By Cheryl Simone

These are two great side dishes for people who feel like cooking when it is cold out and there is not much at the farmer’s market but carrots and maybe some cauliflower.

Harissa Maple Roasted Carrots

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
2-3 T olive oil (need not be EVOO)
1/3 cup maple syrup (pure, better)
2 T Harissa paste (recipe follows)
2 tsp. cumin seeds
S/P
2-3 # tri-color carrots (white, yellow, orange)–any will do
1 lemon, thin slices, de-seeded

Harissa (purchase commercially), or:
1 can roasted red peppers
¼ cup hot chile sauce (such as Sambal, Sriracha or Rooster sauce)
1 T olive oil (EVOO better)
1 tsp. each: cumin, coriander and fennel seeds (use powder if seeds unavailable)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coriander (fresh cilantro), optional

Directions:

1. Make Harissa sauce (a spicy, not fiery Turkish pepper condiment)
a. Toast seeds in dry skillet or 375 degree oven about 5 minutes until fragrant and golden color.
b. Place remaining ingredients in blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
c. This will last a good while in the refrigerator, well covered.

2. For Carrots:
a. Preheat oven 400 degrees. Line baking pan with silicone silpat, if available, or grease baking pan
b. Clean carrots, either scrub well or peel (personal preference). Trim tops, if applicable to ½ inch; split carrots lengthwise in halves if thick. Leave whole if thin.
c. Combine oil, garlic, maple syrup, seeds, cilantro (if using), salt and pepper.
d. Toss carrots and lemon slices with mixture.
e. Roast uncovered until carrots are tender and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes; test with tip of knife. Serve hot or chill for later use. Reheat in oil on stovetop before serving.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower (white, better), broken into flowerets,
1-2 waxy Potatoes (chef, red or Yukon gold), peeled, large dice [optional, but better]
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ onion, diced
¼ cup cream (or 2 oz. cream cheese)
½ cup (about 2 oz.) Parmesan cheese, grated
½ stick (2 oz. or 4 T) butter (optional)
S/P
Chives or scallions, minced (optional)

Directions:

1. Fill stock pot with cold salted water and add potatoes. Add chopped onion and garlic.
2. When water comes to boil, add cauliflower. Add stem pieces (cut smaller) first followed by flowerets: larger pieces first, smaller later. Cover, reduce heat to medium and let vegetables cook until soft. This may take between 5-15 minutes.
3. Test vegetables with fork or tip of knife, drain water, reserving about ½ cup. Return pot to stove and shake to dry potatoes, cauliflower and aromatics.
4. Add cream/cream cheese, Parmesan, butter (if using) and s/p to pan. As cheese and butter melt, use masher or immersion blender to mash all. In the alternative, transfer all to food processor, but only PULSE to combine. Some texture is good. Don’t over process to soup
5. Use reserved potato water (just a dash at a time) to achieve smooth finish, but not too much to release potato starch and make glue-y. This is best with some texture left to the mix; thick and fluffy.
6. Finish with additional butter and/or chives. Yum. Serve hot.

Susan Delbert joined The Fourth Estate Restaurant at the National Press Club as Executive Chef after working at The Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C. as Sous Chef for several years. Delbert has worked in several Washington restaurants, including The Oval Room, BeDuCi in Dupont Circle and Gerard’s Place. She started her culinary career as a Front of the House Maitre d’ in Clyde’s of Chevy Chase. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., where she graduated at the top of her class. She was an invited participant in an Italian regional cooking program sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission.

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