Grilled Carrot Hummus
The “freedom” of freelance writing is overrated. True, I’m not tethered to a desk for a 9-to-5 workday (“The world is your office!” a friend recently texted). And while this might suggest a chill schedule of hip coffee shops and leisurely al fresco lunches (insert photo of women in fedoras and sunglasses clinking glasses of rosé), my reality is a bit different.As a working mom, my days are condensed and bookended by school drop-off (where I can be spotted in questionable freelance attire, like wool clogs and yoga pants)and pick-up. Time is forever at a deficit, and deadlines are always rumbling over my shoulder. Because I tend to devote breaks to dog walks, sweaty vinyasa classes, and an occasional plunge into Barton Springs, meals are often eaten on the fly.I rely on a roster of “working girl lunches,” things to have on hand that are nourishing, tasty, and can be assembled in Olympic-record-breaking time. A perfect avocado, sprinkled with kosher salt and drizzled with olive oil, is an example. I’m always thrilled to have something to slather on toasted bread or warm corn tortillas, such as bean purees, creamy yogurt dips with greens, smoked fish spread, or this riff on hummus (made with chickpeas and sweet, smoky grilled carrots) that’s so delicious I’ve nicknamed it Carrot Yummus.To mimic the creamy texture of chickpeas, the carrots are parboiled and finished on a hot grill. A spin over the fire brands the carrots with smoky charred flavor that complements their natural sweetness. You can grill the carrots a couple days in advance—a perfect way to make the most of lingering heat after you’ve fired up something else for dinner. If you’re lucky enough to get fresh farmers market carrots, don’t bother peeling their thin skin; just rinse and scrape off any sprouts with a paring knife.Feel free to riff on the recipe to suit your whims. Lemon juice can be replaced with white or cider vinegar; cumin, smoked paprika, and fresh herbs are other nice additions. A kick of some kind of heat is essential—use your favorite hot sauce, sambal oelek, red chile salsa, or a pinch of cayenne.Carrot Yummus can go fast or fancy. For a working girl lunch, I eat it with Sesame Blues tortilla chips and several dashes of Cholula. It’s also delicious on toasted multigrain bread with slices of hard-boiled egg and sprouts. When I serve it as a first course for a dinner party, I pair it with grilled pita bread, marinated cherry tomatoes, and crunchy, colorful crudité like shaved watermelon radishes and fennel. But trust me, it’s just as good in the carpool line out of a Tupperware that I stashed in my purse before dashing out the door. A working girl’s gotta eat, after all.