt and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
Blend soup in batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Season with salt.
Serve sprinkled with cilantro leaves and toasted almonds.
So what do you think? Is this almond milk food? Do I have a future as a mixed media artist?