Sunday, February 27, 2011


About this time of year, we start getting teases of springtime. As the afternoons start to get longer, there will be a few moments in the day that feels warm, or at least not so cold. There might be an evening of glorious gusty winds with smells of faraway places, to remind you that spring is just around the corner. The ground will soften up and get muddy for a few hours or a few days, and any patches of leftover snow will dissolve, trickling into the gutters by day, refreezing into thick ice by night. We’ll have days of cold rain, and days of biting winds. Some afternoons, just a sweater will do.

And as the air warms and the ground softens, we’ll be able to dig around for a few little underground gifts from last year’s garden.
And start to clean the beds up and dream of gardens to come. 


I sometimes make carrots this way roasted in the pan with a lemon pork loin, so this stovetop version is flavored with bacon or pancetta, but you can leave it out and use oil or butter instead.  If you don’t have or care for tarragon, use any other herb you like or leave it out. Same with the brandy & lemon, but then you’ll have to call it “Carrots”!

So here’s the strategy, formula, and technique. The proportions are more or less, give or take. Multiply or divide as you wish:

For one or two servings: wash and peel carrots, and cut them into 1” pieces, about a cup or so.

 In a frying pan sauté some minced bacon or pancetta, about a tablespoon or two, and when they start to brown add your carrots. Sauté on low heat for a minute or two, and then add a small amount of water, about ¼ c, and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Cover pan and cook on low for about 10 minutes, or until they’re soft but still firm. Remove lid and cook off any extra liquid. Still on low heat, let the carrots brown up, adding a small amount of butter or oil and a pinch of sugar or a little honey, if needed. Add a tablespoon or two of brandy, ignite, and let it burn off.  Finish by adding a little more butter, S & P, about a tablespoon of fresh tarragon, chopped (or a teaspoon of dried), and about a teaspoon of lemon zest

Lemon tarragon has a nice flavor, if you can find it to grow. This came from my friend, Cecily, who has a patch in a community garden in Arlington. She grows vegetables and herbs and gives them away. This basket was given to me in memory of her sister.

Renee's Garden is one of my favorite seed companies.

Compost, even in winter!


  1. Yumm! I love your winter garden carrots! I'll have to try to make these this week. :) If I don’t have access to tarragon, what other herbs would be good?

  2. Marjoram would be nice, or thyme too. You can also use oranges instead of lemons--how about some of those blood oranges they have there with a little thyme?