Monday, August 3, 2009

veggie goodness: part 2: by guest blogger Nathalie

I had to make the recipe Nathalie sent me for a Moroccan-inspired cooked carrot salad (shown above on gleena dishes). It is delicious. Here is Nathalie's carrot (and more) farm stand adventure:

My husband and I live in a suburb of Los Angeles and we go out of our way to find and buy local produce from small farms (even in Los Angeles proper, there are small local farms in the most unlikely places). Whenever we can, we take a day to drive out to walk the dog somewhere with clean air that is calm and quiet like a beach or a hiking trail in the mountains. The routes always vary (okay, it is for us too, but the dog is a perfect excuse) and we sometimes come back with farm stand goodness. This weekend was no exception.

We piled into the car and drove up the coast to Santa Barbara with no real destination in mind. On a whim, I pulled over when I saw a little farm sign. What we found at this stop was pure heaven. A small farm (called Classic Organic Farm) with a peace sign painted on the side welcomed you to come in. Once inside the farm shop (no shopkeeper in sight, all based on an honor system) was packed with the most amazing looking produce we had seen in a while (of course, neither my phone, nor my camera were with me). Dandelion greens, garlic, onions, zucchini, cucumbers (several varieties), tomatoes, raspberries, and so on. We just knew we were onto something good. Needless to say, we stocked up. Total price for two huge bags full of produce: $12. They were sold out of the fresh eggs, so you can be sure we will find our way back at some point to try those out.

The highlight of the shopping splurge was two bunches of organically grown carrots which we cooked for dinner last night in a Moroccan style cooked salad. We had been saving this recipe for a good bunch of tasty carrots (which, even in the local farmers markets didn't quite measure up). We had high hopes for this batch and they did not disappoint us. I hope you enjoy!

Cooked Carrot Salad
For 2 generous dinner sized servings:

2 pitas
About a tablespoon of butter, melted

1 1/2 lbs organically grown carrots, scrubbed and cut into slices 
(no larger than ½” thick).
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 ounces feta, crumbled
1 TBS whole caraway seeds, coarsely ground in a mortar and pestle.
2 TBS freshly chopped mint
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper (our favorite is Wynad pepper).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut pita into triangles (about 8 or so each), brush both sides with melted butter and put them into the oven on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes (or until crisp).

When the pita as done, take them out to cool, crank up the oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, toss the carrots in 2 Tbs of olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Put in an ovenproof baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

Remove from oven and let cook slightly, and then mash (either by hand, or through a food processor), and mix in the remaining olive oil, caraway seeds and ½ of the mint. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon ½ the carrot mixture on each plate, line the sides with the pita triangles, drizzle a little more olive oil over the carrots, and top with crumbled feta and mint.

Keeps for a day in the fridge.