Roasted carrot dip was the hit of the happy hour and the bagel bombs-well, they were the bomb. Last week I had a few ladies over for happy hour. That’s what happens when Manservant is gone for a long time. I get bored and need to channel my energy and so I decided to invite over a few bloggers that I’ve never met before, with one exception. Truthfully this could have been a disastrous experience, after all I’ve heard it said that bloggers can be competitive and petty. Well, I’m not in that group and either were these ladies! We had a great time and I hope we do it again soon.
I kind of went overboard with food. When Manservant is gone I don’t cook very often, so lots of things sounded good to me. And knowing Manservant would be arriving the next day I knew he would be happy with any leftovers. Yes, Manservant was gone for three weeks, not counting the two night hiatus to change his clothes and get fresh ones; thanks to Mrs. How I Cook. He ended up having a fun time with Alex OdieSan and took so many photos that I will never get to see. Yes, he lost his phone which didn’t bode well for communicating. Seems the cab driver left a bit too quickly.
In any case he regaled me with stories about my boy and how proud he is of him and how well he seems to have settled in. His Chinese is great, (like he would know) and he is an expert on street food and of course, wine. His roommates are smart and good kids, and he has a red couch in his living room and a purple one in his bedroom in front of the 10 foot window, and he found the couch on Craig’s List. After walking up six flights of stairs he learned our son lives in the penthouse. But I already knew that. Everyone knows him wherever he goes and though I probably might not think that he lived in a great neighborhood, he assured me he does and that he actually has a very good address, though the water pressure isn’t the best.
They had a great time getting their skin exfoliated and massaged and had a 16 course meal with Manservant’s former business partner, who Alex was able to speak with just fine. They each had lots of new shirts made, but especially Alex, who said all he needed was a white one. Manservant asked how many he had and he replied none, which led to about 12 additional shirts and the story about Manservant locating his past tailor in a giant building, that Alex thought he would be permanently lost in. After getting off the elevator, the long thought to be lost tailor, spied my husband walking down the hall and recognized him after 7 years and then she finally got to meet the boy she had made a prom tux for so many years ago! So now you know what I know and maybe soon I will get some photos from Alex’s camera.
And back to food… I made a great cracked pepper, warm onion dip with semi homemade French onion potato chips and this roasted carrot dip, that I loved. We also had wine. You did know that, right? And I baked bagel bombs and Earl Grey chocolate chip cookies. Karen brought smoked salmon that she smoked and Diane brought a wide assortment of home made jams. And we all brought lots of conversation. A good time was had by all! Check out their links down below.
Carrots may sound weird as an appetizer, but they have been showing up on a lot of restaurant menus lately. Roasted carrots become sweet and earthy and oh so good. They are perfect as a side dish and as leftovers, made a great topping on my sumac chicken. The hazelnut raisin topping is superb and lush. Try them and impress your friends. I served them with za’atar pizza that I buy at a small restaurant called Amira. I order 4 at a time and then cut them into pieces and freeze them. I adore these, so if you live in Denver put this Lebanese place on your radar screen.
Roasted Carrot Dip Platter
Serves: 6-8 as an appetizer
1 lb medium carrots (I used all colors) Peel and slice on the diagonal 1/4″ thick and 2-3″ long
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t sumac
zest from 1/2 a lemon
1 t ground coriander
1/2 t ground cumin
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1/4 c golden raisins
1/2 c coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1 t chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 1/2 c plain whole milk Greek yogurt or labneh or even hummus
1 T chopped Italian parsley
Za’atar pitas for serving or toasted plain pitas-no worries here!
Preheat oven to 450. In a large bowl, combine, 1/2 t salt, 1 t sumac, lemon zest, coriander, cumin and oil. Add carrots and toss to coat. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast carrots, stirring once, until browned at edges, about 15-18 minutes. I kept mine in a little longer because I like them really crisp. Let cool.
Cook butter in a medium frying pan over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until browned, about 5-8 minutes. It will sputter and then get quiet. This is how you kind of know it is about browned. Add raisins, nuts, 1/2 t thyme and 1/2 t sumac, Cook while stirring, until raisins puff, about 45-60 seconds. Let cool.
If using yogurt or labneh, combine in a small bowl with 1/4 t salt and remaining 1/2 t of thyme. I substituted more za’atar to taste. This is up to you! Spread on a platter. Now toss carrots and nuts and parsley together. Arrange over yogurt or hummus mixture. Serve with pita chips. Salt to taste.