“Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive.” – Bugs Bunny
Carrots have a lot going for them. They are a pretty color, they are a little sweet, you can eat them raw or cook them and they taste good. In a pinch, you can feed them to horses (or rabbits). Most especially, though: they are very economical and good for you.
You can find good carrots at Farmers Markets. I love Farmers Markets. They make me happy, even when they are very crowded.
I like to go to the South Lake Tahoe Farmers Market on Tuesday mornings. This time of year you really need to get there before 10:00 a.m., though because it’s difficult to find a parking place. I should take my own advice because I got there at 10:00 and drove a couple of blocks away to park. I had a couple of recipes in mind when I went there so I didn’t spend all my time wandering around looking at all the stuff and then buying too much because it looked good, or because I wanted to photograph it (which I have done too many times.)One of the recipes was a shredded carrot salad. I was still enamored with Yes!Chef!’s Chile and Lime chicken and I saw a recipe for shredded carrots that had lime and jalapenos that I wanted to embellish and make my own.
I couldn’t find any Cilantro (what’s up with that?), but I did find almost everything else on my list. So, I made a quick stop at Raleys Grocery Store to pick up the few things that I needed.
I generally like to shop at Raleys in South Lake Tahoe (even though the parking lot is a nightmare), but during the summer, it seems that it is the epicenter of tourist rudeness. I generally don’t mind tourists because they bring money into the area which pays for jobs. I also think this is a beautiful area with lots of fun family activities, so I’m happy when people come here to see the beauty and enjoy the outdoors.
During July and August, the amount of people in South Lake Tahoe balloons. The campgrounds are full, the motels are busy and the beaches are packed. so, like going to the Farmers Market early in the morning, you should probably do your grocery shopping early, too. If not, you are likely to run into one or more of the following situations:
1.) Fathers who leave two crying children in the shopping cart in the middle of the busiest aisle (meat/diary) while they dash up and down the aisles grabbing the things they need and rushing back to the cart to drop them off before dashing off to another aisle. Cue louder crying by the children. The fathers lope down one aisle after the next, dodging and weaving as if they are participating in a sporting event. They arrive back at their cart just before some grandmotherly lady is about to get the manager.
2.) Hikers/Wilderness campers who have spent the last 2-3 weeks in Desolation Wilderness Area living off the land without once taking a shower. These people are mostly men, who stand in the middle of the aisle and refuse to move because they are so mesmerized by all the food they haven’t eaten in the last several weeks. Even if you say, “Excuse me” loudly, they still don’t move and you are forced to either turn around and try a different aisle or squeeze past them while mouth breathing and hoping that you don’t actually touch them. (I advise the former rather than the latter.)
3.) (And this is my worst favorite) Large family groups who are sharing a campsite that meet around a single shopping cart located in the middle of the vegetable aisle and try to decide what they will have for dinner that night. The children are usually hungry and crying. The teens are bored, looking at their I-Phones and standing in the way so that you cannot get past them no matter how many times you say, “Excuse me.” Fathers who are trying to develop a plan of action while keeping an eye on which aisle the beer is located. And mothers who are “discussing’ the types of food their children will or will not eat. Sometimes these groups can contain as many as 15-20 people. Sometimes they are from a foreign country and look around bewildered. But none of them make room for the other million shoppers that are trying to navigate around them.
So, after a trip to Raleys tackling the crowds, it’s nice to make a simple carrot salad that requires very little effort.
The fresher the carrots the better the salad. If you have a Farmers Market, I would advise buying the carrots from them.
Next shred them up in long shreds. I used a hand shredder, but you can use your food processor on the medium shred.
Here’s the recipe.
Shredded Carrot Salad with Lime-Jalapeno-Cilantro Dressing
(Inspired by a recipe I found in an old Fine Cooking Magazine – 2008)
- 8 medium carrots
- 1/4 cup olive oil (I prefer extra virgin)
- 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
- 1 medium jalapeno, cored, seeded and minced fine
- 2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbs. sugar (or if the carrots are sweet, to taste)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pepitas
- cilantro leaves for garnish
- Peel and shred carrots. Place in a large bowl.
- Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno, rice wine vinegar and sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste
- Add the dressing, chopped cilantro and dried cranberries to the carrots. Toss until well mixed. Taste and add more salt and pepper is needed.
- Serve with pepitas sprinkled on top with a few cilantro leaves for garnish.
And there you have it!
Now, after all the Farmers marketing, battling tourists in Raleys and making the salad, why don’t you make someone happy and take a walk in the forest?