Through the Fire
You will excuse my extreme random blogging lately.
ok, that out of the way…
Carrots! Most everyone loves them. They seem so humble to me, yet so important. Simple. Delicious. They taste good raw or cooked. They can be a snack, a side dish, a major part of a main dish, or a dessert. Carrot juice is delicious. They are solid nutritionally, famously so for Vitamin A and anti-oxidants but also contain lots of minerals. (They are a root vegetable and grow in the soil) They are available year round though their natural season is late summer to early fall. Here in California, I can grow them year round.
I am happy that finally the truth is spreading about those ubiquitous “baby” carrots. They are shaped from larger carrots and have been bred ( NOT genetically modified as in GMO) for higher sugar content. Ugh, using sugar to get kids to eat vegetables. They are handy in the bag, and easy, but really, it doesn’t take long to cut up a carrot.
well, this from Foodista might take you a while!
I made some carrot soup a few days ago for friends. It struck me powerfully in a good way with its simplicity, its earthiness, and how healthy it was. Fortunately, I made some for myself as well. It was extremely satisfying and comforting. As with lots of my posts, I don’t have a recipe. It doesn’t need exact measuring or making it the exact way I did. Here is my “concept”. The amounts depend on how many people will eat it. Consider this a couple of servings.
1 fresh bunch of carrots ( get them with the tops on if you can. Make pesto out of the tops! surprisingly good)
or about 5 large-ish carrots as fresh as you can get.
medium onion ( red, yellow, white, use a leek)
a clove or two of garlic
butter, ghee, coconut oil or fat of your choice
2 inch or so piece of peeled and chopped fresh garlic ( no need to finely chop)
2ish cups of water, bone broth, stock ( vegetable or whatever kind you like the best)
or water and 2 bouillon cubes ( I love the Rapunzel brand )
salt and pepper to taste
I sautéed the onion and garlic in the fat. I used a blend of butter and coconut oil. Chop and add the carrots. Add a sprinkle of salt. Cook for a few minutes. Add the liquid. Simmer until carrots are soft. Transfer to a high speed blender and purée until creamy. Season with the salt and pepper to your taste.
That’s it. You can use other herbs and spices. I love ginger with the carrots. I have used cumin and turmeric as well, or a curry blend.
If you want, roast the carrots in the oven and add them to the blender after the onions, etc. have simmered in the broth.
Sometimes, it’s just good to sip some soup out of a cup.
Carrots are very popular on personal chef menus – easy to cook, lots of different ways to prepare them, most of our clients like them. Here is a round up of recipes that my chef friends say they like to make. Try them. I can personally attest to the deliciousness of the Osso Buco recipe and the “soufflé” and am intrigued by the “hot dog” recipe.
Not a personal chef offering but how about a Carrot cocktail ? Refreshing!
And let’s not forget dessert. Several of those chef friends swear by this cake recipe
4 Times the Taste Carrot Cake
6 cups grated carrots
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins (I use 1 cup coconut instead)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts (I use pecans)
How to make it
In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots and brown sugar. Set aside for 60 minutes, then stir in raisins.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in the white sugar, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into the wet mixture until absorbed. Finally stir in the carrot mixture and the walnuts. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. When completely cooled, half each layer, frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting. (I ice it w/ Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting)
Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 pound cream cheese, cut into 2″ cubes
In medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean & seeds. Cook over high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals from the side of the pan. Cook over moderate heat without stirring until a medium-dark amber caramel forms, about 9 minutes. removed from the heat and immediately stir in the butter & heavy cream. don’t worry if the butter separates. Discard the vanilla bean.
Transfer the caramel to the large bowl of a standing mixer fitted w/ a whisk & beat at low speed until the caramel cools slightly & comes together, about 5 minutes. With the machine on, beat in the cream cheese, 1 cube at a time and beating well between additions, until silky. Transfer the frosting to a bowl and refrigerate until very firm AT LEAST SIX HOURS
Carrots… we love them!