Carrots

No Muss, Some Fuss: Cumin and Citrus Roasted Carrots

One of the reasons self-diagnosed lachanophobics still risk the possible horror of eating vegetables is the possible magic of beautiful and delicate flavor. Sometimes it’s best to steer into the curve and forgo meat in favor of vegetable authenticity. Plus it couldn’t hurt to throw the vegan, gluten-free members of my core a bone. Or carrot top, since nothing they eat involves bones. Hey! No judgment. This recipe is warm and luscious with a spicy edge, just like that George Clooney scene in “Out of Sight.” See below for reference.

As an alternative, I also present a synonym to this level of steaminess: Jessica Alba and Paul Walker in “Into the Blue.”

This recipe is from a Jean-Georges cookbook, which makes it elegant and flavorful, with a hint of food-snob. Get “kinda interested,” in this one. I know you’re probably not in the market for a celebrity chef commitment, but this recipe takes less than an hour to throw together. That’s not even enough time for two episodes of “Friends” on Netflix.

The light-hearted references aside, this is one of those perfect recipes that will make you look like a more talented cook than you actually are. Your day will change. And don’t worry, it’s not always perfect in Curating My Cooking Land. Later this week, I’ll update you on what happened when I tried to mess with creamy salad dressing. For now, just make these carrots.

Roasted Carrots with Whole Cumin and Citrus

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound medium carrots – peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves – finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds aka “Whole Cumin” if you shop at Vons or Whole Foods
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Red Chili Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Equal parts (about 1 to 2 tablespoons each) Red Wine Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and boil the carrots for 20 minutes.

While the carrots are boiling, combine the garlic, cumin seeds, thyme, red chili flakes, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Whisk in the red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

Remove the carrots from the boiling water with tongs, so they keep their pretty shape. Place in a small baking dish, and pour the cumin seed dressing/marinade thing over the top. Slice the orange and lemon in half – squeeze the juice on top of the carrots, and leave the halves resting on top during the roasting process to infuse the flavor.

Roast for 25 minutes.

Shazam. Flavor.

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Sometimes You Want Other People to Do the Cooking (Even though I Contributed a Side Dish)

Raise your hand if someone else cooking for you sounds like a good idea. I’m glad you agree.

The gentlemen in our apartment went on a massive Costco run, leaving me to fend for myself for a few hours. Uncertain about the evening’s plans, I picked up a few standards at the market and chose to bide my time until it was time to unload. This translates to eating rice cakes and falling asleep while watching “How I Met Your Mother” reruns. Upon their return, I was told Awesome Roommate would be preparing salmon with a cucumber salad side for dinner.

Awesome Roommate’s salmon was fantastic. He marinated the fish for about 2 hours in sesame oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, and red pepper flakes, squeezing lemon juice on top after it came off the grill. It’s simple, and maybe it has to do with him knowing the contents of our fridge and pantry (and being able to reach all of them, being almost a foot taller than me) – but he’s got the most fantastic culinary knee-jerk inclinations with flavor and technique.

There’s a food version of trivial pursuit, and he’s the only one who’s ever beat me.

I contributed a simple salad (NOT part of the 50 Shades of Salad entries) that intrigued me to use caraway seeds for the first time. If you’re wondering what caraway seeds taste like, think of a bitter version of cumin, with an aroma like dill.

Caraway is from the carrot family – no, I didn’t know this before I liberally sprinkled the seeds all over my roasting vegetables – but the irony of using something from the carrot family to season carrots is not lost on me.

I’m probably the only one who actually thinks the above joke is funny. No matter.

Roasted Carrot and Mushroom Salad

Turn an oven to 450.

Put 1 and 1/2 pounds of sliced carrots (I just bought the bag. Like I mentioned above – I wasn’t in the mood for putting forth much effort.) and 10 ounces of halved mushrooms on a baking sheet.

Drizzle with 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, toss on two cloves of mashed garlic and three sprigs of fresh thyme, then sprinkle to taste with caraway seeds, kosher salt, and paprika.

Roast for 30 minutes until tender, then squeeze one lemon’s worth of juice over the top.

It looks like something to be eaten in autumn, but I promise it’s very light.

Other people doing the bulk of the cooking can lead to fantastic discoveries. Or something charred and inedible. (The Awesome Roommate makes killer salmon, by the way. Definitely try the simple marinade above.) Moral of the story: cook with friends. Regardless of what happens, I’ve never encountered that couldn’t be solved with good company and good wine.