Tag Archives: carrot

Easy Pickled Daikon & Carrots

Daikon and Carrots

If you’re a fan of Portlandia you’ll know the joke behind pickling, but pickling really is an easy way to transform food and extend its life in your kitchen. Daikon in particular is wonderful pickled, as anyone who is a fan of banh mi sandwiches can attest to.

This recipe made exactly one pint jar, which in my mind is the perfect amount for fridge pickles, especially if you are unsure about what you’re doing or the flavors of the end result. You can omit the spices if you’d like, but be sure to not reduce the vinegar. By the way, I find pickling works best if you use a wide-mouth jar, but regular jars work fine too, and you can even use a Tupperware if you don’t have jars on hand.

Pickled Daikon and Carrot
makes 1 pint jar

1 pound total daikon and carrot
1/2 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger (or use fresh grated if you have it!)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Peel daikon and carrot and slice into thin rounds. Place in a fine sieve or colander set over a bowl, and sprinkle salt over vegetables. Stir to coat, and let sit for at least 20 minutes while the salt draws excess water out. (This will speed up the pickling process.)
Mix together the rest of the ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Pack vegetables tightly into a clean jar, and pour liquid over the top, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top of the jar. Place lid and ring on jar and store in the fridge. Let ferment for at least 4 hours before eating, but preferably overnight.

Note: You might have liquid left over, but don’t worry about it. As long as your veggies are covered they should be fine.

Roasted Carrot Soup with Dill

Image by I'm George. Licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.

This morning, I woke up groggy, grumpy, and stricken with a mean craving for some vegetables.

I had a cookie hangover, courtesy of the 16 different holiday sweets I sampled  at a cookie exchange last night.

I wish I could say this was my first cookie hangover of this season, but I am all too familiar with the icky feeling of overindulgence, especially during the holidays. This carrot soup is one of my go-to recipes for post- sugar binge recovery.

Roasted carrots and onions have natural sweetness that brings me down gently from the sugar high, and stomach-soothing dill offers digestive relief.  Using skim milk or unsweetened soy milk in place of heavy cream helps to keep the calories down, too, so I can balance out my cookie consumption.

The best part about making this soup the day after a cookie swap is that the carrots and onions roasting in the oven make the house smell like veggies, not cookies. Someday I’ll learn to have just six two cookies at holiday swaps. Until then, I’ll keep some comforting carrot soup in the fridge to help atone for my pastry sins.

Caramelized Carrot Soup with Dill (yields 6, one-cup servings)

3 cups peeled, chopped carrots, about a pound
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup skim milk or unsweetened soy milk*
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large stock pot, cook the carrots, onions and garlic in the olive oil for 25 minutes over medium high heat. Stir occasionally, so that the vegetables caramelize  evenly.

Once vegetables have softened and browned, add vegetable broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and then use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot.  Stir in the milk of your choice, along with the dill. Season the finished soup with salt and pepper.

*Check the label carefully when you buy soy milk for this recipe. Many “regular” flavored soy milks add sugar or evaporated cane juice, and using one of those here will result in a soup that’s too sweet. If you must use soy milk with a sweetener in it, add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to help brighten the soup’s flavor a bit.

Local Box Picnic: Walnut Creek Park

Two of the best things about living in Austin are the weather and the outdoors. In 2009, Forbes named Austin one of the “best outdoor cities” in the nation. Yet, after almost a decade living here, I have explored just a few of Austin’s public outdoor spaces. This summer I’m working to fix that. My husband and I have resolved to take weekly picnics around Austin so that we can visit lots of different parks in the city and enjoy some great food together.

We started our picnic tour on Sunday at Walnut Creek Park in north central Austin. On the menu were sliced apples drizzled with local honey, a bagel sandwich with a root vegetable omelet, and a bottle of Texas wine.

The meal took us about 45 minutes to make. I packed two whole apples in the picnic basket along with a paring knife and the bottle of honey. For the sandwiches, I used Scott Ehrlich’s recipe for Spanish-Style Beet, Carrot and Egg Sandwich published by Food and Wine. Rami and I made the sandwiches with carrots from Acadian Family Farm, beets from Massey Farm, spring onions from Bar W Ranch and Farm and Yukon potatoes from Green Gate Farm.

In the sandwich, sweet onions and carrots, earthy beets, and buttery potatoes are sliced very thin and cooked until they’re tender. These become the star ingredients in an omelet, which serves as the filling for a toasted bagel sandwich. A spicy mayonnaise-based sauce complements the omelet perfectly. (Recipe here.)

The sandwiches were easy to cook, and the omelet portion of recipe will probably join our regular brunch rotation, especially when we get beets in our local box. (I never seem to use those up!)

For the picnic I assembled the sandwiches at home and wrapped them individually in foil for transport. Our insulated picnic basket kept the sandwiches hot until we arrived at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park, which is just 10 minutes from our house.

Walnut Creek Park has extensive hiking and bike trails, an off-leash area for dogs, plus a baseball diamond and a playground. There are 26 picnic tables at the park and Rami and I had no trouble finding a quiet, clean place to eat around noon on Sunday. Our picnic table overlooked a shady clearing near a trailhead to the north, and a playground to the south. There’s also plenty of free parking available on the park property.

You can’t tell it from this picture, but this part of the park is very popular for dog owners since it’s near the off-leash area of the trail. Our dog Barclay was on his leash at the picnic table, and he enjoyed greeting several other dogs who walked by during our meal.

All in all we considered this first picnic venture a success. The sandwich was good, the wine was sweet, and the park was a pretty relaxing place to spend our Sunday afternoon. Next week we’ll be making another picnic meal with our Local Box and enjoying it at the pecan grove at Austin’s Colony Park.

-Kathryn

Chicken-Orzo Soup

I have a sick toddler at home right now, so this weekend I took a stab at creating my own version of chicken noodle soup. I used whole-wheat orzo pasta for easy scooping (I hate it when the noodles are so long they fall off of the spoon), and added several vegetables I had in the fridge, including a big bunch of Greenling arugula – an unusual choice, but it blended right in, and it never hurts to work in extra veggies.

I like a high stuff-to-broth ratio in my soup, so this one is pretty thick. Feel free to add more liquid if you like your soup more brothy.

Chicken-Orzo Soup

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (about half a large onion)
1 carrot, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 bunch arugula leaves, chopped
1 bunch mustard greens, stems removed, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (or 2-3 smaller sweet peppers, like banana)
1 tsp dried sage
1 cup whole-wheat orzo
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium-high heat in large Dutch oven. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook for several minutes, until the pieces start to brown. Add veggies and sage and cook another 10 minutes or so, until the veggies start to tenderize.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo, return to a boil, and cook 8-10 minutes, until orzo is tender.

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

I love coconut. I mean, really love it. It’s hard for me to keep bags of the sweetened, flaked kind in my pantry because I just want to eat it all in one sitting with a spoon. I even tried putting coconut milk in my coffee once, which was a bad idea and is, to this date, the only coconut experiment I’ve conducted that was really disgusting.

Anyway, I saw that 101 Cookbooks had posted this recipe last week. All I had to read was the title and I was in. Then I saw that it involved lentils and a few other ingredients I had in the fridge from my Greenling box (cilantro, green onions, and a carrot) and I knew I’d found a recipe to make over and over again.

It lived up to its promise. This soup is thick and rich, but still has a hint of brightness from the coconut milk, cilantro, and golden raisins. I used light coconut milk to make it a little healthier, but other than that this is the rare recipe I didn’t really fiddle with. You can skip the curry-toasting step to save time, and cook the lentils and split peas (both found in the bulk bins at Whole Foods) the night before for a meal you can just toss together and simmer. In the original recipe, serving the soup over brown rice is optional, but I highly recommend it because it adds a nice texture.

Coconut Red Lentil Soup (from 101 Cookbooks)

1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
7 cups water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
8 green onions (or green garlic, if you have some from last week’s box), thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 teaspoons salt
one handful cilantro, chopped
cooked brown rice, for serving (optional)

Rinse split peas and lentils well. Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Keep an eye on it, because the powder can burn quickly. Set aside. Place the butter in a pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. The texture should thicken up. Serve over brown rice, sprinkled with cilantro and the remaining green onions.

Serves 6.

Local Box Meal Plan: March 8-12

This week, we’re getting collards or spinach and an onion from Naegelin, shiitake or white button mushrooms from Kitchen Pride, grapefruit from G&S Groves, red leaf lettuce and arugula from Bluebonnet Hydroponics, spring onions from Acadian, cilantro and radish from My Father’s Farm, and either cabbage, carrots or beets (fingers crossed for beets!).

So I’m making:

We’ve been getting so much grapefruit lately and I’m running out of ideas (and I’ll go nuts if I have to eat any more for breakfast!). What have you been doing with grapefruit?

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup

I can’t seem to get enough soup in the winter, and with the beautiful turnips and carrots that came in our Greenling Local Box last week, I thought that a big bowl of chicken noodle soup was in order. I’ve made this a number of times before, as it’s really yummy and so quick and easy to make. While it’s not the same as soup that’s been cooking for hours, it’s way better than anything out of a can, it uses plenty of veggies and only takes about 20 minutes. It’s hearty and filling, with a good ratio of stuff to soup (I prefer stuff to soup). Note that using good quality chicken stock is important; because you’re not cooking the soup for hours, you want the best flavor possible.

Adapted from Rachel Ray

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 turnips, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 lb. chicken, chopped into 1/2″ chunks
  • 1/2 lb. extra-wide egg noodles
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  • Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Chop the carrots and turnips while the olive oil is heating, then put them in the pot.
  • While the carrots and turnips are working away, chop the onion. Put them in the pot with the carrots and cook until the onions are translucent.

  • Turn the heat up to high and add the water and chicken stock to the pot. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces, making sure to remove the tendon.

  • When the water and chicken stock start to simmer, add the chicken pieces.
  • Wait a minute or two, then add the pasta to the simmering soup. Cover and cook until the pasta is tender (about 9 minutes).
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the parsley and serve.