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This one’s for you, Ed

Recently a reader complimented me on this column and I was appreciative of his kind words. There was a BUT though in his statement because he felt my recipes had too much sugar and too much butter. Since the title of the column is Good Food and Good Health he felt I was often outside of my mission.

The gentleman’s name is Ed and I have a great deal of respect for the diet he has the discipline to practice on a meal to meal basis. In this busy world, loaded with convenience foods, he consistently chooses a truly healthy diet. In my column my approach is that not enough of us are able to do this, what with all the modern demands of work and family. Add to that the millions of dollars spent every hour advertising convenience, processed foods and we have a recipe for the unbalanced American diet.

These processed foods are laden with chemicals for flavoring, texture, color and on and on. The approach to Good Food and Good Health recognizes that everyone makes their own decisions about what they and their family will eat. If you want to eat chocolate chip cookies, (and who wouldn’t?), please take a little extra time to make your own rather than eating cookies made in a factory.

One item about the sugar content is giving readers a choice to stay away from factory made foods that use corn syrup, especially high fructose corn syrup, as a sweetener. Yes, it is healthier to consume sugar as a sweetener rather than any of the corn syrups. However, as Ed would look at it, it is simply better not to partake in an over indulgence of any sweetener. If only we could all live in a perfect world.

In these hot steamy days few of us want to prepare all our meals in a hot kitchen. This is where cold soups come in handy. To ease the warmth of the outdoor temperatures and to satisfy even the most demanding of taste buds, cold soups are the key.

Today we're going to work on Cold Carrot Ginger Soup, (containing no butter or sugar). It's wonderful any time of year but especially during this warm weather of midsummer. With a couple of different ways to garnish, the soup can be most of a wonderful and nutritious meal for your whole family.

When buying carrots try to find organic. Organic carrots will have a much finer flavor than their non-organic cousins. Also, look for thin carrots with the top greens still attached. Store them in your vegetable drawer for several days.

Cold Carrot Ginger Soup

Yield about 8 servings

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium Vidalia onion, small dice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium Idaho potato, peeled and chopped

1 quart chicken stock

1 cup plain yogurt, non fat is OK

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

a few grinds of your pepper mill

chives for garnish

sour cream for garnish

In your soup pot heat the olive oil and add the onions and salt, sweat onions until fully cooked and slightly caramelized, about 12 to 13 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook while stirring for 1 1/2 to 2 more minutes, be careful not to brown the garlic.

While onions are cooking heat your chicken stock in a separate pot. When onion mixture is ready add the hot stock, carrots and potato. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until potatoes and carrots are very tender.

Using an immersion blender, or your food processor, purée your soup until all lumps have been smoothed out. Adjust your seasonings of salt and pepper. Refrigerate soup overnight for service the next day.

Mix yogurt, thyme and fresh ground pepper in a bowl stir into your soup. Ladle into the bowls garnishing with chives and/or sour cream. Serve and enjoy.

This soup may be frozen for up to 2 to 3 months, depending on how well you seal your freezer packages. Do not freeze the soup, or any other foods, that are not already at refrigerator temperatures.

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