Archives for posts with tag: carrot

Even though the snow hasn’t really hit in full force yet, the long, cold, gray winter is upon us. But don’t despair, vegephiles! There are still treasures to be found, they just grow hidden beneath the Earth’s surface. Take it away, Leo.

Y U NO GET THE JOKE?!

If you haven't seen Inception or don't troll the Internets, I'm sorry for you.

The answer isn’t a dream within a dream within a dream (you brought your totem, right?), but instead the root vegetables that come to harvest during the winter months. For most specimens, the cold weather actually concentrates the natural sugars, giving a sweeter flavor. Taking a stroll to see what I could get locally, I landed some carrots, parsnips, turnips, and sweet potatoes.

Phallic? Yeah, I can admit that.

Mother Nature's bounty during the winter months.

The tap roots and tubers spanned a decent spectrum of texture and flavor, from the hard and sweet carrots to the softer and spicy turnips, which I figured would do well mixed and cooked together. Vegetables, you say? Yeah, it’s a safe bet I’m going to roast the little bastards.

Getting a tan in a non-stick pan.

Tiny size, big flavor.

Given the freezing temperatures, though, I wanted to add some additional warmth (and not an insubstantial amount of flavor) to my vegetables as well. To meet and exceed all of my needs, I went for whole cumin. The whole seed retains the deep warmth and smokiness of the spice, and just like coarsely-ground black pepper, pieces of cumin release their flavor when you bite down in a pleasantly intense way.

CRUSH THEM AND THEY WILL THANK YOU.

Sometimes it's good to have kitchen toys. Sometimes, though, you don't really need them.

In order to get the most out of whole spices, a simple dry toasting is all it takes. Any small pan over medium heat for 5 minutes or so will not only release all of the flavor of the cumin seed, but it will also perfume your kitchen. TAKE THAT, YANKEE CANDLE. NO MORE $27 HOUSEWARMER JARS FOR ME. Afterwards, many recipes suggest you crush whole toasted spices with a mortar and pestle or grind them in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Don’t have either of those? Neither do I. A bowl and a small glass (or Ball jar, in my case, being a country boy) work just fine.

Sugar and spice and everything nice.

Peel, dice, toss with the standard olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, and sprinkle with the crushed and toasted cumin seed. Roast hot (400 degrees for 20-30 minutes) until tender and enjoy.

Do you really need step-by-step instructions? I just gave them to you above anyway. I have faith in you, just try it.

– Max.

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This post will be a short one. My go-to pasta salad is, admittedly, not an original production. I was compelled to back-engineer it after having a similar dish during a catered lunch in 2009 that was held in honor of someone who I didn’t know who was retiring from a position at an organization that gave me an internship that I had just started. Run-on sentence? Maybe. However, the original salad was so incredibly delicious that after eating two servings, I found myself hoarding an entire plate of it in my cubicle after the party, feverishly dissecting and analyzing the ingredient list so that I could somehow possess its power.

However, after only three variations, I managed to essentially piece the original dish together. The ingredient list is deceptively small, the actual preparation is very easy, and this salad is honestly the easiest go-to recipe I have. So easy, I didn’t even take any pictures. It doesn’t really need any pictures, outside of the finished product. Just follow the directions. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of orzo
  • 2 – 3 carrots, peeled
  • 1 large apple (firm and tart, granny smith never goes wrong)
  • Handful of curly parsley (DO NOT substitute with flat-leaf parsley in this case)
  • 2/3 cup (approx.) of cashews, either whole or pieces
  • 1/2 cup (approx.) of dried cranberries
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Procedure

  1. Boil orzo in a large pot of salted water. Because the pasta is so small, it should only take about 5 minutes or so.
  2. Mix the butter and olive oil with the cooked orzo well. Allow the pasta to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  3. Grate the peeled carrots with a medium-sized grater (larger than what you would use for your parmesan, but the actual size isn’t terribly important).
  4. Dice the apple into relatively small pieces, but like the carrots, size is approximate.
  5. Finely mince the parsley, small as you can make it. Curly parsley will essentially fall apart after you mince it enough, which is important, because you want small pieces! Flat-leaf parsley just gets all sticky and gross.
  6. Toss the parsley, carrot, apple, cashews, and cranberries with the cooled orzo.

 

Interracial love begets the best offspring.

Daddy was pasta and mommy was rice. Or the other way around. Either way, orzo is so fucking multicultural.

This in, in my humble opinion, a great example of a perfect salad. Simple ingredients come together and make something so much more than the sum of themselves.

– Max.

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