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I come to praise the carrot, not to bury it!

I'm not a vegavore--far from it! But I confess to a love for most things carrot. I make a Mexican carrot and cumin soup, adulterated with crema, that is superb. The Khantessa does a broil of scallions and julienned carrots that is its equal. Carrots are terrific roasted with beef, an undoubted boon to salads, and are great with wurst, kraut and potatoes in a casserole, among other things.

What are your favorite uses and abuses of our favorite orange friend?

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  1. Roasted carrot with balsamic honey reduction.

    1. Roasted with curry and olive oil...sigh...a thing of beauty.

      1. Hi, PK:

        I like carrot salad and carrot cake the best, I think. But a little extremely finely-minced carrot is an all-around pick me up for a LOT of preps. For me it's a lot like the dash of Tabasco you never even taste, but is synergistic.

        I'd also like to get a shout out about the big, gnarly ugly carrots that farmers grow for the food processors. They're 'WAY more flavorful than the "housewife" carrots stocked in most grocery stores. And there's enough "meat" that you can easily peel and core them, and *still* have a lot left over for cooking.

        My dad used to get a pickup-load of these big carrots from a farmer friend every winter, and bury (or "hill") them until they were needed. It's a pretty powerful memory for a boy to go out and dig his dinner in February...

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        1 Reply
        1. re: kaleokahu

          I had the same experience. The carrots were buried in sand.
          I prefer the big gnarly ones also. I always 'core' them al a 'Iron Chef Morimoto'.

        2. --pickled in miso mixed with a little mirin and sliced garlic
          --as a part of pickled jalapenos (I like the carrots even better than the peppers)
          --grated and mixed 50/50 w/shredded savoy cabbage for cole slaw
          --tossed in olive oil, S&P, thyme, then roasted with rutabagas, parsnips and turnips. Add pearl onions if available.

          4 Replies
          1. re: kcshigekawa

            pickled in miso and mirin??? how does that work? can you share??? sounds relish!

            1. re: rmarisco

              I slice them fairly thin (maybe about 1/8"). I mix up some miso with a little mirin, and marinate the carrots for an hour or more. I'm sorry not to be more specific; I usually justwing it!

            2. re: kcshigekawa

              I agree the carrots are even better in escabeche.

              1. re: Wyvern

                Yes, with jalapenos, preferably for me, I love the escabeche

            3. Thai carrot salad! I use this recipe:

              http://www.grouprecipes.com/5427/thai...

              Counter to the instructions, I whisk up the dressing in a bowl and process the carrots in the machine as any thinking person would do. Having said that, only about two-thirds of the recipe ever makes it to the table.

              Also wholeheartedly agree with picking out the pickled carrots from the jalapeno mix.

              1. Really enjoy roasting them in the oven whole with some spices. I eat them like candy.

                1. I love carrots!
                  I always add them to my squash soups- prob 50/50

                  I made this a few weeks ago- loved the miso sesame flavors:
                  http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2012/0...

                  I love carrots in juice and add several to my vegetable juices (carrots, cucumber, lemon, ginger and 1/2 green apple

                  )

                  I mostly eat them raw, esp the sweet skinny ones from the farmers market, with whatever dip i have on hand. Lately its a white bean/horseradish/scallion dip

                  1. They're a nice mellow note in giardiniera.

                    1. Sauteed in butter and tarragon, finished with a splash of balsamic.

                        1. Carrot ginger soup is in regular rotation in this house.

                          I always have a baggie on hand for snacking at the office.

                          I often make some version of carrot cake or tea bread for giving as gifts during the holidays. The bread is great toasted and slathered with butter.

                          Ginger glazed carrots are always on the Easter table.

                          1. Carrots are one of my essential staples. I use them in stir fries, soups/stews, salads, to sweeten a tomato based sauce, as a vehicle to eat hummus and tzatziki and French onion soup dip. Love carrot cake and Morning Glory muffins.

                            Can't imagine living without them!! Thank you for posting this Ode to the Carrot.

                            1. The Lincoln Log chicken that Sam and I devised is supported on a square corral of notched carrots, usually 4 tiers.

                              1. I am always a sucker whenever I spy at the market some weirdly shaped or colored member of the carrot family.

                                I prefer my cooked carrots in large chunks with fresh grated ginger and some neutral honey. Taste before salting.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                  I agree entirely on that cooking method. Mmmmm

                                2. I have read that to avoid bitter carrots, choose ones that do not have cracks. Also, remove carrot tops ASAP, because the greens sap moisture and nutrients from the carrot.

                                  PBS's New Scandinavian Cooking show once included shredded raw carrots mixed into pureed cooked ones. That sounded interesting. Also, they said carrot and caraway are related so on my mental to-do list is to play around with that concept. Maybe a third "car" too: cardamom. To accompany carp, maybe? I know nothing about cardoons, and caramel's too similar to commonly candied carrots.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    Goodness, time to turn the C page in your dictionary!

                                    1. I like thin chunks of carrot in salads to add crunch, or in asian stir fries. DW likes to add carrots to spinach soup.

                                      1. I will go out there and say I'm a huge fan of carrot raisin salad. My mom used to hydrate the raisins in hot honey water, and so do I. I'm on the fence about the addition of pineapple, I'm against it in theory but have enjoyed it greatly when it was presented to me as a gift.
                                        Carrots roasted in roast meat juice- I would run over sombody that tried to get between me and the carrots.
                                        I like them raw, too. Peeled. I have had many unpeeled raw carrot snacks, mostly the skins are bitter, but not always.
                                        Carrots are good eats, y'all.

                                        1. I do like them roasted.

                                          1. Carrot juices: mango-carrot, or orange-carrot
                                            Carrot cake
                                            Carrot Halwa

                                              1. North African carrot salad, like this one: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                                Grated carrot salad
                                                Roasted with curry or ras el hanout
                                                Glazed with orange juice and ginger

                                                1. Carrots are so underrated. I keep a container of roasted seasoned carrots in the fridge 24/7:

                                                  --I make a roasted carrot sandwich at least 3 times a week (mounds of soft carrots, mild cheese, fresh basil, and balsamic glaze).

                                                  --Carrot and potato tacos are one of the best f*cking things in the world (roasted carrots covered in paprika/garlic/onion/cumin/whatever, piled in tortillas with fried potatoes, salsa, etc.).

                                                  --Roasted carrots (s+p, garlic, basil) tossed with pasta, butter, and cheese. Ohh yes.

                                                  --Raw shredded carrot salads with EVOO, lemon, spices, herbs.

                                                  --A popular snack for me: shredded carrot and zucchini quesadillas (onions, garlic, seasoned salt, hot sauce).

                                                  --I found the ultimate carrot cake some years back which has ruined me for any other veggie-based sweet.

                                                  --Carrot bruschetta: toast slices of thin French bread, smash on roasted carrots, and drizzle with olive oil. If I'm feeling particularly nuts, I'll sprinkle with pecorino.

                                                  --Carrot dip with pita chips: boiled carrots coarsely processed in the food processor with EVOO, cumin, garlic, lemon, and parsley/cilantro. Holy wow.

                                                  --Or I get naughty and roast carrot batons with EVOO, and a pinch of WHITE SUGAR and salt. Then eat them plain, standing in front of the oven. Candy.

                                                  --Mashed potatoes with carrots. Just cook them with the 'taters and mash them in.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                    Some interesting ideas there. I will give the carrot and potato tacos a try. I do sweet potato and zucchini tacos in a similar way.

                                                    1. re: tcamp

                                                      I add zucchini to the tacos often. Sometimes some cheese.

                                                      There's something else I do with mashed potatoes and carrots that's kind of weird. I boil taters and carrots, then mash with sour cream, s+p, and garlic powder (http://thecarboholic.com/2013/11/19/m...). Then I make nachos with it, and they don't need cheese. Just a layer of homemade corn tortilla chips on the platter, covered in the mashed taters and hot sauce. It's creamy and strangely satisfying. And I'm not left feeling like I just swallowed a bomb.

                                                      I've just exceeded the weird food limit for today. Apologies.

                                                    2. re: nothingswrong

                                                      Are you palms orangey?? ;)
                                                      The sandwich idea is brilliant! I saw a recipe a while back that was a large roasted carrot "hot dog" in the bun with various toppings- i still need to try that...

                                                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                        I've tried that recipe. It's REALLY WEIRD, but it actually tastes like a hot dog. I gave one to my bf who was on a hot dog kick back then and even he was intrigued. Not something I'd want to eat again, but it was worth trying.

                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                          Ha! Who needs mystery meat?! Just use a carrot :)

                                                    3. Carrot Salad/Dip/Spread (thinned with cooking liquid becomes Carrot Salad Dressing)

                                                      10 carrots, peeled, sliced, & simmered (or roasted) till tender.
                                                      Cool and buzz in the food processor with:
                                                      1-2 cloves garlic
                                                      a big handful of fresh cilantro, dill or flat-leaf parsley, stems 'n' all
                                                      2 TBSP olive oil
                                                      a little lemon juice & salt.

                                                      1. Count me in the pro-carrot camp. I eat a carrot or two most days, raw and cut into sticks, at my desk as a mid morning snack. I love them glazed with turnips; pickled; diced and browned and added to my savory oatmeal.

                                                        1. I love carrots but I really don't enjoy them raw. Sheppard Mansion in Hanover made this exquisite Caramelized Carrot Soup that I wish I had the recipe for, just amazing!

                                                          1. The only sad part of eating carrot is...eating carrots grown in US. Carrots around the world taste so much sweeter!

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Monica

                                                              What? A continent-wide soil issue? I grow carrots and buy from my CSA farmer - I've always found them to be pleasantly sweet.

                                                              1. re: Monica

                                                                Hmmm. Oddly enough, many people complain that Yank corn is TOO sweet.

                                                              2. Roasted as an accompaniment to (usually) roast meat

                                                                Grated into a mixed salad

                                                                Omi houriya - http://www.irishexaminer.com/archives...

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                  Interesting -- my carrot salad is an adaptation of a recipe similar to omi houriya. I don't like caraway, so experimented with adding fresh herbs instead, I also season it with lemon rather than wine vinegar, but the wine vinegar could be a nice way to vary the flavor.
                                                                  However you prepare it, this type of salad is tasty "baby food for grown-ups."

                                                                2. Carrots were 4lbs for $1 over the weekend, so I bought 3 lbs worth.

                                                                  I used 1 pound to make a Punjabi style sweet and spicy carrot-turnip-cauliflower pickle ("achaar") on Monday. Still needs to cure for a couple more days, but I snuck a couple bites already, and I'm happy with the results.

                                                                  I used another pound to make gajrela, or indian style carrot pudding. I added some toasted slivered almonds to it too.

                                                                  The third pound was split between a Chinese veggie stirfry with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and pork, and a batch of carrot zucchini muffins.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                    4lbs for $1??? where do you shop?

                                                                    1. re: Monica

                                                                      I'm in a suburb of LA, and we have ethnic markets everywhere. This was a middle eastern type market that sells produce cheap. I can get brown onions at 5-6 lbs for $1, kiwis 7 for $1, etc. I got limes a few weeks ago at 25 for $1 at another market I go to.

                                                                      I can get 7-8 bags of produce and fruit for under $20 most trips.

                                                                  2. I haven't tried this yet but based on the fab review, I may make over the Thanksgiving holiday:

                                                                    http://www.thebittenword.com/thebitte...

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: tcamp

                                                                      That looks really good! Well, aside from the mint (i only like mint in my toothpaste) but i'm sure i could swap in cilantro.... Marked for my todo list.

                                                                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                        Not sure about toothpaste in a julep or a mojito...:)

                                                                    2. Interesting that a carrot's life cycle is exactly opposite that of humans, in that it starts its life buried. Thanks for the wabbit food for thought, PK.

                                                                      1. It occurs to me--while making sauce Bolognese, strangely enough--that carrot is an indispensable ingredient for the sauce. Score another one for the iridescent elongate.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                          The cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz could have said "Who put the poix in mirepoix? Carrots."

                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                              As my brother would say, "The Holy Trinity".

                                                                              My thought? A three way.

                                                                              Vive the thought process.

                                                                        2. Love carrots for dipping, and that's about it. I'm not a fan of them when they mix them into Romaine or cabbage blends and only like them just cooked. I'm excited to see what others here enjoy.

                                                                          1. One of my favorites is Carrot Ginger soup.

                                                                            This is a pretty good recipe:
                                                                            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                            1. I wouldn't do a bolognese without em. always roast them with a chicken or pot roast.

                                                                              ive tried doing whole glazed ones a few times, but haven't found a recipe i really like. Bob's Steak and Chop House does a big, glazed carrot as a side that's always great.

                                                                              1. Gajar ka halwa a.k.a. carrot halwa. I first encountered it at my favorite Indian restaurant when the owner gave us a dish of it and two spoons. I was hooked. I have made my own at home and it is dead easy- grated carrot, milk, sugar, spiced with cardamom, all cooked together until it gets to almost a sponge cake like consistency. Serve warm and you will be in heaven. I need to make some ASAP, I haven't had it in ages!

                                                                                1. Growing up, most of our childhood carrot consumption was in bowls of beef noodle soup. Triangle-cut carrots braised alongside a beef shank, in a soy sauce stock with 5 spice, star anise and shallots, until they're falling apart in the bowl.

                                                                                  1. Carrots in a cumin honey glaze, a recipe dating from the time of the Roman Empire. I made this a little while ago and it is quite good.

                                                                                    "Another carrot recipe: boil the carrots and chop them into a cumin sauce with a little oil, finish cooking and serve. Make the cumin sauce as for cabbage." --
                                                                                    Apicius 3.21.3

                                                                                    adapted by Sally Grainger in Cooking Apicius: Roman Recipes for Today (p. 95)

                                                                                    Carrots in a cumin honey glaze:

                                                                                    250 g peeled carrots
                                                                                    2 T. olive oil
                                                                                    2 t. cumin (roasted and ground)
                                                                                    2 t. honey
                                                                                    1 T. sweet wine (passum?)
                                                                                    Generous black pepper
                                                                                    1-2 T. fish sauce (I used tokusen yuki shoyu Japanese soy sauce)

                                                                                    cut into spoon size pieces... place in cold water, bring to the boil, immediately drain, pat dry... place oil in ovenproof dish... add carrots... add all other ingredients except fish sauce and toss... bake at 400 F until the vegetables are crisp and the honey has boiled to a sticky syrup. Add the fish sauce to deglaze the sticky honey. Return to the oven for a few minutes to reheat, then serve.

                                                                                    1. Carrot juice is my favorite tonic. Not only does it taste great but forty minutes later I feel on top of the world.

                                                                                      Two requirements for me though. First, it must be made from sweet organic carrots, not easy to find around upstate NY these days- most carrots will sweeten up nicely when roasted, but only the really good ones are suitable for juicing. I tried a bagged organic brand and the juice was so bitter I didn't enjoy it at all. I had to juice apples along with the carrots for it to be at all palatable.
                                                                                      Second, for me the juice needs to be consumed within a few minutes of juicing to deliver that full strength nutritive body rush. After even ten minutes it just isn't the same.

                                                                                      1. Not directly related to uses and abuses of carrots, but I was just reading about Jeff Dunn, a former exec in Coca Cola, about his career in, and post, CC, and how it turned around towards ...... carrots.

                                                                                        http://www.fastcompany.com/1739774/ho...

                                                                                        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/job...

                                                                                        The book I'm reading is Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss:
                                                                                        http://www.amazon.com/Salt-Sugar-Fat-...

                                                                                        1. So, according to numerous web sources, carrots were all originally purple.

                                                                                          I bought my first purple carrots at a street market in China, which initially I made like mashed potatoes. Super yum.

                                                                                          Oven purple carrot chips with big flakes of salt are also great.

                                                                                          And although I personally love the carrot, in all its colours, a handful steamed in the microwave and then whirred invisibly into just about anything with beef or pork is a quick way to sneak in a little more nutrition for the kiddoes.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                            Yep, the orange carrots so familiar to us today were bred by the Dutch beginning in the 16th century. I've been told that this was to honor their rulers, the House of Orange, but I can't be sure whether that part is true.

                                                                                          2. In Japan, there is a special variety of carrot from Kyoto that is red. I can get them at a market in Tokyo, but they are about three or four times more expensive than regular orange carrots.

                                                                                             
                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                              Gorgeous!!! I can find different colors (purple, yellow, red, white) at the farmers market in nyc right now- one of the few fall/winter veggies i don't get tired of...

                                                                                            2. I sometimes do a roasted carrot and beet salad. Roast carrots and beets whole (the carrots will get a bit blackened on the outside), dice, and dress with toasted cumin seeds, lemon juice and olive oil.

                                                                                              I also like Marcella Hazan's braised carrots - carrots slow cooked in a pan in a single layer with butter and water, uncovered, until well browned and dry, then fresh grated parmesan at the end.

                                                                                              I'm a fan of raw grated carrot salad - grated carrots, toasted cumin and mustard seed, lemon juice, a touch of honey, and olive oil. Also good with raw grated beets added in.

                                                                                              1. Mirepoix/soffritto or stock. Otherwise, I am not a big fan. Too fibrous when raw and too sweet when cooked.