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Carrots Dressed for Spring with Herbs

I do love thinking about Springtime. I love seeing plants work their way out of ground that was just snow covered and hard as rock. Now, the plot looks earthy, moist and flower ready. With a selection of flowers to cut to bring into the house brings to mind the garden that will soon be alive with seedlings: our vegetable garden. It grows each year. Grows plants, grows in size and grows in richness as we take care of the soil and plot. I am just hoping the deer won't think it is there growing for them... they are encroaching upon the environs of our house. We did see them in the distance, at twilight. Did. Now, there they are! Picture ready. And I am afraid hungry. No problems yet... except our tulips are now history. But I am hoping the fenced in garden will not be their local snack shop. We shall see.
In the mean time, thinking of great springtime dishes, I love carrots. They are colorful, our kids always ate them and they are easy to grow. Carrots Dressed for Spring with herbs is a winner.

4 large cloves of garlic
1/2 t dried oregano
3/4 t basil
3/4 t tarragon
1/2 t red pepper flakes
3 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 c olive oil, for dressing, plus 2 T for carrots
2 lbs. long, tender young carrots cut into 3/4 inch slices on a diagonal
3 T water
Pinch of sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, finely chopped.

In a mini-food processor, or blender, combine the garlic, oregano, tarragon and pepper flakes. Add the vinegar and grind to a paste. In a thin stream, drizzle in the olive oil and blend until the mixture is emulsified. Set aside while you cook the carrots. In a medium heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the water, sugar (if desired), salt and pepper and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for about 5 more minutes. Do not let carrots get mushy. Add a little water to the pan if necessary. Transfer the carrots to a serving blow with a slotted spoon and immediately add the herb dressing. Toss together and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave the carrots to marinate for 2 to 3 hours. When ready to serve, stir in the parsley. Serve at room temperature.

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