|Dirk Benedict's Cream of Carrot Soup|
|Written by Marcel Damen|
|Sunday, 11 January 2009|
We recently found this article meant to promote the Battlestar Galactica 1978 pilot "Saga of a Star World". It's giving some insight on Dirk Benedict's lifestyle, in particular his macrobiotic cooking. The article concludes with his recipe for Cream of Carrot Soup.
In Universal's futuristic fantasy, Battlestar Galactica, Dirk Benedict co-stars as a lusty fighter pilot in outer space, who refuses to take anything seriously. Even an inter-planetary attack by the dreaded Cylons, sub-human creatures encased in chrome, doesn't keep him from his usual pursuits -- chasing girls, high stakes card games and thumbing his nose at authority.
But the bravura role is a far cry from the intense and serious young actor Benedict actually is. Among the subjects he takes most seriously is food -- to the point where he plans to open an "alternative foods" restaurant in Los Angeles in the near future.
"It's based on grain -- whole grain -- which is all anyone really needs," says the handsome young actor. "With a little imagination, you can get an infinite variety of flavors out of the basic grains -- wheat, rice, oats, corn, barley and buckwheat groats. Last night, I made fried rice, 'hamburgers' blended with Japanese beans, roasted pumpkin seeds and sauteed scallions, which were absolutely delicious. And a lot more healthy, in my opinion, than the 'real thing.'"
Oddly enough, Benedict was raised on a cattle ranch in Montana's Big Sky Country. "I used to eat steak for breakfast, meat loaf for lunch, and roast beef for dinner," he recalled. "But I didn't like the energy meat gave me, and when someone turned me on to grain, I decided to give it a try. I was on my way to a cabin I own in Montana, to work on a screenplay, so it became an experiment. I brought only grain with me, nothing else, and stayed more than a month.
"After a few weeks, I felt terrific. And because I had to prepare all my own food -- the nearest restaurant was twenty miles away through deep snow -- I discovered that I had a flair for cooking."
The most important ingredient in the kitchen, says Benedict, is imagination. "A little courage helps, too," he added, "or at least a willingness to botch a recipe and give it another try. I never follow a recipe precisely. It's like acting. If you read the author's words, just the way he wrote them, you'll give a dull performance. You have to bring yours own excitement to the role.
Dirk Benedict as Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica
"The same is true of cooking," he went on. "I love to visit a friend's house, open the refrigerator, then figure out what to do with whatever's in there. Cooking should be loose. A recipe is never more than a guide."
With that warning in mind, Benedict consented to jot down a recipe for one of his favorite dishes, Cream of Carrot Soup, made with brown rice flour. Like many of the actor's culinary creations, it's prepared in a wok (a shallow oriental skillet).
"But remember, don't follow my directions precisely," he cautioned. "My soup is good. But yours might be even better."
DIRK BENEDICT'S CREAM OF CARROT SOUP
6 Raw Carrots (about 1 lb.)
Water to Cover
1/4 Cup Brown Rice (see recipe)
Vegetable Oil (peanut, corn, safflower)
Cut carrots into Julienne strips, then cut strips into small chunks, about 1/2" long. Stir fry in Wok or frying pan in vegetable oil to seal in flavor. Cover with water and simmer until soft, about 1 hr., adding salt to taste at the end of cooking. Meanwhile, grind the brown rice in a blender so that it becomes a course flour. Add this to the carrot broth to thicken and "cream" the soup.
Add cinnamon for flavor, and serve with a pat of butter.
The soup, says Benedict, can be eaten hot or cold. It will congeal into a jello-like vegetable pudding which is equally delicious the next day.
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