Monday, March 26, 2012

Springtime dinner

To celebrate the first week of spring, and some suddenly nicewarm days, I made a fun and colorful dinner with fresh (mostly) local fruits and veggies.  As much as I share about sewing, I thought it might also be fun to share a recipe or two as well. :D
I decided to braise the rainbow carrots dad had given us, using a variation of something I saw on the the Food Network. So here is my recipe for very healthy very tasty rainbow carrots:

Braised Rainbow Carrots:
4-5 rainbow carrots, scrubbed but not peeled, ends cut, sliced 1/4" thickness.
½ of a sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
4-5 springs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
white wine (I used riesling)
red wine vinegar
olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic, sautéing until translucent. Toss in the carrots and push them around the pan to absorb some of the onion-garlic-olive-oil-y goodness.

After a minute or two, add a generous glug of white wine, about 1/4 cup. Lay the fresh thyme sprigs on top of the carrots, cover with a lid, and let simmer on medium or medium-low heat.

Cook until the carrots have reached your desired state of tenderness, anywhere from 12-20 minutes. Finish with a splash of red wine vinegar. You can salt and pepper to taste if desired, but it tastes great as is! Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and serve right away.

This dish is so tasty, it really doesn't need salt or pepper, and we've been really cutting back on salt lately as part of our healthier diet.  Served with a nice piece of fish (we had some talapia with lime...mmmmm), or a lovely chicken breast, these carrots make a perfect side dish!  The purple carrot was sooo deep purple (it was nearly black!), it turned most of the other carrots and onions purple-ish as well, but it is still a very colorful dish.

Next up, my family has been really enjoying mango's lately, and I had just purchased a ton of strawberries and dad has also given us a very ripe avacado, so I wanted to try and make a fruit salad using those.  I found a great recipe at a blog called Pink Parsley, and altered it to fit what was in my pantry and herb garden, so here it is!

Strawberry, Mango, and Avocado Salad
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into bite sized cubes
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 Tbs honey
1/2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs orange juice
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tbs minced fresh cilantro
1 avocado, pitted and cut into small cubes
Pinch of sea salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, salt, and cilantro. Toss with the strawberries and mango, and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes. When ready to serve, gently mix in the avocado and serve immediately.

I know, sounds like the strangest desert, and my family thought I'd lost my marbles! But after tasting, they dug right in and ate every bite. The avocado's creaminess really balances out the bite of the cilantro, and the balsamic vinegar adds such a brightness to the flavor. YUM!

A lot of this lovely food was a gift from my very generous dad. :)

My dad volunteers every weekend at the Portland Farmers Market (winter, spring, summer and fall!), and visited us Sunday to take Liz and I to see Dr. Seuss's "The Lorax".  Fun movie, btw, though with a serious message. It really held Liz's attention fully, and she even got a little emotional at the end.
Anyway, dad brought us those gorgeous Rainbow carrots; purple, golden, and a deep reddish orange, as well as the perfectly ripe avacado. Thanks Dad!!  Dinner was awesome, next time I'll have to make it for you, too. :)

My dad volunteering at the Portland Farmers Market, posing for a picture with one of his friends.

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