July 6, 2009

Cooking Fails & Roasted Carrot Dip

Not all of my kitchen experiments are successful.

For example, on Friday I decided that I wanted to do some cooking to use up the produce I bought at the farmers market on Wednesday. So, I invited people over for an impromptu party and planned on trying a few new recipes.


Roasted Carrot Dip with Cumin & Feta, Pita Chips
Green Tomato Tart with Caramelized Onions & Mozzarella
Roasted Garam Masala Chickpeas
Sticky Sesame & Soy Cocktail Sausages
Truffled Popcorn
Assorted Olives
Strawberry Limonade Cocktails

I also planned to use the tiny patty pan squash with blossoms still attached, stuffing the flowers with herbed ricotta & deep frying them squash & all. But, all the other cooking took longer than I had expected so I never got around to making those.

I had wanted to try roasted some chickpeas, a recipe I keep seeing, and I had been eyeing Nigella's cocktail sausage recipe for a while. The green tomato tart was an idea I had to use up some of the green tomatoes in the fridge.

And, I wasn't too happy with any of these recipes.

Despite my roasting the chickpeas (which were coated in olive oil & garam masala seasoning) for over an hour at 400 degrees, the beans didn't get crunchy. Sure, they tasted okay, but I hoped they would be really crunchy like nuts.

Nigella's sausages (standard cocktail weinies baked with a glaze of sesame oil, soy sauce, and honey) tasted good but they too took longer to cook, to get sticky with the glaze, than I expected. And as they cooled on the table, they became encased in a pool of congeled fat...not the kind of appetizing snacks I had planned to serve my guests.

The green tomato tart was soggy in the middle, mostly because of my errors. I parbaked the puff pastry, like I recently did with an asparagus tart, to prevent it from getting too soggy once I added the toppings. However, I forgot to dock the dough so that it didn't puff up in the middle. Nevertheless, I pushed the dough down after about 10 minutes of baking (though, I should have let it bake for 15 minutes), added caramelized onions, thin slices of green tomato, a sprinkling of salt/pepper/dried oregano, and fresh mozzerella cheese. While the tart looked good, the middle was so soggy it was difficult to cut & serve. I think I sliced the tomatoes too thickly, and their juices made the tart too wet. I should have used a mandolin to get paper-thin slices instead.

But, at that point, I was a few strawberry vodka & lemonades (and at least one "dirty Palmer") in to care all that much.

Out of all the dishes I made that day, the best ones were the roasted carrot dip & the gooey brownies (check back tomorrow for THAT recipe).

I bought some gorgeous purple & orange carrots at the farmers market. Some of them were a deep purple all the way through, while others were purple outside but orange inside. I wanted to make something that would showcase the vibrant colors, so I decided to make a version of a roasted carrot dip I found on A Veggie Venture.

Roasted Carrot Dip with Cumin & Feta

1 pound carrots, trimmed & peeled
2 tablespoon cumin
1 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons orange juice
4 tablespoons plain, nonfat yogurt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
toasted pita chips
  • Cut the carrots into larger pieces & place in a roasting pan in a single layer. Season with 1 tablespoon of cumin and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Add the chicken stock. Cover with foil & roast at 400 degrees for about an hour (or until the carrots are soft). Remove from oven, remove foil, and let cool to room temperature.
  • When cool, pulse the carrots (without the stock) in a food processor until smooth. Add the remaining cumin, orange juice, yougurt, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper and pulse until combined. Taste as adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Continue pulsing as you drizzle in some olive oil until the desired consistency is attained. Keep in mind, though, that the carrots will not get completely smooth like hummus.
  • Transfer the dip to a small bowl, top with feta cheese (and another drizzle of olive oil if desired). Serve with toasted pita chips.


Kamran Siddiqi said...

Congratulations Kelly on winning the steamy kitchen contest for Julie / Julia!

You're mentioned here: http://bit.ly/11JCvw

Carol Peterman said...

Congratulations on being selected by Steamy Kitchen to report on the Julia and Julie movie!! I look forward to reading your report and it's especially exciting to have a fellow TWDer win. I love the carrot/cumin combo, your dip sounds great. Now I have to go make my brownies to tomorrow's TWD post.