Carrots with Caramelized Ginger

Deep breaths… focus… don’t stress out.  These are the thoughts that are going through my head right now as I cook dinner for 16 guests.  Eric and I throw two dinner parties each year: a winter BBQ in February and a sit down “Friendsgiving” dinner the Saturday before the actual holiday.  It’s something we always look forward to, but the days prior are a bit stressful.  There’s the process of finalizing the menu, creating the shopping list, coming up with a schedule for when to prepare certain dishes.  Then I spend about 24 hours in the kitchen, banging out all the recipes, marinating the meat (we never do turkey), and making sure we have enough appetizers and booze to keep everyone happy.

And thank goodness for Eric.  The guy is a HUGE help.  He tends to the bathroom and vacuums the dog-hair covered carpet (it’s impressive the amount of hair that pup leaves behind) and sets the table.  AND he makes sure I stay sane.  There’s usually a point during the day (around hour 18) where I start to get a little grumpy and start throwing little hissy fits about a variety of things, none of which are rational reasons to get upset.  He is also the grill master and takes care of preparing whatever protein we’re serving as the main course.

When cooking such a feast, I try to use recipes that require minimal preparation.  There are the peas with orange and mint, decadent cocoa brownies, and now these carrots: buttery, sweet, peppery… utterly delightful.  It’s balanced and succulent, and it makes you wonder why you’ve never cooked them like this before.

Keep it simple… relax… breathe.  It will all be okay.  This is what I’m telling myself as I wait for the first dinner guest to arrive.

Carrots with Caramelized Ginger

(recipe by Jill Dupleix, from the April 2011 issue of Bon Appetit)

serves 6

Ingredients

2 8-ounce packages peeled baby carrots with some tops still attached

3 tablespoons butter, divided

Fine sea salt

3 tablespoons honey, divided

6 thin slices peeled fresh ginger, cut into matchstick-size pieces

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves

Preparation

Arrange carrots in single layer in heavy large skillet. Add 1 1/2 cups water and 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bring to boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer carrots to plate. Add 2 tablespoons honey and ginger to skillet and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Boil until juices are syrupy and pale golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon honey, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spoon ginger sauce over carrots and let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly. Scatter parsley leaves over and serve.

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  • Jen @ My Kitchen AddictionNovember 19, 2011 - 9:19 pm

    Oh, I can totally relate! I am stressing out right along side of you. We are hosting 11 for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday (from both sides of the family… yikes!). I might have to steal your idea for these carrots… They look divine!ReplyCancel

  • MikeVFMKNovember 19, 2011 - 11:26 pm

    I know you’ll be pulling this off and right about now you’re probably relaxed and indulging in a few drinks with your friends. If this one dish is any indication, dinner will be/was a success! Love these carrots!ReplyCancel

  • MollyNovember 20, 2011 - 12:39 am

    Friendsgiving. That makes me smile.

    I’ve never seen bagged, peeled baby carrots with their green mops still on their head. Now I’m curious as to where I can find them.ReplyCancel

  • Ron HilbinkNovember 20, 2011 - 9:35 am

    I’m sure your guests enjoyed this thoughtfully prepared Friends Dinner. You’re Awesome!ReplyCancel

  • GeorgieNovember 20, 2011 - 10:36 am

    I couldn’t think of a lovelier way to spend the weekend before Thanksgiving then at a “Friendsgiving” gathering. Especially with the scrumptious menu you served. I too get a little nervous before cooking for big events, until I get started and into a groove I finally get comfortable. I hope you had a wonderful time!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle MaskalyNovember 20, 2011 - 12:12 pm

    Those look fabulous. I’m always the only vegetarian at the Thanksgiving dinner table, so something like this could work for me and the other meateaters.ReplyCancel

  • Kiri W.November 20, 2011 - 1:57 pm

    Interesting! I’ve never seen the greens used, but the presentation is gorgeous :)ReplyCancel

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the KitchenNovember 20, 2011 - 7:07 pm

    Yes, deep breath. You are amazing in the kitchen and I know everything you make will be a huge hit but the stress of doing it all can get overwhelming can’t it? Been there my friend.ReplyCancel

  • LirenNovember 20, 2011 - 8:36 pm

    Deep breaths. Thank you for the reminder, I know I can forget too! Keeping things simple and flavorful is truly the best way to enjoy hosting grand dinners, and I know I would just love these carrots. They are gorgeous! Happy Thanksgiving to both you and Eric!ReplyCancel

  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.November 20, 2011 - 9:13 pm

    looks and sounds delicious!ReplyCancel

  • IlkeNovember 20, 2011 - 9:45 pm

    I do get worried about how everything will turn out but everything turns out just fine…even if I screw up a dish and don’t get the desired result, nobody makes a big deal out of it and we keep going!
    Thank goodness for simple dishes like this , though! :)ReplyCancel

  • Sneh | Cook RepublicNovember 20, 2011 - 9:58 pm

    I think you and me have the same roles while Eric does what Nick does. And what an amazing job of vacuuming and neatening up they do, don’t they? This is a beautiful dish. I bet you knocked everyone’s Thanksgiving socks off! :-)ReplyCancel

  • MonetNovember 20, 2011 - 10:32 pm

    Such lovely carrots…such a simple yet satisfying recipe. I know the pressure that mounts as the big day approaches. But I also know that you and Eric will do a STUPENDOUS job. Thank you for sharing your recipe and words my friend. No better way to end my weekend. I hope you have a week full of family and feasting. Blessings from Austin!ReplyCancel

  • JeanetteNovember 20, 2011 - 10:52 pm

    Love how you keep it simple (a few deep yoga breaths don’t hurt). You’re lucky you have Eric – what a perfect tag team. Wish I had that. I have five boys (including my husband), so it’s all me on T-day, more reason to keep it simple!ReplyCancel

  • amelia from z tasty lifeNovember 21, 2011 - 10:25 am

    What a wonderful idea: “Friendsgiving” (I will convert the way we call ours to this new acquired name)! This year it’s at our house and I have just finished planning the menu… so I can sit down and take a deep breath too. These carrots are too adorable to eat, btw! Love.ReplyCancel

  • Cookin' CanuckNovember 21, 2011 - 10:40 am

    I hope you had an amazing feast – what lucky friends you have. Eric sounds like an huge help – I always need someone to talk me out of my hissy fits, too. These carrots sounds positively addictive.ReplyCancel

  • The Dinner Belle for Kimberlybelle.comNovember 21, 2011 - 11:21 am

    These are going into my menu. If they taste as good as I look I can’t wait! Sometimes the simplest is the best. Thanks for sharing!

    The Dinner Belle for Kimberlybelle.comReplyCancel

  • jaclynNovember 21, 2011 - 11:40 am

    those carrots are beautiful…i love how simple, earthy and classic a side dish like that is.

    i can also totally relate to pre-party hissy fits, stress and other related freak-outs. you’re so lucky to have Eric! my fiance is relegated to the cleaning, tidying and of course, calming me down during the numerous hissy fits, tantrums and assorted freak-outs i have while cooking in the kitchen.

    we also throw a friendsgiving each year before thanksgiving! it’s such a fun excuse to get all of out friends under the same roof to feast. we didn’t have one this year though, since we’re getting married in three weeks and i’ve no time to cook :( oh well, next year!

    happy thanksgiving! :)ReplyCancel

  • chinmayie @ love food eatNovember 21, 2011 - 12:07 pm

    I am sure everybody had a great time and loved all the delicious food you cooked!
    Carrots look super pretty :)ReplyCancel

  • bakersroyaleNovember 22, 2011 - 12:37 am

    I totally agree-breathe, relax and enjoy .. . . wait people are coming here to eat?? Lots of people-eeeeeek!!! That usually my thought for the week preceding any gathering.

    Somehow I’m pretty sure all you guests are going to absolutely love your cooking.ReplyCancel

  • Gingered Grean Beans RecipeNovember 22, 2011 - 9:41 am

    [...] Roasted Acorn Squash with Walnuts and Cranberries.  A few more ideas from around the web:Carrots with Caramelized Ginger from A Thought for Food Red Rice and Quinoa Stuffing With Mushrooms and Kale from NY Times Pears [...]ReplyCancel

  • Ken⏐hungry rabbitNovember 22, 2011 - 10:43 am

    Ginger ginger ginger, we are definitely in sync to post gingery recipes in the same week. I agree my friend, simplicity is the way to go on big holidays. Happy Thanksgiving to you, E and family.ReplyCancel

  • KimberleyNovember 22, 2011 - 12:52 pm

    This is my second year doing a Friendsgiving – but at ours we only take on the bird and some appetizers and perhaps a punch or easy cocktail. Divvy up the labor, friend! It’s funny how stressful entertaining can be, and how much we love it in spite of this.ReplyCancel

  • Andrew FrishmanNovember 25, 2011 - 9:51 pm

    Mnnn. . . I loves me some ginger, especially when it’s not some weird red-haired kid.

    A mi, me parece jengibre, en todas sus formas, a ser deliciosa.ReplyCancel

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    [...] Roasted Carrots and Caramelized Ginger  [...]ReplyCancel

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