Tuesday, February 26, 2013

moroccan carrot salad with citrus and spice

oh hey, look, it's almost march. time flies when you're unemployed! (no it doesn't) 

i've been trying to make the most of this interlude of working part-time. i tend to be one of those people who really doesn't do that well with enforced time off (i get antsy), but it's been nice to have time to do various cooking-related projects (i seasoned a new wok!), take the dogs on long walks, and finally get around to planting a small herb garden. actually "herb garden" sounds fancier than it is - it's just a couple of plastic bins, really. but i'm super-excited about the culinary possibilities of my new endeavor - now i'll have italian parsley, basil, oregano, chives, orange and chocolate mints, pineapple sage, and mexican tarragon (aka mexican mint marigold) at my fingertips. 

unfortunately the garden came about after i made this moroccan-y carrot salad, or i'd definitely have used some of the orange mint in it. even sans orange (or any) mint, though, it was well worth making and it brightened up an otherwise dreary february day with its citrus-spicy carrot ribbons and non-homegrown herbs.

i tend to keep a lot of dried spices around, as they're easy to get in small amounts in the bulk section of our fancy local supermarket. if i could only get whole bottles at a time, i'd probably have fewer. so if you don't have some of these, nbd. just leave them out or add more of what you do have, to taste.

here i used about 1/8 of a teaspoon each of ginger, cinnamon, cumin, sumac, and coriander and perhaps 1/4 teaspoon each of za'atar and kosher salt.

then i added juice from 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 a small orange and a couple of teaspoons (aka a "glug") of olive oil and maybe a teaspoon each of honey and pomegranate molasses. ta da! dressing! it's totally to taste, though, so play with it a bit.

you could cut the carrots in whatever way you prefer. i was going to grate/julienne them with my mandoline, but i can't find it and now i'm not sure if i've even seen it since we left portland. it's possible that my mom threw/gave it away, as i'm not sure she's forgiven it for chopping the tip of my finger off a couple of years ago (lesson: be so SO careful with those things. they WANT to hurt you. also brussels sprouts are hard to cut on a mandoline.). 

so i used a peeler to cut them into long ribbons instead. because pretty!

a little bit of chopped shallot or scallions wouldn't be out of place here in addition to the herbs, but not having any, i just tossed in a big handful each of chopped parsley and cilantro. because in adversity we make do. just like the pioneers.

this will keep well in the fridge for at least a few days. the dressing pools in the bottom of the bowl a bit, but you could add some chickpeas or other beans or some chicken or hard-boiled eggs  or feta and make a very pleasant little lunch for yourself.

*ingredients* for maybe 4 servings
4 large carrots
1/8 teaspoon or so cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, sumac
1/4 teaspoon or so za'atar and kosher salt
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon and 1/2 small orange (~1/4 cup or less total)
1 teaspoon  honey and 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses (or just 1-2 teaspoons honey)
1 handful each chopped parsley and cilantro (and/or mint) - maybe 1/2 cup total

listening to: a pandora station for MIA's paper planes, so kate nash, lily allen (wow, do not cross that kid) and (perhaps inevitably) MIA herself.

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