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Monday, April 16, 2007

Recipe: Spiced Island Carrots

If there is anything that takes a lot of style and grace, it's cooking for more than one. Cooking for one, on the other hand, is more like standing at the stove in an old t-shirt and your most comfortable pair of cotton panties (you know the ones) wondering if frozen chicken breasts carry salmonella. It sounds sad and lonely, but hey, at least you aren't subjecting anyone else to your various culinary hits and misses (or salmonella, as the case may be). I've been reading Amy Sedaris' book on "hospitality under the influence," I Like You, and it is awe-inspiringly hilarious, much like she is--the problem is, I don't entertain. There are no fancy dinner parties in this one-bedroom basement apartment, just a single girl with an ugly yellow kitchen and an old gas stove (it's bad news).

I refuse to be defeated by this, however, and like to experiment with crazy spices and herbs or whatever's on hand from the farmers' market, so most of the delicious, piquant dishes I come up with are on one-time-only offer. Like the following recipe for what I created tonight, dubbed "spiced island carrots" for now--partly inspired by Amy Sedaris' recipe for carrot medallions and partly by the mushy orange-juice glazed carrots I first had in my college dining halls. Really, carrots deserve better. This recipe makes about a cup and a half of carrots; I used half carrots and half zucchini (the zucchini was a bit of a failure, stick to carrots please) and had this as a side with teriyaki chicken.

1 tbsp olive oil
pinch saffron threads, lightly crushed between your thumb and forefinger
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp curry powder
3 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled and then chopped into "medallions"
juice of one lime
salt and pepper to taste

Hardware: 1 frying or sautee pan, stirring utensil

1. Heat the oil, saffron, garam masala, and curry powder over medium-high heat until fragrant, and the oil is smoky.
2. Add the sliced carrots and sautee until covered with spice and oil and warmed through. Pour in your lime juice and toss in a pinch of salt now. Sautee until the carrots are still crunchy but hot (does that make sense?)--you can keep going until they're soggy just like old times, your choice.
3. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

The resulting carrots are crunchy with a kick and pleasant tang. God, now I desperately want some white rice and macaroni salad--I had to choose tonight to start trying out this South Beach Diet nonsense! Why isn't there a Hawaiian beach diet, all Spam musubi, poi, teriyaki chicken and mac salad? What, I can't lose this spare tire eating like that?

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