A Twist on Carrots and Quinoa

A Twist on Carrots and Quinoa with Pine Nuts, Currants, Fresh Herbs

A Twist on Carrots and Quinoa

Spiraled Carrots, Black Quinoa
Pine Nuts, Currants, Parsley, Mint, Chives
Lemon Juice, Olive Oil

Here’s a healthy side dish, perfect for the Autumn Holidays. Black quinoa and orange spiralized carrot make a striking presentation. Toasted pine nuts and plumped currants plus lots of fresh herbs all tossed with lemon juice olive oil simply seasoned with salt and pepper – it’s earthy, nutty, sweet, bright, colorful, fresh, and herbal. Serve it along side the creamy mashed potatoes and buttery stuffing as a vegan, whole grain, gluten-free, high fiber, guilt-free counter-balance to the holiday favorites.

A Twist on Carrots and Quinoa Recipe

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Carrot Top Pesto

Fresh, Fabulous, and Frugal - Carrot Top Pesto!

Carrot Top Pesto

Remember when the checker at the supermarket would ask if you would like her to remove the tops from your carrots? With one swift twist, those unruly tops were separated from the orange roots, and unceremoniously placed in the trash can at her feet.

What took us so long to realize that the tops have taste, and nutrition? And value. The feathery green tops of carrots taste a bit like parsley laced with carrot flavor. They make an excellent pesto, can be sautéed in a blend with other greens, or chopped and used as part of an herb garnish.

Fresh, Fabulous, and Frugal - Carrot Top Pesto!

I recently returned from a spectacular trip to Alaska where I had the absolute pleasure of getting to know Chef Brenda. She is an artist in the galley – a master of multiple cuisines. Her dishes are fresh and creative, and synergistic – she has ability to put together magical meals where the food is enhanced by the mood and the environment, and vice versa. She can fillet a whole king salmon as expertly as she bakes mouth-watering pastries and stunning cakes.

Chef Brenda

One night on our trip, Brenda paired a slow-roasted brisket with a delightful side dish of roasted carrots with a carrot top pesto. I recreated her recipe at home, it is my pleasure to share it here… 

Chef Brenda’s Carrot Top Pesto Recipe

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Shrimp and Carrot Salad, Ají-Soy-Limón Dressing

Peruvian Shrimp and Carrot Salad, Aji Amarillo Soy Limon Dressing

Shrimp and Carrot Salad
Okra, Cherry Tomato, Red Onion, Caperberry, Feta, Nasturtium
Ají Amarillo Soy Limón Dressing

Colorful baby carrots and my tree bursting with key limes became the source of inspiration for this sprightly salad. Carrots and limes have a curious affinity for one another. Key limes, called limones in Peru are used extensively in Peruvian cuisine. I mix the lime juice with ají amarillo paste and soy sauce to make the refreshing dressing. Ají amarillo, a yellow-orange Peruvian chile pepper is simultaneously spicy and fruity. Just a couple teaspoons of the paste gives the dressing its zing and along with the shrimp and carrots paired with feta, okra, onion, and tomatoes – the result is a really zesty salad with piquant Peruvian flair.

Peruvian Shrimp and Carrot Salad Recipe

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Italian Twist on Yuzu

pignoli yuzu gremolata
pignoli yuzu gremolata

Yuzu is a captivating versatile citrus that has been valued in Asian cuisines for centuries. This twist on an Italian condiment employs the yuzu in a fusion-style preparation. The young green yuzu fruit of September has turned a mellow golden yellow. Both the young green and the mature yellow fruits are used in cooking, so we’ve enjoyed fabulous yuzu all through autumn and winter. The rind is very aromatic, the juice is tart. Yuzu adds a striking bright note to vegetables. Its flavors are more complex than lemon – maybe like a combination of grapefruit plus mandarin orange with a hint of sour lime? Pair the zest with pine nuts, garlic, and a pinch of salt  – and this gremolata will brighten up any winter roasted vegetable dish!

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Farmers’ Market Fantasy

farmers market basket

You’ve heard the expression “like a kid in a candy store?” Well that kid was me this past weekend at the Farmers’ Market in Palos Verdes. If it looked tasty, I bought it. No restraint whatsoever. From Japanese eggplant to okra to heirloom tomatoes. And asatsuki, carrots, red serranos, beets, patty pan squash, spinach, garlic, Anaheim chiles, Thai basil, mitsuba…I had no plan, no recipe in mind. I was simply vegetable-crazy.

vegetable stack

8-layer farmers’ market fantasy
curried fresh carrot juice sauce with blanched okra & mitsuba
grilled green & yellow patty pan squash
sautéed spinach with sesame, garlic, soy sauce
crispy polenta cake
fire-roasted anaheim chile
fresh goat cheese & asatsuki
cumin dusted grilled beet
spicy smoky heirloom tomato & thai basil
roasted japanese eggplant, maldon smoked sea salt flakes

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