Out of the Kitchen and Back to My Irish Roots!

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Out of the Kitchen and Back to My Irish Roots! #epicurious #outofthekitchen

Born under the earth sign Taurus, I arrived in this world ready to start digging and planting. My love of gardening, nature and craftsmanship was further nurtured by a long lineage of homemakers, masonry workers and farmers. You could say, perhaps, I was born with a silver garden spade!

My natural propensity for tending to the garden easily translated into the kitchen with all of my culinary efforts. But despite the fresh herbs and produce I regularly enjoyed, I didn’t quite make the full connection of our food story until I journeyed back to discover more about my heritage in Ireland.

The first thing I noticed was the quality of the food and the care in preparation everywhere we went from pubs to small fishing villages and bed & breakfast homes. Each morsel held the story of the land that produced it and the people who prepped and created the dish.

An amazing forerunner in the organic farming and farm-to-table movement, Chef Jamie Simpson, once told me, “To move forward in the American culture, it seems like we have to step back.”

Indeed, that’s exactly what I did in Ireland. I stepped back to a time where we knew where all our food came from. Where gardens, farms and root cellars cohabitate with both homes and diners. Where heirloom varieties were cherished and our waitress could tell us why tomatoes in her town tasted different than those of another.

We spent time with homemakers and chefs who used some of the same methods my grandmother had passed down to me and discovered plenty of new ones that were steeped in the old ways or polished with a modern twist. They all understood the nuances of each piece of produce, how to design the dish around the best picks for seasonal enjoyment, and the best ways to preserve or re-purpose extras.

Things that we consider a novelty in the U.S., are simply a way of life on the Emerald Isle. I’ve enjoyed gardening, cooking, canning and eating fresh foods most of my life, but it was there that the food story came to full fruition. In the land across the pond, in the kitchens and dining rooms of my Irish kin, I could feel the history of food and the full impact it has on our lives.

Food, after all, understands the cycles and hardships of the earth and the people it nourishes. Food affects our bodies but can also affect our outlook, our disposition for the day (ever miss your coveted cup of morning coffee?!) and even the way we view our backyards.

When you look at the soil, do you see the potential for life or just the way it may muddy your floor? When you see a new variety of seasonal produce, do you ask how you might apply it to a dish or do you settle for out-of-season items that offer less quality?

I returned from my travels with a renewed sense of desire to continue to embrace the farm to table culture I love and to further infuse my heritage and history, both American and Irish, into each dish.

Out of the Kitchen and Back to My Irish Roots! #epicurious #outofthekitchen

This led me to experimenting with growing, tasting and creating new varieties of produce and organic foods. It led me to realizing my dream of putting together a sustainable living guide and cookbook that will be published the May with Viva Editions. It led me to journey even further out of the kitchen to discover people in my area who were breaking new and innovating ground in the farm to table movement while still preserving the methods of our past like Chef Simpson.

My transformation in the kitchen is still undergoing a metamorphis daily as my family and I explore new ways to incorporate seasonal produce and nature’s bounty into our home. We are also working on becoming better stewards of the earth and are currently contemplating setting up beekeeping to help take a step towards protecting this vital asset.

Each day I try to share what I’m able to with the world-at-large, as well, because after all, it’s through the generous knowledge and guidance of others throughout my life that have contributed to the wonderful foods that bless our table each day!

As root planting season is quickly approaching and when the first carrots will be planted and the last will be pulled from the cellar, in this spirit of sharing delicious regional dishes and knowledge, you’ll find my recipe for Sorghum glazed roasted carrots below. This dish pays tribute to all the varieties of this vegetable along with a nod to my Kentucky homestead. If you don’t happen to have Kentucky sorghum on hand, you can easily swap in maple syrup instead.

I hope you enjoy this simple dish as much as my family does and that you add a bit to your own food story along the way!

Sorghum Glazed Roasted Carrots Recipe

Sorghum Glazed Roasted Carrots

1 pound of fresh carrots, peeled (feel free to add in a few other root vegetables, too, like beets and turnips)

¼ C Kentucky sorghum

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp black pepper

Optional: dried herbs of your choice, I like to add a little rosemary, oregano and basil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Slice carrots into ¼” slices. If the carrot is already thin (around ¼” in diameter, you may leave it whole.)

3. In a large bowl, add carrots and olive oil. Toss until carrots are coated.

4. Add sea salt and black pepper (and optional herbs, if desired.)  Toss until evenly distributed.

5. Spread carrots in a single layer onto a large roasting pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until carrots are soft.

6. In a small saucepan, over a medium heat, add sorghum and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a soft boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove from heat and set aside.

7. When carrots are finished cooking, remove from oven and drizzle sorghum glaze over the carrots. Place roasting pan back into the oven and bake for 5 minutes.

8. Remove from oven, serve and enjoy!

Sorghum Glazed Roasted Carrots

Sorghum Glazed Roasted Carrots

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of fresh carrots, peeled (feel free to add in a few other root vegetables, too, like beets and turnips)
  • ¼ C Kentucky sorghum
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Optional: dried herbs of your choice, I like to add a little rosemary, oregano and basil

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. 2. Slice carrots into ¼” slices. If the carrot is already thin (around ¼” in diameter, you may leave it whole.)
  3. 3. In a large bowl, add carrots and olive oil. Toss until carrots are coated.
  4. 4. Add sea salt and black pepper (and optional herbs, if desired.) Toss until evenly distributed.
  5. 5. Spread carrots in a single layer onto a large roasting pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until carrots are soft.
  6. 6. In a small saucepan, over a medium heat, add sorghum and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a soft boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. 7. When carrots are finished cooking, remove from oven and drizzle sorghum glaze over the carrots. Place roasting pan back into the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
  8. 8. Remove from oven, serve and enjoy!
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Want to meet purveyors who are making a difference with their customers? Check out BonAppetit.com’s “Out of the Kitchen”, an ongoing exploration of the relationships that build and sustain the food industry. See how hyper-local food markets operate and how their focus on quality and service keep customers coming back for more.

Sorghum Glazed Roasted Carrots Recipe

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Tags: Irish, organic, vegetables
by
Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an author and sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky. When she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
Add A Touch of Marigold to Your High Tea #BestExoticMarigold #LoveBlooms Up Your Breakfast Game with the Skylanders Skystones Card Game and Big G

Comments

    • Masshole Mommy
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    Those carrots sound amazing. I have never had anything like that before.

      • Barb Webb
      • March 2, 2015
      Reply

      Do try if you get the chance, roasted veggies, especially root veggies are amazing!

    • Andrew
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    Roasted veggies are my favorite, this recipe sounds great PS: Jump in on the beekeeping! 🙂

      • Barb Webb
      • March 2, 2015
      Reply

      Planning to Andrew! We are currently seeking a new farm so hubby can stop commuting so far and as soon as we do, beekeeping it is!

    • Grace
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    This would be such a big hit at our house and an excuse to visit Kentucky & you to buy some Kentucky sorghum. 😉

      • Barb Webb
      • March 2, 2015
      Reply

      Would love to have you at our table, Grace! I’ll even take you to a sorghum farm for a visit!

    • Jamie Tomkins
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    YUM – those carrots look yummy!! Living in the mountains, I only get a few months to garden, so I’m starting to plan, but can’t plant yet. Pretty soon!!! Might have to try these!! 🙂

      • Barb Webb
      • March 2, 2015
      Reply

      I’m itching for spring, too, Jamie! Have you tried container gardening your root veggies? Most do fairly well.

    • Dawn
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    That looks delicious. The only thing I love more than roasted vegetables are roasted root vegetables. They have such a great flavor.

      • Barb Webb
      • March 2, 2015
      Reply

      They truly do, Dawn. Thanks for stopping by and for the lovely compliment!

    • NPC
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    Looks so good. I’ve never made them like this before but, they look so flavorful.

      • Barb Webb
      • March 2, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks! They are quite tasty, definitely my favorite way to prepare ’em!

    • Tammi @ My Organized Chaos
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    This looks amazing, I bet it’s full of flavour! I’ve never tried nor seen Kentucky sorghum before, which part of the grocer do you get it?

      • Barb Webb
      • March 2, 2015
      Reply

      If your store location carries it, it would likely be by the syrups or in the baking aisle. You can easily find it online at Amazon, too, and at my favorite Kentucky retailer Of course, it may also warrant a visit to our fine state for more options! 🙂

    • Jennifer
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    That looks so good. There’s nothing more tasty than roasted veggies. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Linda A. Kinsman
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    I enjoyed reading this post first thing this morning with my cup of coffee- which I suddenly wished was a cup of tea instead. Your words drew me in to parts of your trip to Ireland and the delight you found there with your kin. My heart smiles and can’t wait to read more of your story in your upcoming book. Your carrot recipe looks like something my family would love having so I’m pinning the recipe so I don’t forget to try it. Thank you!

    • Christine
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    Oh yummy! I just love roasted carrots. My great uncle just went to visit family in Ireland. It’s pretty amazing how much we resemble our distant Irish cousins.

    • Shauna Torres
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    Wow, what a great way to figure it all out. That recipe sounds and looks delicious, too. We are horrible at growing because we live in Texas where it is so hot, everything dies quickly 🙁

    • Sippy Cup Mom
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    Those sure look delicious. I love roasted veggies.

    • April Golightly
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    I have never cooked with Kentucky sorghum before, but this looks outrageous! I would love to try it. And, roasted veggies are one of my absolute favorite foods.

    • Mistee Dawn
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    It is always good to get in touch with your roots, literally! lol. Those carrots look absolutely delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Michelle Martinka
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    I love roasted root veggies! I will have to try your recipe- this sounds delicious!

    • Frugal and Fun Mom
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    I love all the colors in the vegetables. This is something that my kids would totally be into and I would also want to eat.

    • Pam
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    This looks so good! I bet I could get my entire family to eat these. And I have some picky family members! 🙂

    • Lisa
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    I totally have to try this! It looks so good!

    • Ann B
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    I love roasting my vegetables. This looks so delicious. I will have to try it this weekend.

    • Liz Mays
    • March 2, 2015
    Reply

    Ho my gosh! These veggies sound amazing. I definitely want to try this for St. Patty’s day!

    • Aubrey Hedgecock
    • March 3, 2015
    Reply

    Umm that looks tasty. I love baked vegetables and these look fabulous.

    • Autumn @Mamachallenge
    • March 3, 2015
    Reply

    My family loves carrots! I will have to try this out for them!

    • Vera Sweeney
    • March 3, 2015
    Reply

    That looks delicious!! I love fresh veggies they are one of my favorite parts of summer!

    • Janel (A Mom's Take)
    • March 3, 2015
    Reply

    You did amazing things to those veggies. Fresh veggies taste better to me.

    • Amy Desrosiers
    • March 3, 2015
    Reply

    These roasted vegetables look so darn good! I love how pretty and fresh they looked before roasting!

    • Alli Smith
    • March 4, 2015
    Reply

    Roasted veggies are the best and I’ll be roasting asparagus tonight. I’m looking forward to planting my little garden soon.

    • Marina
    • March 4, 2015
    Reply

    I love my veggies so this is a recipe I would love to try. I’m sure this would be great on the grill too!

    • Debi- The Spring Mount 6 Pack
    • March 4, 2015
    Reply

    Roasted veggies are my favorite. These carrots sound so good.

    • Angelic Sinova
    • March 4, 2015
    Reply

    Those Sorghum Glazed Roasted Carrots looks AMAZING! I LOVE roasted veggies (in fact, I like veggies more than fruits!) <3

    • Sharon Ruggieri
    • March 4, 2015
    Reply

    Oh wow, incredible. I’m 3/4 Irish, but I married a full blooded Italian and I rarely get to “explore” my roots, but I’ve really been wanting to lately. Thanks for this!

    • Michele D
    • March 4, 2015
    Reply

    Those carrots look unbelievable good! I am Irish and still haven’t made a meal like this before. Lol. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Heather Jones
    • March 4, 2015
    Reply

    I think you’re right. America could do so much if we just farmed to our surrounding communities and stopped mass producing everything and shipping out foods filled with preservatives. I can imagine how much better the food tastes in Ireland. I like where you are coming from here, do you think America stands a chance to return to better days of farming, or has capitalism ruined it?

    • Chubskulit Rose
    • March 4, 2015
    Reply

    Oh look at those beautiful colors! Fresh produce are so much better in taste. I try to have a vegetable garden every summer, we get to enjoy that. I wish summer is all year long though.

    • katrina Kaminaka
    • March 4, 2015
    Reply

    That looks wonderful. I don’t have a garden yet but I am super excited to be able to have one and see if I can make some of the dishes you made and others. I just ate but my mouth is watering form looking at these photos.

    • Franc
    • March 4, 2015
    Reply

    It must be so fun gardening and producing the different organic produce. It’s also nice that it led you to creating really healthy and tasty dishes like this.

    • Reginia Cordell
    • March 5, 2015
    Reply

    I haven’t tried my hand a gardening but I’m finding with age, I’m enjoying vegetables a lot more. Root vegetables are my favorite with beef.

    • Jennifer J
    • March 5, 2015
    Reply

    I love cooking with fresh veggies!!! This looks like such a delicious dinner to serve to the family!

    • Corinne Schmitt
    • March 5, 2015
    Reply

    I love this post! What a wonderful perspective on food and nature as a whole. We recently moved to a larger rural property so that we can try to grow as much of our own produce as possible, mainly due to that appreciation and connection you describe here.

    • Sara-Jayne Jones
    • March 5, 2015
    Reply

    Roasted vegetables are better than candy to me. We roast them all of the time here, I could eat them non stop! I love the look of the carrots especially!

    • Mama to 5
    • March 5, 2015
    Reply

    Oh what a great recipe. I so could have all of this on my diet too! Beets are my favorite!

    • Bailey K. | Let Birds Fly
    • March 6, 2015
    Reply

    I relate so much. I’ve been on a journey to eat more consciously (locally, seasonally, and more organic) for over 5 years now, and I am STILL learning new things, especially in the kitchen. I love your story!

    • Miranda Myrabev
    • March 9, 2015
    Reply

    I have never been a fan of roasted veggies, maybe because i have had some awful ones in the past so i am always skeptical but yours looks awesome at this minute

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