April 29, 2012

Maple Glazed Carrots

In early April, I was in Vermont, where spring was just beginning and maple syrup season was already in full swing and advertised everywhere.  Admittedly, most of my prior maple syrup knowledge comes from Laura Ingles Wilder stories, inspiring many failed attempts at making maple syrup candy made on a bed of snow.  Maple trees store starch in their roots during the winter and then converts that starch into sugar, which is held in the sap that rises in the tree during the spring.  Any number of maples, though predominately sugar, red or black, can be tapped in the spring to allow the sap to be collected, boiled to evaporate the water, creating thick syrup known as maple syrup.  The native peoples of North America have made maple syrup for hundreds of years, if not longer, and now the majority of the maple syrup consumed in the world is produced in Canada.  Maple syrup, composed mostly of sucrose and water, is an excellent replacement for other sweeteners and adds a rich earthy flavor to any number of dishes.  Maple glazed carrots are delicious with baked leeks and potato pancakes.

For Amy, who inspired these carrots.

4 medium carrots, quartered
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper
1. Melt the butter large pan over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and sauté until light golden brown.

2. Next, pour the maple syrup into the pan and stir to combine with the butter and onions.  Bring the maple syrup to a simmer, arrange the carrots evenly in the pan, cover and braise the carrots until just tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, 10-15 minutes.

3. Once the carrots are tender, remove them from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve the carrots warm or room temperature.  

Serves 3-4

April 15, 2012

Creamy Celeriac Soup

I was recently able to visit my friends who run Six River Farm in Maine, where spring is just beginning and a few roadside banks of melting snow remained. Though they are able to sell produce year round, the selection is more limited than their summer and fall abundance as the outdoor growing season is just getting started. However, I was able to bring home greens including spring mix, spinach, cabbage and kale and root vegetables including carrots, potatoes and one of my favorites, celeriac. I have featured celeriac before, purée with carrots and I continue to cook with this often-overlooked root vegetable. Roasting the celeriac for the soup creates a rich and well-balanced flavor, allowing few ingredients to be used for a simple creamy soup, especially delicious with an arugula and orange or beet and goat cheese salad.

For a vegan alternative, olive oil and water may be used in place of butter and cream.

2 medium celeriac roots, peeled and roughly chopped into 2" pieces

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 tbsp butter

2 c water

¼ c cream

salt and pepper

olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle the celeriac with enough olive oil to coat, toss and spread on a roasting sheet. Place the celeriac in the oven and roast until tender, 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Once the celeriac is golden brown and tender, remove from the oven and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Continue sautéing, adding the roasted celeriac and water, cover the soup and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes. Remove the soup from heat and cool slightly before blending.

3. Place the soup in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add cream and continue blending, adding small amounts of water as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or room temperature.

Serves 3-4

April 3, 2012


Edible herbs are part of longstanding culinary traditions in the Middle East, so much so that the word tabbouleh comes from tabil, the Arabic term for seasoning. Tabbouleh, a traditional Middle Eastern salad served as part of lunch and dinner, is most often made from fresh herbs, tomatoes and bulgur. Wheat berries are made into bulgur through a process of soaking, cooking, drying and cracking the whole kernels and is one of the oldest human culinary uses of wheat. Depending on the region, different tabbouleh recipes may have different proportions of bulgur to fresh herbs; however, I like to make mine about equal, so the herbs are fragrant against the chewy texture of the wheat berries. Homemade tabbouleh is delicious with roasted eggplant salad and balsamic marinated vegetables.

½ c bulgur

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

2 tbsp mint, finely chopped

1 medium tomato, finely diced

1 small onion, finely diced

1 clove garlic, pressed or finely chopped

1 lemon, juiced

½ tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

1. Soak the bulgar in water until tender, about 1 hour, drain thoroughly and set aside in a medium-mixing bowl.

2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bulgar and gently fold to combine. Marinate the tabbouleh for at least an hour before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Serves 3-4