Carrot Ginger Spread
I have a few vegetarian friends. I appreciate them and their vegetarian ways, most definitely. I do however, often find myself scratching my head when planning what to cook for these lovelies. It's not them, it's me, as it appears my most delicious meals tend to involve meat. How did that happen?...
I so very much want to serve up deliciousness for my non-meat loving companions. They deserve it just as much as my pork and lamb loving friends. So when I find myself meatless inspired, I roll with it. This carrot ginger spread is the basis for meatless wonder.
This spread was greatly inspired by one of Tracy's recipes from her site, Shutterbean. Tracy is a blast, I adore her posts and her sense of humour. She makes me want to bake (and fry) doughnuts and eat avocado and glaze things. I had seen a recipe for a carrot ginger dressing on Shutterbean, which sounded terribly scrumptious. It left me with a hankering to steam and puree a bunch of carrots. In doing so, I ended up with a simple, humble puree, rather thick and full of potential. I did not want to thin it out too keenly, for fear of missing out on spreading this orange mess thickly on fresh bread. And who wouldn't love to dip pita chips into this? Or carrot sticks? Hang on, that just seems wrong. Carrot on carrot...
Anyway I decided to leave it a little chunky. I envisaged scooping it into my salads, lashing it on fresh sourdough and smoothing it riiiiiight down with creme fraiche and sautéed mushrooms to create a snug little pasta sauce. This carrot ginger spread is friendly. It's willing to go places with you and hang out, dressed up or down. I find myself quite affectionate towards this concoction.
Last weekend, my parents and I loaded up some carrot goodness on fresh sourdough. I then piled on salad goods, pickled cucumber and onion, bocconcini, basil and ham. It was good. Especially with cider.
Carrot Ginger Spread
5 medium Carrots, chopped into 2cm thick rounds
1/4 cup Water saved from when you steamed the carrots
1 clove of Garlic, peeled
1 thumb size cube (~1.5cm x 1.5cm) of fresh Ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon juice (ideally a sweet Meyer Lemon - love)
Zest of 1/2 a Lemon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1. Steam the chopped carrots for ~10-15minutes until soft. When done, rinse the carrots under cold water. Reserve the steaming water for later use.
2. In a food processor, whiz the carrots, garlic, ginger, oil, lemon juice and zest and salt with most of the cooking water. Puree until smooth. Add more water if necessary until at the desired thickness. I enjoy a fairly thick spread.
3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Use in kale tacos. And salad and on bread and on crackers and with pasta. My dad enjoyed this spread in a sandwich with peanut butter. Go there, if you so please.
These bites make a super cute appetiser, paving the way for some cheese-and-bean-heavy nacho goodness as the main course - more vegetarian love right there. Perhaps you'll take the Asian flavours of soy and ginger and go with a marinated tofu rice dish? Or maybe you'll take my lead and just eat these for three consecutive days as a pre-lunch snack? It's all good...and green and orange and crunchy.
Kale Tacos with Carrot Ginger Spread and Toasted Sunflower Seeds
Serves 4 with 1 taco each. Simply make as many as you want and multiply the recipe as required. You'll notice that there are only 3 tacos in the above photographs. I ate one first. Priorities.
4 Cavolo Nero leaves*
4 heaping tablespoons Carrot Ginger Spread (see recipe above)
1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
A dash of Soy Sauce
* Cavolo nero, otherwise known as Tuscan cabbage, is a type of kale. You could replace this with any leaf which hold it's shape. Baby cos lettuce would work well but would lack that deep earthy flavour of kale. Try to select leaves that open like a book, with a sturdy spine and generous leaves/pages.
1. Heat a heavy non-stick pan over low-medium heat and toast your sunflower seeds for ~5 minutes or until lightly golden and toasty. When done, add a dash of soy sauce to the pan and stir to coat the seeds. It will sizzle, sizzle it good. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
2. Wash your cavolo nero and trim the ends to remove the large woody stem. Keep the stems for a stir fry or other dish.
3. Place 2-3 cups water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add a few good pinches of salt and pop your cavolo nero in to cook for 1 minute until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.
4. Using paper towel, dry your leaves then place them on a serving platter, the "inside" facing up. At this point you could cut them into smaller tacos if you wish.
5. Fill your tacos with the carrot ginger spread then sprinkle the toasted sunflower seeds over the top. Serve.