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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

For The Love Of The Carrot

Well I know I am a very good chef, as do many others, especially those who get to eat my food. However being a good chef does not mean you're good at other things regarding food. I don't hunt or fish, bring your animal I will butcher it for, dress it and cook it any way you may want, I just can't kill it. What I am good at killing seems to be my plants, household ones or those in my garden, I just can't seem to get that relationship working.

This year, Dianna, the grandkids and myself decided we would plant a garden. We planted onions, corn, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, herbs, potatoes, beets beans, peas, and watermelon. So far the no sign of the cucumbers, and carrots, going to have to replant these, bummer.

The carrots of course are of the orange variety the most popular of the carrot family but actually not an original color.  Purple, white, black, and red were the most common colors of this root veggie but the orange one was a man made development to celebrate the Dutch House of Orange they cross bred the red and yellow breeds until they came up with the color of today's sweet and popular type.

Carrots have history and date back to 5000 years or more, they possibly were a product of the garden of Eden (Adam knew what he was doing, so why not I). Said to be first dug up in Afghanistan traders of Asia, Africa, and Arabia all use carrots as a means of currency. The Romans and Greeks valued carrots as an important commodity. Found in the Pharaohs tombs and throughout Egyptian writings and drawing carrots were considered very important especially the purple variety (purple being the color of royalty.)

Carrots were considered as medical or an aphrodisiac long before they were considered a food staple. The Danvers carrot was to become America's carrot (a carrot developed in Danvers, MA. in 1871) but even still was popular with the general population until after the return of the "Doughboys" from WW1 who had carrots in the cuisines of Europe.

Today the carrot is essential to mist cuisines, no stock is possible without a carrot addition, the Mirepoix of French cuisine cannot be made without carrots, from savory to sweet carrots play an important role in cookery.


6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1  Yellow onion, chopped
1/4 c. Finely chopped ginger root
3 cloves garlic, minced
7 c. Chicken stock
1 c. Whipping cream
1 1/2 lbs. Carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 tbsp. Fresh lemon juice
Pinch curry powder
Salt & ground pepper
Snipped fresh chives or parsley

1. Melt butter in large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic; saute for 15-20 minutes.

2. Add the stock, cream and carrots. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered over medium heat until the carrots are very tender, about 25 minutes.

3. Puree the soup in a blender or processor (fitted with steel blade), or with a hand blender. Season with lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chives or parsley. Serve hot or cold.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup shredded carrot
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts
8 ounce crushed pineapple
2 eggs
½ cup butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In large bowl combine dry ingredients: Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, ground cinnamon and ground ginger.
Stir in carrots, raisins and nuts.
In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients: undrained pineapple, eggs, butter and vanilla.
Stir into dry ingredients until just blended.


Spoon into greased 2 ½ inch muffin cups.
Bake in 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center is clean when removed.
Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.


4                                              4                                        eggs
1 cup                                     250 ml                                 sugar
1 cup                                     250 ml                                 vegetable oil
2 cups                                   500 ml                                   all purpose flour
1-½ tsp                                 7 ml                                        baking powder
1 tsp                                      5 ml                                        salt
2 tsp                                      10 ml                                     cinnamon
2 cups                                   500 ml                                   carrots ‑ grated
1-½ cups                              375 ml                                   apples ‑ pared, cored, grated
1 cup                                     250 ml                                   raisins
1 cup                                     250 ml                                   slivered almonds
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until very light and frothy.  Add the sugar gradually, beating until very light.  Gradually whip in the oil.
Sift together the flour with baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Slowly add to the egg mixture.  Stir in the carrots, apples, raisins and nuts.
Pour into a greased 9" spring form pan and bake in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven for 1-½ to 2 hours or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pan 10‑15 minutes before removing, turn cake out and cool completely.  Frost with cream cheese frosting.

                                                                             CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
9 oz                                        255 gr                                    cream cheese ‑ softened
¾ cup                                    180 ml                                   butter ‑ softened
1 ½ tsp                                  7 ml                                        vanilla extract
4 cups                                   1 L                                           sifted icing sugar (confectioners)

Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until very smooth and fluffy.  Gradually beat in the icing sugar until spreading consistency.

Carrot Apple Pate
1.5 pounds peeled, sliced carrots
1/2 pound Gala apples
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small diced onion
4 large diced garlic cloves
¾ teaspoon cumin
1 ½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cilantro
¼ cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon grated orange rind
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and slice carrots and apples, rinse and then add to a large pot of salted boiling water, and allow cooking for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until firm but tender. Drain and then set aside until needed.

Using a medium size saucepan or skillet on medium heat add the oil tablespoon of oil to cook the onion and garlic for about 5 to 7 minutes or until tender.

Using a blender add the cumin, oregano, cilantro, orange juice, orange rind, salt and pepper as well as the onion and clove mixture and the cooked carrots. You may choose to chop and blend or puree depending on what is most suitable for your purposes and taste.

Pour into a mold or loaf pan and then place in the refrigerator to chill for 4 to 6 hours before serving.

Slow Cooker Beef & Carrot Pasta

1/4 cup plain flour
1kg stewing beef, cut into 5cm cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
24 pearl onions
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
3 sprigs thyme
3 large carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
Cooked pappardelle pasta, to serve
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Place flour in a a mixing. Season with salt and pepper. Add beef and stir to lightly coat the beef in flour, shaking off excess. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half the beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until browned. Spoon into slow cooker. Repeat with oil and remaining beef.

Reduce frying pan heat to medium. Add remaining oil and onions to pan. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute. Pour in wine. Bring to the boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until wine has reduced by half. Add stock, thyme and carrots. Bring to the boil. Spoon sauce over beef and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on HIGH for up to 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon or the pasta, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

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