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Keep carrots on hand for color, crunch

So when is a vegetable bargain really a bargain? Answer: When it’s a 10-pound bag of carrots and you only need 2 pounds, but the 10-pound bag is only $1 more than the 2-pound bag. No-brainer, you buy it.

The truth is I always have carrots in the fridge; sometimes I just have more of them than other times. It’s when I have too many that I really get creative.

Carrots are my go-to veggie that is always in season and always cheaper than any other vegetable out there. They are delicious cooked or fresh; you can always count on them to lend color and fiber.

So now I’ve got all these carrots and I only needed 2 pounds for the soup I was making (recipe below). I figured that since I had them I might as well use them all at once. I went digging for carrot recipes that were just a little bit different, easy to make and delicious enough for even the most finicky of non-veggie lovers.

Carrot Soup With A Kick

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

5 celery stalks, cut into pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1 to 2 teaspoons of curry powder

8 carrots, chopped

1 parsnip, peeled, cut into small pieces

4 cups of water

Sea salt to taste

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, celery and onion; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly until they are soft. Add the curry powder and mix to coat. Add the carrots, parsnip and water. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Cool slightly and then process in a food processor or blender until the soup is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Carrot Slaw

6 medium carrots, shredded

1/2 a head of green cabbage, shredded

1/2 a head of red cabbage, shredded.

4 green onions, sliced thin

2/3 cup of mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons of orange juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 to 1 cup salted sunflower seeds

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, cabbage and green onions. Toss to combine. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise, sugar and orange juice. Whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the carrot mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour but up to 6 hours before serving. Sprinkle the sunflower seeds over the top and serve. Serves 10 to 12.

Carrot and Pasta

3 large carrots, washed, peeled

A little kosher salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, sliced into rounds

2 teaspoons minced garlic, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup of favorite spaghetti sauce

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound cooked pasta, spaghetti, rotini or bow tie

Using a peeler, peel the carrots into long thing strips. Place the strips in a bowl and sprinkle them with a little kosher salt. Place the oil in the bottom of a large pan, add the carrots and onions and stir frequently. When the carrots start to soften, add the garlic and pepper and continue cooking for about 5 minutes but make sure not to let the veggies get too brown. Add the spaghetti sauce, oregano and basil and continue to simmer until everything is hot. Serve the sauce over the cooked pasta. Serves 6 to 8.

Apricot Carrots with Wild Rice Pilaf

3 cups baby carrots or regular carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons oil

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon allspice

3 tablespoons brown sugar

12 to 16 dried apricots, chopped

1/4 cup water

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups wild rice or white rice mix, cooked

Steam carrots until tender but still firm and then set them aside. In a skillet, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions are soft. Add the ginger, cloves, allspice, sugar and apricots and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the sugar has been incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the water and whisk until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the carrots, and cook for a few minutes until the carrots are hot throughout. Add the rice, mix to combine and serve. Serves 6.

– Submitted by Antonia Marcarni of Chicago Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at ztlog@frontier.com or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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