Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Marinated Carrot Salad

I love buying fresh summer carrots in quantity: There are so many interesting ways to use them! This crunchy salad is one of my summer favorites. It’s inexpensive and exceptionally good! As I recommended in yesterday’s blog (see Potato Salad with Double Mustard Dressing, July 25, 2011), I prefer steaming veggies to boiling them, so I always steam the carrots in this recipe. Be careful not to overcook them. They require just six minutes in boiling water, or 10 minutes if you’re using a steamer filled with cold water. 
While we’re talking about kitchen gadgets, I have a couple of other recommendations. A weigh scale is a very handy piece of equipment. I have two of them. The smaller one weighs ingredients of just a few ounces or grams with precision; the larger one weighs heavier foods in pounds and kilograms. For really accurate measurements, nothing beats weighing the ingredients in a recipe. Professionals cook that way, as does anyone using recipes that call for British measurements. 
The other tools I’m going to recommend are pretty basic. Buy yourself a good can opener and a quality vegetable peeler! Every person I’ve ever met who claims to hate cooking just “happens to have” lousy tools. If I struggled with a shoddy can opener and a dull peeler, I’d hate cooking too! I also have a small wand with a magnet on one end to lift the lids of cans that for some reason, don't fully open. This tool is principally used in home canning, to lift lids from a boiling water bath. It's a very handy gizmo to keep in the kitchen drawer. 

Do yourself a favor! Splurge! Kitchen tools don’t have to be fancy, pretty, or expensive, but they do have to work ergonomically (a big word meaning “like a damn”). A good tool makes hard work easy. Let the tool do the work so you won’t have to!

This recipe requires extra time for marination

Marinated Carrot Salad (Version 1):
To Prepare Salad:

2 lb. carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal in ¾-in. slices
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium green pepper, in bite-sized chunks

To Prepare Sweet Vinaigrette:

½ - 10-oz. (284 mL) can condensed cream of tomato soup
¼ c. granulated sugar
½ c. canola oil
½ tsp. dry mustard
⅓ c. white vinegar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper
Cook carrots in boiling water or steamer until tender-crisp. Drain and immediately plunge into ice water to chill. Drain and pat dry. Toss together with onion rings and green pepper. Whisk remaining ingredients together or shake to combine in a covered jar. Pour over carrot mixture. Chill and marinate 5 or 6 hr., allowing flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature. To store, cover and refrigerate up to 4 days. Serves 6-to-8.

Note: Can’t eat onions or peppers? See the Index for a 2013 version of this delicious salad! Check Salads: Carrot (Marinated/Version 2).

Prepare onions ...
Carrots and peppers ...

Have a good-quality can opener and lid-lifter ready!

Combine soup and other ingredients for the marinade.

Chill carrots in ice water to stop the cooking process.

Drain and pat dry.

Pour marinade over carrot mixture. Chill 5-to-6 hr. before serving.

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