CARROTS AND ZUCCHINI STIR-FRY WITH PEANUT SAUCE

Five days without our faithful goofy companion. I want to thank for all the comments in my previous post. I read each one, but cannot bring myself to answer them. Please consider yourself hugged.

This key to this recipe is slicing the carrots in ribbons, which is a bit of a labor of love, but worth it. Couple that with spiralized zucchini, and you’ll hit a jackpot. If you do not have a spiralizer, slice the zucchini very thinly and that will do. It is surprisingly hearty, and would be a great vegetarian meal if you add perhaps some farro and a slice of bread.

CARROT AND ZUCCHINI STIR-FRY WITH PEANUT SAUCE
(inspired by many sources)

3 carrots, sliced in ribbons (with a large veggie peeler)
2 large zucchini, spiralized fine
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
grated ginger to taste
1 shallot, minced
salt and pepper

for the sauce:
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp or more Sriracha sauce
drizzle of agave nectar
juice of 1/2 lemon
water to adjust consistency

Heat the oil in a non-stick large wok. Sautee the ginger and the shallot until fragrant. Add the veggies, stir-fry for a couple of minutes in high heat. Drizzle the sauce, you might not need the full amount, so that the veggies are not drenched. Cook for a couple of minutes more, stirring constantly to distribute the thick sauce well into the veggies.

Add the peanuts, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you want to make a bigger amount, you might have to stir-fry the veggies in two batches, then join them and finish with the sauce. As I mentioned, slicing the carrots is not the most enjoyable activity in the world, but it is a game changer. Just incorporate the Zen and go for it. The sauce is pretty delicious and would be awesome added on top of grilled pork tenderloin, which I intend to do soon.

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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE CARROTS

I kept waiting and waiting to get more recipes and make a more involved article in my “Incredibly Simple” category, but truth is I would MARRY these carrots if I was single and searching for a perfect match. It makes no sense to delay this post. You will not find a simpler recipe. And definitely not one that will surprise you as much for the outcome versus simplicity ratio. Do not be ashamed to buy this ingredient at the grocery store: Sweet Soy Sauce for Rice, by Kikkoman. It is all you need. Well, carrots would be nice to have also…

JAPANESE-STYLE ROASTED CARROTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

Carrots, cut in sticks, enough to cover a quarter baking sheet
1 to 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce for rice (Kikkoman)
zest of 1/2 lemon + lemon juice to taste

Heat oven to 420F. Coat cut carrots with olive oil, season very lightly with salt and pepper.

Roast for about 25 minutes, until edges start to get golden brown. Remove from the oven, drizzle the soy sauce and lemon zest all over, and roast for 5 minutes more, or until the sauce starts to caramelize. Serve with a little drizzle of lemon juice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I don’t know if I will ever bother making a different version of carrots, at least not until I get bored with this beauty. If you want to feel virtuous and work harder, make the sweet soy sauce yourself from scratch. There are many recipes around (like this one), but at least once go the easy route and try this version. We all need a simple side dish in the repertoire for those times in which life seems a tad overwhelming.

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MONET’S GLAZED CARROTS

Surprised by the title of this post? Monet was not only a great painter, but also a lover of good food. When we visited his home/museum in Giverny a few years ago, Phil bought the book “Monet’s Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet”, full of wonderful pictures of his garden and home, including the amazing kitchen. The book even shares a recipe for his favorite cake that he requested every year for his Birthday. That very cake was a technical challenge in the Great British Bake Off a few years ago. Browsing the recipes, the first thing I noticed is how cooking changed over the decades. We now rely so much on ingredients, spices and produce from all over the world. Miso, pomegranate molasses, harissa, dried limes… In Monet’s time it was all quite different. One of the components that was present in many recipes – even the most basic veggie concoctions – was rich beef or chicken broth. For the most part, that was how they intensified flavors. This is a recipe for glazed carrots that intrigued me because it is so different from the way I “understand” glazed carrots. I made it, we loved it, therefore I share…

MONET’S GLAZED CARROTS
(adapted from Monet’s Table)

3 cups of carrots, cut in slices, not too thin, not to thick
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
4 sprigs parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup beef broth (I used canned from Rachael Ray)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (yes, you read that correctly)
additional parsley to serve (optional)

Cook the carrots in 3 cups salted boiling water for 5 minutes, drain, reserving 1/4 cup liquid.

In a saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring. Add the parsley, salt, pepper, reserved carrot cooking liquid, and the beef broth. Stir well, then add the lemon juice, powdered sugar and carrots. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to as low as it will go, and leave the lid slightly open so that the liquid will reduce. Cook for one hour, or until the carrots are cooked and glazed.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Several things intrigued me about this recipe. I never imagined starting with a roux, using beef broth, and adding a touch of powdered sugar. It also seemed like an awfully long time to cook the carrots. The whole time I kept telling myself – this won’t have a happy ending. But I was proved wrong, way wrong. It ended up less sweet than some of the glazed carrots I’ve made in the past, and with more complex flavor, which I am sure comes from the beef broth.

This was a Polar Vortex dinner that we cooked together. I made the carrots, and Phil prepared a pot roast, simple but I must say it turned out outstanding (sorry ladies, he is taken). To deglaze the pan to make the gravy, he used some of the water I cooked the carrots and that was a winning move. A real back to basics meal. Which sometimes is all we need.

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MOROCCAN CARROT SALAD

I love carrots but have a problem with eating them raw, cannot quite wrap my mind around the harsh texture. In fact, when I see carrot sticks playing as crackers next to a nice bowl of hummus, I feel a bit sad. In this salad, raw carrots are grated and mellowed down by spending some time in a nice dressing with one of my favorite ingredients, pomegranate molasses.  It is absolutely delicious, and even a person with my anti-raw carrot approach will love it. Trust me.

MOROCCAN CARROT SALAD
(adapted from many sources)

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
Kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup dried dates, thinly sliced
1 pound carrots, peeled and shredded
3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Prepare the dressing by mixing in a bowl the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, turmeric, paprika and salt.  Pour the olive oil whisking constantly. Add the chopped dates. Reserve while you process the carrots.

Shred the carrots in a food processor or grating by hand.  Add the carrots and olives to the dressing/dates mixture, and mix well. Leave it to stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Add the toasted almonds, sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top, adjust seasoning and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Cannot praise this simple salad enough. One of the things I love most about it is that it is still good next day. How many salads stand an overnight sleep in the fridge? Not that many. Well, maybe if you have more rabbit genes than me, you could find the texture next day a bit too soft, but I doubt it. Still delicious. Pomegranate molasses brings the right amount of sharpness and sweetness, it all goes together beautifully. And don’t skip the pomegranate seeds, they please the eyes and the palate!

Between writing this post and publishing it, I made this salad again. Second time around I used Ras-El-Hanout instead of turmeric, skipped the paprika, and added thinly sliced green apples instead of green olives. Another version, same deliciousness…

 

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GREEN BEANS AND CARROTS WITH SPICY ALMONDS

Green beans with almonds is such a simple recipe. A bit like avocado toast: grab bread, toast it, smash avocado on it, top with whatever you like, give it a fancy name and be done with it. Yet, here I am to share an almost non-recipe with you. It turns out that this was unexpectedly delicious. And I will be making it again and again. That makes it blog-worthy in my book. So there!

GREEN BEANS AND CARROTS WITH SPICY ALMONDS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground za’tar
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
a touch of olive oil butter
⅔ cup slivered almonds (or amount to taste)
green beans, cut into 1½-inch lengths
carrots, sliced thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt

To make the almonds: In a small bowl, combine the sugar, chili powder, za’tar, salt, and cayenne. Heat the olive oil in a small nonstick skillet. Add the almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle them with the sugar-spice mixture and stir almost constantly until the spices are fragrant, do not let it burn. Move them to a plate and reserve at room temperature.

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. You have two options: add the green beans and carrots and cook both together until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Or if you prefer the carrots a bit more tender, add them first, cook them for about 3 minutes, then add the green beans for additional 4 minutes of cooking. Drain both veggies well, lay over paper towels or a kitchen towel to remove all excess water.

Finish the preparation: Add the olive oil to the a non-stick skillet and heat over medium-heat. Add the green beans and carrots and toss well. Sautee until you get some color on some of the green beans and carrots, the less you move them around the more they will brown. Season with salt, add the almond mixture, toss just a couple of times to spread them around the veggies. Transfer to a serving dish.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Two game changers here, the inclusion of carrots and the sweet-and-spicy mix. We have green beans with almonds very often, but this preparation feels like a totally different recipe, with the carrots bringing a nice contrast of color, and the spice mixture giving just the right amount of naughtiness to the almonds. Simple, no doubt, but so delicious. Cumin could be a nice addition, although I do feel that it tends to overpower things a bit. You should come up with your own version of spices just keep the sugar and use your imagination. Keep in mind that nothing brightens up this type of dish more than a little squirt of lemon juice in the end, right before serving. I totally forgot about it.

Leftovers were great next day, but probably a lot better if someone had not picked all the almonds as a post-dinner snack. Confession: I did it. They were that tasty. I am sorry. Kind of.

Dinner is served!  Store-bought rotisserie chicken, a bit of rice and this tasty side dish.
Easy to bring to the table even after traveling the whole day.

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