I found a second book the day I visited The Strand in early July, but for the sake of a smooth story, I left it out. But now the second book has caused a bit of kitchen inspiration, in the strangest of ways. This is odd, seeing as how it’s the Keith Richards autobiography Life.
Let me explain: I’ve made a concerted effort this summer to stay away from the grocery store, relying instead on my CSA box for my produce. It’s a mixed bag, literally: one week might offer a pint of sweet-as-sugar strawberries, but nestled among some twisted green garlic scapes. The downside: for three weeks and counting, I have received bunches of my vegetable kryptonite: carrots. Not that I don’t like carrots, because I adore them, but they give me a tummy ache. A terrible, terrible tummy ache.
The first week I cleaned them and handed them over to Rich, who crunched away in the other room, only to return to the kitchen to ask if we could maybe keep carrots in the house as a snack. The next week brought more bunches of the vegetable, although now they were coming in all sorts of lovely red and purple hues.
So how does Keith Richards’ life fit into this post? In chapter six of Life, he and his mates, awaiting trial on drugs charges, decide on a whim to drive to Morocco in Keith’s blue Bentley. (Fun fact: Keith claims the bust was orchestrated by News of the World, who paid off his Belgian chauffeur. The more things change…) But rather than be disgusted/secretly impressed with the wanton drug use, all I could think about was Moroccan carrot salad. Garlicky, pungent, with flicks of green parsley, it’s one of my all-time favorite dishes. But like Keith’s relationship with Jack Daniels, I just cannot eat it anymore. But Rich can — two nights in a row. He hasn’t complained yet.
Moroccan Carrot Salad
I have been making this salad in single servings, but my guess is that most of you will want to double or triple it. And I promise you the math will work.
The recipe here is very bare bones, and I encourage you to mix things up if you’re so inclined. Harrisa would be a great addition, although I’ve left it out in this simple version.
3 carrots, chopped into one-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 clove of garlic, minced (I actually lean towards two, but I’m a bit extreme in my garlic use)
1 small handful of parsley, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Two squeezes of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste
Pinch of salt
Directions: Fill a small saucepan with water and pinch of salt. Add the chopped carrots and set on the stove to boil. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes. To test for softness, pierce with a fork.
While the carrots are cooking, chop your garlic and parsley. Place those in a medium-sized bowl, along with the spices and salt. Once the carrots have cooked, remove from the heat and drain in a colander in the sink. Add the cooked carrots to the bowl of garlic, salt and spices. Add the oil and lemon juice. Stir. Enjoy. When Rich brings the bowl back, carrot-free, I run my finger around the bowl and lick with gusto. This last step is up to you.