A couple of new recipes tried

So a little catching up here — over the weekend, I did something which I thought I had tried before but apparently not, a zucchini, fennel and white bean pasta:

Zucchini, fennel and white bean pasta

Quite delicious — the recipe is here, and as always I removed the salt (seeing as the goat cheese would add enough as it stood).

The other day, wanting something a little lighter, I settled on a snow pea and carrot salad with miso-tamari dressing:

Snow pea and carrot salad with miso-tamari dressing

Now this to me was the real winner, good as the pasta was — a wonderful blend of flavors and textures all around, and a very simple recipe at that. More stuff to come later in the week…

Kale and carrot salad

Kale and carrot salad

So this one grew out of the fact I had plenty of kale around, not much lettuce and little desire to cook or steam the kale, especially in this weather. As I had a lot of carrots too I did a bit of scrounging and found this recipe (it downloads as a PDF), which as it states:

This is a new twist on kale because it is not cooked. The acid from the lemon and orange juice actually soften and sweeten the kale.

Which it did! Extremely enjoyable results and a good hot weather dish, so give it a whirl…

Fried cabbage on brown rice

Another recipe that came with the latest basket — enjoyable, might have needed more curry powder or seasoning to give it some extra punch but plenty filling!

1 sm Onion, finely chopped
6 tb Oil
1 lg Tomato, sliced
1/2 ts Salt
1/2 ts Curry powder
1 md Cabbage, shredded
2 ea Carrots, sliced into rounds
1 ea Green bell pepper, chopped

Over moderate heat, fry the onion in oil until lightly browned, stirring to prevent scorching. Add tomatoes, salt & curry powder & continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes.
Add cabbage, carrots & pepper & mix well. Pour in about 1/2 c water. Cover the pot, reduce heat & simmer until the liquid is abosrbed & the cabbage is still slightly crunchy.

Potato carrot soup


I’ve done this kind of soup plenty of times before but it’s always good to revisit — in this case, I wanted to use up the rest of the potatoes I had around but I didn’t want to just do another creamy style soup like I’d done last week. The advantage of this soup — the recipe can be found here — is that it’s really quite simple and relies on two things: a little preparation in advance and time to let it really cook through. In this case I went for a full two hours and the result’s excellent — there’s no noodles or rice or the like in this soup but it wasn’t missed, all one needs is a bit of bread to help fill in the corners.

What to do with carrot tops aka carrot greens

Or another lesson in how to make the Internet work for you.

I’d been dimly aware for some time that you can use carrot tops in cooking, but hadn’t really pursued anything about it until the start of July. At a small get-together in SF my friend M. White noted his frustration that so many American markets removed the tops of carrots when in his experience (based in part on having lived in France for a number of years) they were a perfectly natural part of any number of dishes.

Carrot tops’ reputation for being inedible doubtless results from two reasons — taste and (potentially) health reasons. In terms of taste, raw carrot tops can be fairly bitter — it has a carrot taste to it regardless, but it won’t be for everyone, though you can use them in salads easily enough if you have a mind. The larger question of health is one of the biggest question marks when it comes to using them — if you read this recent NY Times story, for instance, you might be inclined to run away from carrot tops as quickly as you can. But this site provides a much more balanced take:

They ARE edible and are highly nutritive, rich in protein, minerals and vitamins. The tops of the carrots are loaded with potassium which can make them bitter, so the use of them in food is limited, but there some ideas and recipes below.

However, it is edible, so you may mix some in with a mixed lettuce salad. You may also use it for garnish. Combine your common sense and your creative skills, and invent something! That’s what makes cooking fun. It is a form of art. Carrot greens are high in vitamin K, which is lacking in the carrot itself.

Carrot tops are an outstanding source of chlorophyll, the green pigment that studies have shown to combat the growth of tumours. Chlorophyll contains cleansing properties that purify the blood, lymph nodes, and adrenal glands. Scientists have been unable to synthesize chlorophyll in the laboratory, but green plant foods contain sufficient quantities to protect the human body.

The leaves do contain furocoumarins that may cause allergic contact dermatitis from the leaves, especially when wet. Later exposure to the sun may cause mild photodermatitis. (This is NOT the same as ‘poisonous’ – it will only affect susceptible people with allergies to the plant. Some people have the same reaction to yarrow, ragwort, chamomile etc.)

There is a distinct difference between toxins and allergens. Carrots (Daucus carota), whether wild or domesticated, are not toxic, they are allergenic. This is like peanuts, which are not toxic but can kill those who are allergic to them.

Which again may sound somewhat unfun, but the point is, essentially, know your allergies. A little experimentation might help.

Anyway I’ve spent part of the past month trying to work with the carrot tops I get via my CSA baskets, with the first attempt being a Tuscan carrot top and rice soup that you can find a recipe for pretty easily all over the net. But the other night, getting a slew of the magnificent carrots from my garden meant a LOT of fresh carrot tops, so I wanted to try some other things.

So a couple of nights ago, I found this recipe which had just gone up at the site Cheap Healthy Good — a carrot top scramble. And I gave it a whirl:
Carrot top scramble

I probably should have added more carrot top to it but it was nice, certainly strong when it came to flavor but very enjoyable through and through.

Last night, meanwhile, I did some further scrounging around and discovered another soup recipe via Tonopah Rob’s Vegetable Farm, a carrot top and quinoa soup. Since I had some quinoa around I wasn’t sure what to do with, this was a perfect thing to try:
Carrot top and quinoa soup

The strong flavor of the carrot tops meshed very well with the broth — the recipe suggests beef bouillon but I went as ever with vegetable instead and it tasted mighty fine. Currently got several servings of it on ice for later thawing and use.

There’s other ideas out there, but that’s a start! Give it a whirl and see what might happen!

[UPDATE NOVEMBER 2010 — thanks to everyone very much for your regular visits to this blog entry of mine, which to my gentle delight has become the most regularly read one on my site over these past few years. I wanted to take the opportunity to link to a couple of other fine spots out there providing more recipes and ideas:

Grilled Carrots with Carrot Greens Pesto — this recipe, with handy photos, comes courtesy of the excellent Not Eating Out in New York blog.

Salad of Edible Radish, Beet & Carrot Top Greens — a very inspired away around those ‘extra’ greens, courtesy of another killer blog, White On Rice Couple.

Feel free to keep posting ideas and suggestions in the comments as well! I deeply enjoy how this has become a resource for that over time and hope to see it continue.)

Stir-fried zucchini, carrots and leeks


Good little recipe from the most recent CSA delivery — in this case served with white rice but you could probably have it go with about anything.

2 md young zucchini
3 Fresh carrots
2 lg Leeks
3 Cloves garlic
1 ts Ginger, minced
2 tb Peanut oil
1/4 ts Sesame oil
1/2 ts Salt
1/2 ts Sugar
1/4 ts 5-spice powder

Preparation: Wash vegetables. Trim zucchini and slice into 2″ long matchsticks. Peel carrots and cut into 2″ long matchsticks. Trim leeks and do likewise. Peel garlic and cut into thin slices.

Stir-frying: Heat peanut oil in hot wok until it starts to smoke. Stir-fry garlic and ginger for 30 seconds, splashing with water to prevent burning. Add carrots and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Add leeks; stir-fry for 1 minute. Add zucchini; stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Sprinkle with seasonings, tossing ingredients as you do. When vegetables are cooked, sprinkle with sesame oil. Transfer to serving platter or individual plates to serve.

Oven baked zucchini & carrot fritters

Meanwhile, tonight I tried a recipe from this blog which I’m definitely going to want to investigate further for other recipes. This was quite delicious!