3 Things to Do with Carrots
1. CARVE A CRITTER
The humble carrot has never been known for its sparkling personality. Imagine our surprise, then, at these wacky creatures, which morphed in hilarious and fascinating ways as they dried and curled over a couple of days. Our lizard and octopus started as several large peeled carrots. With a sharp knife, we cut the body parts (a parent's job). The lizard's mouth began as a straight slice in one end of a carrot segment; it curled and opened as it dried. Similarly, the octopus legs were carefully sliced from the bottom two-thirds of a carrot's pointed end. We used a lemon zester to make the ridges on the eye and neck slices (a fork works too) and a toothpick to create eye holes and smiles.
After you've carved your critter's parts, attach them with toothpicks (shortened as needed), and add baby-carrot legs as appropriate. Leave the critter in a warm, dry spot. If you've made an octopus, stand it atop its arms after they've softened for a day, then gently shape them into curlicues. Your critter will continue to change over time; discard it when it shrivels, turns brown, or otherwise offends your family's sensibilities.
2. MIX UP A SALAD
Our favorite orange root teams up with crunchy edamame in this vitamin A-packed, kid-pleasing side dish. To prepare it, boil a pound of frozen shelled edamame as directed on the package, then drain the beans, rinse them in cold water, and blot them dry with a paper towel. Place the edamame in a large bowl and toss them with three grated carrots and a pinch of salt. In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil, and a tablespoon of sugar. Pour this dressing over the vegetables, tossing well. Serve the salad immediately or refrigerate -- it's even better the next day.
3. TAKE A SIP
You can lead a bunny to water ... and if you present him with this straw, you can definitely make him drink. To create our edible sipper, start with a section of unpeeled carrot at least 3/4-inch thick. Working from one trimmed end, insert a clean flat-head screwdriver into the carrot's center, then twist the screwdriver through the carrot, occasionally pulling it out and wiping off any shavings. When you're halfway through, begin working from the opposite end. Run water through the straw to clear it, then peel the carrot. We like to sip orange juice or water through the straw; it lends the drinks a mild carroty sweetness.