Tiburón -Shark- Žralok

Tiburón -Shark- Žralok: Writing Cooking Traveling

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Crema de Zanahorias y Calabasa

Whenever Julia Child dropped something on camera or flipped a potato pancake too early or generally fumbled about the kitchen in a manner that made the BBC believe that she was drunk, she would look at the camera, her trademark smile fading for a moment.

"Never apologize," she said, looking the housewife taking copious notes of her deceptively easy recipes straight in the eyes. "Just smile and serve your food as if nothing was wrong."

Most of the time, no one except you thinks anything is wrong anyway.

Me, I cook with disclaimers. "Its too spicy, its a little messy, I know what I did wrong..." But heaven help you if you don't eat the damn thing.

Today, though, right now in fact, five minutes away from dashing out the door to work, I've just eaten something that I invented that I have to say is absolutely f-ing good. Maybe its because I'm starving or have no... Shut up! Its good, OK?

Its been a long haul to get to this particular moment, not just cooking this wonderful thing but actually writing about it (and a recipe no less!). See, for the past months I've been struggling with two things: ingredients I don't know how to use and an article I owe to a certain website that is run by a certain food writer who started this whole blog and article ball rolling. (Hi, David).

So on the one hand, I haven't really cooked anything worth telling anyone about except maybe my cat Ziggy whose undivided attention on my plate is indiscriminate of whether its a piece of filet mignon or nonfat yogurt so she doesn't count. And on the other hand, I've barely been writing because it feels like writing blog posts when I owe an article is like missing your daughter's game but making it to your son's recital. Someone's feelings are going to get hurt.

But this week, I've been making breakthroughs. Handed in a new column, got myself a deadline for the infamous article, and made a delicious delicious soup using Puerto Rican ingredients (which can easily be acquired in the States/ are in season right now). No disclaimers, no excuses, its just simple and good.

So for your enjoyment-- did I mention that the recipe is quick, easy, and cheap? Well there you are-- the first thing I've cooked in a long time that wasn't scrambled eggs.

Crema de Zanahorias y Calabasa


- 1 lb. (bunch) carrots, peeled and cut into 1 in. rings
- 1.5 lbs (about half a medium sized) calabasa squash or pumpkin, peeled and roughly cut into cubes
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 small green pepper, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 heaping teaspoon sofrito (if you don't have just puree together cilantro, recao or saweed if you can find it, garlic, onion, green pepper, oregano or basil, ajíes dulces which are mild cascable-shaped peppers that's related to the habanero, water- DO NOT USE THE SHELF STABLE STUFF, it will ruin the flavor of everything you make)
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 can (about two cups) chicken broth
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Pique or another mild tasting hot sauce (optional)

In a deep pot, heat some olive oil and sweat the onions and green peppers until soft. Add garlic and sofrito, allow to cook for a few more minutes. Toss in the carrots and mix in with the flavor base, allowing them to cook for about five minutes until they start to soften. Add the calabasa or pumpking, mix everything together.

Sprinkle the sugar, salt and pepper over everything then add the chicken broth. If the liquid doesn't quite cover the carrots and calabasa add a little water, but its all right if they aren't completely submerged. Bring to a boil, then partially cover and reduce to a simmer. When the carrots and calabasa are soft enough to easily be pierced by a fork, about 10 to 15 minutes, then take the pot off heat and allow to cool down.

When its sufficiently cooled, puree into a cream in either a food processor or a blender. Taste for seasoning and add either more salt and pepper or sugar if necessary. Reheat and serve spiked with hot sauce if you're into that sort of thing.

** I'm out of the habit of taking pictures of food but I assume you know what orange puree looks like.

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