Posts Tagged ‘carrots’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Mirepoix

October 10, 2017

 

It’s no secret that I am a big Trader Joe’s fan. I brave the crowds frequently to stock up on items that are unbeatable for both price and quality.

One of my latest discoveries is not new to the brand, but it is new to me and it is life-changing. One word. Mirepoix. 

Mirepoix (meer – pwah) is a staple in the French culinary world, consisting of diced onion, carrot and celery, which provides the base for soups, stews, and sauces. It takes a bit of an effort to make, due to the washing, peeling, and dicing of the vegetables.

Trader Joe’s offers it in a 14 oz tub, layered with the perfect proportion of one-half onion, three carrots, and 3 celery stalks, all cut and ready to use. In the time it took to unpack my groceries, I had sauteed the Mirepoix and was ready to add the other ingredients for a quick pureed soup. And did I mention it’s only $2.99?

Quick Pureed Soup:
Slowly saute the mirepoix in butter or olive oil, until the vegetables start to soften, and the onion becomes translucent. True mirepoix is not meant to brown or caramelize.

Add the vegetable of choice, (zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli are all good options) and any herbs you might like. Add enough chicken or vegetable stock* to fully submerge the vegetables and simmer covered until they are soft. Puree the mixture until smooth, put it back in the pot, correct seasonings and enjoy!

* If you don’t have stock on hand, Better Than Bouillion is another easy fix. It comes in a jar and is spoonable, rather than dehydrated into a salty cube. It is organic, not full of fake ingredients, and a big dollop added to the pot of water makes a tasty soup. It is high in sodium, so be sure to taste before adding additional salt.

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Healthy Preparation

November 6, 2014

There are lots of healthy foods out there and you can’t go wrong with fresh, seasonal produce.

But did you know that the way you prepare them may actually up the nutritional benefits of some of your favorite foods?
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We often cut our carrots, since looking like Bugs Bunny has never been our thing. Even those store bought baby carrots have been put through a machine to shave them down into smaller, more manageable bites. Studies have found that cutting carrots increases the surface size allowing some of the vital nutrients to seep out. Cooking them increases the bioavailability of the antioxident rich carotenoids. Wash and peel carrots and toss them whole into soups, stews or roast them in the oven, to get the most benefit from eating them.

Garlic crusher

Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has antibiotic properties, and is thought to decrease blood pressure.Allicin does not naturally occur in the garlic bulb, but is produced when the garlic is crushed, or finely diced. Allicin is a bit flightily, and begins to degrade the moment it is created. Cooking helps that process along, and microwaving destroys it completely. For maximum health benefits, add a little finely diced raw garlic to cooked food, if the flavor is not too strong for your taste.

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Broccoli is a popular vegetable, and can be an effective cancer preventer. How you cook it however, determines just how much of those cancer fighters are present. Steaming is the only method that preserves or possibly increases those properties. Frying and boiling were found to be the worst. Find steamed broccoli a bit dull? Researchers also found that adding spicy foods upped the cancer fighting ante. Go ahead and steam it, and toss it in a spicy sauce!

Eating your vegetables, no matter how they are prepared is a win. Knowing how to get the most from them is a triumph!

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Carrot Fries

October 15, 2014

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I’ve never met a french fry I didn’t like. Even the cold, soggy ones. As much as I love them, I try to avoid them, being that they aren’t the healthiest, low fat, low calorie thing on the menu. These carrot “fries” aren’t made of potatoes, they aren’t fried, and they aren’t likely to fool anyone. They are however, healthy, and even more importantly DELICIOUS!

 

Carrot Fries:

Peel carrots and cut them into thick strips. Toss them in a little olive oil, sprinkle them with some sea salt, and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 17-20 minutes ( depending on the size of the carrot strips) until they are brown and crisp on the outside, and starting to soften slightly.
Enjoy!

Check out our quick tip for peeling carrots!

 

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Unrecipe of the Week: Summer Salad Rolls

May 19, 2014

These vegetable rolls are riff on the traditional Vietnamese Summer roll. A study in simplicity, these rice paper rolls are filled with fresh julienned vegetables. The secret lies in the sauce: we dipped ours in a carrot, sesame oil and soy based dressing that brought the flavors to life. The best part? We’re torn between how healthy and low calorie they are, and the fact that nothing needed to be cooked.  Twice the reason to try this unrecipe!

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For the rolls:

Julienne a variety of vegetables, including cucumbers, carrots, diakon, red bell pepper, radishes and beets. Mix it up to suit your tastes. I used a mandolin, but depending on how many you are making, you can just cut them by hand. Be sure to peel the carrots, diakon and beets first!

To assemble:

Dip a large rice paper wrapper* in warm water to soften. There is no need to soak them, just get them hydrated enough to be pliable.

Place the rice paper on a work surface. Lay a small piece of lettuce and a fresh mint leaf or two at the bottom of disc. Layer on the julienned vegetables. Begin rolling the rice paper, tucking it tightly, but gently as you go. Roll it twice, fold the sides in, and continue rolling to the top. It should look like a fat, transparent egg roll.

Lay the finished roll on plastic wrap. The rolls will stick together, so be sure to keep them from touching. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.

For the sauce:

Peel about 3-4 medium carrots, and cut them into chunks. Place them in the food processor, along with a small shallot, peeled and quartered, a good sized chunk of peeled fresh ginger, about 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, about a 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Puree until everything is finely diced and combined. With the machine running, add about 1/4 cup or so of vegetable oil ( We used grape seed oil, which has a neutral flavor. Do not use olive oil, as the flavor is too strong!) Add about 1/4 cup of water, and continue mixing until it forms a a chunky dressing. Check flavors, and add more vinegar, or soy sauce as needed. If the dressing is too thick, add a little bit more water. Refrigerate until ready to use.

We served the rolls cut in half lengthwise, on a pool of drizzled dressing, and then put the rest on a platter with a bowl of sauce on the side. Sounds like the perfect dish to toss in my lunch bag tomorrow!

*rice paper wrappers are sold packaged in the international foods section of grocery stores, or at Asian markets.

Unrecipe of the Week: Moroccan Chicken Tagine

December 11, 2013

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Those of you who follow us on Facebook ( and you really should!) know that I got a slow cooker as a gift. Those of you that follow this blog, know that I am more of a fast cooker type, using fresh ingredients to create seasonal, flavorful and simple dishes. I admit to being a bit intimidated by this concept of slow cooking, and put off trying it out. Finally, on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I was home long enough to attempt to try it out. First, I did my due diligence, researching recipes, and reading the comments. Many of the readers complained that the cooking times were off. There was lots of conversation about too much liquid, or not enough. Many of the recipes were for dishes I simply don’t care for. Finally, I stumbled upon a recipe for a Moroccan Style Chicken Tagine, with dried apricots and chickpeas. The comments were all favorable, and dish did not disappoint. The rich flavorful stew that accompanies the chicken is hearty and tasty enough to hold its own as a vegetarian dish, with a few minor tweaks ( like losing the chicken!).

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I learned a few lessons experimenting with the slow cooker:

Just tossing the ingredients into the pot and turning it on isn’t going to happen very often. Browning meats, sauteing onions, and finishing sauces on the stove top are part of the success of slow cooked foods. This (un) recipe, is adapted from the Kitchn, and requires a bit of before and after work, but the results were worth the extra effort, and the added mess.

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Chickpeas:

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown them in olive oil until golden. Work in batches if necessary, until all pieces are done.  Transfer them to the slow cooker.

Using the same pan, saute one diced onion and 2 peeled and diced carrots in olive oil, until soft and slightly brown. Add 2 or 3 minced garlic cloves, and a chunk of ginger root, peeled and minced to the pan, and cook for about 1 minute. Add 1 teaspoon or so of cumin, and cinnamon. Continue to saute until mixed.  Pour the mixture over the chicken. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, and a few large handfuls of dried apricots, chopped.

Turn the slow cooker up to high, and cook for roughly 4 -5 hours.

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Remove the chicken from the cooker, and place on a platter, covered with foil to keep warm. Pour the sauce, including the fruit and vegetables into a pan, add 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.  Simmer until the sauce reduces a bit and starts to thicken.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the finished sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with chopped almonds.

Serve on a bed of cous cous and enjoy!

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Roasted Maple Carrots

September 20, 2013

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Strolling through the Union Square Greenmarket yesterday, I was taken by an abundant display of carrots. There were not only the classic orange carrots, but there were also purple and white versions on display.

I was seduced to purchase some, and decided to roast them. They were delicious!

Maple Roasted Carrots:

Clean and scrape one bunch of carrots and cut them into 2″ or 3″ chunks.

Toss them with a little olive oil or coconut oil, and some pure maple syrup. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and some cayenne pepper. Roast for about 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven until caramelized and softened.

These carrots embody all of the sensational flavors of the season; sweet, salty, savoy and spicy! Eat them as a side dish, or dice them into an arugula salad drizzled with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.

Enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Too Much of a Good Thing

August 8, 2013

We pride ourselves in eating healthy foods that taste good and are good for us. It would seem that eating lots of these foods would be a good thing, right?
In some cases yes, but in others, it can be a case of too much of a good thing.

carrots, vegetables, nutrition

Carrots contain beta carotene, which gives them their beautiful orange hue. They are low in calories, and high in vitamin A and fiber. If you eat too many of them, your skin will take on that same orange cast as the carrots. Not so pretty,we think!

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Nutmeg is a spice, generally used as a flavoring in small amounts. Consumed in huge quantities, it can cause hallucinations, fear, anxiety attacks, and in two rare cases, death. We can’t imagine why anyone would willingly consume such a vast amount of the spice, so feel free to keep enjoying it in moderation.

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Fish in general are very heart healthy, and it is recommended that we eat fish at least a few times per week. However, the  kind of fish you eat can come with consequences that out weigh the benefits.  The larger the fish, the higher the mercury content is, due to the fact that these species eat many other smaller fish, causing a cumulative effect in their systems. Tuna, swordfish, and mackerel are among those to eat in moderation. It is recommended not to consume more than 12 oz. of these fish per week, and it is advised that pregnant women avoid them completely.

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Kombucha is a trendy drink, consisting of raw, fermented and naturally carbonated tea. The fermentation brings out probiotic properties, but also produces alcohol. Whole Foods markets recently pulled all Kombucha products from its stores, citing concerns that the alcohol levels exceeded the legal amounts in some cases. Over indulging in kombucha can bring about a nasty hangover. Home produced kombucha also carries the risk of harboring mold and bacteria. We say “YUCK” to that!

Close up detail coffee beans on countertop

Lots has been written lately about the positive effects of coffee. Other than the obvious caffeine kick that gets us up and moving in the morning, coffee also has superfood powers that can help prevent diabetes, protect your brain, and reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. When too much coffee is consumed, it can lead to a serious case of the jitters, involving dizziness, heart palpitations and in some extreme cases, heart attacks.  Limit caffeine consumption from coffee, energy drinks and supplements to keep the effects in check.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Easter-over

March 30, 2013

Tonight we are celebrating “Easter-over” a hybrid of Easter, Passover and a celebration of spring. It’s an opportunity to indulge in the flavors and traditions of the holidays, and the diversity of the guests. The rules are simple: it’s my made up holiday,and  it’s appropriate to serve anything I feel like making, within the confines of the season and the holidays. That could mean matzoh balls and pork chops, or gefilte fish and fried chicken, but it’s not either one of those.
This year, I have mixed it up, and for those of you who follow us on Facebook, or Instagram, you have been getting hints of things to come.

Here are a few “works in progress”, as our Easter-over feast comes together:

A beautiful mess of food scraps. What were they from?

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Personally, I loathe raw, red onions, and will surgically remove them from my food if they are there. Sometimes, a recipe really needs a little jolt, and these do the job well. They look pretty, don’t they?

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Nothing says spring like daffodils and asparagus!

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Apples, walnuts, honey, cinnamon….what could this be?

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Yum,chocolate! That’s a little almond flour you see. This one just happens to be gluten free and passover approved!

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Maybe a little white chocolate bourbon cream to put on top would be nice…

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Spring lamb is synonymous with the season. This one has a rosemary,garlic coating to keep it moist and flavorful. The meat is sitting on a bed of baby fingerling potatoes, which should get crisp and tender as the lamb cooks.

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Did we get you hungry yet? If you’re in the neighborhood, dinner is at 7!

photos by indigo-jones.

Unrecipe of the Week

November 26, 2012

My produce bin was filled with an eclectic array of root vegetables. I had turnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions and radishes. I also had some fresh herbs leftover from Thanksgiving. As a much needed break from the sweetness and heaviness of holiday side dishes,this one was a winner. So easy, and so clean, I ended up eating this as my meal!

Roasted Root Vegetables:

Use any combination of root vegetables including: potatoes,sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes, onions, garlic, shallots etc.

I used fresh thyme, but any herbs would work as well.

Cut root vegetables into chunks. Toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh herbs.
Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Stir once after about 25 minutes or so.

The vegetables will get a brown, slightly caramelized tinge to them.

Enjoy!!!

CSA Tuesday + Unrecipe Round-Up

November 21, 2012

Our weekly CSA provided lots of Thanksgiving ingredients. We got sweet potatoes, carrots, red potatoes, onions, a giant pumpkin and cilantro.

I have already started preparing our Thanksgiving meal!

Our weekly list from fresh from the farm:

Pumpkin pie,anyone?

The baskets of produce ready to be distributed:

Here are a  few of our previously published favorite Thanksgiving “unrecipes:” Search the site for even more ideas!

Pumpkin Pie:

https://indigo-jones.com/2011/11/23/unrecipe-of-the-week-thanksgiving-edition-5/

Roasted Garlic and Herb Paste for the Turkey:

https://indigo-jones.com/2010/11/22/unrecipe-of-the-week-thanksgiving-edition-2/

Honey Banana Sweet Potatoes: no marshmallows for me!!

https://indigo-jones.com/2009/11/24/unrecipe-of-the-weekthanksgiving-edition/

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Enjoy!

Hot Cranberry Jones:

https://indigo-jones.com/2009/11/05/unrecipe-of-the-week-14/

 


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