Honey Ginger Carrots

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You can eat like royalty and travel the world. Really. Eat your carrots.

Once upon a time, carrots came in a range of beautiful colors and a great range of sizes. Tasty, crunchy and beautiful, carrots were prized for their crisp, fresh flavor and unusual colors. Yellow carrots like the ones above were first recorded in Turkey as far back as the 1st century. Purple carrots have been documented in the Middle East since 900 B.C. and were bred for Dutch royalty through the 1500s. White carrots were a staple in Europe and are the only carrot to originate in Europe. Who needs bad airplane food and the TSA when you can travel around the world by eating carrots?

So why do we find mostly orange carrots? Orange carrots are a Dutch hybrid of white, yellow and wild carrots. At some point, our market-based food industry decided we needed carrots that were consistent in size and shape as well as easy to ship. Hybrid orange carrots were developed to meet this need and voila! We have orange carrots. At some later bizarre point in history, food manufacturers realized they could shave down perfectly good carrots into nubs and call them baby carrots, although they are not baby at all. We are so weird.

For more carrot information, you can go the the Carrot Museum webpage (seriously).

I’m glad some of our farmers and groceries have started investing in colorful, flavorful heirloom varieties of carrots. Only a few of our organic farmer’s market vendors sell these, and they usually sell out pretty quickly, so I’m hoping more of our farmers will join in and plant these lovely varieties. Old variety carrots tend to be thinner and more fragile than their grocery store cousins, but they pack great flavor and are lovely on a plate.

This recipe pairs carrots with two of their flavor bffs–fresh ginger and raw honey. This is an easy recipe and experimental, so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Honey and thyme would probably make a good combination as well. You can use any carrots–they don’t have to be heirloom or fancy varieties. But because carrots are root vegetables, I do try to buy organic whenever possible (many pesticide-treated root vegetables are also treated with bud inhibitors to keep them from sprouting).

Get your spring carrot fix, travel the world and boost your health as well!

Honey Ginger Carrots (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. organic carrots
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 Tbsp. raw, local honey
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Wash and peel the carrots. Trim the tops. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and then cut the halves into 2″-3″ pieces. Put cut pieces into a medium bowl.
  3. Toss carrots with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Pour carrots onto baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes (check on them often to make sure they don’t char).
  5. In a sauté pan, add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat at medium.
  6. Add ginger and stir. Cook 1 minute.
  7. Remove the carrots from the oven and add to the pan. Toss well. Add honey and toss all together until carrots are coated with honey glaze.
  8. Check for seasoning and correct if needed. Serve immediately.
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Stir Fried Baby Squash and Sugar Snaps

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Do you ever come home from the farmer’s market and wonder how in the world you will ever eat everything you bought? Stir frying is one of the quickest and healthiest ways to cook up a mess of fresh vegetables. The combinations are endless and fit vegetables from every season. Spring and early summer vegetables are my favorites though-they are tender and sweet and sometimes even cute! I was delighted to find these organic baby summer squash at the farmer’s market and they were just too cute to chop up (as I do with their bigger variety). You can’t tell from the photo, but they are only as long as my thumb and they are so tender, they only needed a couple of minutes to cook.

Since we had received spring garlic and sugar snap peas in our Produce Box this week, I decided to make a spring stir fry along with some organic baby carrots and fresh ginger. If you haven’t tried spring garlic, look for it at your farmer’s market. It looks very similar to spring onions and is prepared the same way. The flavor is very mild and it is really delicious in light dishes like this. The result was so light and flavorful, we didn’t need any extra seasoning, although you could add a dash of salt or a squeeze of lemon. A great pairing with our grilled fish (recipe coming).

What are your favorite vegetables to stir fry?

Stir Fried Baby Squash and Sugar Snaps (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. organic baby yellow squash
  • 2 bulbs spring garlic
  • 1 pint sugar snap peas
  • 2 organic young carrots
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (optional)
  1. Prepare all your vegetables first. Wash and trim the squash and cut in half lengthwise. Wash and trim the carrots and cut into rough chunks. Set both aside in a bowl.
  2. Wash, peel and chop the spring garlic. Set aside.
  3. Wash and trim the sugar snaps. Set aside with the ginger.
  4. In a wok or large sauté pan, heat the coconut oil over high heat.
  5. When oil is hot, add the garlic and toss, cooking for about 1 minute. Add the squash and carrots, toss and cook over high heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the sugar snaps and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  7. Sprinkle with salt, if you like, and serve immediately.

Carrot Squash Soup

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It is still soup weather here in central North Carolina. Not too cold, but grey and rainy. I had a huge supply of organic carrots and some frozen butternut squash purée on hand, so I ventured into new territory with this carrot soup. I loved it, which is good since I’ll be eating the leftovers for lunch the next couple of days. This soup is very thick and surprisingly hearty for a recipe with no potatoes or cream. You can easily substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock and have a vegan entrée! You can also substitute fresh ginger (which I don’t usually have on hand) for a spicier flavor.

Carrot Squash Soup (4 servings)

  • 1 organic yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 10-12 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups butternut squash purée
  • 4 pieces crystallized ginger
  • 1 quart homemade chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until onion begins to soften.
  3. Add the carrots, ginger and garlic. Stir well and cook for 4-5 minutes more. Add the chicken stock, lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender (CAREFUL! Soup is hot!), blend the soup until creamy. You can also use a blender. A smarter way to do this is to wait until the soup is cool and then blend it, but I never seem to have that level of patience when I’m hungry.
  5. Correct for seasoning with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve immediately.
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