September 23, 2013

Buttery Carrots and Zucchini Moons

I wish I could restore the reputation of steamed vegetables. Forget awesome nutrition for a second (pshaw!), when steaming is done right, veggies taste delightful, as bold or simple as you wish: think lemon juice and olive oil, soy sauce/sesame oil, hot sauce, honey-mustard glaze, balsamic vinaigrette, Mexican salsa, cheesy sauces... endless options! At our house, the steam basket is such an important gadget that it never even leaves the stove, except for washing.

This particular combination of veggies is so tasty. The last of summer's bright, al dente zucchini pair with the deep, extra-tender sweetness of fall carrots. Add warm butter and a bright splash of scallions and you have a delicious, super-fast side dish.

You've probably steamed something or other before, but I want to remind you of the importance of timing, just in case it's been a while since you rinsed the cobwebs off the old steam basket.
The trick to a successful steam is to use fresh vegetables and pull them out long before they turn to colorless mush. With a mixed steam like this one, that means adding the veggies at different times. Give the carrots a good five-minute head start under the lid (a perfect interval for chopping the zucchini.) Spear and taste your carrots once or twice, waiting to add the zucchini moons until the carrots are nearly tender. Both of the vegetables should need only two or three minutes after that. Then they can go straight into a serving bowl with a big pat of butter, a few grounds of sea salt and black pepper, and a handful of scallions.

Picky kids who are still learning to enjoy vegetables will like the mild sweetness of this combination (it's no wonder both these veggies have found their way into breads and sweets.)

Now go show your steam basket some love, and enjoy!

Buttery Carrots and Zucchini Moons
Total Time: 15
Serves: 4

4-5 whole fresh carrots
1-2 whole fresh zucchinis
1/4 cup chopped fresh scallions, more or less
1 Tbls. grass-fed butter, more or less
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Fill a pot with 2 inches water, place a steam basket inside, and set it to boil.

Meanwhile, peel and slice carrots into small chunks or coins. Add them to the steam basket and cover.

Rinse and slice zucchini into half-moons.

Taste the carrots once or twice mid-steam. (Be careful not to check too often, because lifting the lid lets steam escape.) When carrots are close to tender (at least five minutes), add the zucchini moons.

Steam three more minutes, or until zucchini are bright and tender-crisp. Remove from heat immediately and add butter, scallions, salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy! It's a delicious compliment to curries and cold chicken dishes.

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