Friday, September 9, 2011

Food For Thought - Carrots

This year we planted carrots in our garden.  A lot of them.  We were excited as we watched their little green and feathery tops poke through the soil.  Then as they grew and multiplied we learned the wisdom of thinning.  It seems wasteful to pluck some of the puny little carrots and throw them away, but it's an essential part of making room for the carrots to grow uncrowded.  Even after thinning, we have ended up with a bumper crop of carrots!  A treasure trove of long orange beauties that would impress even our old pal, Bugs Bunny.

That tangle of carrots in the middle
is what happens if you don't thin.  Oops.

But what do you do with a garden full of carrots?  The kids will only eat so many carrots dipped in peanut butter.  Here are a few carroty recipes that we enjoyed and I hope you will, too.

Carrot Raisin Salad
(This recipe is a family favorite from my mom.)

4 large carrots, shredded
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 T sugar
2 t. rice vinegar

Combine the carrots, raisins and walnuts in a medium sized bowl.  In a small bowl, combine the mayo, sugar and vinegar.  Mix well.  Pour the dressing over the carrot mixture and stir.  This salad is from the same family as the Broccoli Waldorf Salad.  Once I wrapped my head around having fruit and veggies together in the salad, they have become some of my absolute favorite side dishes!

Stir-Fried Carrot Slivers
(This recipe is from "The Dinner Doctor" with a few additions.)

1 T olive oil
2 cups carrots, shredded
1 cup snap peas, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup orange juice
2 t. brown sugar
1/2 t. ginger (fresh ginger would be even better!)
Salt, to taste
4 green onions, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a medium pan.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the orange juice, brown sugar and ginger.  Set this aside.  Add the carrots and snap peas to the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the orange juice mixture and stir well.  Let cook for 2-3 minutes longer until the carrots are tender.  Add a pinch of salt to taste and top with green onions.  Serve immediately.

Spiced Couscous with Chicken and Carrots
(This recipe is from Food Network, October, 2010.  I made my typical adjustments.)

3/4 t. cinnamon
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
Salt & pepper, to taste
4 medium carrots, sliced
1 cup couscous, dry
2 cups chicken, shredded
3 T butter
1/2 almonds, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Sour cream, for topping

In a medium pot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil.  Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, grated ginger, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the water.  Add the carrots and cook until crisp tender, about 5 minutes.

Drain the carrots and set aside the liquid for later.

Put the couscous and chicken in a large bowl and pour 1 cup of the carrot water on top.  Cover the couscous with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork when ready.

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter.  Add the almonds, raisins, green onions and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  Cook for about 5 minutes until the nuts are toasted.  Stir in the cilantro.

To serve, fill bowls with chicken and couscous mixture and pour a bit of the carrot water over the top.  Add the carrots and then finish with the almond mixture.  Top with fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.

From experience ...
you might want to double this recipe.

1 comment:

  1. I love carrots! I will trying all of those recipes and then eating it all myself! I might share a little....


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