Impressive garnishes don't require a lot of skill or special tools. Carrot curls, which can range from tight coils to loose spirals, require nothing more than a vegetable peeler and a bit of time to create. Use the curls to top carrot cake, add color atop cooked meat, or as a plate-edge garnish when you need some color to enliven your table.
Peel a medium-size carrot with a vegetable peeler. Cut off the stem end and trim the narrow root end of the carrot with a knife so it is relatively uniform in size.
Peel off thin strips of carrot with the vegetable peeler, making each strip no thicker than a sheet of paper. Make the strip as wide as the desired width of the finished curls.
Roll the strips around your finger gently so they do not snap. Slide the roll off your finger and skewer it with a toothpick so it stays rolled.
Fill a bowl with cold water and a handful of ice. Submerge the carrot curls in the ice water.
Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours so the curls will set.
Drain the carrot curls and pat them dry with a paper towel. Remove the toothpicks and use the curls as desired.
Use the ice-water treatment to create other carrot shapes. Tie thin strips in a bow or form them into circles before crisping them in the water. Experiment with different shapes depending on your garnishing needs.