Berkshire native Alana Chernila, mother of two, and author of the cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), dispenses change and cooking ideas to readers and friends. She shares her peak-of-the-season recipes with Rural Intelligence to help us make the most of what’s growing in our region. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has just announced that she has a new one in the works; tentatively named “Meals from the Homemade Pantry," due out in 2015.
This week, we offer two ways to prepare carrots, one as a sweet and intense side, and one as a quick and simple salad. Here's the first:
Alana says: I recommend these carrots. Sweet and fancy, easy and a little bit intense. Better with mild meat I think, like turkey for example.
from Gourmet Today
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 pounds carrots, peeled, and cut diagonally into 3-inch pieces
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (I have to admit that I left this out. I think it would be great, but my dill is dead and gone.)
Heat butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened--about 4 minutes. Add chili powder, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until very fragrant--about one minute. Add carrots, wine, and maple syrup, bring to a simmer and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender--about 20 minutes. Add vinegar and boil, uncovered, until liquid is reduced to a glaze--3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in dill.
And here is the second:
Easy Carrot Salad
Alana says: My friends Jen and Pete gave us a whole cooler full of carrots, and it’s been carrots for lunch and dinner and sometimes for breakfast, too. It turns out that carrot salad is my favorite thing to make when the carrots are this good. I’ve never been a carrot stick kind of girl, and it’s a shame to cook something so imbibed with earthly perfection. But tonight, it’s carrot salad for you. Good for your eyes, and your soul. And easy peasy.
Grab a handful of carrots. Peel them if you like. Grate them in your Cuisinart or do a dance with your box grater if you prefer. Whip up a little dressing in a measuring cup of olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add a squeeze of orange if you’ve got it. Keep mixing and adjusting until it tastes good to you. Go out into the cold night and grope around for some half frozen parsley. Chop that, toss with carrots and dressing. Eat. Leftovers will be good tomorrow, too.
Reprinted with permission from Eatingfromthegroundup.com. All text and photos copyright 2008-13 by Alana Chernila.