Friday, February 13, 2009

Pre-test, beet juice and carrot ginger soup.

My neighbor Sarah passed along this damn cute picture of Noah, who just turned three a couple of weeks ago--along with some of the homemade beet juice he's is pictured with (and under). I think Jake would have an anxiety attack if I brought yet another appliance home, but the juice is good enough to make the idea of owning a juicer really appealing. But I suspect Sarah has a talent for it. Noah apparently won't touch a vegetable but loves the juice. He seems to be a healthy eater to me, though. A few weeks ago we made raisin bran muffins (nice recipe from 101 cookbooks -- but they're sticky and meant to be eaten fast--so grease the pans well and eat up) and he told me raisin muffins were his favorite. Mine too.

On a separate note, I finally did a pre-test of the dissertation survey yesterday, officially kicking off the data-collection phase once and for all! whew.

It was uneventful, which is good... none of my big concerns seem to be problems. I was worried it would be 1) too long (50 questions), too 2) confusing and/or 3) poorly worded so that questions and response options meant different things to different people. But all seemed well, aside from a couple of surprise points. For example, when I say "do you have transportation to visit housing" I mean to ask Do you have a way to get to apartments you are interested in possibly renting? But three of five people thought I wanted to know if they had transportation to get the the Housing Authority office we were sitting in and were confused because, well, there we were sitting in it. Good to know. I also found that in my effort not to bait people into responses, I was beating around the bush and not getting to the point. Hmmm. Rings true for my personal life, not surprisingly.

Between work, the consulting project and the pre-test, the week was pretty draining. So when Martha N came over for dinner last night she found me still in the sweaty clothes I biked home from work in (big hill between home and work) and half-assing dinner prep. I accidentally added a cup less flour that I needed for rosemary feta focaccia, and overcooked the chard and veggies I was adding to pasta. It was fine, but all a bit off. And soft. Not that she's holding it against me. At some point I remembered that there was leftover carrot ginger soup in the fridge, so at least that made up for the mediocre showing. I used pureed leftover rice in it, which made it creamy and thick without having to resort to actual cream. I don't really like the taste (aftertaste?) of cream in soups and savory things. And I f-ing love to use that immersion blender.

It turned out a bit sweet but with a bit of a kick to it from the ginger. Nothing too much for MN, who can't deal with spicy at all. Not even strong mints. Here's a picture of the last of the soup--today's lunch--with the weird under-floured feta rosemary focaccia.

And here's the soup recipe, more or less. I'm guessing at measurements:

Carrot soup
2 lbs carrots (two weeks from the CSA -- more or less woudl be fine)
1 bunch of small white turnips
2 tablespoons olive oil
About 1 inch or so of ginger
1 chopped onion
1-2 tablespoons cumin
1-2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
salt & pepper
About 3/4 cup cooked rice (I had jasmine from trader joe's)
6-8 cups chicken and/or vegetable stock

Slice the turnips and carrots and set aside. Sautee the onion until soft, add the diced ginger, and then the tomato paste, cumin and paprika, and salt. Add the stock. Let it come to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the carrots and turnips are really soft. Add some more salt and pepper if you want it. keep about a cup of the broth to add to the rice, and then use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Mix the rice and broth, and do the same. Add the rice mixture to the soup.

It was definitely better the next day, and with some feta cheese and parsley on top.

Happy president's weekend! My goal for the weekend, aside from getting work done, is to try making granola, which I hear is easy. Until then, I'm off to the coffee shop to re-word some survey questions.


  1. Martha, soup recipe looks delicious.

    A gentle reminder: Your fans crave some new Rocky photos!

  2. Ok ok! Rocky shots to follow, I promise. XO