For this recipe, I wanted to give a nod to the fact that we don’t really follow recipes. At least I don’t. At least not usually. You know what I mean? I read one and think, “That’s a good idea!” and I may even refer back to it while I’m cooking, but I’m not using any of the exact quantities specified, I am leaving things out, and I am putting in things that aren’t called for.
Of course, there are also the nights when I just want to settle down and cook something from exact notes, especially my own exact notes, about what to put in and how much.
But, I think being more experimental, at least some of the time, is a great way to learn about cooking, about flavors, and about what you like. And some recipes, like this one, seem made for a non-measuring preparation every time, even after I have figured out just how I like them.
So, at least some of the time, I’m going to post in the form of a recipe “sketch” that acknowledges the fact that many of us are going to make our own version anyway, as well we should.
Recipe Sketch – Carrot and Raisin Salad
Grate some carrots, on the biggest holes in your grater. These make up most of the volume of the salad, so grate as many as you need for about as much salad as you want.
Add some raisins. Pour some in and mix to see if you think it’s enough.
Grate in citrus zest. I like lime the best, but Meyer lemon is also lovely. Squeeze on a little juice of the same citrus.
Salt. It seems weird, but a small (not tiny) amount of salt is totally what makes this come together.
That and heavy whipping cream. Actually, mixing the cream with crème fraîche is even better. I like to add just enough to make a little liquidy dressing for the carrots and raisins.
Mix, taste and adjust.
I love these flavors! A little salty, a little sweet, a lot of fresh. Also, a fantastic way to use up carrots from your fridge right before you leave town. And a good use of multicolored carrots. Sometimes I think I buy heirloom vegetables just for the colors.
So what about you? Do you “follow” recipes?
That looks delicious – I very rarely follow recipes either. My girlfriend had a salad very similar to this not long ago actually.
Not following recipes, and being reasonably certain I can make changes I will like, is a freedom I really enjoy. Of course, I also had some not-so-great ideas before I got to this stage . . .
I think I am on both extremes – I go long periods of time not really messing with the recipe – I got to a guacamole that I REALLY like and I have no intention of changing it.
On the other hand, I will venture far and wide on a new recipe (after giving it ONE shot to be right as written – it usually isn’t).
I HAVE to way on in this carrot salad – BEST salad ever!! It is awesome.
Where way=weigh, oh, and in my head “in” precedes “on”, so, if in your head you will read that as “I have to weigh in on this carrot salad” – our heads will be on the same page – and let the pixels wander where they will.
I agree in principle about trying a recipe “straight” the first time . . . although most of time I can’t keep myself from changing things at least a little. I also feel like when I start to change things, the responsibility for whether the recipe comes out well switches from the author to me.
I totally read “in on” until you pointed out that they were switched – luckily our brains can skip right over minor mistakes.
i always follow baking recipes of course (since it’s pure science, but you already know that!). otherwise, i only follow a recipe if the ingredient mix is so new to me, that i’d like to understand the ratios what goes in and what it will taste like. and i keep a notebook of recipes of my tweaked versions of things too. i make a quick and lazy grated carrot salad that only has toasted cumin seed, lemon juice, olive oil, and s&p. yum and refreshing!
I agree about baking! Although I did make my own cookie recipe not too long ago and it came out pretty well. I think because I always have to adjust for altitude anyway, it makes me less stressed about monkeying with baking recipes.
Your carrot salad sounds good! I like the idea of just carrots and seasonings.
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