Food Hero

Cumin-Flavoured Carrot Salad by Katy K
February 2, 2009, 3:29 am
Filed under: Katy K, Salads, Side Dish | Tags:

img_2546I made this salad for the first time several years ago when I prepared a Spanish-themed Christmas dinner for the family. I made paella and a selection of tapas instead of turkey. The recipe is from the great cookbook Tapas by Penelope Casas. This preparation of carrots tastes surprisingly exotic to me. For some reason, the glow of carrots with paprika and the taste and smell of the smoke and cumin make me  fancy that I am eating carrots in a much warmer place…perhaps at a table outside, with a slight breeze coming off the ocean,  resting my shoulder against a Moorish wall…
Yes, I like this salad. I have made it as a side for potlucks and, most recently, I brought it to a Spanish wine-tasting party.  It always elicits pleasantly surprised and complimentary remarks. I think it surprises people because it looks like it’s just a cold carrot salad but it’s really so much more.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1/2     lb         carrots (about 4 medium)
2        Tblsp   white wine vinegar 
1 1/2  Tblsp   water
1        clove    garlic, pressed
1/4     tsp        oregano
1/4     tsp        cumin, freshly ground
1/4     tsp        paprika, Spanish, smoked, sweet 

Peel carrots, place in a saucepan, whole, and fill with broth until carrots are just covered.  I use a broth made from vegetable bouillon cubes. The original recipe calls for chicken broth, which is probably delicious, but I’ve never tried it. I don’t keep chicken broth on hand.  I keep vegetable bouillon cubes in my freezer to use when I’m not making a stock or a court bouillon.  Bring to a boil and simmer carrots until just done but slightly crisp, about 10 minutes, depending on the size of the carrots.  I have trouble getting this just right. The carrots keep cooking a little after you take them out of the broth because they’re still hot, so it’s kind of tricky. After they cool, slice into 1/4-inch slices. Mix the vinegar, water, garlic, oregano, cumin, paprika, and a pinch of salt. Toss carrots in this dressing and allow to marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight.  The salad in my pictures was made with some multicoloured rainbow carrots – aren’t they pretty?


Stir-Fried Cabbage and Onions with Cumin Seeds by Katy K
January 14, 2009, 1:42 am
Filed under: Katy K, Side Dish


Stir-Fried Cabbage and Onion with Cumin Seeds

I found this recipe in a newspaper article full of suggestions for putting some pizzazz into winter vegetable side dishes for the holidays (New York Times, November 15, 2006). Cabbage is a good-for-you vegetable that is sturdy, filling, and an excellent canvas for all sorts of pizzazz. This particular recipe was adapted from a Madhur Jaffrey cookbook. Essentially, cumin seeds and fresh lemon juice are added to stir-fried cabbage and onions – so sweet and delicious. Since I first made this dish, it has become a standby recipe for nights when I am making myself a square meal of meat and vegetables.  Stir-Fried Cabbage and Onions with Cumin Seeds goes especially well with bratwurst and I also serve it with pork chops.  Why not spice up some cabbage tonight?



Cabbage, green   1/2 a head, cored, and sliced crosswise into strips
Onion                    1 large, halved, and sliced crosswise into strips
Olive oil                 3 Tblsp
Cumin seeds        1/2 tsp 
Cayenne               1/16 tsp
Salt                        1 tsp
Lemon juice           fresh squeezed  

A helpful hint I learned in this recipe is to cut the cabbage with a bread knife.  It works really well.  

In the beginning...


Heat olive oil in a big skillet over medium high heat, add the cumin seeds and allow them to cook for a minute or so. Add the sliced onions and stir until turning golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the sliced cabbage and stir until cooked through and also turning golden, 7-10 minutes. Add the salt and cayenne, and just before serving squeeze plenty of fresh lemon over it all. Adding the fresh lemon juice after the cooking is done really brightens up the flavors. Enjoy!