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While I’d hoped to be venerated for the waffle recipe in my last blog, what really caught people’s attention was the phrase “I held them off with carrots.”

“How,” one of my readers asked “Do you hold off adolescents with carrots?” 

Another said “My adolescent wouldn’t stop for a carrot.”

And yet another “Carrots? My kids don’t even think those are food unless they’re wrapped in cake batter.”

After I stopped laughing, I was surprised by these comments. Carrots have always been my life saver when hunger is there before the meal is ready.  Those who sent the comments were American, and I believe the disconnect is cultural.  Here in France, kids eat vegetables.  “Crudités” (a term for raw vegetables) are a food group; they’re part of school menus, they’re offered at many restaurants, and  they’re certainly part of most meals at home. When I handed out a bowl of carrots to a handful of starving teenagers, I didn’t doubt for a second that I was successfully buying myself time.

All cooks who are parents need time-buyers.  Don’t overlook carrots. If you’re certain they won’t work, here are some other suggestions.  Try to think seasonal when you make your choice and the flavor will be better:

  • Sliced cucumbers drizzled with white wine vinegar
  • Thinly sliced black radish or turnip on pieces of buttered bread (with some salt on top – this has always been a huge favorite at my house)
  • Sliced apples and pears, or any seasonal fruit
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • A bowl of peas in the pod – this is a great one – it’s fun, and the peas are delicious
  • Olives stuffed with almonds

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As for carrots, here is a great recipe that, yes, French kids adore.  It’s a mainstay on a plate of crudités; a fundamental part of the French culinary repertoire.  You can add canned tuna, sliced tomatoes in season, any herb you like.  It takes ten minutes to make.

 

CAROTTES RAPEES

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 clove garlic (green germ removed) or one shallot, minced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1-1/2 pounds (750g) carrots, peeled and grated

¼ cup flat-leaf parsley and/or chervil leaves

1.  In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and garlic. Slowly add the oil, whisking until the mixture emulsifies.  Add the carrots and toss until they are thoroughly coated with the dressing.

2. If the parsley and/or chervil leaves are tiny, add them directly to the salad. If they are large, coarsely chop and add them to the salad.  Toss, adjust the seasoning, and serve the salad immediately.

4 to 6 servings

 

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