On The Side, Spice Roasted Carrots



I am always attracted to fresh, bright orange carrots at the farmers market.  With their springy, leafy green tops and wispy roots still attached, they are worlds apart from their plastic-wrapped counterparts at the grocery store.  They might even still have a little dirt clinging to them, telling you they really came from the earth.  (As opposed to those perfectly shaped baby carrots; who knows where they really come from...) 
Freshly washed carrots from the farmers market. 
The carrots from the farmers market even taste better - they have a sweeter and more grassy taste, whereas I think the carrots from the grocery store just taste a little watery and dull.  And speaking of watery, it is funny how those plastic wrapped carrots are packed in water, but yet can be so dry.  The carrots from the farmers market are always fresh and full of life.  And if you like a little variety in your life, look no further than the farmers market to find red, purple, and yellow carrots.  
The carrots from the farmers market come in all sizes... including some mini ones.
Sometimes when I get these carrots I just bring them home and eat them raw with an easy veggie dip, or I slice them up for salads or slaws.  But recently, I have been really into roasting them with spices to enhance their sweet flavor.  
No need to peel them, these carrots are perfect and beautiful just sliced in half.
You can really toss vegetables with any spices you like, but I often try out some new or more exotic spice blends.  Spice things up, if you will.  (Ha!  A pun!)  
So for these spice roasted carrots, I decided to mix sweet and salty with a rich spice blend known as baharat.  Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice blend commonly used to season lamb, lentils, stews, and soups and there are several different varieties.  The one originating in Turkey also contains mint, but the most traditional Arabic or North African baharat spice blend contains black pepper, coriander, cloves, cassia bark, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice.  Some blends also include chili pepper or paprika to give them a bit more ‘heat,’ but mine doesn't so I added some extra cayenne pepper to this recipe.  
Olive oil with sugar, salt, and spices to glaze the carrots.


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