Carrots and Cumin: 2 Ways


By Alaina Sullivan

Carrot and cumin is a flavor pairing worth tattooing into your brain. Here, dressed simply in olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper, the carrots are roasted at high heat until they become tender, caramelized, and smoky. You can eat them straight from the baking sheet, or turn them into soup as I did (see below.) Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Roasted Carrots with Cumin*

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 35 minutes

1 to 1/2; pounds baby carrots, green tops tripped, or full-sized carrots, cut into sticks

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons cumin seeds (you can also use ground cumin)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the carrots on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil; sprinkle with the cumin and salt and pepper. Roast until the carrots are tender and browning, about 25 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

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Posted in Produce, Recipes

Roasted Carrots with Scallion-Ginger Glaze


By Freya Bellin

As we approach the end of winter, I must express gratitude for carrots, one of the few vegetables still in season this time of year. Perhaps it is their seemingly eternal availability that causes us to overlook them, or their presence in our elementary school lunchboxes, but carrots are truly the kind of vegetable that can be made special with a little help. The mix of garlic, ginger, and scallion in this recipe enlivens the sweetness of the roasted carrots. By pouring hot oil over the seasoning mix, you create a quick and simple sauce, melding together the flavors of each component and lightly cooking the scallions for a sweeter, milder onion taste. You might even have all or most of the ingredients needed on hand, especially carrots, which will stay fresh and crisp for a long time in the fridge. I found I needed less oil than called for, so go light on it and add more as needed.  Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

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Posted in Baking, Produce

Snack Time? Try Marinated Celery and Carrots, Chinese Style


Makes: 4 appetizer or side-dish servings

Time: 10 minutes, plus time to marinate

An easy and surprising little nibble, crunchy and ultra-savory.  Substitute any vegetable you can eat raw or try this marinade with parboiled and shocked vegetables like broccoli or snow peas. Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

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Posted in Chinese, Produce

Creamy Carrot and Chickpea Soup


By Freya Bellin

One of the cold weather staples in my kitchen is a good, hearty soup — the kind that needs only a thick slice of bread to make itself a meal.  This carrot and chickpea soup fits right into that category: it has relatively few ingredients, takes only about 30 minutes of active cook time, and is completely satisfying as a main dish.   The smoked paprika smells amazing bubbling in a stock pot for hours.  My chickpeas soaked for about 3 hours before I added them to the stock, and it required about 2 hours cooking time to soften them.  If you remember, try soaking the beans overnight to reduce that time.  Plus, you can reuse the soaking liquid – I used 2 cups of chickpea liquid and 4 cups of vegetable stock for the 6 cups of liquid needed. I ate a few bites of the soup before I pureed it and it’s as good chunky as it is smooth. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

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Scraped, not Peeled


By Edward Schneider  

I used to take the Elizabeth David-era recipe instruction “Scrape your carrots” as a quaintness dating from before the invention of the vegetable peeler. 

Then, a decade or so ago, I was introduced to the tiny, flavorful early carrots sold by Manhattan farmers’ market vendors such as Paffenroth Vegetable Gardens, of Orange County, New York (not for a moment to be confounded with the fraudulent “baby carrots” carved out of superannuated storage roots and sold in supermarkets). Taking a peeler to these would leave you with a matchstick, albeit a delicious one. So Jackie and I – mainly Jackie, who is more patient with these painstaking tasks – have adopted the old practice of using a paring knife to scrape off the root hairs and a bit of the outer surface, at least for these early summer treats.  

We had dinner guests the other night and served them such carrots, meticulously processed by Jackie, and you know what? They noticed.

Posted in Produce

Early Spring Vegetables Are Great on the Grill


By Cathy Erway

[Cathy’s approach to early-season grilling. (I had to look up “appetant,” by the way.) – mb]

If your social calendar looks anything like mine, this weekend marks the debut of many appetent backyard owners’ barbecues. Seriously, don’t all shout at once! (Or do, but please stagger your times and locations conveniently, because I can’t wait to get to them all.)

So we all know and love to grill peppers, eggplant and corn on the cob, but since it’s still spring, our choices for local produce are more limited. Fear not, locavore: almost anything can be grilled. And better yet, slicked with a sweet-and-spicy sauce first. Just because spring and early summer vegetables don’t all have the vibrancy and flavor characteristic of those later on, with a little torching and some tweaking, they really shine. Here are some of my favorite, less-expected things to throw down.  Continue reading

Posted in Chinese, Produce