“My mission is to help produce inspired foods become more convenient, to help people feel comfortable and confident in cooking with vegetables at home,” shares chef Cara Mangini as she unpacks her signature technique of “smashing” (in this instance demonstrating with fresh picked sunschokes) before an intimate group of curious diners at Harvest Restaurant. This is a technique she employs in earnest with her Smashed and Seared Beets – a glorious concoction (and one of Mangini’s “most cherished souvenirs”) which highlighted the vegetarian menu she just thoughtfully prepared and served as part of the restaurant’s cookbook series. The recipe is one of many which the Little Eater Owner and Executive Chef shares in her debut cookbook, The Vegetable Butcher (Workman Publishing 2016) a title making its New England debut this evening. The Harvest event is one in a series hosted by the restaurant’s Executive’s Chef Tyler Kinnett which gather together kindred spirits to build community and celebrate food. The visit to Brattle Street from Chef Mangini is part of the restaurant’s Cookbook series.
Chef Kinnett opens the evening citing the duo’s common Ohio roots and shared passion for produce. Mangini, who earned her stripes and following as one of the first “vegetable butchers” at Mario Batali’s Eataly, speaks of “honoring local farmers” and “these moments” that cooking with fresh produce gives us – occasions to celebrate and be grateful. She and Kinnett had spent the early hours of the day wandering Chestnut Hill’s Allandale Farm foraging for such (of the moment) delicacies as cucamelons – a strange and wonderful fruit which resembles a miniature watermelon yet is actually a cucumber! The rarity goes on to grace the evening’s tables as a starter. “It’s really cool for me to bring in chefs like Cara and see their visions translate to the plate right here at Harvest,” chimes in Chef Kinnett as the two make their way back to the kitchen to prepare the next course, Turkish Carrot Yogurt with Chile Oil and Microgreens. While these special events draw folks out on a Monday evening for a variety of reasons, one guest, Joanne of Arlington, says for her it was all about the vegetables. “That title, The Vegetable Butcher. That is what got me. I am not a huge vegetable person, and I think I could use a push. And, I have faith in the team of chefs at Harvest. They always do a great job!”
The cookbook inspired multi-course dinners are ongoing, and more details about upcoming special events at Harvest can be found on the restaurant’s website. A great big thanks to Chef Cara for sharing the secrets behind her Turkish Carrot Yogurt Dip with us here!
My mission is to help produce inspired foods become more convenient, to help people feel comfortable and confident in cooking with vegetables at home.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for finishing
- 3 medium to large carrots (10 to 12 ounces total), peeled, shredded on the large holes of a box grater
- 1/3 cup pine nuts (or 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts)
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra as needed
- 2 cups low-fat or full-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely grated on a Microplane, pressed, or crushed into a paste1: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a pinch of the carrots to the oil to test it: The oil is ready if the carrots sizzle. Add the remaining carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften, about 6 minutes.2: Add the pine nuts and salt. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are completely soft and browning and the pine nuts are golden, another 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until it is incorporated and fragrant, another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Let cool briefly to warm3: Place the yogurt in a medium-size bowl. Stir in the warm carrot mixture, and season with salt to taste4: Transfer the dip to a serving bowl, and drizzle the top with olive oil. The dip will keep, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.NOTES: You can easily adjust the yield based on the quantities you have on hand and the number of people you are serving. The ratios do not need to be exact. Add a little more yogurt or throw in an extra carrot and a little more oil. Just make sure to let the carrots sizzle for a good long while, until they are soft and browned at the edges. When summer squash are in season, shredded zucchini makes an excellent addition. Swap 1 small zucchini for 1 carrot.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups