Carrots, Cheese, Honey…what more?

I try my best to make recipes out of cooking magazines I get each month.  The most recent one I went for was from Food & Wine — Glazed Carrots with Goat Cheese and Honey.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I eliminated this)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds medium carrots, peeled
6 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tarragon sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
2 bay leaves
2 star anise (couldn’t find any, went with anise seeds, even though I know they are different)
1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon mustard seeds
Kosher salt
Pepper
2 tablespoons honey, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups chicken stock

Gremolata

1 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon finely grated garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Pepper
6 ounces fresh goat cheese*I had the goat cream cheese on hand and used that and flaky sea salt, for serving

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Directions:

In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter 
in the olive oil. Add the carrots, garlic, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, star anise and the cumin, fennel and mustard seeds and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are golden, about 12 minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons of honey and cook, stirring, until the honey is lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and cook until the carrots are evenly coated, about 2 minutes. Add the stock, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the liquid is syrupy, about 20 minutes; discard the herb sprigs, bay leaves and star anise. Transfer the carrots to a plate and let cool slightly; halve lengthwise.**I cut them before I started cooking to avoid having to do this now/at this point.
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To make the gremolata, in a medium bowl, combine the parsley, tarragon, garlic, lemon zest and olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
Spread the goat cheese on plates and drizzle with honey. Top with the carrots and gremolata, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve.

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It was tasty but took some time.  Worth it but not the highest on my list.  I think one of the biggest annoyances was all the fresh herbs and the small quantities of spices you need for flavors.  Four grocery stores later on a freezing (that doesn’t even qualify it) day, most of them were found.

 

Roasted Squash Heaven

Made another delicious recipe from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook the other day as pary of a friend’s 50th birthday dinner. I can’t find anything bad from his book.  Just love it! This time it was Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onions with Tahini & Za’atar

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash (2 1/4 lb), cut into 3/4 by 2 1/2″ wedges (I peeled it and cut into cubes)
2 red onions, cut into  1 1/4″ wedges
3 1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 1/2 tbsp tahini
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water
1 garlic close, crushed
3 1/2 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp za’atar
1 tbsp coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt & pepper

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Directions:
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Put the squash and onion in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tbsp of the oil, 1 tsp salt and some pepper and toss well.  Spread on a baking sheet with the skin facing down and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through.  Keep an eye on the onions as they might cook faster than the squash and need to be removed earlier.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

To make the sauce, place the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic and 1/4 tsp salt.  Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini if necessary.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil into a small frying pain and place over medium-low heat.  Add the pine nuts along with the 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown.  Remove from heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking.

To serve, spread the vegetables out on a large serving platter and drizzle over the tahini.  Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top, followed by the za’atar and parsley.

This was served with a spinach salad from the same cookbook and some roasted shrimp. Could barely stop eating this stuff.  Definitely on the list to make again.

dinner

 

 

Green Bamboo

Had a recommendation from a friend for a great Asian restaurant in Rockville, MD right next to the Twinbrook Metro station to check out.  It’s Green Bamboo.  They have various food and drink happy hours as well as evening food specials.

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I started with a simple house Asian salad with ginger dressing — a whopping $2 for the special of the evening.  It was made with spinach, which was unique.  This thing was huge, with a great taste.

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I ordered the Sashimi dinner that had 6 different fish on it.  It also comes with soup. The pieces were all so good.  I very much remember the salmon and how it just melted in my mouth.  The platter also had these great spirals of carrots.  Very nice presentation.

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My friend ordered some rolls and sashimi pieces that were very nicely done and apparently tasted very good.

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My one comment, don’t ask about wine here.  The waitress had little awareness of dry wine, or even what sauv blanc vs riesling are.  So go basic or know what you want.

Overall, great dinner, check this place out.  Good prices, good service and good to have on your list.

Taqueria el Poblano

Was finally able to visit a Mexican restaurant that I have only heard great things about.  Checked out Taqueria el Poblano in Alexandria/Del Ray, VA.  They also have 2 locations in Arlington.

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At such a restaurant one much always start the meal off with a margarita.  Very nicely done!  Found out later they also make them with some Grand Marnier and decided to give that a try…can’t complain at all.

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Opted for the other mandatory piece at such a restaurant, guacamole.  Just the perfect balance of smooth vs. chunks and nice spices in there.  The chips were ok.

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One of their specials that night was lobster tacos.  Uh, yeah, I think I’ll order those!  AMAZING.  I don’t think I’d ever had lobster tacos.  Huge chunks of meat in those things, some non-mayo coleslaw and other great flavors.  So much good food.

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My friend opted for pork tacos that came with green peppers, cheese and other great stuff.

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We were stuffed to the brim.  Definitely have to go back here.