Extra, Extra: Eat All About It!
Taste Test: An hour and ten minutes later, the soup was done. I tasted it and still didn't understand what Neelix meant by saying this version was "spicier." In fact, it was quite sweet, which is no surprise considering the amount of carrots. Don't think carrots are sweet? When they cook down they most certainly are.
I ladled the soup into a bowl and frowned. It just didn't fit with what I thought plomeek soup should look like. I didn't picture it chunky. The Evil Dr. Mathra's idea of plomeek soup was a clear, dark broth, but I had a more puréed vision in mind. Although the Evil Dr. Mathra liked this version fine enough (remember, it's been well documented that he will consume anything. Even blue beer!), I decided to take the soup to the next level and make my version of the Vulcan standby.
Most carrot-based soups are given a little oomph of heat to balance the sweetness. You often see "Carrot-Ginger," "Carrot-Chipotle," or even "Curried Carrot," and that's where I was going. I was also going to the blender. In careful stages, I puréed the soup and rewarmed it. Then I added a healthy dose of cayenne pepper and tested. Now that was more like it. Two bowls later, the Evil Dr. Mathra was happily hiccupping -- his standard response to spicy foods -- and I felt that I'd turned the recipe into something more Vulcan than Kirk's version. Even Prop Master Alan Sims thinks that plomeek should have puréed carrot for the orange color, and suggests adding squash "for texture."
I should note that because of the body you get from puréed vegetable soups, adding cream is a pure indulgence and fairly unnecessary. I sampled a bowl with and without cream swirled in and concluded that the cream really didn't do much for the flavor. In fact, it sort of deadened it. Now, had the heavy cream been sour cream instead, I think we would have had a perfect combination.