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photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pykmi/">pykmi</a> on Flickr
Let's face it: Carrots aren't very exciting. But paired here with star anise, carrots almost become transcendent. Call it the comeback of the year.

Let’s face it: Carrots aren’t very exciting. They’re bland as a side dish and often relegated to third-tier ingredients in salads or slurped up in juice mixes. And as the key ingredient in carrot cake, they’re buried beneath cream cheese icing to the point where their basically unrecognizable. Does carrot cake taste like carrots? Hell no. All that aside, carrots can make a great base for a refreshing soup. Paired here with star anise, carrots almost become transcendent. Call it the comeback of the year.