- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Now that the holidays have passed, many of us are looking for simplicity. This includes lightening up our eating as well as our spending.

So here is a great January supper that will be pleasing to your taste buds, low-impact on your calorie count and, most wonderful of all, merciful to your wallet.

This marinated carrot and chick pea melange, topped with a lovely sesame-and-garlic-spiked yogurt sauce, can be a salad or a light main dish.

When served alongside a steaming bowl of your favorite soup (I like tomato bisque) and a hunk of some fresh artisan bread, all will balance nicely.

If Levantine carrots with chick peas and yogurt sesame sauce is a bit too light for the higher metabolic types in your midst, you could add some grilled chicken breasts or grilled tofu. Once this dish enters your repertoire, you will have a fallback plan that is substantial enough to please vegetarians, as well as those who like to eat light.

A glass of red wine will round this out perfectly, as would some fruity herbal tea sweetened with lavender honey. For dessert, bake a few apples and serve them with coconut macaroons and, for one evening at least, the world may just seem simple.

Levantine carrots with chick peas and yogurt sesame sauce

Strips of carrot are cooked until tender, then combined with white beans, marinated thoroughly and topped with delicious yogurt-sesame sauce. You can make the salad and sauce a day or two in advance and refrigerate them in separate tightly covered containers. (Leave out the fresh herbs until shortly before serving.)

1½ pounds carrots

1 15-ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained (or 13/4 cups cooked chick peas)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cumin

Pepper

1/4 cup finely minced parsley

3 scallions, minced

2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill yogurt-sesame sauce (recipe follows)

Peel or scrub carrots and cut them into thin, flat matchstick pieces about 1½ inches long and 1/4 inch wide. (You can use baby carrots, which will make the peeling or scrubbing unnecessary and the cutting easier.) Steam until just tender (5 to 10 minutes), then refresh under cold running water and drain well.

Transfer carrots to a medium-large bowl and add chick peas, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin and pepper to taste. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for at least several hours or up to several days. Stir in parsley, scallion and dill within about 30 minutes of serving time.

Serve cold or at room temperature topped with a healthy dollop of yogurt-sesame sauce.

YOGURT-SESAME SAUCE

1/3 cup sesame seeds

3/4 cup yogurt

2 tablespoons finely minced parsley

1 tablespoon light honey

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

Up to 1/3 cup water

Whirl seeds in a blender or electric spice grinder for about 15 to 20 seconds or until ground to a fine meal. (Don’t let it turn into a paste.) Transfer to a medium-small bowl.

Add yogurt, parsley, honey, lemon juice, garlic and salt, and mix until well combined. Thin with water to desired consistency. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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