Food

Cooking with Carrots

January 22, 2014

carrotsWhen my son was in 3rd grade, he read a story called Bunnicula- A Rabbit Tale of Mystery by James Howe. This was the story of a, wait for it, vampire rabbit, that drained all the juice/color out of the carrots he ate to the chagrin (and concern) of the other characters in the story. To say my son was entranced by the concept goes without saying and he spent a few memorable months reading the series of books written by Howe trying to emulate his new anit-hero. From the first page of that book, he insisted that carrots were ALWAYS on our menu.

So for us adults, a natural carrot question is when exactly are carrots in season? Carrots are always available because they’re grown worldwide. With modern transportation, carrots are always in season somewhere in the world, but if you want those grown in North America, you’re talking late summer through early fall.

The carrots you buy today are not the same kind your great granddaddy grew. The carrots that were originally cultivated were either white or purple in color. In the 1900s, scientists discovered hybridization, creating the bright orange variety we all know today. Great marketing and PR has helped make orange carrots the vegetable superstars they are today. Of course being packed with anti-oxidants, vitamin A, beta carotene and fiber makes the carrot a vegetable you always want to include in just about any meal.

Luckily, colored carrots have been brought back to the marketplace with a vengeance these days by natural, organic and gourmet farms. You can find red, yellow, white and purple carrots right beside the orange ones. Of course they’re a little more expensive, but with the subtle variations in flavor you’ll find them excellent when you add them to any carrot dish you want to make. Just so you know, purple carrots are only purple on the outside and are orange on the inside. They are sweet and have a bit of a pepper flavor. Red carrots taste pretty much the same as orange ones but they’re red. White or golden yellow carrots are milder in taste than the others and a bit sweet but they give the same crunch and vitamin punch as the others.

The following recipes are just a bit different from your typical carrot cake and glazed carrots recipes and encourage you to buy a big bag of carrots the next time you’re at the grocery to try them all.

ROASTED MAPLE CARROTS (pareve)

2 lb carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into same size pieces
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cups maple syrup
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Pour the oil into a cookie sheet with sides. Put it in the oven for 2 minutes then place the carrots in it. Stir to coat the carrots. Drizzle the maple syrup, over the top and mix to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, stir once then serve immediately. Serves 8.

My files source unknown

CARROT AND ZUCCHINI FRITTERS (dairy or pareve) 
1 large zucchini, grated
8 medium carrots, grated
6 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
Your favorite pancake batter recipe (I use the one on the Bisquick box but use a 1/4 less liquid than called for)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil to fry
Butter or sour cream for topping (optional)

In a bowl, combine the zucchini, carrot, green onions, garlic and parsley. Mix to combine. Make your pancake batter (don’t forget to omit 1/4 cup of the liquid from the original recipe). Mix together the vegetables and batter. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a skillet and add a little olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Use a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop the batter onto the heated skillet. Cook 3 minutes then flip it over and cook 2- 3 minutes. The fritter should be golden on each side. Place the fritter on a paper towel or a cooling rack for a minute or two. Serve immediately. Makes 8 to 12 depending on the size.

Modified from about.com

GREEK CARROT, FETA AND CHICKPEA SALAD (dairy or pareve if you omit cheese)
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed well
1 1/2 cup carrots, peeled, chopped or shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped parsley
6 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese (optional)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pine nuts
4 cups baby spinach

Dressing:
3 tablespoon lemon or lime juice or white wine
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of Aleppo Pepper (optional but very good)

In a jar with a tight lid, combine the lemon juice, oil, cumin, salt, pepper, and Aleppo Pepper (if using). Cover and shake well to combine. Season with more cumin or Aleppo pepper if desired and set aside.

In a salad bowl combine the spinach, chickpeas, carrots, parsley, and green onions to combine and then drizzle most of the dressing over the top. Mix to combine. Sprinkle the cheese over the top then top with sunflower seeds or pine nuts. You can serve as is with the remaining dressing on the side or toss to combine the cheese and seeds. Serves 8.

Modified from Fine Cooking Magazine date unknown

HONEY GLAZED CARROTS AND PEA PODS (pareve)
11/3 cups carrots (sliced)
5 oz. sugar snap peas
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon honey

Bring 4 cups of lightly salted water to boil. Add the carrots and cook just until tender but still crunchy (no more than 10 minutes). Add sugar snap pea pods and cook 3 more minutes. Drain and remove the vegetables from the pan. Add the melted butter, orange juice, honey and corn starch in the pan. Whisk to combine and then return the vegetables to the pan. Mix to coat and cook, stirring occasionally, just until heated and the sauce thickens. Serves 6 to 8.

This is great served over broiled chicken

Submitted by Andria Markoffski Skokie IL

CARROT AND BEEF RICE BOWL (meat)

2 cups raw rice, cooked according to the package directions
1 pound beef (cut the steak into very thin slices ACROSS the grain/ ground beef, as is)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 large carrots, julienned
1 small zucchini, diced
2 handfuls of spinach leaves
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and brown sugar. Add the beef and toss to coat. Let marinate for 1/2 hour.

Heat a large saute pan or wok and heat the sesame oil. Add the onions and saute for 1 minute. Add the beef and stir constantly while it cooks. Saute for 2-3 minutes until just barely pink. Add the carrots, zucchini and toss. Cook for 1 minute. Toss in the spinach and cook for an additional minute. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with rice. Serves 4.

Modified from steamykitchen.com

CARROT RICE (pareve)
1 cup basmati rice, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped fine
1 tablespoon margarine
1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
3/4 cup grated carrots
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

In a skillet, heat the margarine and add the onions. Saute for 8-10 minutes or until the onion is soft and slightly golden. Add the ginger, carrots, and salt to taste. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook an additional 4- 5 minutes.  When ready to serve, add the peanuts and cayenne to the skillet and stir gently to combine. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley. Serves 4.

My files, source unknown

© Eileen Goltz carrot 14