Tuesday, May 17, 2005

roasted carrot dip

There is a market in Washington, DC, near my friend Delia's house, where we always stop for fresh-baked bread, interesting cheeses, wine, and carrot dip whenever I visit her. Stopping at Marvelous Market has been a tradition of longstanding. The carrot dip is smoky and complex, containing some typical Moroccan spices, but unfortunately during a recent visit I learned that they had discontinued it. I wrote them a letter begging them for the recipe and expressing my deep nostalgia for it but never got a reply. Thus, I'm on a quest to recreate it. Following a recent recommendation, I checked out Crescent Dragonwagon's Passionate Vegetarian, which has two recipes for carrot dip at the beginning. I prepared one today that tastes pretty good but I won't be sure whether it's like the one from Marvelous Market unless it sits for a day or two. Still, I'd make it again, and it's a nice change from most dips. The recipe appears below.

On an unrelated note, after picking me up at the airport today, my friend Amy introduced me to Woodlands Vegetarian Indian Cuisine, a restaurant in south Orlando with a huge lunch buffet representing south Indian food-- masala dosas (slightly crunchy pancakes filled with spicy potatoes), palak paneer (spinach and cheese curry), great chutneys, excellent paratha bread, and gulab jamun (basically fried donut holes in a sweet syrup) were all on offer. (I was excited about the local discovery-- plus it's been a good week for Indian food, since this weekend I got to eat at a favorite DC establishment, Heritage Indian.) Stuffed with vegetarian delights, Amy & I headed to the campus pool at the college to get some relief from the 90 degree temperatures. No students were around, and it finally came over me that The Schoolyear is OVER!!!! The summer is MINE!!!!

Roasted Carrot Dip
1 lb. carrots, peeled
1 large red onion, quartered, skin on
1 head garlic, sliced crosswise
2 Tblsp. olive oil
1 Tblsp. tamari or shoyu soy sauce
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. paprika
pinch cayenne
1-4 Tblsp. vegetable stock, water, or olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Blanch carrots in boiling water for 4-6 minutes, then drain. In large baking dish, toss carrots, onion and garlic with 1 Tblsp. olive oil. Add 1 Tblsp soy sauce and toss again, keeping cut side of vegetables down. Roast for 40 minutes. Cool. Squeeze garlic from papery skins, remove outer layer of onion skin and ends, throw into food processor with spices, pulsing to combine. Add one tablespoon water or olive oil at a time until smooth, seasoning to taste with more soy, salt and pepper... Serve with crackers, pita, etc.

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