You hear it all the time, eating healthy improves your life.
After identifying 18 foods that in his opinion can put us on a better footing, Seamus Mullen, known for his restaurant Tertulia in New York, serves us his thesis in Hero Food, How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better (Andrews McMeel, April 2012).
Seamus feels that carrots which are a key ingredient in many of his dishes "are the first sign of summer".
Before refrigeration there was salt as a curing and preservation agent.
Here's a sugary, snappy, vivid recipe from 'Hero Food'.
Salt-Baked Carrots and Beets
A few years ago we were playing around in the kitchen with salt-crusted whole fish. We made all sorts of salt crusts, some with herbs, some with scraps of ham. Somewhere along the way, I came up with the idea of cooking vegetables the same way. I remembered having tried a dish in Spain years ago called papas arrugadas, or “wrinkled potatoes,” and I seemed to recall the spuds were baked in the oven on a bed of salt. This recipe for many-colored carrots and beets takes that idea and then does what I like to do—drops a bunch of flavor into the mix. The spices and herbs make these roots rock out.
Makes enough to serve 4 as a nice side dish
1 pound kosher salt
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons pink peppercorns
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 branches fresh rosemary
2 branches fresh thyme
1 bunch small carrots, trimmed
1 bunch small beets, trimmed
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large roasting pan, combine the kosher salt, lemon zest, pink and black peppercorns, rosemary, and thyme and mix thoroughly. Add the carrots and beets and cover completely with the salt.
Bake until the veggies are cooked through and tender, 20–30 minutes depending on the size of the
vegetables. Once thoroughly cooked, remove from the oven and scrape off the skin using a dish towel or the back of a paring knife.
(* Recipe from Seamus Mullen's Hero Food 'How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better'-Andrews McMeel-April 2012, Photographs by Colin Clark)