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This Past Week at La Domestique: Carrots

(instagram)Carrots harvested from my garden (c)2011 LaDomestique

This past week at La Domestique we celebrated a big carrot harvest from my Colorado community garden plot. The beautiful flavor of a fresh, sweet summer carrot is often in the shadow of the more popular tomatoes and zucchini. Cook in the moment and take the opportunity to enjoy carrots at their very best right now.

In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap for you!

Monday:  Announcing carrots as the ingredient of the week on videocast.

Tuesday:  10 Ways Tuesday! Creative ways to cook with carrots during summer.

Wednesday:  Cook in the moment with a recipe for Carrot Soup with Moroccan Seasoning, Ginger, Oregano & Lime.

Thursday:  The story behind carrots: growing, buying, storing, cooking and flavor pairing.

Friday:  Making pickled carrots for the Vietnamese sandwich, bánh-mì.


Pickled Carrots with a Vietnamese Sandwich

Let’s wrap up carrot week with a quick pickle and a flavorful sandwich that’s sure to shake up your packed lunch routine. As I searched for fun ways to use an abundance of carrots from my garden, I was inspired by a recipe for Do Chua found in the cookbook, Canning for a New Generation, by Liana Krissoff. She describes do chua as “probably the most common quick pickle on the Vietnamese table.” A quick pickle is one that’s not processed for long term preserving, and so the jar must be kept refrigerated and used up in a shorter time before it goes bad. Do Chua is carrot and Daikon radish pickled in salt, sugar, and distilled white vinegar. Liana Krissoff writes that the Vietnamese use  do chua as a dipping sauce (a small bowl where a few of the vegetables float in the brine), eaten as a side dish, and it’s a traditional ingredient in the famous bánh-mì sandwich.


Storyboard: Carrots

Carrot StoryBoard (c)2011

Growing Carrots

This is my first year growing vegetables in a community garden plot and I’ve really enjoyed cultivating carrots. My 10×20 foot plot is separated into 3 mini-plots, one of which I devoted to carrots and beets this spring. I grew multicolored varieties ranging from orange to yellow to purple and they are all tasty! As a first time gardener, I was surprised at how difficult it was to pull the mature carrot from the ground. Pretty much a two person job. After many failed tries where I yanked on the carrot top with all my strength and flew 10 feet across the garden, I sought help from a strong neighbor. He had a smart method which involved him shoving a pitch fork into the ground at an angle to force the carrots upwards while I pulled. We had the whole bed harvested in no time at all. As I pulled the carrots from the ground I was completely overwhelmed by their aroma- so fresh, green, and earthy. Once you’ve experienced this scent, you’ll truly understand the allure of the Apiaceae family of vegetables.


Cook in the Moment: Carrot Soup

Last week I harvested about 50 carrots from my garden just outside Boulder, Colorado. This is my first year growing vegetables on my own, and I was so excited when sowing carrots back in April I forgot about succession planting. This means all my carrots were ready for harvest at the same time last week. It’s not a terrible problem- at least I have carrots to eat. However, if I was smart I would have planted a few carrots each week to harvest over a period of several weeks. Lesson learned. So, what to do with 8 pounds of carrots? Make carrot soup!

The carrots harvested during summer have the sweetest, most alive flavor. I think pureed vegetable soups are the bees knees and they can be frozen so there’s always something fantastic on hand for an easy meal. My first batch of carrot soup was so delicious it never made its way into the freezer.


10 Ways Tuesday: Carrots

Carrot (c)2011

I’ve got 10 fresh ideas for cooking with carrots in summer:


1.  Pickled

The book, Canning for a New Generation is my latest love. It’s modern, creative, and full of worldly, powerful flavors. I don’t want to make a monotone pickle from just vinegar, sugar, and a single ingredient. I want a variety of spices, shapes, colors, and vegetables packed into one jar. Two recipes using carrots caught my eye. First, Do Chua (Vietnamese Carrot and Diakon) which Liana Krissoff says is “the most common quick pickle on the Vietnamese table.” Do Chua can be used as a dipping sauce, a vegetable side dish, and on bahn mi sandwiches. The second recipe from the book that caught my eye was her Spicy Carrot Pickles, which get flavor from cinnamon, dried chiles, garlic, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, onions and peppercorns. That’s what I’m talking about, people.


Ingredient Of The Week : Carrot

I’m cooking in the moment with carrots harvested from my community garden plot just outside of Boulder, Colorado. Take a look at this video announcing the ingredient of the week.  The ubiquitous super-market carrot is a poor example of its kind. Did you know carrots come in all shapes, colors, and sizes? They can be long and slender or shaped like little globes. Carrots range in color from the standard orange to yellow and even dark purple. This week at La Domestique discover recipes for cooking with carrots from cuisines all over the world. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow for 10 Ways Tuesday: creative ideas for cooking with carrots.

This Past Week at La Domestique: The Peach

Peach (c)2011

This past week at La Domestique was devoted to the perfect peach. Here in Colorado peach season is in full swing. We explored both sweet and savory ways to cook with peaches. While there’s nothing better than enjoying a peach just as it is, the tart sweet flavor and beautiful aroma of peaches is only intensified with exposure to a hot grill or oven. In this time of plenty it’s a great opportunity to explore new recipes with peaches.

In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap for you!

Monday:  Announcing the peach as ingredient of the week on videocast.

Tuesday:  10 Ways Tuesday! Creative ways to use peaches in summer cooking.

Wednesday:  Cook in the moment with a recipe for Grilled Lamb and Peach Kebabs with Balsamic Wheat Berries.

Thursday:  The story behind the peach: growing, harvesting, cooking and flavor pairing.


Peach Crepes

Today I’ve got something nice for you! It’s a simple, straightforward recipe for Peach Crepes that’s perfect for the heat of summer. No fancy techniques. No turning on the oven. Just a fantastic way to enjoy a perfectly ripe peach. When I decided to make peach crepes my mind was full of ideas on how to prepare the peaches: roast them in the oven, poach them in sugar syrup, etc. Then I thought about how many of you are suffering through 100+ degree temps of summer. I thought of the lazy days of summer and decided that the perfectly ripe peaches need no embellishment. We are not even going to peel them! What do you think about that? Awesome.

If you’ve never tried them, you should know that crepes are not a difficult thing to make. I don’t own a crepe pan, I own a nonstick skillet and it works just fine. Here I use a recipe from River Cottage Every Day but Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall also shares a recipe in the Guardian that uses all purpose flour. I’ve made both versions and they are equally tasty.


Storyboard: The Peach

Peach StoryBoard (c)2011

An article in the August issue of Food & Wine Magazine uses peaches as a symbol for the history of Chez Panisse and Alice Waters’ edible schoolyard project. Susan Choung writes that Alice Waters “believes a perfect peach can change the world.” In Chez Panisse Fruits the chapter devoted to peaches begins,

“. . . the perfect dessert after a rich and satisfying meal is a perfect piece of fruit, and the most perfect fruit has to be a perfect peach. Its texture is luscious, its aroma is intoxicating, its flavor is ravishing, and its juice runs everywhere.”

What is a Peach?

I learned from the Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion that peaches originally came from China. This tree fruit comes in different shapes, from round to doughnut. Its color can be orange blushing deep red or white/yellow blushing hot pink. The skin is fuzzy like velvet and the texture can be firm when ripe or softer and full of nectar. A ripe peach is fragrant with an intense peachy-floral aroma. Handle this fruit with care, as it bruises easily.


Cook in the Moment: Grilled Lamb & Peach Kebabs

The sweet, floral, juicy peach is lovely on it’s own, but combine it with savory flavors and the peach really shines. Grilled peaches are a popular summer treat. I thought it would be fun to skewer the peaches and grill them alongside lamb kebabs. The flavor of lamb from the U.S. is sweet and rich, much milder than New Zealand lamb. The garlic and rosemary marinade brings a pungent, herbal note to the dish. I love the texture of chewy wheat berries, and thought it would be fantastic to dress them in a balsamic vinaigrette. Here you have a simple, satisfying and healthy supper or weekend lunch. It’s perfect for having friends over- especially if you cook the wheat berries the day before.

I took inspiration from Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Meat Book for cooking the lamb. Hugh is the ultimate guide for the intuitive cook, because he doesn’t really give you recipes- he shares techniques. After consulting the chapter on barbecuing I went with his lamb marinade of olive oil, garlic, and rosemary. No acid. No lemon or vinegar or wine. No worries. The meat grilled up moist and tender.


About Jess

Jess O'Toole is La Domestique

Hi, I’m Jess, aka La Domestique. No matter how busy or cooking-challenged you are I can help you live the good life and enjoy fresh, healthy meals at home every day. Find out more

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