I developed a culinary crush on Melissa D’Arabian back in 2009 when she won the Next Food Network Star with her down to earth and wallet friendly menus, with a dash of her tenacious spirit. Then I cancelled cable and we went our separate ways … until we reunited when I purchased her cookbook, Ten Dollar Dinners!
I love buying cookbooks but I rarely cook from them (I read them like a literature), but this one is different. All the recipes look delectable and approachable. They are the culinary version of a girl next door – non-assuming and accessible– just like Melissa herself.
My first attempt from the cookbook: Orange Carrot Soup (you can find the recipe on the FN website, under the name, Orange-Scented Soup). The soup is infused with orange zest, which gives this lovely earthy soup a special twist. I used a lemon zest instead but it was still very lovely. My husband enjoyed it too, and this will surely become a go-to soup in chilly fall / winter nights. And yes, the soup cost next to nothing, delivering on her promise.
We paired the soup with Salade Nicoise with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigerette (p.93) from the cookbook for dinner.
Orange Carrot Soup
Adapted from Ten Dollar Dinners
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound carrots, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons light sour cream, divided
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and the onion and sweat until the mixture starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, orange zest and oregano and cook until fragrant, another 1 to 2 minutes. Raise the heat and deglaze the pan with white wine. Add the stock and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the carrots are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool the mixture for about 5 minutes before processing.
Process the soup in a food processor or blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into serving bowls and swirl in a heaping teaspoon of sour cream before serving.
I love this cookbook and Melissa’s recipes so much that I created a new categories for it! 🙂