What’s Cooking, April 30, 2009

Jeanne Briggs

Jeanne Briggs

 

Jewels that Melt in Your Mouth 

by JEANNE BRIGGS

Remember when we were kids, we ate a lot of carrots, always raw and dipped or sprinkled with salt? I think that’s the way many folks approach carrots’as a snack between meals or on a relish tray, or perhaps chopped for a stockpot or in a stew or soup. And as a matter of fact, it’s not surprising that carrots are often overlooked by home cooks and restaurant chefs as well. But carrots can hold their own and actually be the star of a soup, salad, savory soufflé, or side dish. Let’s venture into some new ways with carrots. Let’s go gourmet and get started!

 

Glazed Carrots and Shallots

1-1/2 pounds (small or baby) carrots

6 shallots

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 to 3 tablespoons sugar

Sour cream, as a topping

If using small or baby carrots, leave then whole. Peel the shallots; cut larger ones into quarters lengthwise and smaller ones in half. Put the vegetables in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add the butter, water, salt and sugar. Bring the liquid to a boil; reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking to be sure the vegetables aren’t too dry. Add a teaspoon of water, if needed. Remove the lid, increase the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the carrots become caramelized and glazed, about another 10 minutes. Serves 4. Don’t forget that sour cream… it’s delicious.

 

Carrot and Coriander Soup

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 yellow onions, thinly sliced

3 pounds carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 bunch cilantro, stems attached, washed well, a handful of leaves reserved for garnish

1 jalapeño, stemmed, halved, seeded

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground coriander

6 to 8 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup sour cream

In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, cilantro, jalapeño, salt and ground coriander. Continue to cook the vegetables for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock and simmer until the vegetables are completely tender, about 35 minutes. Carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and taste for seasoning. If the soup seems too thick, add a little chicken broth or water. Garnish with sour cream and the reserved cilantro leaves. Serves 8. This recipe is also delicious using Garam masala spice, instead of the coriander.

 

Carrot and Ginger Soufflé

This is as light as air and a great side dish for roast chicken or fillet mignon.

1 cup peeled, diced carrots from about 4 medium carrots

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

5 tablespoons unsalted butter; more for the baking dish

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

3 to 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon honey

4 jumbo eggs, separated

Heat the oven to 425F. Butter a 1-1/2-quart low-sided gratin or a high-sided pie plate. In a small saucepan, combine the carrots, water and salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover and increase the heat to high; evaporate the water completely. When no water remains, add the milk. Puree the carrots and milk in a blender until smooth. In a clean pan, melt the butter. Add the flour, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pureed carrots; bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Pass the mixture through a strainer into a large bowl. Add the chives, ginger, lemon juice and honey. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Whisk the egg yolks one at a time into the carrot mixture. In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites to firm but not dry peaks. Fold half the egg whites into the carrot mixture, mixing gently with a spatula. Fold in the other half until just combined. Don’t over-mix or you’ll deflate the egg whites. Pour the soufflé mixture into the gratin dish. Run your thumb around the inside rim to help a cap to form. Place the dish gently into the oven and bake until browned and puffy, about 15 minutes. It should be set but still somewhat creamy in the center. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

 

Zesty Carrots

This one is not only easy, but delicious.

1-1/2 cups crushed potato chips

8 medium carrots, cooked and sliced

2 tablespoons dried, minced onion

2 tablespoons horseradish

1-1/2 cups low-fat mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 1-quart casserole. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the potato chips in casserole. Arrange carrots on top. Blend onion, horseradish, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Spread on carrots; sprinkle with remaining potato chips. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Serves 6 deliciously.

 

Carrot-Gazpacho Cocktail

1-1/4 cups carrot juice

1-1/4 cups tomato juice

1/2 cup fresh lime juice, or to taste

1 (3-inch) cucumber grated

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, basil, or dill

Dash of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Ice cubes

Mix the juices in a large pitcher and chill for 1 hour. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour into glasses and serve garnished with sprigs of chosen herb. Note: This drink could also include an adult beverage added… your choice. Serves 4.

About Squire News

The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.
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