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 buck*wheat 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.
"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. Mean*while, 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.