Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Cilantro Puree

It’s 2016 and California is in the midst of our rainy season with the addition of El Nino weather. Although we have gotten a bit of rain, we are still in a drought and conservation efforts continue. Super Sous and I created our Drought Friendly Recipes project last year and released a handful of recipes that make the most of California water.

Continuing with this project, we have a new recipe, perfect for one our favorite root vegetables, carrots. This recipe uses not only the carrot, but the carrot tops (for the most part the tops are discarded (unless you have a pet rabbit you are feeding)). Carrot tops can be bitter and fibrous, but this method of preparation – turning the tops into a puree mixed with herbs – might just change the way you think about carrots next time you see them in the store.

Enjoy!

carrots2 carrots1 carrotpuree

Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Cilantro Puree

Yields: 2 servings

 

Roasted Carrots

 

1 bunch of large carrots, approximately 7 carrots, ¾ pounds, with tops

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

 

Place an oven rack to the middle position. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Place sheet tray on rack and preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove carrot tops and reserve for puree (recipe below). Peel and cut carrots in half, lengthwise.

In a medium bowl, mix together carrots, grapeseed oil, cumin and salt. Stir to coat the carrots.

When oven is preheated, removed sheet tray and place carrots in one layer on top of the parchment-lined sheet tray.

Roast for 30-35 minutes, until carrots are nicely caramelized, flipping carrots once after 20 minutes.

Serve roasted carrots atop carrot top cilantro puree and garnish with some fresh cilantro leaves.

Serve immediately.

 

Carrot Top Cilantro Puree

Yield: 1 cup

 

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil, divided

1 small onion, peeled and diced small (1½ cups)

5 large garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped (3 tablespoons)

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder

Tops from 1 bunch of large carrots, rinsed and chopped roughly (1 packed cup)

1 cup vegetable broth

1 packed cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup roughly chopped fresh mint

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

kosher salt, to taste

 

Place 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil and onions in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly caramelized, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.

Add garlic, coriander and chipotle. Stir and cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.

Add carrot tops. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add vegetable broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until broth has reduced and only 1/3 cup of liquid remains, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Transfer contents of sauté pan into a blender. Add cilantro, mint, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, pepper and 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil to the blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Scrape insides of blender down with a rubber spatula and blend again on high for 30 to 45 seconds until fully pureed.

Season to taste with salt and serve puree with roasted carrots.

Refrigerate any remaining puree; use extra for roasted veggies, fish dishes and sandwich spreads.

Tis the Season: Coconut Pumpkin Pie – Drought Friendly

The holidays are upon us and with it comes delicious feasts and treats. Super Sous and I developed this easy, no-bake, drought friendly (aka -no dairy/vegan) Coconut Pumpkin Pie recipe to make your Thanksgiving and other special holiday meals a win. But, wait… why wait til the holidays?! You can prepare and enjoy this right now!

Crust Pumpkin Pie

Making the Crust for the Pie

Crust in Pie Pan Pumpkin Pie

Pie Crust Ready for Chilling

Half Pumpkin Pie

Up Close and Personal with the Pie

Overhead Pumpkin Pie

Overhead Shot of Pie

Slice Pumpkin Pie

Cut Yourself A Slice

 

Coconut Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Snap Crust and Candied Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Yields: 1 9½-inch deep dish pumpkin pie

 

Pie Crust:

1 (10-ounce) bag ginger snap cookies (preferably Mi-Del brand)

¼ cup coconut oil

4½ ounces pitted Medjool dates (7 large medjool dates)

Add the ginger snaps, coconut oil and pitted dates to a food processor. Process until very well combined, approximately 1 minute.

Empty the contents into a 9½-inch deep dish pie pan.

Using a flat instrument (I use the top of a non-stick spray can) press the ginger snap mixture firmly and evenly across the bottom and also up the sides of the pie pan, using your thumb as a guide at the top of the pie pan as you press the mixture up the side of the dish.

Transfer into the refrigerator and chill for at least 45 minutes.

 

Pie Filling:

¼ cup water

1½ teaspoons agar agar powder

1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk (not low-fat)

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

1 (5.4-ounce) can coconut cream

½ cup dark brown sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

 

Stir to combine the water and agar agar powder in a medium (3½ quart) saucepan. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, coconut cream, dark brown sugar, salt and pepper and stir well to combine.

Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil, stirring often with a spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom of the sauce pan to prevent burning.

Once the mixture comes to a rolling boil, immediately remove from heat and set aside to cool for one hour, stirring occasionally. After one hour stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the cooled pumpkin mixture into the prepared pie shell and return to the refrigerator.

Chill for at least three hours until firm.

Slice, and serve with a few candied pumpkin seeds.

 

Candied Spiced Pumpkin Seeds:

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ tablespoon grapeseed oil

¾ cup toasted and salted pumpkin seeds

1½ tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B

 

Mix together the cinnamon, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute, then add the oil and swirl the pan to evenly distribute.

Add the pumpkin seeds and stir to fully coat.

Cook for approximately 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds to heat evenly.

Sprinkle the spice mix evenly over the pumpkin seeds and stir to coat. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring every 5 seconds.

Pour in the pure maple syrup and stir to coat. Continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Keep an eye on the seeds, and if they begin to smoke, turn down the heat a touch and stir more often.

Remove from the heat and transfer the seeds to a parchment-lined sheet pan.

Spread out the seeds, using 2 forks and allow to cool completely. They will candy (harden) as they cool.

Drought Friendly Recipes covered on France 24 News

YES! Our Drought Friendly Recipes were covered by FRANCE 24​, an international news station. We shop at the Hollywood Farmers Market and cook our Alaskan True Cod Taco with Pickled Radish and Radish Top Salsa. Our piece starts at 11 minutes into the broadcast!

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Sweet Summer Corn Soup

What is summer without corn?! Grilled, sauteed, boiled – it’s all delicious, but one of my all time favorite ways to enjoy corn is corn soup.

This recipe is packed with that sweet corn flavor because everything comes to a boil, including the otherwise discarded cobs. Even when you take all the kernels off, they still hold so much flavor! So, why not use that flavor to your advantage? This recipe is also drought friendly: not only because we use every last inch of that corn on the cob, but also because it’s creamy without using any butter or dairy. The trick? Throwing a potato into the mix to give it extra richness. Oh, and there’s also that dollop of avocado. Mmmm.

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Creamed Summer Corn Soup with Chopped Cilantro and Avocado Puree

Yield: 6 cups

 

¼ cup grapeseed oil

2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced small (3 cups)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh thyme

teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

4 ears corn, kernels sliced off the cob (2 cups), reserving cobs

1 medium yellow potato, peeled and diced medium (1 cup)

4 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 1 large lime)

1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder (or more to taste!)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

Avocado puree (recipe below)

 

Heat the grapeseed oil in a small pot over medium heat.

Add the onion, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Stir in the garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the corn (and their cobs), the diced potato and the stock, then cover. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.

Remove from the heat, then remove and discard the corn cobs.

Using an immersion blender, blend continuously until smooth. Add the lime juice, chipotle powder and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve warm and garnish each bowl with a dollop of avocado puree, a good sprinkle of chopped cilantro and a light grind of pepper.

 

Avocado Puree

1 large avocado (9 ounces), flesh scooped out, seed and skin discarded

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 1/2 large lime)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

A few good grinds of black pepper

 

In a small food processor combine the ingredients and puree until smooth.

Melon Mint Sorbet

It’s a sweltering summer, so here’s a drought friendly recipe that will cool you off and make your summer fruit last. I recently got a delicious green melon at the Hollywood farmer’s market (from T&D Farms) called an Ogen Melon, originally from Israel. This is part of what makes shopping at the farmers market so fun – being able to try new varieties of fruits and vegetables. If you can’t find an Ogen Melon, you can use Honeydew. Either way, you can go wrong with this sweet, refreshing treat.

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Melon Mint Sorbet

Yield: approximately 2 pints

 

1 3-pound ogen melon or honeydew, cut in half and seeded

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup organic corn syrup

40 medium mint leaves

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 3 to 4 limes)

 

Scoop out melon and put in a blender. Puree and measure out 3 cups. (Drink any excess for a delicious cooling beverage!) Save the melon shell for optional service.

Add the 3 cups melon puree, sugar, organic corn syrup, mint leaves, salt and lime juice to the blender and blend on high for 30 seconds.

Transfer the blended mixture into an ice cream machine and process until firm. Alternatively, transfer to a container, cover with plastic film (pressing the film directly against the surface of the sorbet) and place into the freezer until firm.

Grilled Zucchini with Pumpkin Seed Romesco and Crostini

We are heading into the time of year when zucchini becomes the front runner of produce – bursting from backyard gardens and farmers’ fields.

With its versatile use, from raw salads to baked casseroles, zucchini offers a lot. One of my favorite preparations/cooking methods for zucchini is grilling. Getting those nice grill marks lends a depth of flavor that you don’t normally get when sauteing or baking.

For this recipe, another drought friendly one, Super Sous and I are grilling the zucchini and serving them with crositini and pumpkin seed romesco. Romesco is a sauce often made with almonds, but since the drought, we are exploring alternative nut/seed options, which makes pumpkin seeds, which take little water to produce, a great alternative. Taste wise, you won’t miss the almonds and price wise you’ll be happy too!

Enjoy this recipe and let us know what you think. Happy cooking!

Zucc slice

1/4-inch slices

Zucc Grilled

On the grill

Zucc and Crostini

Grilled crostini and zucchini

Zucc Final Crostini

Grilled Zucchini with Pumpkin Seed Romesco and Crostini

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

 

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

4 medium-sized zucchini, sliced lengthwise in ¼-inch slices using a mandoline or vegetable peeler

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 lemon, cut in half

Homemade Grilled Crostini (recipe below)

Pumpkin Seed Romesco (recipe below)

6 medium-sized fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled, and sliced very thinly (chiffonade)

 

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Once hot, clean the grill, then, using tongs, lightly dip a cloth in grapeseed oil and wipe to coat the grill rack.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil over the sliced zucchini. Using your hands, coat each piece evenly with the oil; season with salt and pepper. Taste a piece to see if it needs more seasoning, adding more to taste.

Grill the zucchini with the cover closed until nicely colored, 5 minutes per side. Do not move the zucchini slices for the first few minutes.

Once nicely caramelized, flip each piece and continue cooking until equally caramelized on the second side. Put your lemon, flesh side down, on the grill now.

Transfer the cooked zucchini and grilled lemon onto a plate until ready to assemble. Once the lemon is cool enough to handle, squeeze the juice over the zucchini.

To serve, top the crostini with some romesco sauce and then a few slices of the grilled zucchini, finish with the basil.

 

Homemade Grilled Crostini

1 loaf fresh bread, such as French baguette, sourdough, or ciabatta

Grapeseed oil, for drizzling

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Set your grill to high. Once hot, clean the grill, then, using tongs, lightly dip a cloth in grapeseed oil and wipe to coat the grill rack.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Using a bread knife, slice the loaf on a 25- to 45-degree angle (the greater the angle, the higher the surface area) half an inch thick.

Lay each piece, side by side, on the sheet pan in one layer, drizzle grapeseed oil over each piece, then season them evenly with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Arrange the slices on the grill and grill until lightly toasted with grill marks.

Flip the pieces and repeat.

Remove from the oven and transfer the crostini to a plate until needed.

Note: If using a round loaf of bread, be sure to cut the loaf in half first. Then, with the flat (cut) side facing down, starting from one side, cut straight down, making even slices. This method of slicing bread will prevent your slices from being smushed as you slice them.

 

Pumpkin Seed Romesco Sauce

Yield: 2 cups

 

5 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced small

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced

¼ teaspoon red chile flakes

1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes

1 roasted red bell pepper, diced medium

½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

2¼ teaspoons sherry vinegar

¼ cup grapeseed oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Add 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil and the onion to a medium sauté pan over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the garlic, chile flakes and paprika, stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and bell pepper, stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has almost all reduced, approximately, 7 to 10 minutes.

Carefully transfer ingredients from sauté pan to a food processor and add the pumpkin seeds and sherry vinegar.

Process until well combined, scraping down the sides of the food processor as needed.

While processing, begin slowly streaming in the grapeseed oil. Continue until is combined.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.