Timing has never really been my thing. Case in point: I took five years to finish my undergraduate degree. Not because I wasn't doing well in classes, more because I was doing too well.....at spending my time taking all the classes and switching my major five times. True story. I'm the last one to jump onto a popular thing, particularly a popular group of things (i.e. I'll be the last one you know to read a wildly successful book series, see a sequel, or binge watch that show that everyone is watching). There's a reliable six-hour delay between when I need the snappy comeback in conversation and when I'll actually think of the snappy comeback (usually at home in bed, groaning over what should have come out of my mouth but couldn't be willed into existence). And then of course there's the fact that I met the love of my life when I was seventeen, but being seventeen, had no idea--and then didn't do anything to return him to my life until nearly that much time had passed again. Timing, man. Just try to teach me how to do it.
Only the most recent example of this tendency: I came up with the perfect Super Bowl food, the One Delicious Thing to Snack On while watching any major sporting event, nostalgic but modern, simple to make, healthy but naughty enough to be party food. I came up with it...the DAY AFTER the Super Bowl. Cue the sad trombones, please. Timing is everything. Nonetheless, I'm sharing it with you today, because I can humbly say it's amazing, and because come on, there are other sporting events! Other parties and get-togethers that need an inspired snack plate, and so on. I'd be nowhere in life--and I mean nowhere--without second chances, so I'm giving this one a second chance at the spotlight. Please allow me to introduce you to.......Spicy Buffalo Roasted Carrot Sticks.
Yes. Carrot sticks. Ain't nothing like a chicken wing, friends.
I mean, what are chicken wings but the least delicious, chewy nubs of the chicken, anyway? All elbows and greasy skin and face-smearing effort. I mean, I like them fine, but I'd rather gnaw on something dense, boneless and faintly sweet, slathered in a properly buttery, spicy hot wing-style sauce (bonus points added for the fact that, like chicken wings, whole carrots also come with their own conveniently built-in handle). Enter the roasted carrot, and prepare for your whole world to be rocked. Twenty minutes of roasting in a hot oven plus a slathering in hot wing sauce before and after is all these little lovelies need--and all you'll need to experience this higher plane of snacking nirvana. As promised, it's healthy-ish (carrots!) but with visible roots in classic junk food; I serve these Buffalo-style with a dollop of simple blue cheese dressing on the side. I promise, you'll rarely be tempted to fire up the deep fryer again.
1 lb. whole carrots (peeled, with greens trimmed but stems attached)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons hot sauce of choice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375, and prepare a baking dish by lining it with aluminum foil. Melt butter in a small bowl, then add hot sauce and honey and whisk to combine thoroughly. Use a pastry brush to apply sauce to carrots, reserving about half the sauce for later, then line up carrots in your baking dish and place in oven. Roast for about twenty minutes, or until carrots are beginning to brown and smell wonderful. Remove and let cool slightly.
In a separate small bowl, combine sour cream, blue cheese and lemon juice. Stir to combine (you can use a food processor if you like a smoother dressing, but I prefer mine to have large crumbles still visible), add black pepper to taste.
When carrots are only slightly warmer than room temperature, brush with the remaining sauce, then serve with blue cheese dressing on the side. Enjoy!