Carrots: From entrees to desserts
With the arrival of spring and Easter upon us, the use of vegetables in our dishes is part of the celebration of the season. One of my favorite vegetables is also a favorite of Peter Cottontail's: That bright orange root vegetable- the carrot. I love carrots raw, in soups, with roast, in salads and even my dessert.
One of my long-time favorite recipes to make and to eat is carrot cake. I remember the first carrot cake I ever saw. It was at a birthday party my sister Syd was having for a friend. I could not imagine a cake made out of carrots. Well, I have always been a fan of spice cakes, and this was just a really moist, sweet spice cake. The cream cheese frosting on top was awesome.
I started making carrot cakes for friends and restaurants about 25 years ago, and I have included my favorite recipe. I hand-grate the carrots. It is three cups' worth of grated carrots, but it doesn't take long. I use pecans and raisins for the top of the cake, but these can be left off if you prefer.
As a youngster, going to Furr's cafeteria was a seldom-seen treat on a Sunday afternoon. But when we did go, I always selected the carrot and raisin salad. This is one of those recipes that is very southern. There are many variations of this salad. have seen recipes that include apple or pineapple. I like the traditional version sweetened with a little honey.
I hope everyone has a glorious Easter, and don't forget to leave a carrot out for the Easter Bunny. That way he'll stay out of your cake.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting2 cups flour 2 cups sugar 2 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt 2 tsp. cinnamon 1 cup vegetable oil 4 eggs 3 cups grated carrot 8-oz. box cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup butter, softened 4 cups powdered sugar 1 tsp vanilla 1 to 2 tsp milk chopped pecans (optional) raisins (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch layer pans. Sift flour, soda, salt and cinnamon together. In mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil. Blend thoroughly. Stir in eggs one at a time. Gradually add dry ingredients while mixing. Stir in grated carrots. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes in a 350- degree oven.
Cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.
Frost the cake when it is entirely cooled. Pecans and raisins may be sprinkled on top.
Carrot-Raisin Salad3 cups grated carrots 1 cup raisins 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup honey 1/2 tsp salt
Mix carrots and raisins with the mayonnaise and honey. Stir in the salt.
Thoroughly chill before serving.