Our lemon tree has a name! Yesterday, with the help of our good friend Will, we dubbed our sweet little plant “Lionel.”
Lionel stands about 30 inches tall. Over the past week, his branches have been growing daily, and just yesterday he started getting little white buds on some of them. I’m told they will bloom into flowers. Lionel even has one tiny, super-green lemon that’s trying with all its might to become a fully-fledged lemonade-ready citrus. Lionel, you’re amazing. (So are the people who gifted us Lionel as a wedding present! You rock!)
While I love Lionel for his beauty and grace, I have to say that my excitement is ultimately selfish. I’m really looking forward to the day when I can just pick a juicy, ripe lemon off one of his branches and squeeze it over some pasta with a glass of chilled white wine in hand. Or use it to make a tangy tahini-herb sauce, like the one I covered these honey-roasted spiced carrots in.
Yep, these carrots are pretty much the pinnacle of simple, simply delicious side dishes. Grind some whole spices with a mortar and pestle to give ‘em a generous smack of flavor and add honey before roasting to bring out their sweetness. The carrots come out of the oven all caramelized and fragrant and lovely—but the star of the show is really the sauce.
As we all know and are probably tired of hearing about by now, my tahini obsession is off the charts. Naturally, I used it as the base of this sauce. A mix of fresh herbs blended into the tahini give the sauce a crazy beautiful color and zingy flavor. Throw in a garlic clove and some lemon juice (preferably from a lemon tree named Lionel), blend it all up, and you’re golden. I’ve been eating the sauce with a spoon sans carrots, too—you might want to make a double batch, just sayin’.
- 1 bunch carrots (about 600 g)
- 1/4 tsp. each of whole fennel, coriander, cumin, and nigella seeds
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, packed
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 garlic clove
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 400° F / 200° C.
- Wash and peel the carrots. Trim the tops so that about an inch of green remains. Place the carrots on a baking tray.
- Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, crush or grind the fennel, coriander, cumin, and nigella seeds into a powder.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, and ground spices. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Pour the olive oil mixture over the carrots and toss them until coated (I used my hands to make sure the carrots were covered in spices). Place in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender, browned, and caramelized. If carrots brown too quickly, cover with tinfoil and continue roasting.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a blender or food processor, combine the tahini, water, basil, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Blend until smooth.
- Serve the carrots with the tahini-herb sauce drizzled over them, or in a bowl alongside for dipping.