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Posts Tagged ‘carrot’

This isn’t a recipe as such. But this is still totally amazing. I present to you (queue drum roll):

The carrot sharpener!

ta-da!

ta-da!

This handy tool, which has a peeler on the back and looks like a huge pencil sharpener,

Peeler built in!

Peeler built in!

actually caused my kids to search out carrots in the fridge, peel them, sharpen them, and eat the carrot shavings. And once one kid starts, the others are on him with puppy eyes asking “Can you please give me some?”

big, smile icon

Amazing!

* big smile icon from here.

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My youngest is crazy about the computer. He literally won’t leave it alone. We lock it with a password but he still tried to play with it (I give him another 6 months to figure out the password. And if he doesn’t, my eldest certainly will. And what will we do then? Ahhh, the problems of raising intelligent children ūüėõ you have to really run just to keep one step ahead…)

Unfortunately, if he tries to play with it too much he ends up shutting down the computer by mistake. And then we don’t turn it on until he’s asleep or even the next day, so he’ll learn.¬†And that presented me with a problem: I wanted to make muffins. The computer was closed. My laptop was at work. My husband (who also has a laptop) wasn’t home. How do I get a muffin recipe?

And then I remembered my large collection of cookbooks. Since I discovered the joy of recipes via the internet, with reviews and stars and all, I don’t use my collection much. But surely I have there somewhere a recipe for muffins?

In the end I took a carrot cake recipe and tweaked it a bit for carrot chocolate-chip muffins. The results were so good that I’ve already made them again since, and my kids love them. There’s something to be said for cookbooks after all…

Ingredients (based on the Carrot Cake recipe from “Sweet Dreams” of Ronnie Venezia)

1 cup spelt flour (originally all purpose flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I put a pinch)
2 eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 tbsp vanilla essence
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot (about 2-3 large carrots)
1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped walnuts
water if necessary

Preheat oven to 180¬įC.¬† The original recipe begins by specifying “beat the eggs and oil until pale yellow and frothy…” but I basically ignored that and used the basic muffin method: mix all wet ingredients together; mix the dry ones in a separate bowl; mix the two bowls until just combined. If too dry than add some water. Spoon into muffin tins or cupcakes. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Bon Apetit!

Carrot Muffins. There were 14 here a minute ago...?

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There’s fast food, which is over processed and full of sugar and salt. There’s slow food, which I suspect was originally just home made food from scratch, but has now become very slow food: Food that you have to soak overnight, and then dry naturally, and then cook for hours, and then let rest, and perhaps refrigerate again before you eat it. Tastes great, but really, can you picture a working mom doing this? (Of course, maybe I just haven’t found the right recipes yet). So my take is freezer magic food.

I don’t always (read: never) have the strength and patience to start mincing vegetables to create, say, a healthier pasta sauce. I do not have¬†the¬†patience to peel and crush garlic. So I make do with ketchup? No. I¬†make¬†do with Freezer¬†Magic.

Things that are always in my freezer:

Chopped onion. Whenever I need to chop an onion, I chop two (usually using the food processor because of the tears :)) and stick one in a bag in the freezer. Keeps for months.

Chopped onion, carrot and celery. I buy a bunch of celery, and use half. The rest I chop (in the food processor) with onion and carrot, put in bags in portions, and freeze. A great base for sauces, soups and casseroles.

carrot, celery, and onion, and chopped parsley

Gedunskeskimuse (probably spelled wrong, shortened form: gedunsk). German for “vegetables in their own juice”.¬†This¬†is stewed tomatoes, cucumbers and red bell peppers. Whenever I have some of these vegetables getting old in the fridge, I stew them with a pinch of salt and freeze them. Great as a pasta sauce base or alone; sauce over rice or couscous, etc.

Minced garlic: I put everything in the food processor, move into a jar, cover with olive oil, and freeze. Easy peasy.

Garlic... and a lot of garlic peel

Leftover food that I froze – great as a quick meal (I brown bag my lunch during the week, so that’s important)

Schnitzels – my husband makes schnitzels wholesale. We usually freeze about half in two-schnitzel portions.

Stock – any leftover chicken soup, liquid from cooking vegetables, gravy.

Lemon juice cubes – I juice a number of lemons and freeze in ice cubes.

Bread – I bake most of my own bread in the bread machine. I usually slice half and put in the freezer, and the other half eat fresh. Yummy.

Chopped herbs: Fresh basil, celery, oregano, mint, etc. Just chop it, stick it in a bag (or double bag) label (very important!) and freeze.

Chickpeas: Whenever I’m feeling¬†particularly¬†thrifty1 or paranoid2, I make chickpeas from dried chickpeas in bulk and freeze in 1 cup portions.

Chickpeas & Gedunsk

So that makes dinner a snap – defrost gedunsk, mix with unsweetened yogurt for a great pasta sauce. Or use celery, onion and carrot as a base for Bolognese. Or take some schnitzels out of the freezer. You get the idea.¬†Same with Shabbat meals – so much easier when you’ve got the base already doen and your herbs on hand. Almost like…magic.

My Freezer

Close up

Close up


Thrifty: 1 kg of dried chickpeas costs 16 NIS. I made half a kilo which came out to be 7 cups cooked chickpeas =>0.875 NIS per cup. 1 can of 560 gr ~2 cups costs 6.5 NIS => 3.25 NIS per cup more than three times as much.

Paranoid: There is periodically some scare about Bisphenol A in cans. The summary as I see it: Everyone¬†agrees¬†that BPA leaches into food from cans. FDA claims these amounts are harmless. The treehuggers cite 100s of articles showing that such amounts casue various diseases in mice. The spectics point out¬†that¬†mice aren’t men in this respect: BPA in humans is quickly broken down and goes out in the urine, while in mice it is retained. Therefore, these mice research articles aren’t worth a thing. The treehuggers came back with another article, showing¬†correlation¬†between high BPA in human urine and higher risk of¬†heart¬†disease and diabetes. The sceptics say – correlation is not causation. I agree, in this case,¬†because¬†it seems quite obvious that the actual progression could be: lots of BPA in urine->eat a lot from cans->eat less healthy food in general->higher risk of heart disease. This does not mean that BPA is dangerous. However, to be on the safe side, I’m trying to cut back on cans. Nothing major – some things can only be found in cans, and I have no intention of giving up tuna or Heinz baked beans. But things like chickpeas which can easily be cooked at home…

Love Food - Don't Waste!

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I really felt like a good exotic rich soup. Unfortunately, I cannot really make a soup like this,¬†because¬†my husband likes chicken soup, vegetable soup and tomato soup. In extreme situations he is willing to eat onion soup, but that is as far as it gets. My kids like chicken soup only, and even then only their grandparent’s chicken soup, never mine. So the solution was simple: We invited people to dinner for Shabbat, and that way I had an excuse to make an interesting soup.

I regularly get¬†the¬†food magazine “Derech HaOchel” (The food road/way, very loosely translated), and they had seven soups of different colors, ranging from green split pea¬†and¬†mint soup to black bean soup. I thought of making the white soup (cauliflower) but in the end went for the orange soup (pumpkin-carrot-coconut). I really liked the idea of coconut, as it makes the soup creamy¬†without¬†making it dairy. Also, I hoped there was a chance my eldest would at least taste it (he loves coconut).

I am almost embarrased to admit it, but though I’ve been cooking for more than ten years I have never made what is known in Israel as “orange soup”. I like it, and I ate it, and I know what is usually in it: pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato, onion. But I never made it.

So: If not now, when?

So I got to work! (… with some changes, of course ūüôā )

Ingredients:

Olive oil for frying
1 onion, chopped small (I use the food processor)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 kg carrots, peeled and chopped (food processor for that too)
500 gr pumpkin, chopped (ditto)
0.5 liter water
1 cup of strong lemongrass tea (ideally, one stalk of lemongrass, but I didn’t have any so I used this instead)
0.5-1 tsp dried thyme (ideally fresh, but didn’t have that either)
1 can coconut milk
salt & pepper to taste
0.5-1 tsp mild curry powder (optional)

Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil until transparent. Add the carrot, and fry for another 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin and fry for for another five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tea , water, thyme and curry (if using) and cook until the vegetables are soft. Taste occasionally, but don’t worry if the taste of thyme is very strong as it gets milder during the cooking. Add the coconut milk. Blend the soup to smooth consistency (I used a “stick” blender to blend in the pot, it was so easy and quick). Make sure the soup is heated through and done!

For serving, you can chop some spring onions and sprinkle on top for extra colour and taste.

Looks good enough to eat!

My guest liked it very much; my eldest did in fact taste it, but decided he didn’t like it. I am sure that if I make it more frequently though, he would like it. I loved it – it was creamy and comforting. I also discovered later that it freezes excellently. And it was absolutely delicious.

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