Vaguely French

MMMM,  roasted carrot salad. This looks good, kind of French. I imagine a slim wraith of girl (maybe she looks like Audrey Hepburn) bicycling in southern France, her white organdy dress fluttering behind her as she rides. She is meeting someone — Gregory Peck? — at a small cafe —

But I digress. I know I have some carrots here somewhere. The recipe says:

1 1/2 pounds small carrots, approximately 5 inches in length, scrubbed clean and tops trimmed.

Well, that would make enough salad for Coxy’s Army. I’ll cut it down to those two carrots in the vegetable bin. They’re big and a little bit whiskery, but they’re carrots. I’ll peel and split them into sticks.

Place carrots, fresh bay leaf, split head of garlic, thyme and olive oil into a bowl and mix them together Sprinkle cumin over the carrots and mix again.

Fresh bay leaf? Just skip that part. Split head of garlic? What does that mean? I’ll use the same frozen grated garlic I use for everything. Okay carrots are roasting away.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Combine the juice of two blood oranges, white vinegar, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to incorporate.

Well, I just have one regular orange. That’ll have to do. The only white vinegar I have is that big bottle of Heinz I got for cleaning and it’s, you know, really vinegary. I’ll use rice vinegar.

What’s this? It says “add the olive oil while continuing to whisk, until the dressing emulsifies.” I already added the olive oil and it wasn’t enough to emulsify anyway. Whatever.

For the salad: small red onion, thinly sliced. roughly chopped roasted almonds, two blood oranges cut into supremes —  

My last onion is not red and frankly a little past its prime, but with some judicious surgery I can salvage enough for a sprinkling of slivers. Supremes? What’s a supreme? Oh, here it says: peel the oranges with a sharp knife and cut out sections of orange flesh between membranes. I have just a plain orange and I already used half of it for juice for the vinaigrette. But it’s enough for one salad garnish.

One tablespoon each finely shopped fresh parsley, tarragon, chervil and chives.

Good luck with that. You think I have a complete Provence herb garden here? How about dried dill weed.

Make the cumin creme fraiche by combining creme fraiche, lemon juice and toasted cumin and stir to combine.

No creme fraiche in my frig. How about sour cream? Close enough.

Assemble the salad on a large serving plate. Arrange the carrots on top of a bed of the creme fraiche, Sprinkle the onion and the nuts on top of the cooled carrots, then add the supremes and sprinkle the herbs across the top of the salad and finish with a pinch or two of salt.

Sure,  it would have been better with baby carrots, blood oranges, fresh herbs and creme fraiche at a small cafe in Provence with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. But it wasn’t bad.

Rosemary Rawson is the author of Coming of Age (SRP, 2014).

6 comments on “Vaguely French

  1. Wendy Berry says:

    You brighten my days with your humor…and you’ve nailed how we so easily substitute things in recipes.

  2. Wendy Berry says:

    You brighten my days with your humor…and you’ve nailed has we so easily substitute things in recipes.

  3. Rebecca says:

    I laughed out loud 😀 I thought I was the only one haha

  4. sally says:

    Just the way I cook. Hilarious!! Sally

  5. Leah Bergstein says:

    Thanks for starting the blog up again. I sure had a good laugh about the recipe and the adaptations, sounds like my frig as well.

  6. Cousin Brenda says:

    Love your technique of cooking – very entertaining! If you think my pantry in ND is any competition to yours, well, you’d have another guess coming! Tastefully Simple, I say!

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