"Good chefs, like artists, are visionaries. You have to have a vision of the taste, the look, the smell of your masterpiece; you hold it in your mind and make it materialize."

Onid Jatteri

Monday, October 12, 2009

FALL-ing into flavor

A quick spin through the garden gate on a quest for greens that the last few nights of hard frost hadn't damaged yielded some jewels. I grabbed some parsley, and almost stepped on the last of the carrots (Danvers Half-longs) in one of the Square-foot Garden squares. I keep a hand trowel stuck in the dirt in one corner of the raised bed, ready for just such a chore. A few deft plunges into the dirt around the carrots, and they were loosened enough to pull easily.
This time of year, the carrots are crisp and juicy, sweeter than ever. Often an attempt to pull them results in the tops popping right off the carrot, and then it's a dirty-fingernail job to retrieve the carrot. Thus the trowel technique.
Right next to the carrot square were the last of the Chiogga beets, sporting nice bushy tops that the frost hadn't damaged. So out they came, joining the carrots and parsley headed for the kitchen.
Some of the carrots were smallish - I dread any peeling attempts on these little characters - too many "peeled" knuckles over the years. Then I remembered this recipe, from Carol Alt's "The Raw 50" - problem solved.

I just scrubbed the little ones, gave them a rough chop, and they were ready to be transmogrified into:

Blend smooth in the Vita-Mix:
2 large carrots, rough chopped (or equivalent small ones)
1 or 2 celery stalks, rough chopped
2 T. raw apple cider vinegar
1 T. minced fresh gingerroot, or more to taste
2 tsp. freshly grated horseradish, or more to taste
water enough to make a dressing consistency
After a taste test, I also added:
1 T. agave
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. sunflower seed oil (avocado, or walnut, or olive oil would be good)

I ran this for several minutes to get the dressing really smooth, adding water a tablespoon at a time to get the consistency I wanted. Probably about 2/3 c. altogether - depends on the amount and juiciness of carrots.

Arrange baby spinach leaves on salad plate, top with slices of apple (I used Welties). Just for fun and because it was right there on the cutting board, I also added some very thin slices of Chiogga beet - so sweet! They added an extra earthy note and tender crunch to this colorful fall-garden salad. A sprinkle of protein laden hemp seeds, and lunch was fork ready!

Taste notes: crisp - sweet - colorful - crunchy- earthy - zippy; velvety dressing wrapping the toothsome raw veggies.

The garden may be on it's last hoorah, but it still feeds my body and soul.

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