June 16, 2008

Sweet and tart carrots

We had company for dinner last night and my husband and I shared the cooking. He made Bolivian cabbage and potatoes and wok-seared tofu. I made curried coconut corn soup, basmati rice in the rice cooker, steamed carrots with champagne vinegar and lovage dressing, and chocolate banana cake. Everything but the soup and carrots has appeared on this blog (the tofu is in other recipes) and the carrots, little orange bursts of flavor, debut tonight.

I wanted an easy, colorful and delicious veggie to round out the plate, and I thought why not carrots? Their bright orange color would look good with the green cabbage and white (yes, I admit it was white) rice. Plus you can get them in a bag already washed and peeled. My husband was supposed to make them and he's not such a great cutter, so I thought he could just get a bag of baby carrots and slice each one in half lengthwise. Anyone can manage that, right? He did that, but then he couldn't think of what to do with them. I remembered a salad dressing I made some time ago that would be perfect to dress up the carrots. It's tart and sweet and I got the great idea to add finely shredded lovage to the dressing. Lovage has a sharp, slightly bitter taste similar to celery leaves, and is very refreshing. It perfectly balanced the vinegar and crystallized ginger and its deep green color looked really cool on the carrots. I had some of the leftover carrots for lunch today and they were fantastic. I'm going to make some ahead of time for a brunch we're having so they can marinate overnight.

Sweet and tart carrots
  • one pound of ready-to-eat baby carrots
  • 3 Tablespoons orange muscat champagne vinegar (or rice vinegar or wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons natural soy sauce, shoyu or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger pieces
  • several lovage leaves, celery leaves or mint leaves
Make the dressing.
  1. Mix the first six ingredients in a small bowl. Finely cut the leaves and add to the bowl.
  2. Slice each carrot in half lengthwise.
  3. Steam carrots in a small amount of water until tender-crisp, or however you like them.
  4. Arrange the carrots in a dish and pour the dressing over.

About the lovage. I have no idea why I originally planted lovage. I like growing herbs and probably thought it sounded like a cool plant to grow. It's been growing for about 15 years - faithfully coming back year after year with no help whatsoever from me. Some years I even forget to eat any of it. This year it has reproduced itself, and has appeared in another garden spot much more convenient for picking. Such a clever plant. It grows about three to five feet high and I find it rather attractive and tasty. It tastes a lot like celery.


  1. Nummy! Like glazed carrots, but with a kick. :)

  2. Kind of like glazed carrots but lighter and more refreshing. More like a cooked carrot salad! The next day they tasted like marinated carrots.

  3. This is a good idea for how to deal with the last half of a bag of baby carrots once I'm sick of eating raw carrots :-)

  4. Sounds great but I'm feeling lazy. I think I'll just come for brunch...

  5. Maureen, I hope you enjoyed the last of the carrots!

    Claire, It's still a week away - you have to eat before then.


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