Late January

As I begin writing, my roommate’s cat has decided that he deserves my attention more than this blog post…

Cat

I had the extreme pleasure of making the most delicous salad the other day, but more on that in a bit. A dear friend visited me in Providence this past weekend, and it turned out to be the ultimate opportunity to try out a few places that have been destinations of mine for a while. Brickway on Wickendon has been on my list since I discovered Wickendon Street, it’s very close to my apartment, the decor’s neat, and I’m always on the prowl for a good breakfast place. Basic impression; sastisfying food – nothing worth raving about, had a breakfast burrito that I enjoyed because it was stuffed with good stuff, but was definitely missing some seasoning.

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We also took a little trip to Pastiche, I have no idea what took me so long to get here! This gourmet bakery has a very unique cafe like set up, we enjoyed some hot chocolate and wonderful pastries. Besides the superflous amount of whipped cream on my banana cream pie, this was the best slice of pie I have had in a very long time. There wasn’t much to it, but I think that was the point. The bananas were at perfect ripeness, simply sliced, topped with a little pastry cream (I assume), then piled high with whipped cream, and finally drizzled with caramel. What I experienced that day was a dessert that treated its ingredients properly and heightened the unique flavors of each component.

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RI has a great wintertime farmer’s market located in Pawtucket. It get uncomfortably crowded, but it’s worth the discomfort to get farm fresh eggs, some fresh produce, and other goodies like RI honey, pasta sauce, seafood, and meat products. This was the first time I had been since last year, my work schedule prevents me from going the 2 days it’s open during the week. It was here (and Whole Foods) that we picked up the ingredients for the incredible salad mentioned before. Basically, it’s composed of a rich and creamy avocado base, spiced roasted carrot body, and fresh sprout accent.
Carrot SaladThe, friend who was visiting had bookmarked this recipe so we decided to prepare it for lunch. The recipe comes from the New York Times, and is adapted from the restaurant ABC Kitchen, which has been on my Manhattan list for a while as well. As per usual, didn’t follow the recipe exactly, so here are my variations:

  • Ground cumin’s all I had in my spice cabinet
  • Substituted chili flakes with some hot sauce (representin’ MA made food products!)
  • Missing red wine vinegar, so used balsamic instead
  • The “other” sprouts we used were pea sprouts, baby pea plants!
  • And left out the sour cream and pumpkin seeds, we just didn’t feel compelled to purchase them.
  • The flavorings here are basically like a marinade, so puree it all and just toss the carrots in it before roasting.

Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad

iNGREDIENTS

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound medium-size carrots peeled
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut in thin wedges
  • 1 ½ cups packed radish or other sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons roasted hulled pumpkin seeds

PREPARATION

1.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small food processor or a mortar, pulse or pound the garlic with the cumin, thyme, chile flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper to make a paste. Add vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the oil, and mix well.
2.
Arrange carrots in a roasting pan and spread spice paste on top. Place orange and lemon halves, cut side down, on carrots. Roast until carrots are tender and starting to brown, about 45 minutes.
3.
Using tongs, arrange carrots on a serving platter. With a dishtowel to protect your hands, squeeze juice from the roasted orange and lemon halves into a measuring cup. You should have about 1/2 cup juice. Beat in remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle some of this sauce over the carrots.
4.
Arrange avocado over carrots, then scatter sprouts on top. Drizzle with reserved sauce, top with dollops of sour cream and a sprinkling of the seeds. Serve.

Tonight, I made some soup with this salad in mind. I incorporated balsamic vinegar, thyme, and garlic roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes, as well as cumin and turmeric sauteed beans and carrots.

Squash Potato Soup

Have a great week everyone, make something delicious and savor it for a while in between   whatever hectic-ness your life might entail!

p.s. If you enjoy reading these random little blurbs, please do Follow, you can submit your email to be notified whenever I write a new post. I can guarantee that there will be no flooding of inboxes, seeing as how it takes me close to 2 weeks to write something new. Also, I insist that you comment, I would love to get some conversation going!

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