Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Another Baltic Christmas - Day 16, Estonian barley bread and carrot ginger soup

There isn’t much better than a hot, hearty soup on a cold winter’s day. Well, maybe a hot, hearty soup with a slice or two of homemade bread still warm from the oven on the side! Last year on a Baltic Christmas Day 11 we welcomed Marika Blossfeldt, author of “Essential Nourishment: Recipes from My Estonian Farm.” Today’s featured soup and bread are from this book: Carrot Ginger Soup and Karask – Traditional Estonian Barley Bread.

Photo credit: Katie

About the Carrot Ginger Soup Marika writes “This soup is absolutely divine. When we serve it at Polli Talu, many guests lick their plates. It is the Zen version of a recipe that I once found on the website of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.” 

Photo credit: Jaan Heinmaa

Carrot Ginger Soup

serves 4 to 6

1 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 piece fresh ginger, about 2 inches long, sliced
8 carrots, sliced into rounds
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and sliced thin
4 cups boiling water
½ cup orange juice
salt and pepper
2 scallions, chopped, or some parsley leaves

Photo credit: Katie

1. In a large pot, sauté the onion in the oil for 7 to 10 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for another 3 minutes.
3. Add the carrots, sweet potato and water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.

Photo credit: Katie

4. Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, adding more water if necessary.
5. Return the puree to the pot. Stir in the orange juice and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil.

Pour into soup plates and garnish with chopped scallions or parsley leaves.

Note: The skin of ginger is edible. Because the soup is pureed, there is no need to peel the ginger in this recipe. You can substitute a white potato for the sweet potato.

Karask – Traditional Estonian Barley Bread

serves 8
Photo credit: Jaan Heinmaa

This is an Estonian folk recipe that I adjusted to include only whole foods and natural sweeteners. The barley flour gives it a distinct, sweet taste.

4 ½ ounces farmer cheese
1 cup kefir or yogurt
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup barley flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
½ tablespoon baking soda

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
2. Line a rectangular baking pan (5x10 inches) with parchment paper
3. Combine the farmer cheese, kefir, egg, salt and honey in a bowl and mix until smooth.
4. Stir in the melted butter
5. Combine the flours with the baking soda and add to the batter. Mix well.
6. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. To check whether the bread is ready, insert a wooden toothpick into the center. When the toothpick comes out dry, the bread is done.

Serve with butter.

Photo credit: Katie

A sincere thank you to Marika for giving permission to reprint these recipes from Essential Nourishment! More information on her books & recipes, as well as on her speaking events and retreats can be found on her website, A Holistic Health Coach and Natural Foods Chef, Marika is Founder of Polli Talu Arts Center in her native Estonia, where she conducts yoga, cooking and wellness retreats during the summer months. The winter she spends with her husband in Beacon, NY writing books and coaching clients. The book trailer for her book, Essential Nourishment, can be seen in this youtube video:

Thank you also to Holden’s test kitchen! The only notes that came from Katie were in regards to the soup; a caution that a smaller quantity of ginger was more than adequate for children’s taste buds… I’m a big fan of a hearty, healthy soup paired with homemade bread on a damp South Carolina evening, great choices you guys! Join us tomorrow for more Baltic and nature-inspired crafts here on 24 Days of a Baltic Christmas.

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