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May 31. 2011: Carrot a l’Etuvee

May 31, 2011

Last week, I was home to attend the wedding of my nephew, Jonathan and his new bride, Nikki. I was invited to cook for my family (a rare treat) as a follow-up to the wedding, at my sister, Mary Lou’s house. I made:

  • Bruschetta with goat cheese-shallot topping
  • Pumpkin Vichyssoise
  • Beef Tenderloin with Cajun Spice/Dijon Mustard/Horseradish Crust
  • Duchess Potatoes
  • French-Style Asparagus (see May 10, 2011 entry)
  • Carottes à l’Etuvée (steamed carrots w/no water)
  • Boston Lettuce/Belgian Endive Salad w/ Pear, Toasted Walnuts, Macadamia Nut Oil & Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake

This was a very challenging meal considering all the dishes and the time spent for traveling and for the wedding itself. Mary Lou set a beautiful table with her fine china, silver and Waterford crystal. Nikki donated one of her bouquets from the wedding, for the centerpiece for the table.

One of my “sure things” for this meal was the Carottes à l’Etuvée recipe. “Etuvée” is French for “steamed.” Fair warning, here: You may never make carrots any other way (I sure haven’t.) This recipe creates a fresh carrot, steamed in its own water and that results in a brighter color, firmer texture, and a more flavorful taste. It has a by-product as being one of the easiest dishes I’ve ever made!

Have your chosen quantity of carrots (washed, skinned, ends removed, and cut at 45°angle.) Here, it is important to get the mass of each piece the same, in order to get each piece to cook evenly. You don’t need to add any water! The carrots cook in their own juices. Add a pat of butter, a sprinkling of ground pepper and sal de mer, herbs de Provence, a bay leaf and a tiny bit of ground nutmeg to the pot. Cover and heat at medium-high until the carrots start to sizzle. Reduce heat to low, shaking the pot every once in a while (about 20 minutes) until the biggest piece is able to be pierced with a fork. Serve immediately.

That’s all for the best carrots you will ever have!

06.02.11 Update:

The diners, minus hosts & chef (photo: S. Swasey)

Just got the pics from the host, my brother-in-law Steve (thanks!) Steve absolutely hates veggies! He told me that he would not try the asparagus dish so I (unconsciously) served him twice the carrot dish! Steve was (silently) less than pleased at my doing so, but after tasting, he finished them all!

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