a bohemian tomato salad

A Bohemian Tomato Salad | theclevercarrot.com

My intent was to buy string beans.

Instead, I walked out of the farmstand with chicken, two dozen eggs, some fermented coconut yogurt (totally weird by the way), fresh basil, and the most beautiful bunch of sunflowers perched right next to me as I type. Pretty hues of espresso, golden caramel, and burnt yellow compete for my attention.

I also walked out with the best impulse buy ever: a pint of baby heirloom tomatoes….

Read More »

tropical spiced fruit salad with mangoes + mint

tropical spiced fruit salad with mangoes + mint | www.theclevercarrot.com

When I was pregnant with Dillon, I craved fruit like nobody’s business.

At the time, we were living in the city where there was an abundance of fruit & vegetable markets at my fingertips- I miss those days. I would peruse through all of the fruit, carefully eyeing my selection which was usually something tart and sweet, like mangoes. I was obsessed with them. I would even gnaw on the core trying to pry every last bit from the pit!

Honestly, who on earth can actually cut a mango without destroying it? Not me.

tropical spiced fruit salad with mangoes + mint | www.theclevercarrot.com

Anyway, I used make a lot of fruit salads. It was my craving fix.

This recipe was inspired by a colorful dish that my Aunt served at Easter. I’m using a variety of tropical fruit including mangoes, pineapple, and a random star fruit (because I’ve always wanted to do that). You can switch it up according to taste. The real star however, is all in the glaze; it’s kissed with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. Unusual? Yes. Overpowering? No. There’s just enough to make you go, Oooo what’s in this? I also add honey and vanilla, and serve it nice and chilled.

These are the coveted Alphonso mangoes from India. I scored 4 of them for only $2! They’re in season now and they taste amazing.

tropical spiced fruit salad with mangoes + mint | www.theclevercarrot.comtropical spiced fruit salad with mangoes + mint | www.theclevercarrot.com

With Mother’s Day coming up, I find the timing of this post quite serendipitous and unexpected, if anything. Isn’t it funny how the universe works? Or maybe I’m just pregnant again… (kidding).

On  different note- the universe has also aligned me with Q Squared, a young design company based here in NYC. They gave me these pretty blue plates. Love? I do. You should feel these things… At first glance, I thought that they were porcelain. But shockingly they are 100% BPA free indoor/outdoor dinnerware. That means your kids can throw them on the ground and they won’t break (parents rejoice!) We will be working together over the next couple of months, so keep your eyes peeled for some pretty cool stuff. You can find this lovely collection here.

♥ Happy Mother’s Day Everyone!  ♥

Tips:

  • If you can find Alphonso mangoes, buy them! They are the sweetest, most delicious mangoes I’ve ever tasted. They do have a very short season, so if you can’t find them just use the regular ones instead.
  • To save on time, buy your pineapple already cored and sliced.

tropical spiced fruit salad with mangoes + mint
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
Fruit
  • 2 mangoes
  • 1 fresh pineapple
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 pint of strawberries
  • ½ pint of raspberries
  • 1 star fruit
Glaze
  • ¼ c. fresh orange juice
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • ⅛ tsp. cinnamon
  • small pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 vanilla bean
Garnish
  • fresh mint
* Adjust the amounts according to your liking. If your fruit is a bit tart, you can add more honey to balance it out.
Instructions
  1. For the glaze, whisk the first 4 ingredients together until the honey is completely dissolved. Using a pairing knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. With the back of the knife, scrape out the seeds and add to the bowl (with the pods). Whisk well.
  2. Peel, slice and chop all of the fruit.
  3. Add everything (except the raspberries) to a large bowl. Top with the glaze and toss gently to combine.
  4. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until nice and chilled.
  5. Right before serving, toss lightly. Garnish with raspberries and fresh mint leaves. *See note.
Notes
* It is best to add the raspberries right before serving so that they do not get crushed.

tropical spiced fruit salad with mangoes + mint | www.theclevercarrot.com

fresh basil pesto

fresh basil pesto | The Clever Carrot

My herb garden is growing out of control.

The weather here in NY has been soooo weird lately; crazy rain, crazy mosquitoes, and now crazy heat! My once little herb garden has finally taken off and I don’t know what to do with it all! When in doubt, I throw everything into a blender and make pesto.

I feel like pesto is one of those things that you either love or hate. Me personally, I happen to love pesto. I grew up eating this glorious green stuff and to boycott its existence would go against my DNA (that’s the Italian in me…) Our family recipe uses a combination of basil and parsley, and instead of pine nuts (too $$$) I use almonds or walnuts. This is a ‘no-cook’ sauce, so using good quality ingredients will really make a difference.

Trust me.

fresh basil pesto | The Clever Carrot

If you’ve never made pesto before, I am going to share a little secret with you (I feel like I always say this…) You MUST blanch your basil. Why? Your pesto will turn brown if you don’t. I used to think this was a waste of time but it’s really not. You have to boil the water for the pasta anyway, so you might as well blanch your basil right before it goes in. It literally takes 3 seconds. Basil bruises very easily and this will help to retain it’s bright green color. Cool, right?

Freeze any leftovers. You know the drill…

fresh basil pesto | The Clever Carrot

Tips:

  • I like to use small, tender basil leaves for their sweet flavor. The larger ones tend to take on a liquorice/anise flavor.
  • For a smooth pesto, puree your sauce in a blender. Use a food processor or mortar & pestle for a more rustic texture.
  • Blanching basil will subsequently add more moisture to your recipe. Make sure to squeeze out any excess water before blending. If your sauce is too loose, the consistency can be corrected with additional parmesan cheese and/or nuts.
  • Freeze any leftover pesto in ice cube trays, and then transfer to Ziploc bags. Defrost overnight (in the refrigerator) or warm gently. Frozen pesto will keep for 3-6 months.
fresh basil pesto
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 2 c. basil, reserving a couple of leaves for garnish
  • 1 c. parsley
  • ½ -1 garlic clove
  • ½ c. pine nuts, almonds or walnuts
  • ½ c. ground parmesan cheese
  • ½ c. good quality olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb. linguine fini (thin linguine) or thin spaghetti
Instructions
  1. Toast the nuts: In a small skillet, gently toast the nuts over low heat until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  2. Make an ice bath: Grab a large bowl and fill with water and ice. Set aside.
  3. Blanch the basil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place your basil leaves in a small strainer and gently lower into the water. Blanch for 3 seconds and then remove it. Immediately shock in an ice bath and squeeze out any excess moisture. If you're serving this with pasta, bring the water back to a boil and cook your pasta according to the package instructions.
  4. Make the pesto: To a blender or small food processor, add the blanched basil, parsley, ½ clove of garlic, parmesan cheese, and toasted nuts. Slowly stream in the olive oil and process until smooth. If your mixture seems thick, add additional olive oil until you get the right consistency.
  5. Give your pesto a taste. Add more garlic (if you'd like) and a good amount of salt and pepper to taste. You don't want it to be bland. If it seems a bit loose, transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir in additional parmesan cheese.
  6. Drain the pasta reserving a mug filled with starchy cooking liquid. Use this to loosen the sauce if necessary.
  7. To serve: Top the pasta with pesto, reserved basil leaves, and extra parmesan cheese.
  8. Serve immediately.