Did I ever tell you about the time that I learned about peeling carrots before cooking? No? I was working in a kitchen at the time– I had no professional cooking experience whatsoever, and lucked out at an organic cafe that needed a friendly counter-service person. It was the best, funnest, most informative and hardest job I’ve ever had. My boss was a fantastic chef, who was also an expert on nutrition, and she was also our local WAPF chapter leader. I’d learn something new from her every day– either a technique, or a snippet of nutritional information, or how NOT to handle myself in a kitchen or workspace. After a couple of years, I was occasionally allowed to make the soup. When a beautiful shipment of carrots came in from a local farm, I set to work making a carrot soup.
I proudly handed L, my boss, a spoon to taste the soup. She gave me a look. Not just A look, but THE look. The look that you never want to get from one of your favourite people who is notoriously bad tempered and also very good with a kitchen knife.
It’s bitter, she said.
It is? I asked, and tasted it again.
And I hadn’t noticed the first time, or any other time that I’d made it, but there was a slight bitter flavour.
Did you peel the carrots? She asked
The words hung in the air for a minute, before they crashed down on my head. Peel… carrots. A step I had always neglected because, let’s face it, it’s a lot of work when you have ten pounds of carrots in front of you. It’s a lot of work when you have ONE pound of carrots in front of you.
As tears filled my eyes, I realised two things: the first was that I would never cook an unpeeled carrot ever again. The second was that I was definitely not tough enough for the restaurant business.
Lately, at the market, I keep seeing cute carrots. I don’t know if carrots can, in fact, be defined as cute, but I think these little dudes are. They’re carrots that I want to dress up like an Anne Geddes photo shoot, and put pictures on my walls of little sleeping carrots dressed up as flowers. Or peas in pods. They’re that cute. But the next best thing to dressing them up and looking at them is definitely to glaze them. A little bit of garlic. A little bit of crunch. A slightly sweet buttery glaze that just compliments their essential carrot-ness. I love glazed root vegetables– I think it might be, along with roasting, the perfect way to cook them. Just remember to peel your carrots.
1 lb carrots (preferably cute ones)
3 cloves garlic
2 tb butter
fresh thyme and parsley, chopped
Place the peeled carrots, minced garlic and thyme in a pan, in an even layer on the bottom. Add cold water to barely cover the vegetables, and throw the butter on top. Cook on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, until the liquid is almost gone (there should be enough to toss the veggies in before serving) and the carrots are cooked to perfection. Toss in the remaining (2 tb or so) liquid, and sprinkle with minced parsley.
This can be made in advance, and re-heated before serving, or served at room temp on a hot day.