Sunday, January 20, 2013

Carrots

This 5 LB. bag of carrots recently purchased sent me scrambling to find carrot recipes before the expiration date. My second Costco trip like the first left me dazed over the sheer size and quantities of the products available. I scoured the store trying to find items we could use. Keep in mind we are a party of three if you include Bella. Since Bella likes carrots I thought we'd be safe purchasing this bag even though 5 LBS. was the smallest bag I could find. YIKES...still a lot of carrots!
At one family gathering on Thanksgiving several siblings and I got into a heated discussion if baby carrots were really real. I had read in the paper there was a 1-800 number for carrot hotline questions. I am not making this up. So after a lengthy discussion with a person from the hotline and looking online we have concluded yes indeed they are really real!
Carrots are a root vegetable. According to Internet sources...
      "Manufactured" baby carrots , or cut and peel, are what you see most often in the shops  - are carrot shaped slices of peeled carrots invented in the late 1980's by Mike Yurosek, a California farmer, as a way of making use of carrots which are too twisted or knobbly for sale as full-size carrots. Yurosek was unhappy at having to discard as much as 400 tonnes of  carrots a day because of their imperfections, and looked for a way to reclaim what would otherwise be a waste product. He was able to find an industrial green bean cutter, which cut his carrots into 5 cm lengths, and by placing these lengths into an industrial potato peeler, he created the baby carrot. 
The much decreased waste is also used either for juicing or as animal fodder. Perhaps most important, the baby-cut method allows growers to use far more of the carrot than they used to. In the past, a third or more of a carrot crop could have been easily tossed away, but baby-cut allows more partial carrots to be used, and the peeling process actually removes less of the outer skin that you might imagine. They are sold in single-serving packs with ranch dressing for dipping on the side. They're passed out on airplanes and sold in plastic containers designed to fit in a car's cup holder. At Disney World, and MacDonald's burgers now come two ways:with fries or baby carrots.
There is nothing "wrong" with manufactured baby carrots. They are a food that humans have enjoyed for centuries, chock-full of goodness that we need to keep our bodies functioning."
So now that you are enlightened with baby carrot information we can move on to some recipes that will help me use up a 5 LB. bag.
 Roasted Carrots
Cook's notes: Roasting carrots draws out their natural sugars and intensifies their flavor. Most recipes I found recommended a high oven temperature of 400 for 20 minutes. But I found after 20 minutes carrots not quite crisp tender so sealed them with foil so as not to have them dry out and then added 15 minutes more cooking time. 
Ingredients:
  • baby carrots sliced diagonally
  • orange slices
  • onion rings 
  • olive oil
  • dried dill weed or thyme
  • dried parsley flakes
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400 and line a cookie sheet with large piece of foil
  • Slice carrots and toss in a bowl with 2 TB. olive oil
  • Arrange carrots on foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, dried dill weed and parsley flakes over the top
  • Place cut orange slices and onion rings on top
  • Bake on foil 20 minutes, then cover the carrots with foil piece to seal and bake 15 minutes more
Optional sprinkle crumbled almonds to serve or coarsely chopped  pistachios

Carrot Cake (my mother's favorite)

Cook's notes: this is a very moist cake and using whole wheat flour makes it more healthy and gives the cake a nice texture. 
 Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 2 tsp. soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1-cup brown sugar
  • 2 TB. cinnamon
  • 1-1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple –drained
  • 1-3/4-2 cups grated carrots (use food processor)
  • 1-1/2 crushed nuts
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1-cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup coconut-optional
Directions:
  • Beat eggs      
  • Add rest of ingredients and beat well about 2 minutes
  • Bake @350 for 30 minutes
 Cream Cheese Frosting 
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 TB. vanilla
  • 1- 3-oz. package softened cream cheese
  • Add milk as needed to get right consistency
  • Sprinkle crushed nuts on top
  • Frost and refrigerate
  • Take out of refrigerator about ½ hour before serving








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