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posted: 4/29/2014 5:45 AM

From the food editor: Making room on the plate for carrots and corn

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  • Steamed Carrots with Honey Mint Dressing deserve a place on your plate.

      Steamed Carrots with Honey Mint Dressing deserve a place on your plate.
    The Washington Post

  • Fire-Roasted Corn and Chorizo Dip is a festive addition to a Cinco de Mayo menu.

      Fire-Roasted Corn and Chorizo Dip is a festive addition to a Cinco de Mayo menu.
    Courtesy of Fresh Sunshine Sweet Corn Council

  • "Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite" by Sarah Copeland (Chronicle, 2013)

      "Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite" by Sarah Copeland (Chronicle, 2013)

 
 

I don't mean to be prejudiced, but I am. When it comes to selecting a vegetable for a dinner side dish, I focus on one color. Green beans, brussels sprouts, edamame, peas and broccoli are in a near daily rotation, but nothing orange hits my plate. I think I'm still trying to get the taste (or lack of taste, really) of waterlogged crinkle-cut carrots out of my mind.

This recent recipe from Stephanie Witt Sedgwick in The Washington Post for Steamed Carrots With Honey Mint Dressing has me reconsidering carrots. "Sometimes the simplest vegetables, like carrots, need a little polish to shine," she writes.

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Seeing her recipe and then discovering the mint in my herb patch going gang busters seemed like fate telling me to make room for cooked carrots on my dinner plate.

Here's her recipe: Cut 1¾ pounds well-scrubbed carrots into ½- to ¾-inch pieces (keep the pieces the same size so they cook evenly). Steam the carrots in a stovetop steamer until just tender, about 6 minutes.

In a measuring cup, whisk 2 tablespoons each apple cider vinegar, honey and olive oil. Season lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add dressing to warm carrots and toss to coat evenly. Just before serving add ¼ cup loosely packed, finely chopped mint leaves and toss to incorporate. This will feed five to six.

Fire-roasted fiesta: While I'm on the topic of carrots, Sara Moulton's carrot-cabbage-radish slaw on the Food section's front page looks pretty tasty too. Besides putting it on her fish tacos, I'd pile it on a tostada or toss it with grilled adobo chicken for a salad.

Here's another side dish or snack that you may want to include on your Cinco de Mayo menu. This recipe for Fire Roasted Corn and Chorizo Dip comes from the Fresh Sunshine Sweet Corn Council in Florida.

Husk 3 to 4 ears of sweet corn and put on a hot grill along with 1 small onion (peeled and sliced into rings) and 1 small red bell pepper. Grill the corn and bell pepper for 8 to 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes until all sides are slightly charred. Grill the onion slices about 3 minutes per side. When the veggies are cool enough to handle, cut the corn off the cob. Then chop the onions and pepper, removing the pepper seeds. and put in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish or 1-quart soufflé dish. Add 1 cup cooked, crumbled chorizo, 3 cloves minced garlic, 8 ounces softened cream cheese, 2 cups shredded pepper-jack (or other spicy) cheese and ¼ cup chopped green onion; stir until well combined. Bake 10 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees until the edges are bubbly. Serve warm with tortilla chips and a chilled Jarritos.

Meet and greet: James Beard-nominated cookbook author Sarah Copeland will answer audience questions and sign copies of her latest book, "Feast," from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at the Crystal Lake Barnes and Noble.

Copeland is a New York-based food expert and Food Network veteran who helped launch the network's magazine and organize its Good Garden Campaign with Share Our Strength. In "Feast," Copeland showcases vegetarian meals in a global array of flavors.

Barnes and Noble is at 5380 Route 14. (815) 444-0824.

Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at dpankey@dailyherald. com or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend at Facebook.com/DebPankey.DailyHerald or follow her on Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter @PankeysPlate.

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