Saturday, September 22, 2007

carrot salad with garlic and dates

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It’s Yom Kippur today, so why am I writing about food? Well, last night while figuring out our dinner options we were trying to come up with a quick and tasty way to use our carrots, which were hanging out happily in the fridge, but a few more days and Yom Kippur today and my Sunday business trip (Sunday, I know), it was either now or never with these carrots.

Now, I’m pretty weird when it comes to carrots. I love them raw and I love them in things like chicken soup. In fact, as a kid I loved carrots in my soup so much that my mom would always put in extra carrots in my bowl and they would be the first things I would eat. I think I even made up a song about eating carrots in my soup. The blurry memory is lazily rolling around in my head, but luckily I can’t remember the song! And yet, when my mom made stewed carrots (tzimmes), I would refuse to touch the mushy, orange mess on my plate. Boiled soup carrots were fine, but the stewed carrots were not. I’m still fickle with my carrots, not to such an extent, but some cooked carrots I won’t go near.

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I’ve got to confess I’ve cooked nary a thing this week. It’s been a confluence of events – my office relocated further uptown and east, and coming from Tribeca has managed to make my work commute 45 minutes door to door. I know, living in Manhattan and spending 45 minutes each day twice a day commuting, is pretty sad. And work has picked up so much. There are meetings and conference calls and business trips and of course work that you do at your desk to add!! So when I would come home at 7:30 or later, my lovely KS had dinner waiting for me – so the next few entries will be about his magical and filling concoctions. We’d eat, and by 8:30, I’d be pretty much a tired, lackluster monkey.

Ah, but the carrots! I thought, at first, to shred them and mix them with a generous serving of freshly chopped garlic, some raisins and olive oil. But then my heart (and stomach) earned for something warm. Since I just told you about my cooked carrot dislike, you understand my conundrum. And then, a little idea appeared in my head and I was all aflutter – I could warm the carrots with some sesame oil and sesame seeds and voila – I’ll have a meal I like. I added some garlic to the carrots along with a little bit of curry mix. Some salt, a couple of minced dates, and the warmed carrots were done. The whole process grating and all took about 15 minutes. How’s that for dinner in a hurry? We ate our carrots with the remnants of the picadillo KS made the night before. While I liked my carrots just fine, KS loved the orangey warmth. The trick is to just warm the carrots and not cook them – this way you preserve the texture and taste of raw carrots, but give it a little more of that fall comfort. Looking back, I would have added a dash of cinnamon. And if we had any cilantro, the dish would have sparkled even more! But in no time, we ate a tasty dish and salvaged the contents of our crisper!

And now that I’m sufficiently hungry, Yom Kippur seems even longer to me. Fasting isn’t a food blogger’s strongest suit. How long will I last? I have low expectations for myself!


5 large carrots washed and dried and roughly grated
1 large or 2 medium size garlic cloves, minced finely
2 tbsp sesame oil, plus 1 tbsp more for later
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp curry blend
2-3 finely chopped dates
Kosher salt

In a medium sized sauce pan, slowly on very low heat, warm up 2 tbsp sesame oil, sesame seeds and curry. Allow for curry to blend with the oil. Add the garlic and let the mixture warm up some more a few minutes.

Add the carrots and up the heat ever-so-slightly to let the oil coat the carrots. Carrots will absorb all the oil, so add another table spoon to flavor them some more. Mix the oil in and add the dates. Season with salt as pleases you – I like to have a salt/sweet flavors combine.

Almost immediately after adding the dates, remove the carrots off the heat and serve. The carrots should be warm, not hot, and fragrant.

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3 Comments

  • 1
    Lydia said:

    I’ve always had an aversion to cooked carrots, though I love them raw. This recipe is a lovely, sweet way to start the New Year — and to break fast, if you can hold out that long!

    September 22, 2007 10:53 am
  • 2
    Jim said:

    Fun use for carrots! I had the same irrational hatred of cooked carrots, which I’m sure drove my mom crazy when I’d refuse a bowl of stew ’cause it had carrots in it, even though I’d been eating errant slices while she cooked!

    September 24, 2007 11:18 am
  • 3
    claudia said:

    that sounds really good. i love the warming idea. carrots have never been my fave. not a big fan of the juice – cooked works better for me than raw… but this is a nice happy medium. i love the garlic/date/sesame combo too.

    October 2, 2007 10:09 am

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