While most “National” sites agree that August 28 is Red Wine Day, one lone site has declared today to be both National Mushroom Day and National Red Wine Day. As far as I am concerned, that’s a great combination. Who doesn’t like wine and mushrooms?Continue reading “Seared Steak with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce”
One of the benefits of a harmonious union between two people who are not alike is that you can help one another grow. Grow as people, discovering new things. While surrounding yourself with people of strong opposing views can be both frustrating and exhausting, being with people who are just like you in every way would be boring as all get out. Enough differences to make life interesting. Enough compatibility to let love grow.Continue reading “Honey Garlic Buttery Roasted Carrots”
Sometimes I think we don’t do enough to make sure vegetables are a part of our daily diet. And no, French Fries don’t count even if you do leave the skins on.
Sometimes I think we don’t get enough orange in our diet. We eat plenty of brown foods and green foods, but not enough orange foods. I was not a carrot eater before meeting the love of my life. Sure, I liked raw carrots straight from the garden, but cooked – no way!
When I say Lemon Thyme, I’m not referring to Lemons and Thyme. In my herb garden, I’m growing Lemon Thyme. I don’t know if this variety of thyme can be found in the produce section of your grocery store. I’ve just always grown it in a pot on the back patio.
Do you have a bacon lover in your house? I swear, Kiddo is the equivalent of the Cookie Monster when it comes to his love of Bacon. When it comes to breakfast meats, I’m a sausage eater at heart. However, I do appreciate a good, smoky piece of bacon every now and again. I don’t know about the bacon eaters in your house, but mine tends to shy away from vegetables. Well, there’s more than one way to get him to eat his carrots . . .
So often in our pursuit for a new main star or dessert that will knock our socks off, we have a tendency to skip that equally important side dish. While not always the case, most of life requires supporting characters to round things out. Side dishes are supper’s supporting characters.
Have you ever noticed that we can spend hours upon hours planning a main dish, or exciting the perfect dessert, but tend to slap something together for the second act, the side dishes? I will admit, when planing an elaborate meal, I spend as much energy on every aspect of the meal, from the first course to the last. When trying out new recipes, I’ll cook up something simple to go with recipes untried so that they receive my undivided attention. Even if that new recipe is a simple side dish.
How many of you are fans of Alton Brown? I know his show, Good Eats, was corny, but it was also very educational. I like knowing the background of a recipe. And I really like knowing why – why put the salt into the bowl before the sugar. The Why factor is an extremely important component in the creation process. It brings a clarity and depth of understanding. It breaths life into everything.
Hubby and I love baby carrots as a bright, pretty side dish. Carrots bring such vivid color to the table and go so well with a variety of main dishes. Kiddo isn’t so keen on carrots, unless they are glazed with butter, brown sugar and a splash of booze.
Recently we tried a new recipe. The first time out, we were a little less than thrilled. The original recipe did not include brown sugar and contained far too much bourbon – it was about the only thing you could taste. A little tweaking was in order. I’ve cut back on the bourbon and added brown sugar to the mix, rendering a thicker glaze that is more suited to our tastes.
The most common Baby Carrot is the one most of us are familiar with – the orange carrot. So bright, so beautiful and so orange. Whenever possible, I look for carrots in a variety of colors – everything from a creamy-white to a deep purple. The white or cream-colored carrots are mild in flavor and lack some of that “earthy” goodness we recognize as a carrot. The deeper the color, the more this earthiness comes through. Purple carrots (those purple through and through) are very sweet with a subtle hint of pepper. These are also the hardest to come by. Sometimes. if you are lucky, you will come across a bundle of carrots containing a range of colors. If you do, by all means experiment with your veggies – this recipe works well with any color carrot.
Bourbon-Brown Sugar-Maple Glazed Carrots
1 lb Baby Carrots, rinsed, green tops removed
1 Pinch or so Table Salt
1 Pinch Fine Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Bourbon Whiskey
1/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 Pinch White Pepper
Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil over medium-heat. Add carrots and a pinch of salt. Cook until carrots are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
In a sauté pan over medium-heat, melt butter. Add Brown sugar and stir until melted into the butter as a thick paste. Add Bourbon Whiskey one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. Pour maple syrup into the glaze. Lower heat to a strong simmer, and allow to simmer until mixture is reduced to a thick glaze, about 10 minutes.
Add carrots and toss to blend. Continue to simmer until carrots begin to color, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving dish, season with sea salt and a pinch of pepper and serve.
Suggested Main Dishes:
Pork Roast: Caramelized Onion Pork Tenderloin
Hi there. How has your January been this far? Hope you got a great start to the New Year.
In my quest for more Diabetic Friendly recipes I came across this lovely side dish utilizing carrots cut into matchsticks. One of the benefits of having to think a bit more about diabetic friendly, heart healthy foods is that the entire family is along for the ride. I’ve let my guys know that I have absolutely have no intention of making two meals – one for them (not so healthy) and one for me. Thus far, everything coming out of my kitchen has been well received. I find myself to enjoying larger servings of the salads or vegetables and it’s easy to skip the desserts. My guys love it all, including the sweets. We have a balancing thing going on. Some good, some indulgent, some down right junkie. So long as you keep a level head, you’ll be fine.
These beautiful carrots are one of my favorites. They pair beautifully with Martha’s Sage Pork Chops. Hope you give them a try.
Matchstick Chive Carrots
1 pound carrots, cut into 2-inch julienne strips
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons minced chives
Chives for garnish if desired
Peel and julienne cut carrots.
In a large skillet, saute carrots and garlic in oil and butter for 3 minutes. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10 minutes or until carrots are crisp-tender.
Arrange carrots on a serving platter. Sprinkle with chives and enjoy.
Every year, we attend a gathering of Pirates in Vallejo, California. We go for two reasons – the music (mostly a lively bunch of tipsy Irish Bands belting out their favorite Whiskey Songs) and the food. Kiddo really enjoys the battle of tall ships in the bay and we all love just being near the water. There’s something about being near the ocean that seems to connect with our souls.
One of my favorite “pirate plates” is the mesquite grilled Quail served over a bed of wild rice. One of my least favorite sides are the creamed spinach that also comes with the quail. While the spinach is colorful, there’s something about mass-cooked spinach that lacks flavor and texture. It’s sort of this bright blob of green on my plate.
I get it, I really do – the simplicity of the spinach. This is a gathering of pirates in Victorian times. The blob of spinach is fitting, although not very appealing. Recently, I wanted to recreate this plate, skipping the blob. That’s when I came across a very simple serving of carrots. These have flavor and are just as colorful as the spinach. Great with grilled quail, or roasted chicken. I’d even include them with a Thanksgiving Turkey, Christmas Capon or Easter Ham.
Honey and Cinnamon Carrots
16 oz Carrots, fresh or frozen sliced carrots
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Cinnamon Sticks for garnish
Cook carrots according to package directions or as you normally cook your carrots, be in microwave, steamed or in a saucepan with a little water. Carrots should be tender-crisp.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the honey, butter and cinnamon until butter is melted; stir to blend. Taste and adjust cinnamon, if necessary, about 1/4 teaspoon at a time.
Drain carrots well; place in a warm serving bowl. Drizzle with honey mixture. Place a couple of sticks of cinnamon into the dish for garnish.
I love the flavor of Tarragon, don’t you? Not only does Tarragon impart that wonderful licorice flavor, but the health benefits abound. Tarragon leaves are high in potassium, essential for healthy hearts, livers and kidneys. Did you know that raw tarragon also contains anti-inflammatory properties and helps keep blood vessels free from artery-clogging plaque? Tarragon leaves lower blood sugars and reduce water retention. There are all sorts of wonderful health benefits to using Tarragon as more than just a flavor enhancer in foods. But then again, the biggest benefit has to be flavor. And the flavor of butter glazed carrots with tarragon goodness is awesome!
I love the colors of this dish. It’s great as a side at Thanksgiving with its bright autumn orange color and pairs beautifully with my whisky-infused Irish Roasted Salmon.
Butter Glazed Carrots with Tarragon
1 lb Carrots, cut into ½-inch rounds (about 2 ½ cups)
Water as needed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoon Sugar
Kosher Salt to taste
2 tablespoons Tarragon, finely chopped
Wash and peel carrots. Cut into rounds. Place cut carrots into a small sauce pan. Make sure carrots are arranged snugly. Add enough water to the pan to just barely cover the carrots. Add butter, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring carrots to a boil over high heat.
Continue to cook carrots over medium-high heat, shaking the pan occasionally until the liquid is reduced to a glaze and the carrots are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Should the carrots be done before the liquid has reduced to a syrup-glaze, use a slotted spoon to remove the carrots from the pan and continue to cook liquid until it has a glaze consistency. Should liquid boil off before carrots are tender, add more water in ¼ cup measurements as needed and continue to boil until a syrup consistency is achieved.
Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the tarragon and toss to combine. Taste and season the carrots with additional salt as needed. Place carrots in a serving dish and enjoy.
If you have been around for a while, you know that Brother Dear was not a vegetable eater. Corn – that was the extend of his vegetable tolerance. While Brother Dear was with us, his biggest complaint every night at dinner was that the table was set with the vegetables at his end. Meat at the head of the table, starches (potatoes, pasta and so forth) in the middle, vegetables at the foot of the table. Our plates were passed around the table until everyone had a serving of what was offered. Naturally, Brother Dear passed on the vegetables, unless it was corn. Every night, Kiddo would bug his Uncle to at least try a vegetable. Kiddo’s argument was how do you know you won’t like something if you have never given it a try. (Same argument I use with Kiddo. And guess what? Sometimes he will try something new to discover that he likes it.) Brother Dear liked both the butter and the brown sugar, so when it came time to finally give in to Kiddo’s nagging, he was willing to try Browned-Butter Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots. Much to his surprise, he liked it. So picky eaters be warned – you just might like this wonderful dish.
One of the things I like best about glazed carrots (besides the taste) is how colorful it looks on my plate. I love to serve anything with bright color.
Browned-Butter Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
1 Bunch Baby Carrots, tops intact
2 Tablespoons Water
Pinch of Salt
4 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Kahlua
Trim tops of carrots, leaving about 1 inch of the “green” intact.
Wash and peel carrots. Place in a microwave safe dish.
Add water and a pinch of salt. Microwave on HIGH for 3-5 minutes, until carrots are tender-crisp.
Heat empty skillet until almost smoking. Remove skillet from heat, add butter. Butter will begin to brown almost immediately. Swirl pan around and let butter become a light amber color. Add brown sugar, swirl until sugar has dissolved to create a nice glaze.
Add Kahlua, swirl pan to blend. Place carrots in pan with butter. Swirl to coat carrots, spooning the glaze over the carrots. You really want the glaze to be thick and shiny rather than have the carrots swimming in syrup. Place pan on low heat. Continue to swirl until carrots are nicely glazed and everything is hot.
Transfer to serving platter, allowing excess glaze to drip back into the pan. Serve immediately.
Typically, I shy away from trying two new recipes at the same time. Yet these carrots were so bright, flavored with onions and chicken bouillon, they simply demanded that they be paired with another new recipe; Chicken Breast Tarragon. While the Chicken is initially cooked in a pot with carrots and shallots, those are discarded from the final dish, used instead as a flavoring agent.