Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Not carrot sticks - carrots ON a stick

Back in 2006, when Barry Beisner was ordained a bishop and consecrated as the head of the Diocese of Northern California, I was put in charge of food for a party for "somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 people." It was going to be lunch, and I wouldn't know the precise number until the Sacramento Convention Center was filled and heads counted, around 11 a.m.

I had a great helpmate in this, Nan Wyant, who spent countless hours on the phone making arrangements for water deliveries, party goods, and the myriad details so I could focus on the food. And what a great group of volunteers we had at Trinity Cathedral. We arranged everything so no utensils were needed, and set up seven lines of tables with identical food on each to move the crowd quickly through the hall and back outside, where the entertainment was set up.

The main dishes weren't too hard. We had spicy meatballs on a stick with a yogurt sauce; curried chicken tenders on a stick with peanut sauce; fried tofu squares with sweet Thai chili sauce. We had cheese plates with crackers and snacks outside. We had lots of cold vegetable platters with blanched green beans, pepper strips, radishes, zucchini rounds, snow peas, celery sticks and dip.

But cooked vegetables on a stick? I settled on Moroccan Carrots. As long as you don't overcook them, they stay on a toothpick well, and we put them in little 2-ounce cups. They were a hit.

Moroccan Carrots
adapted from Joyce Goldstein, author of "The Mediterranean Kitchen"
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
⅓ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Dash cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 ½ cups (about ½ pound), cut into coins (slices)
⅓ cup orange juice
3 tablespoons dried currents, soaked in hot water
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
Chopped parsley for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to low, add the sugar spices and carrots and stir for a few minutes. Add the orange juice and the currents with some of their soaking liquid. Bring to a boil. Quickly reduce heat an simmer, covered, until the carrots are just tender. Add salt and pepper and adjust seasoning to taste. Sprinkle with parsley.

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