Brown Butter Roasted Carrots with Currants

BROWN BUTTER CARROTS-0077.jpg
BROWN BUTTER CARROTS-0160.jpg
BROWN BUTTER CARROTS-0205.jpg
BROWN BUTTER CARROTS-0267.jpg

I'm not one to plan out my recipes. They usually come to me as I'm browsing the produce section; though, more often than not, nothing formulates until I'm in the kitchen. With these roasted carrots, however, I knew exactly how I was going to prepare them. It may seem a bit over-the-top, but there's a reason everyone goes bonkers for all things "brown butter." There's a richer, deeper (often described as "nutty") flavor and it really comes out when you cook vegetables this way. But if you're worried that this dish might be too rich, don't be. The lemon juice and zest, the sweet currants and the earthiness of the carrot greens keep it balanced. With that said, these feel like special occasion carrots, best saved for the holidays. 

BROWN BUTTER ROASTED CARROTS WITH SAUTEED CARROT TOPS AND CURRANTS

Yield
6 servings

Ingredients
12 carrots, with carrot tops attached
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tsps lemon juice
1/8 cup currants
Lemon zest
Salt

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Remove carrot tops from carrots and thoroughly wash both in water. Dry and then coarsely chop the greens. Set aside. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and then cut the into 2-3 inch pieces. 

3. Melt the butter in a large, oven-safe saute pan set over medium heat. Give the butter an occasional swirl and cook until it's brown and smells nutty, about 8 minutes. Add the carrots to the pan and, using a long spoon, carefully coat them with butter. Season with salt and transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 20 minutes, giving them a quick stir after 10 minutes. 

4. Remove carrots from the oven and, using tongs, transfer the carrots to a bowl, leaving the majority of the butter in the pan. Return the saucepan (with the butter still in it) to the stove set over medium heat. Add carrot tops and cook, tossing occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add in lemon juice and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for another 30 seconds, until greens have wilted.

5. Transfer carrot tops to a serving platter and then top with roasted carrots. Sprinkle currants over the carrots and finish the dish with lemon zest.  

Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Chili Oil)

Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Chili Oil) from A Thought For Food
SHRIMP GARLIC CHILI OIL_BLOG_SEPTEMBER 2017-8769.jpg
SHRIMP GARLIC CHILI OIL_BLOG_SEPTEMBER 2017-2.jpg
Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Chili Oil) from A Thought For Food
Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Chili Oil) from A Thought For Food

I turn 33 on Friday, but my birthday is the last thing on my mind right now. There are plenty of things keeping me preoccupied. We're getting our house painted next week... which I didn't realize would be such a big, expensive project... but it is (yay home ownership!) There are a lot of elements to consider. Most of the exterior needs to be stripped before it can be painted and a couple of shingles will be repaired. The thing that's been stressing us out is the task of picking out colors. Our house is a Victorian, built in 1890, and it has four colors on it (six, if you count the door and the porch floor). My brain can handle one or two, but four is a lot to process. We knew we wanted some greens, but besides that we're completely lost. Luckily, we have a friend who does beautiful home design work and she was gracious enough to guide us through some options. We've picked out a really nice collection: two greens, a dark purple accent, an off-white trim, and a soft yellow for the door. I'm pretty psyched about it.

The other big thing is that in less than two weeks, I'll be heading off to Spain to tour some wineries in Ribera del Duero and Rueda, about 2.5 hours north of Madrid! If that weren't exciting enough, Eric is going to join me at the end so we can spend a few days exploring Madrid. We'll check out as many museums as we can, and the rest of the time will be spent walking and eating and drinking. We're hoping to take a day trip to Toledo, but we haven't made any concrete plans yet.

In honor of our upcoming trip, I pulled out a recipe from the most recent issue of Food & Wine, which happens to be dedicated to Spain (perfect timing!). I've consumed shrimp in garlic oil at my share of tapas restaurants and have never been disappointed. Chances were, this would go well. I made very few adaptations, because why mess around with a good thing? The first, less important change, was that I didn't have whole red chile on hand so I used crushed red chili pepper instead. The other two modifications may be frowned upon by traditionalists, but I felt strongly that I wanted to cut the richness a bit. This is always a thing for me. I love butter and cheese and oil and all that fatty deliciousness, but I'm always looking for balance in a dish. So, acidity is key. The changes seemed harmless enough: a small amount of diced tomato and lemon juice. It did the trick, but didn't alter the integrity of the recipe.

Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Chili Oil) from A Thought For Food

GAMBAS AL AJILLO (SHRIMP IN GARLIC CHILI OIL)

Source
Slightly adapted from the September 2017 issue of Food and Wine

Yield
4 servings

Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs. shelled and deveined large shrimp, tails intact
Kosher salt
1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic
1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red chili flakes
1/2 cup minced parsley
2 Tbsp. dry sherry, such as manzanilla (alternatively, dry vermouth works)
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Crusty bread, for serving

Directions

1. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and let stand for 10 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, in an 9-10 inch cast-iron skillet, combine garlic and olive oil and cook over moderately low heat until fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in chili flakes and cook for another 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until they turn a light pink color, approximately 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the parsley, sherry, lemon zest and lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt. Remove from heat and let stand until the shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.  Serve in the skillet along with some crusty bread.   

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa (Video)

The docks were put away this weekend and we've started talking about closing up the Cape house. I'm trying not to think about it too much. As much as I love fall, I'm not ready for summer to be over. So, I'll just continue grilling and mixing gin and tonics and wearing shorts and flip-flops until the very end. 

Salsa fresca used to be one of my favorite warm-weather treats until I started making salsa verde. Tomatillo and jalapeño are grilled and then blended with garlic, cilantro and lime juice. It's a little tart and sweet and spicy. You can dunk tortilla chips in or spoon it over fish tacos or scrambled eggs or serve it with some rice and beans and grilled peppers. Point being: you can put it on just about anything. 

TOMATILLO IMAGE.jpg

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients
1 lb tomatillo, husks removed
1 jalapeño
1/8 cup cilantro leaves
1 garlic clove
Salt
Juice of 1/2 lime.
Olive oil

Directions
Place the tomatillo and jalapeño in a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. 

Preheat grill on high for 5 minutes. Place tomatillo and jalapeño on grill and cook, turning occasionally, until charred on each side and the tomatillo gets softer (but not totally mushy). Remove from heat.

Transfer tomatillo and jalapeño to the bowl of a blender. Add cilantro, garlic clove, lime juice, and salt. Pulse until completely blended.

Pour into a bowl and serve with tortilla chips.