I just got back from a visit Phoenix. Nearly a week of hiking and sun--it's almost a bit much for a Northwest native who loves rainy days. One of my favorite things to do in any city is visit the farmers' market. And even though I've been there before, I had a list of things I wanted to bring back so we went to the Roadrunner Farmers Market. This great market has grown alot since I first went there a few years ago. The bell for starting sales rings at 8am on Saturday. The park around the market, makes a great place to have a picnic or talk a walk.
I got pistachios, pecans, dates, dog biscuits and some tiny hot peppers. I even found some local Sundowner apples, grown in Wilcox, AZ, east of Tuscon. These apples have great flavor and are the lesser known relative of Pink Lady apples. When I spotted Edible Phoenix on a market table, I picked up a copy to peruse the articles and check out the recipes. I didn't get very far when I found Diane Morgan's Spicy Thai Pickled Carrots.
I love pickles and I've never eaten carrot pickles. I'm sure you could probably use any kind of carrots you want.
I chose Nash's carrots, which are legendary around here. Some people call them carrot candy. The carrots get sweeter when it's cold outside. Same thing goes for Brussels sprouts, so look for the sweetest sprouts and carrots in the Northwest after a cold snap hits.
My Cooking Assistant loves Nash's carrots. No hiding place safe.
The carrots below were at the Ferry Plaza Market in San Francisco. They have a similar look to Nash's carrots, but I bet they aren't as sweet as Nash's. Not in the winter, anyway. So just because a vegetable is oversized, don't assume it isn't sweet or tender. Sometimes the best tasting vegetables are those that are allowed to become mature.
I didn't have a Thai pepper, but on a scale of heat, it's just below a habanero, and that's what the little red pepper is. So I changed the name of the recipe, and I also changed the proportion of the ingredients since I had more than 12-ounces of carrots and I felt like the recipe needed a bit more vinegar.
Diane's recipe also mentioned peeling the carrots, but I'm not into peeling because lots of vitamins are just under the skin, so unless they look really beat-up, I leave peel on. It's up to you.
The original recipe can be found in Roots: The Definitive Guide with More Than 200 Recipes. I'm checking it out at the library!
Here's my revised version:
Spicy Pickled Carrots
(Makes about 2 cups)
These carrots are great sidekicks for sandwiches, or add them to salads for some zip. How hot they are depends entirely on the peppers used. I find the hottest peppers come from places like Arizona or Texas. I carried them in my carry-on and until a pepper-bomber strikes, I think I'm safe toting them home.
1 pound carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 hot pepper, sliced thinly (include the seeds and the carrots will be very hot)
1. Toss the carros with the sea salt and let them sit while you prepare the spicy vinegar.
2. Combine the vinegar, brown sugar and hot pepper in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stirring the mixture so the sugar dissolves. When it boils, remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the carrots. Stir, pushing the carrots down into the vinegar.
3. Cover and refrigerate. The flavors marry and the carrots are best if you wait a day to eat them. They will keep for up to 2 weeks.