I have many Moroccan friends and relatives whose cooking I adore! Their salads are especially fabulous. Fragrant, healthy and rich in flavor, they are relatively easy to prepare and delicious on their own or as a side dish. I found these pretty heirloom carrots this week at Trader Joe's. Carrot salad is one of my favorites. Yotam Ottlolenghi is of Morrocan descent, and his recipe for Spicy Carrot Salad is a winner. You can serve it either warm or cold.
2 lbs carrots
1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium green chilies, finely chopped
1/8 tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground coriander
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 ½ cups cilantro leaves, chopped, plus extra to garnish
½ cup Greek yogurt, chilled
Peel the carrots and cut them, depending on their size, into cylinders or semicircles ½ inch thick; all the pieces should end up roughly the same size. Place in a large saucepan and cover with salted water: Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until tender but still crunchy. Drain in a colander and leave to dry out.
Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for 12 minutes on a medium heat until soft and slightly brown. Add the cooked carrots to the onion, followed by all the remaining ingredients, apart from the cilantro and yogurt. Remove from the heat. Season liberally with salt, stir well and leave to cool.
Before serving, stir in the cilantro, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of oil and garnished with extra cilantro.
Our dear friends Tovah and Austin had a beautiful baby girl, Eve, last month, and I wanted to bake something for them that would be both nutritious and delicious. Those first few weeks are always a bit disorienting, and can drain any new parent of their energy. I found this recipe in the “Smitten Kitchen Cookbook,” for a breakfast bar that packs a lot of punch, since it is replete with fiber and protein. The result is a delicious bar that is both filling and satisfying.
- 1 cup chopped dried pitted dates
- 1 ¼ cup quick rolled oats
- 3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
- 1/3 cup wheat germ
- ½ cup thinly sliced almonds
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup almond butter
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-by-8-by-2-inch pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to go up the sides. Stir together the dates, oats, flour, wheat germ, almonds, salt, and cinnamon in the bottom of a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond butter, olive oil, honey, orange zest and almond extract until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry mixture, and stir them together until the dry ingredients are evenly coated. Spread the batter in the prepared pan, pressing the mixture firmly into the bottom, edges, and corners to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan.
Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges—don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan, do not worry—they’ll set once completely cool.
Cool the bars in their pan placed on a cooling rack or in the fridge. (Alternatively, after about 20 minutes you can lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process).
Once they’re cool, use a serrated knife to cut the bars into squares. If bars seem crumbly, chill them further in the fridge for 30 minutes, which will fully set the “glue,” then cut them cold.