Monday, March 26, 2007

2 for 1 Moroccan carrot appetizer and Lentil and Carrot Soup

I started out this month by saying that there was a trio of March birthdays in my family. My sister Amanda is the third member of that trio, and her birthday is tomorrow.

Amanda is an amazing woman, and I'm not saying that just because she's my sister. She loves to travel and to be out in nature. I am in awe of her because she does such a wonderful job of living her life according to her convictions; something that seems like it would be easy to do but isn't always.

I thought the recipe mirrored many of the things Amanda holds important. Vegetarian, low fat, and reflective of world cultures, I think she would really like it. I'm sorry we don't live close enough for me to run a bowl over to her, but next time I visit her, I'll make it for her.

About a month ago, my husband Chuck and our friends Pat and Zip ate at a Moroccan restaurant near Harrisburg. Zip had a cold cooked carrot appetizer that I thought was very one of the best things we had that night. Chuck wouldn't try it, because he doesn't like cooked carrots. Neither do I, but this was tasty.

This past week I was looking through a copy of Crescent Dragonwagon's Passionate Vegetarian, and found a recipe called Morroc' n' roll oven roasted carrot dip on page 14.

As always, since I just can't seem to follow a recipe without making changes, I noted the changes I made to this one.

Morocc’n’roll oven roasted carrot dip
Passionate Vegetarian

oil or cooking spray
1 pound (6 medium) carrots, unpeeled, stem end left on
1 large red onion, unpeeled, quartered
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise (I should have used 2 heads)
2 T olive oil
1 T tamari or shoyu soy sauce
2 t ground cumin (I used about 2 Tablespoons)
2 t paprika (I left this out because I didn't have any
Pinch cayenne (I used about 1 t Korean ground red pepper)
1-4 T vegetable stock, water, carrot juice or olive oil (I made a cup of mint tea with 2 teabags and used that instead)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Preheat oven to 375.

2 Oil or spray a baking dish large enough to accommodate the vegetables in one layer.

3 Bring a large pot of water to boil. Drop carrots into boiling water and blanch for 4-6 minutes depending on size

4 Place carrots in prepared baking dish, along with onion and garlic. Toss vegetables with 1T olive oil, rubbing oil into vegetables a bit. Drizzle with tamari and toss. Arrange cut-side down.

5 Bake until carrots are soft- can pierce with a fork and quite brown hereand there, especially on the edge that has touched the dish. This will take about 40 minutes, longer if carrots are plump. Let cool.

6 Cut stem ends from the carrots, remove paper skin from onions. Place in a food processor. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skin directly into the food processor, discarding any that are either still hard or deep brown. Add cumin, paprika, and cayenne, along with remaining T of oil, and pulse. (I scraped the baking dish out with a rubber scraper and used that in the food processor- it was not crusty and baked on, just a little brown-ness and some oil and tamari.)

The mixture will be dry and chunky. Add stock (or other liquid) a T at a time. Pulse until smooth, then season to taste with tamari, salt and pepper. (Be careful here- I overloaded the food processor and got big hunks surrounded by paste. I should have done a few carrots at a time, but I got impatient. Next time I will process most of the carrots, and then hand chop to a small dice about 1/3 or them, so I have small chunks.)

Let spread mellow overnight or up to 3 days in refrigerator. Take it out 1 hour before serving to let it reach room temperature.

I tried this on crustini, and it was very good- the flavors blended together, but each added it's own individual note. The mint flavor was very subtle. I thought it needed more garlic, but perhaps then the garlic flavor would have drowned the others. I reserved about 1/4 of the recipe, and used the rest for the lentil soup.

To make the soup-

Lentils- I used a 1 pound bag of green lentils, and about 1 cup red lentils
2 quarts vegetable stock

Cook the lentils in the stock until they are soft but not mushy. Add the carrot mixture. Let mellow in the refrigerator over night. Serve with a dollop of yogurt

1 comment:

nako13 said...

this looks fabulous! i am making this dip for superbowl. :D kudos