Friday, August 9, 2013

Last Night's Dinner (and a recipe for Roasted Carrot "Hummus")

The cover recipe from Plenty (Pom molasses instead of Pom seeds), carrot "hummus" from river cottage veg and sautéed kale. And naan. #dinner #awyeah

Adam's been traveling for work a lot lately, spending Sunday through Friday in New York and coming home just long enough to do laundry and give me a quick hug before getting back on a train. That project is almost over, thank goodness, but while he's been gone I've reverted to my single lady food habits. By which I mean that I've had an awful lot of tomato sandwiches for lunch and dinner in the last month.

Anyway, he got to come home early this week and yesterday I made us an actual honest to goodness dinner with some actual honest to goodness thought behind it. I started with the cover recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi's gorgeous book Plenty, but at Rivka's suggestion I used pomegranate molasses instead of the out-of-season pomegranate seeds. Sauteed kale was a no brainer given the enormous bunch taking up half the space in my refrigerator.

Then, since the oven was already on, I figured it was time to try the roasted carrot "hummus" that my friend Samantha suggested as a way to use up a glut of carrots (oh the woes of a CSA member!) I put hummus in quotes because there are no chickpeas in here, but carrot dip sounds like something you dip carrots in, not a dip made of carrots, and carrot spread just doesn't really capture the vaguely middle eastern flair of it. This stuff is so good, you guys. It's sweet from the honey and the carrots themselves, with smokey, herbaceous notes from the toasted cumin and coriander. I threw together some quick flatbread to scoop this up with, but I think it would be equally good on crudites (especially cauliflower) or crackers. If you can eat this outside to enjoy the waning summer (sob) so much the better.

Roasted Carrot "Hummus"
adapted (but not much) from River Cottage Veg

When I make this again (after we inevitably get another pound or two of carrots next week) I want to try using the green coriander from the gone-to-seed cilantro plants in my garden to bump up the vegetal flavors.

1 - 1.5 pounds carrots
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon neutral flavored honey 
3-4 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons tahini
juice of one orange
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while you peel the carrots and cut them into 1 inch chunks.

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds together in a dry skillet just until fragrant (if using green coriander, just toast the cumin). Transfer to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and grind to a fine-ish powder. Combine the spices with 1/4 cup of olive oil, a big pinch of salt and the honey, then toss the carrots in the mixture, spread on a baking sheet, add the garlic (don't peel it) and roast, tossing once, for about 30 minutes or until the carrots are dark brown (but not burnt!) in spots.

When the carrots are out of the oven, let them cool for a minute or two, then add them to a food processor with the garlic (it should be easy to squeeze the garlic from the skins, now), tahini, orange and lemon juices and another big pinch of salt. Pulse a few times to get it started, then add 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil and pulse a bit more. You may need more oil, or you may not, but keep adding oil and pulsing until you get a thick paste. Taste for seasoning - I added more lemon juice and more black pepper - and pulse again if you add anything just to finish mixing. Serve warm or at room temperature, drizzled with a little more olive oil if you like.