I once went to a party featuring small bites from Daniel Patterson's Coi kitchen. (It was quite a party.) One was a version of this dish—carrots fragrant with coffee, served in a flavorful broth with minuscule herbs scattered on top. I remember being shocked at how much coffee flavor was packed into each piece of carrot and even more surprised that the pairing worked. Recreating the dish at home from Patterson's cookbook isn't difficult: you only need to roast whole carrots nestled in a bed of coffee beans. The other elements of the composed plate are equally simple. The broth is a blend of carrot and mandarin juice (juice it yourself if you can, or slide on over to your nearest juice bar to buy a couple bottles), seasoned lightly with vinegar, salt, and olive oil. A few slivers of raw carrot add crunch, and baby mint leaves add fragrance. It's a stunning bowl of food, and far, far easier than it looks.
Why I picked this recipe: I wanted to recreate the surprise I felt when first eating these carrots.
What worked: Coffee and carrots are a match made in heaven.
What didn't: Take care to follow the directions and roast the carrots until they are totally tender, otherwise the coffee flavor will overwhelm the natural sweetness of the vegetable.
Suggested tweaks: If you don't have access to Roman mint, you can use small, tender spearmint or peppermint leaves. You can easily scale this recipe up to make a larger portion or to serve more than four people, just make sure to use carrots that are about the same size so that they'll roast in the same amount of time.