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Real Food

February 20, 2013 2 comments
Baby Carrots

Real Baby Carrots

Oops, it’s been a few months since my last post. So, what are my excuses this time? The usual—holidays, sickness, family stuff, doggie drama, and work. I had a respiratory infection that lasted over seven weeks. During that time, I didn’t cook very much and when I did, it wasn’t inspired. Some of the results were downright dismal. Definitely not blog worthy. Unless, I wanted to write about my failures, which could be funny. I was beginning to think there was a curse in my kitchen. Maybe it was just my taste buds weren’t working. Thankfully, my taste buds are returning to normal and I’m cooking more.

Sautéed Baby Carrots

This weekend, I made something that was so simple; it was not even recipe worthy. However, it was divine. It all started in our backyard. We were clearing out the winter garden to make room for the early spring garden. I’m not sure if we are supposed to do this now, but the timing seemed right to get the onions in the ground. We’re learning what works for us. In the process of clearing space, we had to sacrifice some carrots. We harvested  the prettiest, most tender baby carrots I’ve ever seen. They were an organic rainbow mix – orange, yellow, white, and, purple. Beautiful and delicious.

I trimmed the stems and put them in the compost. Washed the carrots. In a skillet over medium heat, I steamed/sautéed the largest ones first in just a bit of water. Then added the next ones in size. I added the tiniest carrots at the end of cooking; they only had a few seconds on the heat. By this time, the water was gone, so I added a smidge of butter. I then topped them with freshly snipped parsley and a sprinkle of Kosher salt. Within 30 minutes, the carrots went from in the ground to on our table. To me, food doesn’t get much fresher or better.

It sounds silly, but they were so “carroty” tasting that it’s almost indescribable. If your only experience with baby carrots is with those little nubby things in the grocery store, then you are missing a treat. I would highly recommend buying some at a local farmers market or even better yet, growing your own. Carrots are easy to grow. You can even grow them in a deep pot if space is a problem.

Happy eating and happy gardening!

 

 

 

 

 

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Ginger Ale Carrots with a Kick

April 12, 2012 4 comments

I volunteered at WLRH earlier this week for their spring fund drive. While waiting for the phones to ring, the volunteers were sitting around, chatting about cooking, recipes, food blogs, etc. Someone mentioned they wanted a recipe for glazed carrots. I told them about a recipe Alton Brown made on Good Eats that I would share on my blog sometime in the next few weeks.

Typically, I’m not a huge fan of glazed carrots; they are a tad too sweet for my taste. But I like ginger ale and chili powder so I tried Mr. Brown’s recipe a few years ago. They were delicious!  I have since tweaked the recipe a bit (kicking up the heat), but I stayed fairly true to Alton’s original recipe. Here is a link to his original recipe:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/glazed-carrots-recipe/index.html

Coincidentally, yesterday I was at Garden Cove and they had carrots on the sale table – .75¢ for a large bag of Georgia carrots! I couldn’t pass up such a bargain. So here’s my spicier version…

Ginger Ale Carrots with a Kick

2 tablespoons butter (margarine or coconut oil)*

3 cups sliced carrots (3-4 carrots, thinly sliced)**

½ teaspoon salt

12 ounces ginger ale (I used Reed’s Original Ginger Brew)

½ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

pinch of cayenne, chipotle, or Aleppo pepper, optional

1 tablespoon maple syrup (honey or agave), optional

½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger or a pinch of powdered ginger, optional

1 tablespoon fresh parsley (flat or curly), chopped

Mix 1 tablespoon of butter, carrots, salt, and ginger ale in a large sauté pan that has a lid (Recipe will work in a regular pot with lid, but it will likely take longer for the glaze to thicken and reduce.  A covered wok would also work great.). Cover with lid and bring to simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Cook about 6 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, chili powder, and cumin.  If you want to kick up the flavor, add the cayenne, maple syrup, and ginger. Turn up the temperature to high.  Stir and cook about 4 to 7 minutes until tender (it depends on the size of the carrot slices, the ones I bought were huge and took longer to cook).  Stir constantly so the carrots do not burn. The sauce will thicken and make a nice glaze on the carrots. Remove from heat. Top with chopped parsley and serve.  Makes about 4 adult servings (as a side dish).

*These carrots can be made vegan with an easy substitution of margarine or coconut oil for the butter.

**I used 4 extremely large carrots and ended up with just over 4 cups of sliced carrots.  Truthfully, the carrots were a tad dry.  In the future, I will add a bit of water or more ginger ale if I use that many carrots. Luckily this is a really forgiving recipe and tweaks to it are perfectly fine.