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Menasha's market may be small, but that doesn't stop Rebecca from scoring big when it comes to the produce.
Busy, busy, busy. After arriving home from work, I kneaded out some bread dough and set it to rise, ran off to Shellates to conduct an interview, came back home, attended to the bread, and made a batch of cookies. Truth be told, I wanted to sit on the couch and play games on my fancy (and slightly terrifying) new phone. But I had promised myself I’d go to the Menasha evening farmer’s market. And besides, we needed something to go with dinner. So, with my sister in tow, off to the market we went.
I have to admit, I almost drove past it. A few unassuming stalls sat scattered on the side of the road, and that was about it. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that often, there is more to something than what meets the eye. I got out of the car with no mission (other than to pick up a tomato, at my mother’s request). I hadn’t been to a farmer’s market without a mission. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that this market was so small; it would prevent me from getting too overwhelmed. I strode down the sidewalk with purpose, glancing around quickly at each stall’s offerings.
“Slow down,” my sister pleaded. “You’re probably missing stuff.” She was most likely right. But I just had this feeling...
There. Last stall, a small bundle of baby carrots. Without even knowing it, I’d found what I’d been looking for.
Back at home, I studied the carrots. They were so cute. And, to my surprise, when I cut off the tops I smelled this freshness I didn’t experience in grocery store carrots. I’d forgotten carrots had a smell. I knew right away that I didn’t want to shred them up and mask their flavor with something else. The logical conclusion, at least to me, was to make carrot fries.
Using a recipe from my old Williams Sonoma kids cookbook, I cut the carrots in half and doused them in olive oil and freshly chopped rosemary from the backyard. Oven baked, the result is sweet, tender, and delicious. Sometimes, minimalism and simplicity is the best way to go.
Oven Baked Carrot Fries
1 1/2 pounds baby carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
Preheat an oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
Using a sharp knife and cutting board, cut away the tip and end of each carrot and peel them.
Cut each carrot in half lengthwise. If the slices are too think, cut them lengthwise again.
In a bowl, combine the carrot sticks, olive oil, rosemary, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir with a rubber spatula until the carrot sticks are evenly coated with all the other ingredients.
Dump the carrots onto the foil-lined sheet pan, scraping out any herbs clinging to the sides of the bowl. Spread the sticks out as much as possible. Bake until the carrots are tender and well browned, about 20 minutes. Serve the carrot fries hot or at room temperature.
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