Monday, May 18, 2009

Carrots and Zucchini with Garlic and Ginger: Back in Orange/Green

Okay! It’s a new week! No more ants! No more fun life announcements! No more stomach bug! (Thank the heavens. I lost 164 pounds last week. And I only weigh 148.)

Henceforth, it’ll be calmer than the entire cast of Ace of Cakes around here. I’ll post articles on time. (Before 11:56pm, even!) Everything will be spelled correctly. (I won’t accidentally use the word “ravished” to describe hungry little leaguers!) Recipes will include pictures that don’t look like they were taken in Transylvania in December. (Mmm … chicken in focus!)

Kicking off our entirely new stretch of timely deliciousness is Carrots and Zucchini with Garlic and Ginger, a simple sautéed side from Alton Brown. I procured the vegetables for a stunningly low price at a place called Giunta’s Meat Farms on Long Island. My family’s been frequenting Giunta’s since … 1979, I think. Back then it was a smaller grocery store in Holbrook, where locals picked up their cold cuts, cheeses, and Italian anything. Now, it’s a small chain for Suffolk County-ites who like their produce fresh, cheap, and plentiful. If you’re ever in the area, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Anyway, back to the dish. It’s an Asian-flavored side I picture pairing very well with rice and simply-prepared chicken. Carrots provide a pleasant crunch and sweetness, while zucchini makes it a little out-of-the-ordinary. Plus, once you get past the chopping part, it comes together in five minutes. Aces.

If need be, you can leave the sesame seeds out. I forgot to buy them, and though they would have added a nice texture and completed the dish more fully, they weren’t absolutely essential. The carrots and zucchini on the other hand … yeah, don’t drop them.

It’s nice to be back, folks. And not in a bathroom. (Yum!)

Carrots and Zucchini with Garlic and Ginger
4 side servings
From Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food.

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
2 large carrots, cut into 2-inch sticks (julienned)
1 large unpeeled zucchini, cut into 2-inch sticks (julienned)
1 tablespoon mint, chiffonaded
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

NOTE: Try to chop everything beforehand; this moves too fast to do it while you're cooking.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high or high heat. Once it's really hot, add oil. Quickly add garlic and ginger. Cook 30 to 60 seconds, until fragrant. Add carrots. Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini. Cook 30 to 60 seconds, stirring occasionally. Add mint and vinegar. Stir. According to Alton, "if carrots are still too firm, cover and steam briefly." Salt and pepper to taste. Serve. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. 

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
74 calories, 4.7 g fat, $0.44

1 tablespoon peanut oil: 119 calories, 13.5 g fat, $0.11
2 cloves garlic, minced: 9 calories, 0 g fat, $0.10
2 teaspoons ginger, minced: 3 calories, 0 g fat, $0.02
2 large carrots, cut into 2-inch sticks: 59 calories, 0.3 g fat, $0.22
1 large unpeeled zucchini, cut into 2-inch sticks: 52 calories, 0.6 g fat, $0.71
1 tablespoon mint, chiffonaded: 1 calories, 0 g fat, FREE (from backyard)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar: negligible calories and fat, $0.24
Kosher salt and ground black pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.02
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted: 53 calories, 4.5 g fat, $0.33
TOTAL: 296 calories, 18.9 g fat, $1.75
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 74 calories, 4.7 g fat, $0.44

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