When I make my weekly meal plan, I allot different vegetables for each dinner, but I rarely go so far as to plan how I will cook them. When dinner time rolls around, I am so focused on my main courses that I turn to the same old recipes for my sides: honey carrots, roasted asparagus, and parmesan zucchini. Vegetables are an afterthought, nothing to get excited about, something we eat to stay healthy. But I recently received a beautiful cookbook to review that has pretty much revolutionized our sides, and banished vegetable boredom forever.
Nigel Slater’s cookbook Tender celebrates vegetables with beautiful photography and exciting, yet easy recipes. Just the cookbook’s massive size was enough to convince me to change my way of thinking vegetable sides. He chronicles how he transformed his small London garden into a rich vegetable patch and has inspired me to plant some vegetables in my own tiny garden this summer, something I haven’t done in years.
I’m now arming myself with bushy carrots and snappy green beans, excited to serve them to my family for dinner. I can’t wait to rediscover cauliflower and parsnips, with the guidance of Slater’s passionate and fresh recipes. If you’re looking for ways to get more veggies in your life, Tender has them: from salads to creamy sides, and even a few desserts.
My favorite recipe so far is this side dish of spiced and creamed carrots. It serves 4.
Spiced and Creamed Carrots
1 large bunch of carrots (14 ounces)
2 cloves of garlic
a thumb sized piece of ginger
3 or 4 small green chiles
a thick slice of butter
a teaspoon of yellow mustard seeds
2 tablespoons of cashew nuts
4 tablespoons of heavy cream
4 heaping tablespoons of plain yogurt
a good handful of cilantro leaves
a generous squeeze of lime juice
- Shred or grate the carrots coarsely. Peel and crush the garlic, then peel and finely shred the ginger, and finely chop the chiles.
- Heat the butter in a frying pan and add the garlic, ginger, and mustard seeds, holding a lid over the top to stop them from spluttering. Add the chiles and then, as everything becomes fragrant, the grated carrots. Let them cook, with the occasional toss, for three or four minutes.
- Coarsely chop the cashews, toast them in a nonstick frying pan until golden and set aside. Stir the cream and the yogurt together an fold them into the hot carrots. Immediately spoon into a serving dish and toss with the toasted cashews, cilantro leaves, and the lime juice.