Whole-Roasted Local Carrots with Honey and Fresh Sage | Served with Warm Kamut Orzo and Chanterelle Mushroom Salad

With the farmers’ market in Lake Country now finished for the year (not impressed!), this past weekend we branched out and made a trip to Kelowna to check out the farmers’ and crafters’ market there. As the largest of its kind in BC, you’d think I would have given myself longer than an hour to look around, but it was only as we left the trailer park around noon that I realized the market runs from 8am – 1pm each Saturday. Oops. Should have quit lollygagging around the RV and gotten my butt in gear earlier. Anyhow, with the time available to me I quickly scanned the food vendors’ carts, which ranged from crepes to baked goods to Mexican, lingered for probably a bit longer than necessary at a stall selling tie died clothing (I have a thing for tie-die, don’t ask), and passed by multiple tables (why so many?) hocking magnetic bracelets purporting to cure numerous maladies and ailments, before grinding to a complete halt before a spread of super cute handbags and wallets (my other obsession, besides food) made entirely from repurposed leather jackets and vintage fabric. Successfully fighting the urge to purchase a wallet I don’t need, I moved on to an adjacent vendor, where my wherewithal to not spend money eroded completely. Sigh. Who could possibly resist a handmade ceramic tag with his or her name on it? Not me…

In my determination to find a tag with each of our names on it, which involved digging madly through several bowls containing hundreds of tags each, not only did I work myself into a hot sweat, but managed to distract myself from what I’d gone there to do, namely size up the fresh fruits and vegetables. With the few minutes I had remaining I made a beeline for the first enticing thing that caught my eye, which happened to be a table piled high with beautiful exotic-coloured carrots. I grabbed a few of each colour: red, orange, white and best of all, PURPLE. I didn’t have a specific plan for the carrots at the time but already a few ideas were coming to mind: a nice salad or slaw, or maybe I could do to them what I do best… roast ’em. I also considered snacking on a few right on the spot, because I was starving and all the food vendors’ carts had already closed. But I resisted.

So that was it for my first foray to the Kelowna farmers’ market. Next time I’m giving myself more time to look around and steering clear of the non-food items so as to emerge at the end with more ingredients to cook with than a bag of carrots! The following day I set about putting them to use, keen to see how they differed from conventional orange carrots (verdict: WAY tastier). I decided I’d work with them whole so as not to interfere with their good looks, and figured that roasting them in the oven would be an effective way to draw out their natural flavour. I had some fresh sage in the fridge and had just bought a lovely jar of honey from Armstrong, and I thought a little bit of each would work well with sweetness of the carrots.

I also had some local Chanterelle mushrooms on hand that needed to be used, so I set about making a little pasta dish to go with my carrots. I have plenty of experience cooking with white and brown mushrooms as well as Portobellos, but Chanterelles were new to me, and admittedly a little outside of my culinary comfort zone. When I spotted them at the produce stand a couple days earlier I was slightly put off by their appearance, being somewhat more ‘wild’ and unruly-looking than your average edible mushroom, if that makes sense. I wondered if these things were in fact edible or intended for other purposes altogether? Could they be poisonous? What ever happened to my copy of this? Once I got them home I cautiously nibbled the edge of one, and swear I immediately experienced a mild tingling sensation on my tongue (which sent me directly to WebMD to self-diagnose) but moments later the tingling vanished and I was still breathing, so it must have been psychosomatic. Fungi-neuroses aside, the Chanterelles were fun to cook with. Their flavour is mild and nutty and a good complement to the kamut orzo pasta and walnuts I happened to have in the pantry. Fresh parsley and goat cheese, added just before serving, brighten up the dish both in taste and appearance, without overpowering the mild flavour of the mushrooms. I was quite pleased with my colourful little meal!

Recipe: Whole-Roasted Local Carrots with Honey and Fresh Sage | Served with Warm Kamut Orzo and Chanterelle Mushroom Salad

Ingredients:

Whole-Roasted Local Carrots with Honey and Fresh Sage

Makes 2 servings

  • 6 carrots, local if possible
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 fresh sage leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Warm Kamut Orzo and Chanterelle Mushroom Salad

Makes 2 servings

  • 2/3 cup kamut orzo, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups Chanterelle mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Prepare carrots: Preheat oven to 400F. Peel carrots and place in a single layer on a large piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and honey, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place sage leaves on top of carrots. Fold in edges of aluminum foil to create a tight package around carrots. Place package on a baking sheet and put in oven to roast for 30 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven and carefully open foil. Set oven to broil and put carrots back in oven for another 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Prepare orzo salad: Cook orzo according to package instructions, or until al dente. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside. In a skillet over medium heat, heat butter and olive oil. Add Chanterelles, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and saute until tender. Add chopped walnuts and stir until just golden brown. Fold in orzo, and stir until combined with other ingredients. Remove from heat and fold in fresh parsley, then crumbled goat cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange your roasted carrots on a plate alongside a a couple generous scoops of warm orzo salad. Admire your creation, then eat!

 

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