I whipped this butter up a month ago and after making a batch of these carrots I stashed it in the freezer. Today I made another batch to serve 2 people, and next week I could use what remains of the butter to serve at least 8. After making the butter all you have to do it cook the carrots, in small or large batches. This is a terrific semi-make-ahead side dish.
The herb butter can be made well in advance which, if you’re a good planner, makes this a super simple side dish to serve at a holiday meal or on a busy weeknight. I stored mine in the freezer for over a month and it was still great.
In addition to making the butter ahead you can prep the carrots up to two days in advance and store them in the fridge. That makes finishing these a breeze, taking no more than 15 minutes.
I personally loved the flavors, but my husband wasn’t crazy about the combination of herbs and pistachio. I’m still going to recommend this dish, though. I found the flavors to be a nice change from the typical flavors in cooked carrots. There is a slight bit of heat thanks to the hot sauce. The crunch of the chopped pistachios on top is really nice and adds great texture contrast. The herbs brighten things up, instead of weighing them down like brown sugar and butter do.
After cooking the carrots you drain the water, reserving some of it, and return the carrots to the pot. Then you add in your desired amount of butter and some of the water to make a sauce. The original recipe uses all of the butter for 3 pounds of carrots, but I used less and it was fine. Add less than you think you need, stir with a little water (less is more here as well) taste and add more butter if you desire. You may also want to season with salt. Once in their serving dish sprinkle with the reserved pistachios.
Carrots, peeled and cut into pieces about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide (1 pound serves 2-4. 3 pounds serves 6-10)
Make the Butter
Coarsely chop the pistachios in a food processor. Set aside half of the nuts. Pulse the remaining nuts until they are very fine but not pasty.
Add the parsley and mint, and pulse again until the herbs are finely chopped.
Add the butter, cheese, zest, hot sauce, and 1 tsp. salt; pulse until well blended.
If working ahead, scrape the butter onto plastic wrap, shape into a log, wrap, wrap in foil or parchment and freeze. Seal the reserved pistachios in a small zip-top freezer bag or other airtight container and freeze.
Make the Carrots
Put the carrots in a pot, add enough water to just cover them, and add a pinch of salt.
Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes until desired tenderness.
Drain carrots, reserving 1/4 cup of the water. Return to the pot and add butter (a chunk at a time adding a little water as you stir) until carrots are coated to your liking. Taste and season with salt if needed.
Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with reserved pistachios.
Last week I had lunch with a good friend at a place called Local Foods in Houston. They have 2 locations now and we visited the newer one on Kirby for the first time. This location has more seating and boasts a lovely outdoor space. The weather cooperated perfectly making for a lunch I’d gladly repeat every day if I could. We split a pork sandwich and their fall harvest salad. The salad was so delicious that I knew I’d be trying to recreate it at home.
While I am sure there was more in this salad that I couldn’t quite pinpoint or remember when I made a grocery list, I knew that is had broccoli, cauliflower, roasted brussels sprouts, pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds and goat cheese. We chose to add chicken to ours at the restaurant, but it would’ve been just as incredible without it. You could leave out the chicken for a vegetarian salad or if you’re serving this as a side salad, or add it if you’re serving as a main course.
One of my favorite parts about this salad was the dressing. Again, I know mine isn’t the same as Local Foods, but the dill in the dressing stood out to me and really brought out all the delicious flavors of the salad. So I made a dill vinaigrette to dress this salad. And it’s pretty special. I’ll be making it again.
Make sure to use fresh dill and parsley in the dressing and chop them very fine. As with all homemade salad dressings, you can adjust the flavors to your liking. Add more or less honey (I found this to be on the sweet side) add more salt, some cracked pepper, or more garlic if you’d like. Shaking dressing up in a small mason jar is an easy way to make and store the dressing.
The amounts below are enough for 2 to 4 salads, depending on how big you make them and who’s eating. After prepping all the vegetables they can be refrigerated for use later on, so you can easily enjoy this salad for lunches during the week by simply tossing the ingredients together when you’re ready.
Salads at our house are almost always greens, carrots, celery, tomatoes, dried cranberries and nuts if I have them around. I love that this salad has so much stuff in it that I’ve never thought of putting in to a salad! It’s delicious. You can make it for one or for a large group. And it’s a great fall salad with the roasted brussels and sweet pops from the pomegranate seeds. And of course there is goat cheese. Thank God for goat cheese! I hope you try this salad.
Fall Vegetable Salad with Dill Vinaigrette
Inspired by Fall Harvest Salad from Local Foods
For the Salad
3/4 cup broccoli florets
3/4 cup cauliflower florets
8-10 brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, outer leaves removed and cut into quarters
roasted, salted sunflower seeds
2 ounces plain goat cheese
cooked chicken (optional)
For the Dill Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2-3 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt
Shake all ingredients together in a jar or whisk together in a bowl. Set aside or store in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Toss brussels in a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast, shaking the pan once or twice, for 20 minutes until brussels sprouts are tender and browned. Set aside to cool.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water. Boil broccoli and cauliflower for 2 minutes, then drain and put vegetables in the ice water, swish around a few times, then remove from the water to drain.
Prepare the salad by either tossing salad greens, broccoli and cauliflower, brussels sprouts in a large bowl with your desired amount of dressing, then plating and topping with pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds and goat cheese OR plate everything together and drizzle on the dressing.
The last month has been a crazy one, and the next two aren’t going to be any different. We are moving from our sweet little rent house into a lovely suburban home with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a nice big kitchen with garbage disposal, and enough counter space not to have to balance pans on top of the coffee maker. Yes. I have done this. Life will be so good. And about 5 weeks after we move in we will have a new baby on our hands, and so life will be a totally different kind of crazy. Can that be an acceptable excuse for why I haven’t blogged in a month?
I have been cooking, but haven’t been taking pictures of any of it or recording it anywhere. This is a big time bummer. One of my favorite things about having this blog is being able to search for a recipe I’ve made in the past and be reminded of what I did to change it that made it better, or the things I didn’t like that I’d change the next time around. When I don’t update the blog, I don’t have those recipes…unless I managed to write notes on them and put them somewhere safe…which is a rare event. So today I am playing catch-up.
One of the things I’ve had the luxury of participating in this summer is the Farmhouse Delivery here in Houston. When the bushel of local fruits and veg arrive on my doorstep carried by a shaggy headed hipster jamming out to whatever cool music is playing through his earbuds, I get positively giddy. Some of the items we receive are no-brainers. Peaches and blackberries are perfect in my morning yogurt and granola. Cucumbers, sweet peppers and the sweetest cherry tomatoes known to man get sliced and tossed into salads. Potatoes, onions, corn and slicing tomatoes have also been part of our meals. But then we get stuff like patty pan squash and eggplant. What am I going to do with this? I haven’t figured out the patty pan yet, but did find a use for the eggplant. So Farmhouse Delivery, thank you for helping me to explore more in my kitchen. And thanks, Sarah, for the recipe! I feel more of an obligation to use the produce fully since, well, we paid for it, AND it’s fresh and local and delicious. If I forget about a grocery store peach in the back corner of the fridge drawer I toss it out. If I were to forget a farmhouse peach I would probably cry a few tears and have a little memorial service for the sweet and forgotten little guy. On to the recipes…
Spinach, Basil & Walnut Pesto
A big bag of fresh basil came one weekend, and so I made 2 batches of this pesto. We ate it on pizza with mozzarella and farmhouse tomatoes. Another night I mixed it in with penne pasta and chopped cherry tomatoes topped with grated Parmesan. The leftovers from that meal got mixed with lots of mozzarella cheese, more pesto, more tomatoes and then baked in a casserole topped with Parmesan bread crumbs. So many easy and delicious dinners out of one batch of pesto.
4 cups baby spinach
2 cups basil
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Rinse and pat dry spinach and basil.
Put greens in the bowl of a food processor, pour walnuts over, sprinkle with salt and begin to pulse. While pulsing, add olive oil in a stream until desired consistency is reached. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Transfer to a lidded container and store covered in the fridge or freeze for later use.
Quinoa Mac and Cheese Casserole
I’ve made this twice now. It is sure to become a regular on our dinner menu. The great thing is that you can change the vegetables, spices and cheese to make it fit your tastes or what you have available. I used an onion from Farmhouse in this recipe, but other than that it’s a grocery store produce meal. Don’t worry, I’m not getting all snooty about my produce…at least not forever.
Heat a drizzle of oil over medium heat in a large, deep saucepan. Add the onion, bell peppers, scallions and saute for about four minutes, just until bell pepper has started to soften. Add the mushrooms and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Add the garlic and continue sauteing for another 30 seconds.
Add quinoa to the pot, followed by the chicken broth, salt, dry mustard and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed, stirring just a couple times.
Add 1 1/2 cups of the grated cheese and milk. Stir to combine then pour into a greased 9 x 13″ casserole dish.
In a small bowl, combine the Panko and the remaining cheese. Sprinkle on top of casserole and bake for about 30 minutes until golden.
Mediterranean Eggplant and Quinoa Salad
Eggplant, onion, zucchini and tomatoes from Farmhouse and then a great punch from the lemon dressing and an herby freshness from the parsley and mint make this my kind of summer meal. My sweet sister helped me find a recipe to use up my eggplant without feeling like I was eating eggplant. I used her suggestions of using quinoa instead of barley, and adding in a can of chickpeas and crumbled feta. This has made a terrific lunch the past couple days.
2 small to medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2-3 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 onion, halved then sliced
10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped scallion (from 1 bunch)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
4-6 ounces crumbled feta
Roast eggplant and zucchini: Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Toss eggplant and zucchini and onion with 5 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then spread in 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans. Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Combine vegetables in 1 pan and cool.
Cook Quinoa: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallion, cumin and coriander, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add quinoa and cook, stirring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes more. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to reserved shallow baking pan and spread to quickly cool, uncovered, to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Make dressing and assemble salad: Whisk together lemon juice, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 2-3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add quinoa, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well.