The end of February can be a very tiring time. You’re tired of wearing that long, black, down-filled coat that keeps you warm but makes you look like a stack of tires. You’re tired of the sun staying in the sky longer without generating any extra heat. And you’re tired of seeing at the farmer’s market only potatoes, winter squash and carrots. Fortunately, with the carrots you can make a sweet salad that holds a promise of warmer days to come: carrot and raisin salad.
I’m a late convert to carrot and raisin salad. When I was in college I had a friend who would go nuts whenever they put some out on the salad bar. She’d eat bowl after bowl and I’d just be horrified. Who wants to eats shredded carrots with raisins? It just seemed like a bad combination.
And then there were the endless church suppers where you could always find a big bowl of it in potluck purgatory alongside the green jiggling Jell-O and fruit salad made with tiny marshmallows. Nope, carrot and raisin salad just wasn’t for me.
But then, I grew up and my palate changed. I’ve started to enjoy raisins. And I’ve always loved carrots. So one day I decided to take the plunge and make a batch.
I looked at the recipe that Luby’s uses, which for many seemed to be the carrot and raisin gold standard. It called for copious amounts of mayonnaise, but I thought I’d lighten mine up with Greek-style yogurt. It also called for pineapple, but I had some fresh juicy oranges on-hand so I used orange juice instead. I added some ginger and cinnamon for spice and found myself with a sweet, crunchy salad that was both fresh and satisfying.
Carrot and raisin salad has been good company the past few weeks. I know that it’s something that people serve year round, but for me it’s become that bridge between late winter and early spring. And during these final tiring days of winter—bright, crisp carrot and raisin salad has proven itself to be delightful refreshment indeed.
What do you put in your carrot and raisin salad?
3 large carrots, shredded (2 cups)
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise
Mix together all the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings. Can add more yogurt or mayonnaise to taste, as well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009