Arlene's Cuisine

Root vegetables have always been popular in the winter months because they could be stored in basements and outdoor “root cellars,” providing fresh produce when snow covered the ground.

In the “old days” before freezers were in just about every home, they were also canned. Today it’s easier to freeze them, and of course fresh produce is now available year-round so root cellars have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Today’s recipes focus on carrots, a healthy veggie that can be used in everything from soups and dips to desserts. One of my favorite carrot dishes from years past was a carrot and raisin salad that was served in our school lunch program. It consisted of shredded carrots, raisins and mayonnaise. Unfortunately, it never made a big hit with anyone in my family so I haven’t made it in years.

My mother, being a “plain” cook, would slice carrots and boil them until tender and then serve them with butter, salt and pepper, and those were especially good with carrots fresh from the garden. I still find it strange that “store” carrots don’t taste anything like the ones that come fresh out of the garden.

 

Carrot and Peanut

Butter Sandwiches

Grate raw carrots to make ½ cup. Stir in a cup of crunchy peanut butter. Spread on fresh whole wheat bread.

 

Carrot and

Coconut Salad

  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1½ cups shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt to taste
  • Lettuce

Mix everything but the lettuce. Chill and serve on the lettuce. Serves four.

Creamed Carrots

4 thinly sliced carrots

White sauce: 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 1 cup milk.

Cook the carrots until tender in boiling water. Drain and cover to keep warm.

To make the white sauce, melt butter and slowly blend in flour and seasonings. Stir until smooth. Then slowly add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the carrots to the white sauce and serve.

 

Carrot Cake

(This can be made as a three-layer cake or as a 9-by-13-inch cake. If making 9-by-13 inch, cut the frosting recipe in half.)

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda (½ teaspoon for Salida’s elevation)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (½ teaspoons for Salida’s elevation)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups grated carrots (about 1 pound)

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the oil and blend. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add carrots and blend well. For the layer cake, divide into three 8-inch layer pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. For 9-by-13-inch cake, bake about an hour. Test in the center with a toothpick for doneness. If the toothpick comes out clean it’s done.

 

Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 can coconut
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Blend cream cheese, powdered sugar and butter. Add vanilla and then the coconut and chopped pecans. Spread evenly over the top and sides of the layers or the top of a 9-by-13-inch cake.

 

Carrot Cake Jam

  • 1½ cups carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1½ cups peeled and finely chopped pears
  • 1¾ cups crushed pineapple including the juice
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 6 tablespoons pectin
  • 6½ cups sugar
  • 6 half-pint jars with new lids and band

Wash jars and lids. Heat water to boiling in a canner or large pan with a lid. Heat the jars until ready to fill.

Combine carrots, pears, pineapple with juice and spices in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat, cover and boil another 20 minutes. Add the pectin and stir to dissolve. Bring the mixture back to a boil, stirring to keep from sticking. Add the sugar and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil until some of the mixture, dropped into cold water, forms a soft ball or “threads” when poured off a spoon. If there is foam, skim it off.

Pour the jam into the hot jars, leaving about ¼ inch space on top. Wipe the rim to clean off any jam, which will prevent the lid from adhering. Place lids on the jars and screw on the bands. Process in a boiling water bath for about 25 minutes for Salida’s elevation (about 10 minutes for sea level). Remove jars and set on a dish towel to cool. Listen for all the lids to pop. If they don’t all pop, refrigerate the ones that didn’t seal.

 

Zesty Carrots

  • 6 to 8 cooked carrots
  • ¼ cup liquid from the cooked carrots
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Topping:
  • ¼ cup fine bread or cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Dash of paprika

Spread the cooked carrots in the bottom of a buttered baking dish. Combine the rest of the ingredients (except the topping) and pour over the carrots. Then mix the topping and sprinkle over the carrot mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Garnish with fresh or dried parsley. Serves six.

 

Apple Glazed Carrots

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 (16-ounce) package peeled baby carrots
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onion tops

Melt butter. Add carrots and sauté until the carrots begin to brown slightly – about 10 minutes. Add apple juice and honey and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze. Cook about another 15 minutes, stirring to keep from sticking. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with green onion tops.