Carrot and Apple Salad

One of my favorite autumn salads is one made with carrot, apple, raisins and cumin. The recipe has plenty of room for experimentation — add nuts for crunch, try cilantro for a more savory taste, switch out lemon for lime, add grated ginger for zip, use sour cream instead of mayonnaise, add a drizzle of honey if the apples are too tart, mix in some shredded cabbage to turn it into a slaw...

Carrot and Apple Salad

1 large carrot or 2 medium-sized ones, shredded or julienned
1 large apple, julienned or cubed
Juice from half a lemon or 1 whole lime
1/4 seedless raisins
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons mayonnaise or sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the raisins in the lemon juice for about a half hour until they plump. Drain the raisins, but reserve the juice. The excess sugars that dissolves off the outside of the raisins and into the citrus will add some sweetness to the dressing. Alternatively, for a less sweet salad, soak the raisins in 1 cup warm water, then drain and discard the liquid.

Stir together the citrus, cumin, and mayonnaise or sour cream until well blended.

In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, apple, and raisins until well incorporated (hands will work best). Add the liquid and toss gently to dress the salad, adding a pinch of salt — and pepper if you like — to taste.

Options: Add a hnadful of toasted, slivered almonds, Marcona almonds, walnuts, or candied walnuts for crunch. Or, add cilantro and another squeeze if lime juice on top to make the salad more savory. Or, add a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated, to the dressing.