For me, the sight of the first autumn pomegranates isn’t a culinary experience so much as an emotional one. I picture my mother, young and beautiful, opening the door because my great uncle, my feter, has come to visit. He adored my mother —and she adored him — and I think he walked all the distance from his synagogue to our house, just to see her.
He came bearing gifts for us kids, my two brothers and me: root beer lollypops with pretzel-like twisted handles.
My brothers and I would peel off the thick pomegranate shell, bite off chunks of the glossy seeds and swish them around in our mouths. We downed the tangy juice and spit out the pits, phtoo, phtoo, phtoo to see whose went farthest. My mother rolled her eyes back in mock exasperation.
I can’t look at a pomegranate without thinking of my mother’s Uncle Mendel (she called him Max).
I haven’t actually eaten a pomegranate in quite a long time. These days the closest I’ve come is pomegranate juice, because it’s so healthy, and pomegranate molasses, because it’s so deliciously tangy and so useful. Like as a glaze for carrots, which I am going to serve as a side dish for Rosh Hashanah.
But I also bought a whole pomegranate yesterday and will feast on it like in the old days, when I was a kid and my mother was still with us and feter used to visit.
Now, if only I could find me some root beer lollypops.
Carrots with Pomegranate Molasses Glaze
2 pounds carrots
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
salt, freshly ground black pepper, cinnamon, ground cumin, cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel the carrots and cut them into strips (about 3-inches long, 3/8-inch wide). Place the strips on the parchment paper. Pour the coconut oil and vegetable oil over the carrots and toss to coat the carrots completely. Sprinkle the carrots lightly with salt, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne pepper. Toss again.
Roast the carrots for 15-18 minutes, stirring the strips 2-3 times. Pour the pomegranate molasses over the carrots and toss to coat them. Roast the carrots for another 6-8 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until tender and glazed. Place the strips in a serving bowl, sprinkle with mint and serve.
Makes 8 servings