What I love about putting a carrot dish on the buffet table is how its bright, dazzling color jumps out and instantly perks up the whole array of dishes on the table. But I know not everyone loves carrots.
I’ve noticed how I always tended to cater to my family’s tastes and included their favorite veggie dishes at special holiday meals. One liked cooked peas, another preferred green beans, while others would only eat broccoli. No doubt, other households faced similar likes and dislikes.
But as my children grew into adults and made their way in the world, their dining experiences helped to broaden their tastes considerably. Thank goodness! We creative cooks just can’t help being attracted to nuanced ideas. We’re constantly inspired to explore unique flavors, different vegetables, ethnic recipes, exotic herb blends, and anything that brings pleasant change to the palate.
Someone recently asked me where I found inspiration for new dishes. Like many of you, I’m surrounded with inspiration. Perhaps a trip to the market or farmer’s market will jump-start a recipe idea, sometimes it’s a color that inspires, or a bunch of gorgeous radishes pops out and an idea forms in my mind.
A perfect example of an inspiration is the julienne peeler my daughter bought for me. It’s a vegetable peeler with a row of tiny little teeth where the cutting blade would normally be. I’d never seen one before and thought I’d try it out on a carrot. First, I peeled the carrot with a regular peeler, then, applied the julienne peeler, cutting in long strips. What a fabulous discovery this little tool is! I kept playing with it until I had julienned four whole carrots. There was the start of this new dish!
It’s really easy and tasty as can be. What makes this dish stand apart is its unique appearance. Cutting the carrots ultra-thin like this makes them cook within a minute or two. Look for a julienne peeler in shops that specialize in kitchenware or order it from Crate & Barrel or Williams Sonoma. A good quality julienne peeler costs about $12 and really pays off. I also bought one that cost much less, but it doesn’t work as well.
Have fun with the new kitchen toy! I’m going to try mine on potatoes and parsnips next.
Yield: 4 to 5 servings
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into long matchsticks with a julienne peeler
1 small onion, sliced vertically into half moons
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup water
1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce, Tamari, or Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 to 2 teaspoons minced parsley
- Put the carrots, onion, garlic, sesame oil, and water in a large, deep skillet. Cook and stir over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until just tender. Add 1 or more tablespoons water if needed to prevent burning. When the carrots are soft, turn off the heat.
- Add soy sauce, lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the carrots to an attractive serving bowl and garnish with the sesame seeds and a sprinkle of minced parsley.