Once upon a time, I lived in Madrid with a sweet old lady named Remedios. In her weird but fabulous apartment, she hosted 5 NYU students (including myself), a large Baptist German who rode a motorcycle, and a Chilean vagabond who only pretended he didn't speak English. Studying abroad was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had.
Our house mom, aka "Señora," used to make us the most delicious soup we would share as our little "family." I was sick when I arrived in Spain, and the first thing she did was make this for me. Then I got sick again later in the semester and she made it then. And before I left, I asked her to teach me how to make it myself. That was over seven years ago. I held onto that poorly translated receta (recipe) all this time, and finally got around to making it. The smell of my kitchen took me right back to 2007. I served it at a dinner party in honor of Dia de los Muertos, almost tearing up as it reminded me of my dear old nurturing hostess, Reme.
Some of the best recipes are like scrapbook pages in a family album. The memory of cooking or sharing a special meal with someone you love is even more powerful than reminiscing over a photograph. Revisiting beloved recipes like this allow you to relive your past through each and every one of your senses. What meals throw you back to a special time in your life?
La Receta de Crema de Zanahorias
1-2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup basil + more for garnish
2 bay leaves
8 cups chicken broth
2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
1 russet potato, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
In a large pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions, basil and salt. Cook, stirring often for 4-5 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Stir in chopped garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add carrots, potatoes, chicken broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes and carrots are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and pureé the soup with an immersion blender or in batches with a standard blender. I use a Kitchenaid immersion blender-- it's easier cleanup! Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm with chopped basil.