Fritter - A Pantry Blog

On Showing Up, When You'd Rather Stay In Bed

Photo by Aran Goyoaga

I’m not going to lie, November was rough.

Our new kitchen is technically open, though, as these things tend to go, it’s still not quite finished. We’re a few weeks behind schedule, with classes in full swing, and our contractor Joe (who built our beautiful tables) is still putting the finishing touches on the space as I type. November was filled with maniacal trips to Storables (so many bins!), painting everything white, getting it dirty and painting it over again, learning how to run two classes at once, and putting on a feast of a Thanksgiving dinner, making for some long, long days. I’m reminded of my time as an architecture student, when 14-hour days were the norm. I guess I’ve gone soft.

Somehow in the midst of it all we hosted another round our family dinners. This month we teamed up with THEO Chocolate, to celebrate their new cookbook, and we were thrilled at the prospect of working chocolate into a savory meal. We used the recipes in the book as inspiration, and created a menu of dishes that felt very “us”:

Housemade olive oil crackers with:
Beecher’s Flagship cheddar and onion jam with dried plums and dark chocolate
Mt. Townsend Seastack and Theo Ginger chocolate
Housemade ricotta, candied cocoa nibs, and coffee crumble

Cauliflower soup
Brown butter, pickled raisins, and cocoa-scented dukkah

Honey and saffron-braised lamb with cocoa-salt
Golden beets, chickpea puree, and pickled peppers

Chocolate and balsamic-glazed carrots
Arugula, avocado, and pumpkin seeds with roasted citrus vinaigrette

Roasted dates stuffed with dark chocolate
Malted cocoa nib ice cream, butterscotch, and candied hazelnuts

Photo by Aran Goyoaga

It was hard to pick one dish to highlight, as this was a very attractive dinner. And with all the construction and holiday craziness, the thought of doing a blog post almost sent me over the edge. I postponed my photo shoot date with Aran until the very last minute, and it took half of the Pantry’s staff to get me and the ingredients to her studio. I arrived a little weary and wild-eyed, without finding the time to actually make this dish beforehand (credit goes to Kim, master vegetable wrangler). I also forgot to buy tangerines and used oranges instead, burned the balsamic glaze into liquid char (looks good, though, doesn’t it?), and almost ate all of the pumpkin seeds before plating because, well, lunch is a luxury at this point. But I showed up, and I’m writing this post to share this recipe with you because one day, when we emerge from our crazy lives to that calmer version of ourselves that we like to imagine, this recipe will be waiting. And it is quite fantastic.

Photo by Aran Goyoaga

Chocolate and Balsamic-Glazed Carrots with Pumpkin Seeds and Roasted Tangerine Vinaigrette

5 servings
  • Roasted Carrots and Citrus:
  • 2 pounds small carrots
  • 1 tangerine, halved
  • 1 tangerine, sliced into 1/8-inch thick rounds
  • 3 tablespoons high heat oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 5 or 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Chocolate-Balsamic Syrup:
  • 1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 ounce Theo 85 percent dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Salad with Roasted Citrus Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo chile
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 ounces arugula
  • 1 avocado, cut into wedges
  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 ounce egg white
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ounce finely grated pecorino cheese (or parmesan)

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