Good for your eyes & appetite

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Summer in Seattle this year has been a little grayer and wetter than the last couple of years–still, on those blue sky-kind of days, it’s one of the loveliest places to be. This week is starting cool and rainy and ending (supposedly) with heat and sun. So, I’ve planned our meals accordingly. Tonight, dinner will be cooked in the oven and towards the end of the week, we’ll have a cold soba salad. The one exception, of course, is pizza Friday…unless we go to one of our favorite pizza places for dinner. Hmm, a plan is forming.

Dinner tonight was one our newer favorites, roasted carrots, tossed with za’atar, cumin, and lemon juice, served with a tangy, salty yogurt and some crusty bread. I tried this on a whim a few months ago after seeing a recipe in Cooking Light. Admittedly, I wasn’t too sure about it but was in the mood for something new in our dinner rotation. The first couple of times I made this, I served it with a salad or another side; that other dish was always left over, mostly untouched, and we cleaned the plate with the carrots. Now, on the nights we have this for dinner, it is our dinner, all by itself–maybe with some nice white wine. And, we’re happy and full at the end, every time.

Roasted Carrots & Yogurt
Adapted from Cooking Light

~6 C (725 g) sliced carrots (~2 bunches)
1/4 C (50 g) extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp Za’atar*
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tblsp (1/2 oz) lemon juice, plus a little extra for garnish
Salt & pepper to taste

1 C (200 g) Greek Yogurt*
1/2 tsp salt

Crusty, chewy bread on the side

Details:
*
Preheat the oven the 400 ºF.
* Combine the carrots, olive oil,  1 1/2 Tblsp Za’atar, cumin, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Stir to coat the carrots evenly.
* Pour on to a large baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. You may need to use two sheets. Don’t wash the bowl used to mix the carrots, oil, and spices yet; set it aside.
* Bake for 35-50 minutes, or until the carrots are a little
* While the carrots are cooking, mix the yogurt and salt together; set aside.
* When the carrots are soft and golden, remove from the oven and dump them back into the bowl. Stir to pick up any of the ‘left-over’ spice and oil. Taste the carrots and add salt if necessary.
* To server, spread the salted yogurt in the middle of a plate, arrange the carrots around the yogurt. Drizzle a little olive oil over the yogurt and top with the remaining 1/2 tsp Za’atar. Squeeze a little extra lemon juice over the carrots. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

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*Notes:

  • Za’atar is a Mediterranean spice blend, typically with sesame seeds, sumac, thyme, and a little salt. You can buy it or make your own blend. 
  • I used Ellenos plain yogurt (of course…my favorite!); it is super thick and perfect for this recipe. I think Fage, a mostly national brand (in the US at least), would be a good substitute if you don’t have access to Ellenos. But, if you have a runnier yogurt, try straining it the day before. Add the salt to the yogurt and pour into a strainer lined with cheese cloth and set the strainer over a bowl. Cover and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Discard the liquid that collects in the bowl and the yogurt is ready to use. And, on a side note, the salted yogurt is wonderful as a topping for bean stews or chili!

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