weather this year has been straight up strange - thanks, el nino! we've had weeks of warm temps, freezing ones, and now snow. the markets have been reflecting this shift as well. there have been vibrant green leafy lettuces, rainbow swiss chard, pea tendrils (!), and beautiful herbs one week, and then ubiquitous hearty roots another. but one of my favorite vendors at the market, Rogowski, who runs a farm north of manhattan, explained that because of the weeks of mild weather they've been having bumper crops of vegetables that we would normally only see in the spring or fall, such as these beautiful baby carrots!
local and seasonal produce is a large part of this blog and my day-to-day life, so collaborating on this post with the Nation Restaurant Association, where locally sourced produce is number 3 out of their 192 food trends to watch in 2016 is such a promising news! not only is locally grown produce a "hot trend" but it's something i am continually seeing highlighted on menus in and around many cities across the country which is super encouraging that it's not just a few folks trekking to the market each week, but that this "trend" is perhaps more than a trend, and turning into a national movement.
these baby carrots were so crisp and sweet that i thought paring them with a good spice blend as well as some fresh garlic would season them but not overpower their own delicious flavor. me and my husband made mole again this year on new year's eve (it's the 2nd year in a row, so it's becoming somewhat of a tradition), one of the gazzilion steps is making a spice blend with a variety of chile seeds and spice seeds. since then i've been a teensy obsessed with making my own spice blends. so the spice blend i use here is toasted, crushed into a powder, and then smashed with lightly charred garlic, some salt, and good olive oil. then it's smothered over the carrots, cooked in the oven, and served with a tart and creamy yogurt tahini sauce.
garlic-spiced market carrots w/ tahini yogurt (v)
any root veg or winter squash variety would be great here with the garlic and spice paste, and the tahini yogurt drizzle. i ended up layering the leftover carrots over a bed of arugula which was awesome as a lunch-type deal.
| serves 4 |
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 cloves garlic, with skins on
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- fine grain sea salt
- 2-3 bunches baby carrots, washed and trimmed
- handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
- toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- 1 cup unsweetened cultured coconut yogurt (or yogurt of choice)
- 2-3 teaspoons tahini paste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
- salt + freshly ground pepper
- preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment, set aside.
- to make the garlic + spice paste, heat a skillet over medium heat. add the seeds and toast for about a minute, until they're fragrant and toasted looking; transfer them to a plate and let cool. place the garlic cloves (with their paper still on) in the hot skillet, shake the pan every few minutes until the garlic is lightly charred and soft when you press on it. remove from the pan and let cool.
- grind the cooled seeds in a spice grinder set to fine, set aside. peel the garlic and place it in a mortar and pestle along with 3 teaspoons of the spice mix 1 teaspoon oil, and a few pinches of salt; grind together to form a thick paste, once mixed thoroughly, add the remaining olive oil and grind together. taste and add more salt if needed.
- mix together the carrots and garlic and spice paste, then transfer to the baking sheet and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until tender and edges are crisp and browned.
- while the carrots are cooking, make the yogurt tahini sauce. whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, season with salt and pepper; set aside. (depending on what kind of yogurt you use, you may need to thin it a bit with some water.)
- serve carrots warm, with a good drizzle of sauce, fresh cilantro, and toasted sesame seeds.