Roasted Carrot and Cumin Salad

 

Poor carrots.  They are truly an under appreciated vegetable.

There they sit in the veggie draw for weeks, always playing the supporting role; the base for soup, the delivery vehicle for dip, mixed into a carrot cake if they’re lucky (but you know the true star is the cream cheese frosting, anyway.)  They are the plain-jane girl in every teen movie, sweet and lovely but not exciting enough to even be considered for a leading role.

Until now… This is the moment of transformation or the carrot.  Just like Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries or Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed, I’m giving the good old carrot a makeover and you will never be able to look at her the same way again.  The secret?  ROAST the carrot.  The high heat brings out their natural sweetness.  They’re delicious roasted with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Add some thyme and a purple onion while you’re at it.

This recipe for Roasted Rainbow Carrot Salad with Citrus Cumin Dressing from A Cozy Kitchen does a beautiful job of celebrating the roasted carrot.  I altered the recipe ever-so-slightly but didn’t change much because, dang, it was pretty near perfect the way she developed it.

And now, it’s time to appreciate the lowly carrot…

 

Roasted Carrot and Cumin Salad

adapted from A Cozy Kitchen
serves 2 generously

Salad:

1 pound carrots (peeled and thinly sliced)

1 avocado, cubed

2 ounces goat cheese, cubed

2 cups arugula

Dressing:

1 shallot, minced

1 lemon

1 orange

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.  Spread the carrots on a baking sheet.  Use 2 baking sheets if necessary, like a boyfriend or someone disarming a time bomb, THEY NEED ROOM!  If they’re too close they will start to steam and it will be difficult to get that sweet caramelized roasted deliciousness you’re looking for.  Roast for 15-20 minutes until starting to brown, stirring once.

Mince the shallot and place in a small mixing bowl.  Juice the lemon and orange over the shallots.  Whisk in the olive oil and add the cumin and salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble the salad, lay the arugula in the bottom of a serving bowl or platter.  Toss with just  a bit of olive oil.  Sprinkle carrots,goat cheese, and avocado on top.  Drizzle on the dressing and serve.

Advertisements

Zucchini, Pistachio, and Mint Salad

Sometimes diet food gets a bad wrap.  From bland steamed vegetables to cardboard-esque rice cakes, food that’s good for you and (and your waist line) is not necessarily the food that you want to eat.

This Zucchini Salad manages to do the nearly impossible, it makes diet food decadent.  It’s straight-up, 100% good-for-you while still managing to be de-licious and fancy-feeling.  It’s basically raw zucchini, arugula, and lemon juice with just enough input from the decadence (decadence?  In diet food?!) of pistachios, cheese, and olive oil to make it worth eating.  The flavors are full and sophisticated, while the presentation makes you feel like you’re eating something lavish and naughty.

Steamed vegetables, move over.  Diet food just got self-indulgent.

 

Zucchini, Pistachio, and Mint Salad

Adapted from Epicurious

Serves 3-4

2 small zucchini

1/8 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 cup pistachios (unsalted, roasted)

1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 heaping cup baby arugula

Cut zucchini lengthwise into paper-thin slices with a vegetable peeler. Arrange slices, overlapping slightly, in in a thin layer.

Make stacks of mint leaves and cut crosswise into very thin slivers, then sprinkle over zucchini.

Whisk together oil and lemon juice in a small bowl, reserve 1/8 cup of the dressing, then drizzle the rest over the zucchini. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper to taste.  Let stand 10 minutes to soften zucchini and allow flavors to develop.

After 10 minutes, toss the arugula in the remaining dressing and place in a mound in the center of the plate.

Just before serving, use a vegetable peeler to shave cheese to taste over zucchini then top the dish with the pistachios and mint.

 

*To adapt for vegans, omit the cheese.

The Best Tomato Sauce Never Cooked

Best Tomato Sauce Never Cooked

It’s summer.  It’s hot.  The kitchen is really hot.  What’s a cook to do?

Get thee to a farmer’s market!  Buy a bunch of sweet, delicious cherry tomatoes and get ready for The Best Tomato Sauce NEVER Cooked.  You don’t need to turn on the oven, no need to let anything simmer, just combine fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil and let them do their thing.  This recipe is quick but requires a lot of time to let the tomatoes and garlic marinate… which is sort of how I feel in the summer.  Just let me sit and chill out and everything will be just fiiiiiine.

The Best Tomato Sauce Never Cooked

adapted from The Kitchn
serves 4 generously

2 pints cherry or grape tomates, roughly chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
12 leaves of basil, cut into fine strips
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 pound angel hair pasta

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

3 basil leaves, for garnish (optional)

Place tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil into a large serving bowl. Stir until combined.  Add just a dash of salt.

Cover the bowl and let marinate at room temp for about two hours.  Stir every 30 minutes or so, and get ready for the most delicious garlic smells to come at you.  Boil pasta, drain, and pour into the bowl with the tomato mixture.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add more fresh basil and some Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Enjoy warm or room temperature…outside preferably, even if it just mean stepping out on to the fire escape.