Friday, October 7, 2011
My husband, known in the blogosphere as Recluse Red, started to get suspicious a week ago. The tofu quota in our house had been steadily rising. The bottle of Braggs had attained a place of prominence on the counter top once again. A recent grocery receipt listed "Earth Balance" as a purchase. But Red truly knew that doings were a-transpiring when he saw my twin rolls of seitan cooling on our kitchen island.
"Oh, God," he groused, "you're not doing that vegan thing again, are you?"
Red viewed my vegetarian sojourn as a troubling phase of mine, akin to when a teenaged girl starts wearing blue nail polish or the muumuu her mom bought in Acapulco in 1975. He assumed that time and hickory-smoked thick cut bacon would work their magic, and I'd wander back to the dark side and quit polluting our home with almond milk. And I did waddle back into the carnivore camp. But Red had obviously forgotten that I have bottles of periwinkle, royal, and powder blue lacquer under my bathroom sink, and he ignores the groovy old tropical maxi dress that Mom let me spirit away to my connubial bower (though how he can ignore it is beyond me - that sucker is screaming orange and bright white, like traffic cones and divided highway lines gone Don-Ho-meets-disco-inferno-crazy, baby). In other words, some of my quirks never fade entirely. Red should have known that the good ship Veggie Kate would sail again, and that he'd have to come along for the ride - especially when October means MoFo. Sorry, Red, and brace yourself for the carrot fries!
I know these must have been done before, but they're a new idea to me. Why it took me almost twenty years of kitchen experimentation to realize that pretty much any root vegetable can be made into a matchstick fry is beyond me, but sometime you just have to accept your shortcoming and pull out the veggie peeler. So to accompany our Reubens (yup, the corned "beef" and marble rye had a destination) yesterday night, I sliced carrots into lovely little slivers, tossed them with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper, and roasted them at 450 for a little less than twenty minutes.
As you can see, some of my "fries" got a little overdone. I chose to view this as "caramelization." I also chose to scrawl "next time, check after 15 mins" in my kitchen notebook.
"Caramelized" or not, these were plenty good. The Girl ate the lion's share of them, but Red also helped himself to several portions from the serving plate. Since Red is usually finicky about his food preferences, I kept expecting to hear some unflattering reflections about a tragic world where his wife served his favorite sandwich but replaced chips with roasted root sticks. None came. In fact, it turned out I'd unwittingly fooled him. About halfway through our meal Red started admonishing our daughter to eat more of her sandwich: "You can't just fill up on sweet potatoes!"
"Those are carrots," I told him.
"Really?" Red asked, examining the one in his hand. "I though they were fries."
"They are. Carrot fries."
Red considered this new information. Then he turned to The Girl and said, "Whatever, you still need to eat more of your sandwich." Then he popped the carrot fry into his mouth.
I'll count this as a win. I'm now 4:1, MoFo. Hopefully more good and colorful things are to come - and I don't just mean my groovy muumuu, either.