Thursday, March 20, 2014

Not Your Easter Bunny's Carrots: Roasted Ginger Soy Glazed Carrots and Jalapenos

Hello spring! I can't tell you how happy I am to see my tulips starting to sprout and push their way through the melting snow in my front yard. I'm kind of taking a chance letting myself get excited in spite of the fact that I know Colorado's weather has absolutely no regard whatsoever for the calendar. It could very well snow tomorrow, but for today the weather is lovely and warm so I am happy.

Even though it is a month away, the warm weather's promise of renewal and rebirth, brings the Easter season to mind. When I was a girl, my sister and I were always reminded of the solemn reason for the Easter holiday, but then were allowed to celebrate the holiday with an egg hunt in our pretty new dresses and black patent leather shoes.

It was so fun arriving home from church to find that the Easter Bunny had been to our house, hid our eggs and chocolate bunnies, and had taken the carrots we left for him in return. I remember thinking it kind of sad that after all that work, all he got was a couple of carrots to sustain him when he had access to all that chocolate.

Plain old carrots really don't get much respect from anyone other than the Easter Bunny. My own children always liked (and still do) their carrots cold, either all on their own or dipped in ranch or hummus. When I tried to serve them hot, they always turned their noses up and did little more than push them around their plates.

Hoping to change their minds and add something new to our spring table, I have been working on a way to spice up carrots and make them a crave worthy vegetable. After trying a couple of ideas, I finally came up with something I really like, and I'm hoping these sweet/spicy/salty carrots just might make you look at this under appreciated vegetable in a whole new way too.  These kind of make me think that maybe the Easter Bunny is the lucky one afterall.

Roasted Ginger Soy Glazed Carrots and Jalapenos

1 - 1-1/2 pounds large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
1 large, plump jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced diagonally
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1-1/2 tablespoons lightly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
1 tablespoon soy sauce (I used less sodium soy sauce)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Peel and cut carrots diagonally at about 1" lengths. Slice jalapeno on the diagonal in thin slices; set aside.

Spray a medium size shallow baking dish liberally with non-stick cooking spray and place in the preheated oven to heat for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the carrots and jalapenos together with the melted butter and brown sugar.

Remove the hot pan from the oven and pour the vegetables into it. Spread into a single layer. Return to the oven. Roast for 10 minutes.

While the carrots are roasting, stir together the crushed garlic, grated ginger root and soy sauce; set aside.

After the 10 minutes roasting time, stir the vegetables well and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.

After the additional roasting time, check that the carrots are tender but still slightly firm toward the center when penetrated with a fork (at this point the carrots should be tender crisp and the jalapenos a pleasant medium hotness).

If you like a softer texture, return the carrots to the oven for additional roasting time, testing every 5 minutes for doneness. Bear in mind that the longer you roast the jalapenos, the milder their flavor will become.

Pour the soy sauce mixture over the top and stir everything well to coat. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 3 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve while hot.

Serves 2 large portions, 4 smaller.

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