Veggie of the Week: Carrots
Carrot are a winner in this season and pretty much all of the time if we are honest! They are full of nutrients like beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants. They are easy to grow, but if you decide to grow them, know they take a little while to germinate. They also don't like to be transplanted, so plant a row where you would like them to grow in loamy soil so they can stretch out. Do not forget to thin them when the seedlings sprout.
Carrots also vary in color. You can find red, purple, white, yellow, and orange carrots. All are nutritious and fun to cook with too. They should be stored in your fridge separated from their green foliage. However, don't throw the greens out! They can be used to make stock or carrot top pesto using our recipe below. Without the greens attached, the carrots stay crunchy longer in your fridge. They keep for a couple weeks like this, but even when floppy can be turned into soup or bread. We are branching out of the traditional carrots and dip or roasted carrots this week. We have four creative, but very easy recipes for you to try: Carrot Soup; Carrot Chips; Carrot Cake Muffins; Carrot Top Pesto. Let us know what you try out in your kitchen!
· 6 oz bacon, chopped
· 2 cups yellow onion chopped (est. 2 onions)
· 1/2 cup celery chopped
· 2 lbs. carrots 8 large, peeled and sliced into 1/2” thick rings
· 2 garlic cloves minced
· 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
· 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
· 1/4 tsp black pepper
· 4 cups chicken broth
· 1 cup milk or almond milk for a dairy free alternative
· 1-2 tablespoons of orange juice (optional)
1. Brown bacon in a large pot and remove browned bacon with a slotted spoon.
2. Without removing the bacon fat, add diced onion, celery, and sliced carrots and cook 6-8 minutes until onions soften (do not brown). Add minced garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and stir another minute.
3. Add 4 cups chicken broth, bring to a simmer then partially cover and cook 20-25 minutes or until carrots have softened.
4. Puree soup in a blender in batches or use an immersion below.
5. Return soup to pot and stir in milk and a squeeze of orange juice if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
(NOTE: If desiring a vegetarian dish, omit the bacon and just saute' the veggies in olive oil)
Adapted from: https://natashaskitchen.com/carrot-soup/
Carrot Top Pesto
· 1/2 cup toasted almonds
· 1 packed cup carrot tops
· 4 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
· 2 cloves garlic
· juice and zest of 1 orange
· 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
· 1/2 cup olive oil (+/-depending on preferred consistency)
· salt to taste
Combine almonds, carrot tops, cilantro, zest, cheese and garlic in food processor until chopped. While food processor is running add orange juice and olive oil until desired consistency. Add salt to taste.
Use in three days or freeze up to 5 months.
· 1 lb of carrots – thicker the better
· 2 tablespoons of olive oil
· 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt (or use a combo of garlic powder and salt)
· 1/4 teaspoon of lemon pepper or pepper
1. Heat oven to 425
2. Slice carrots on the diagonal paper thin with a mandolin or a chef’s knife
3. Place sliced carrots in a bowl and toss with spices. Add more or less to your liking. You can taste one before they go in the oven to adjust the seasoning. Another blogger recommended cinnamon and cumin replacing the pepper and garlic. Try out multiple flavor combos if you wish!
4. Place parchment on a baking sheet and cook on one side for 8-10 minutes. Then flip and cook for another 6-8 minutes.
5. They are done when the edges brown a little bit. Let cool and crisp a little more. Enjoy!
They will store in an airtight container for a couple weeks once crisp.
NOTE: Watch your oven on this one – different ovens cook differently, so keep can eye on the chips. The picture here is from my first batch that was a tad bit overdone (we are not food photogs here, just figuring things out!). The second was great, but my kids gobbled them up so quickly, I didn't get a good picture.
Carrot Cake Muffins
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins, optional
Heat oven to 350. Spray muffin tin or line with muffin liners.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and sugar, stir to combine.
Beat the eggs in a smaller bowl. Then add oil and vanilla.
Combine wet and dry ingredients in larger bowl. Fold in carrots and raisins if using.
Fill batter two-thirds full in each opening and bake for 20 minutes.
When time is done, check to see that a toothpick or knife comes out clean. If not, bake for a couple more minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely.