Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Giant carrots take center stage

When I spotted the giant carrots at Lettuce Us Farm at the University District farmers' market, I asked a question many people ask. "Are they sweet all the way through?" The farmer assured me they were. Big vegetables are often stereotyped as tough and tasteless; even my friend at the market said, "I bet they aren't sweet," after I bought them. I got the carrots on the right from my Stoney Plains' CSA and the ones on the left from the urban garden I visited later in the day. Stacy and Bob Gradwhol chose these little carrot pearls because they'd enjoyed them in Europe. I had the smallest carrots pegged as supersweet in my mind.
The big surprise was that the big carrots from Lettuce Farm were the sweet winners of the week . They had great sweet carrot flavor and were tender all the way through. Besides enjoying them raw, here is a recipe I made with them:

1 cup cooked drained garbanzos
1 cup steamed carrots
1/4 cup water
2 or 3 tablespoons tahini
1/2 lemon--juice and zest (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey (optional)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Salt to taste
Finely chopped cilantro for garnish

Place garbanzos, carrots, water, tahini, lemon juice and zest, agave nectar, garlic and cayenne in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Add salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro or parsley.

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