Grilled Carrots with Feta Yogurt Sauce

Grilled Carrots with Feta Yogurt Sauce

Last year, its was the front yard; this year, it’s the back.

Our backyard. AKA Bind Weed Jungle. The Sloping Hill. The place I wish we spent time but we don’t really—unless we’re using the grill. This year, we’re setting out to change that, by dealing with that slope and the weeds covering it (seriously, they were hip-high last year). We’re adding a large retaining wall, planting native flowers, and maybe—if somehow we gain three extra weeks to our summer—adding space to actually “hang out.” Until that’s done though, the yard is still what it has been since we moved in: the grill spot.

But who said grilling has to be burgers, hotdogs, and chicken? I’ve been all about charred veggies lately, (carrots, but also cauliflower, and doesn’t this salad from Heart Beet Kitchen look killer?). Combining those hot grilled veggies with other textures and flavors to complete the picture is where it’s at (sauce, fresh herbs, crunchy nuts, etc). Try something new! Grill carrots. I dare you!

Grilled Carrots with Feta Yogurt Sauce
Grilled Carrots with Feta Yogurt Sauce

Grilled Carrots with Feta Yogurt Sauce

Published July 10, 2019 by
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Serves: 2   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 8-10 carrots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • Sprinkle of ground sumac
  • Optional: sprinkle of red chili flakes or Aleppo pepper flakes 

  • Directions:

    1. Light grill and set to medium flame. Close lid to allow grill to heat.
    2. Meanwhile, prep carrots: if carrots are thick, cut in half the long way. They should be 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Peel, and place carrots in bowl, and drizzle with oil and honey.
    3. Mince garlic, and remove thyme leaves from stems. Add garlic, thyme leaves, and a sprinkle of black pepper to carrots and toss to combine. Place carrots in a grill basket or directly on the grill (just be careful to keep them from falling through the cracks!), and close grill lid. Grill for a total of 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Carrots are done when they are softened through and are charred in spots. (Note: if carrots are charring too quickly, your grill may be too hot; turn down the flame).
    4. Meanwhile, make the sauce: combine feta, yogurt, lemon juice, chives, and oregano in a small bowl and stir.
    5. Assemble: Spread feta sauce in a generous layer on a plate. Arrange carrots over top. Sprinkle with almonds, raisins, parsley, sumac, and chili flakes. Serve warm.

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    Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs

    Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs

    Real summer is still a ways off, but we’ve been eating like it’s already here. An over-sized watermelon eaten in wedges, grilling every evening for dinner, and lots of fresh greens and herbs. This roasted corn salad includes a lot of quintessential summer ingredients. I wanted to publish it early in the season so you could take advantage of the first corn at the market. Grilling the corn and red bell pepper give a great toasted/caramelized flavor, while using a mix of herbs—basil, cilantro and parsley—add freshness to every bite. I used queso fresco, but if you’re unable to find that at your local grocery store, try feta or goat cheese crumbles.

    Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs
    Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs

    Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs

    Published June 4, 2019 by
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    Serves: 4-5   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 4 corn cobs
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/4 heaping cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 heaping cup parsley leaves
  • 1/4 heaping cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
    2. Remove husks and silk from corn. Cut bell pepper in half and remove stem and seeds.
    3. Place corn and pepper on grill. Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until outside is brown in spots. Remove from heat.
    4. Allow pepper and corn to cool enough to handle (you can speed up the cooling process by placing them in a bowl with cool water).
    5. Dice roasted pepper, and place in serving bowl. Cut corn kernels from cobs, and place in bowl.
    6. Add queso fresco, herbs, red onion, olive oil, and vinegar to bowl, and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper to taste.
    7. Serve.

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    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    Last week, I told you all that I bought The Food of Morocco, and have been on a Moroccan food kick. The kick continues today… with this Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce.

    There are already a lot of eggplant recipes on this blog, and I know it’s not everyone’s favorite vegetable. This blog post is really more about the sauce, which you could use over fish, grilled meat, or roasted veggies (and don’t stop there). Or, eggplant.

    It struck me, while I was adding all of the ingredients for this Charmoula to the blender, that it’s just like so many other herb-based sauces found around the world. It combines oil with an acid (lemon juice), garlic, salt, and pepper, and heaps of herbs. In this case, cilantro and parsley. The process reminded me of making a South American Chimichurri, or the garlicky dipping oil used in Ecuador, or even pesto.

    It is not so much their similarity that surprises me, but the idea that diverse people, strung out across the world, all arrived at a similar solution to saucing food. Oil, herbs, garlic. I’m not a historian, though a quick look at the Wiki history of Chimichurri sauce suggests it was brought over by Spanish immigrants. Were all of these sauces another way of making the flavors immigrants were familiar with in a new environment, with new ingredients? Perhaps. (I, by the way, adored this essay on how immigrants assimilate through food).

    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce
    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    The other thing that struck me about Charmoula was it’s flavor, which I found sharper and stronger than chimichurri or pesto. I would probably eat a spoonful of pesto straight. At least, I would definitely lick the spatula. And maybe I would with charmoula as well, but it’s flavor is not as sweet, or creamy — it will wake you up a bit! It’s salty and tart and herbaceous. Which is why it’s a perfect finishing sauce, the final touch on roasted eggplant that wakes it all up. A drizzle over a fillet of fish that brings everything together. The “zing.”

    Pulling from Mediterranean flavors, I also added a drizzle of tahini to this eggplant. It’s richness is a good counterpart to charmoula, and the charmoula cuts through the richness of the tahini. Eggplant — we'll, I’d say it’s just the carrying vessel, but others might disagree.

    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    Published March 12, 2019 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



    Ingredients:


    For the charmoula:
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
  • Dash cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup packed parsley leaves

  • For the eggplant:
  • 2 eggplants
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • For serving: 1/4 cup tahini

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
    2. Slice stem from eggplant and then cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Spread out on a baking sheet (or two) in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, and allow eggplant to sit for 5-10 minutes. The salt with help reduce bitterness.
    3. Brush eggplant with olive oil. Flip eggplant and brush the second side. Place in oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until eggplant is soft all the way through, and is golden/brown on the edges.
    4. While eggplant cooks, combine all ingredients for charmoula in a food processor or blender, and pulse until a sauce forms. I like my sauce to still have some texture to it, so I stop before everything is puréed, but this is just my preference.
    5. Serve: place roasted eggplant on a plate, and drizzle with several spoonfuls of charmoula and several spoonfuls of tahini. Eat warm.
    6. Note: you will likely have leftover charmoula, which can be used as a sauce for fish, or grilled meats and vegetables.

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