There are some things in life that you just have to do.
I recently spent five days at the Culinary Institute of America for a cooking boot camp in upstate New York. When I was planning the trip, I noticed the campus was only about 45 minutes north of Stone Barns, a large farm and research center in Tarrytown, N.Y. It also serves as the home of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a restaurant opened in 2004 by Dan Barber, a James Beard-nominated chef who was the subject of an episode of Netflix's Chef's Table. Barber is a farm-to-table pioneer — the restaurant utilizes the farm's bounty to create different dishes each night.
I had to know what it was like to eat there. I am a big believer in YOLO (that's "you only live once") meals, meals that transcend the typical dining scenario to become a true experience.
Five hours and 27 courses later, I learned almost as much about food at Blue Hill as I did at cooking school, things like how to use every part of an animal or plant, which flavors pair well with others (duck liver and chocolate! grape and celery!) and a lot more. You can read about that experience here. In this column, I'm sharing a recipe inspired by my visit.
A vegetable-focused dish felt right after my time at Stone Barns, where you can see fields of kale and tomatoes from the dining room window. At least half the menu showcased plates composed almost entirely of vegetables. So when I was flipping through cookbook author and celeb Chrissy Teigen's new book Cravings: Hungry for More this past week, I was drawn to a bright carrot soup. (This is a followup to her 2016 book Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat, and it's a delightful mashup of indulgent comfort food and elevated fare — sometimes within the same recipe.)
This is a vegetable soup that takes a luscious turn with the addition of coconut milk. As with many soups, the best part is the toppings, and these are solid: Teigen has an ingenious way of making crispy shallots, and I added some almonds for even more crunch. Add fresh cilantro and red pepper flake-infused oil just before serving, and it's a satisfying main course.
Speaking of soups
Do you have a favorite you'd like to share? One of our November issues will be dedicated to the warm bowls of goodness, and I'd love to hear what kind of recipes you turn to when the weather gets cooler. Send your favorite recipes to email@example.com with SOUPS in the subject line.