Years ago I wasn't a huge fan of eating my veggies.I muddled through them like Ralphie's little brother,(channel it with me now) "Meatloaf beatloaf I hate meatloaf" as he slung his potatoes around the plate.Yeah yeah I know he was talking about meatloaf and not so much his vegetables,but nonetheless that was me.I wasn't thrilled about eating, but just like any other kid I knew they were "good" for me.
I made my way through broccoli with a little shredded cheese on top,thank goodness.I toughed out the awful brussels sprouts,somehow they became edible with soy sauce.I know it must have been a salt/flavor thing,'cause it puzzles me now.I even survived the dreaded cauliflower.I can't remember the condiment that helped me through that one,but I obviously survived just fine.The one vegetable I didn't have a whole lot of trouble managing to consume was carrots.I loved carrots and not even slathered in ranch dressing!?! I know shocker,but I did really enjoy the taste.
So carrots,I think I loved them for two reasons:A. My parents always told me they were good for my eyes.I knew I HAD to see and well I ate them. B. They were kinda sweet.I thought the crunch made them stand out a little bit more than ol' mushy cauliflower and again they were sweet.I especially liked them whole bunches when they were cooked and then covered with butter and brown sugar.Oh and dash of cinnamon,darn fine I tell ya.I know I know, I should love them for their intrinsic value,but whose going to argue with brown sugar,cinnamon and butter! C'mon folks,lemme hear it...ok that's what I thought. I also knew that the nutritional contributions of the carrots were still hidden in there beneath the caramelized goodness,so my vision would still be intact at 80. Thank heavens.
Well hold the phone,I think I have found a way to eat my carrots,the adult way. You know with adult flavors: olive oil,thyme,garlic and oh-know-look-out red wine vinegar!!! "Oh no Mr. Bill!" Yep, I have found a civilized way to eat my vegetables and I liked it. I am a big fan of the blog Orangette and on that blog Molly Wizenberg has a grown-up carrot recipe.It is divine. I was also pretty lucky that the thyme is winter hardy herb,because this is a savory side dish I wasn't going to miss.I do have to admit my tastes have changed over the years and my views on those "awful" vegetables have changed right along with them. I have found recipes that have shaped my view of the vegetable at hand that look pretty tempting. Either by the way they are cooked that would highlight the tucked-away flavors within the vegetable or by an ingredient used to shine a light on those flavors never noticed until that certain ingredient,...maybe a condiment if you will is used, in the recipe. I mean really,it all comes down to the condiment used I guess. Enjoy your grown up carrots.
Skillet Carrots with Onions and Thyme
1 yellow onion,halved,sliced from root to stem
2 large garlic cloves,thinly sliced
2 lbs carrots,sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1. Warm a large skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot enough,add enough olive oil to film the bottom of the pan. Add the onions,they should sizzle,stir to coat with oil. Salt lightly. Cook, stirring frequently until the onions are softened, not browned. Add the garlic and reduce the heat to medium and cook for a few minutes more. Add the carrots and thyme and salt. Add more oil if needed. Cover and stir occasionally until the carrots are tender and the onions softened a little more, 10-20 minutes. Remove from the heat,sprinkle in the red wine vinegar,stir to incorporate.