COME INTO THE KITCHEN, GARDENER: Keep Calm And Carrot On!

By Karen England for Let's Talk Plants! September 2021.

With thanks to

https://www.gloryofthesnow.com/carrot-puns/ for the punny title of this article, I give you some of my favorite carrot recipes.



But first, a word about cutting carrots from cookbook author Nigella Lawson, who broke the twitterverse and went viral in December 2020 with her hatred of improperly-cut carrots. "While many of us probably think a nice carrot round is perfectly non-confrontational and fine for a dinner, Nigella has it in for anything orange not cut into a baton and wanted to make sure we knew" says Mel Evans in Metro.co.uk. That said, cut your carrots for the following recipes as you like them no matter what the recipes say.



MaryJane Butters Cast-Iron Cooking - Carrot Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ever since appearing in the December 2010 issue of MaryJanesFarm magazine, this recipe for Frosted Carrot Bread has been my all-time favorite. My version, with a few tweaks, quickly displaced Classic Carrot Birthday Cake as my late husband's favorite birthday treat. Makes one loaf.


Ingredients:

Bread -

1 teaspoon butter, softened or canola oil spray

1/2 cup each unbleached all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup raisins

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon each ground cloves, nutmeg, allspice and sea salt

1/3 cup vegetable or coconut oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups grated carrots


Cream Cheese Frosting -

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/8 - 1/4 cup pecans or nuts of choice, finely chopped, optional.

dried apricots, cut into "carrot-esque wedges" and fresh rosemary needles for "carrot-tops" for decoration, optional.


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Lightly butter or spray an 8" (MJB recommends cast-iron) loaf pan and dust with flour.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, raisins, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Add oil and eggs; stir well. Add carrots, stirring until well blended.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While bread is baking, prepare frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in sugar.

Remove finished bread from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Frost. If desired, sprinkle finely chopped nuts on top and decorate with dried apricot "carrots" with rosemary sprig "tops".







Milk Street French Carrot Salad

The full salad recipe serves 6 and is online for those who are Milk Street Digital Members.

https://www.177milkstreet.com/recipes/french-carrot-salad


Here's my version that serves one.


Dressing Ingredients For A Couple Of Servings:

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1/2 tablespoon minced shallot

1/2 teaspoon honey

pinch cayenne pepper and freshly grated black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Directions:

Whisk all but the oil together in a bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in the oil until emulsified.


Salad Ingredients For One:

1 - 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated ("Don't use old, bagged carrots . . . Look for bunches of medium carrots with the greens still attached." [See next recipe!])

small handful of fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 - 2 tablespoons dressing (see above)


Salad Directions:

In a bowl, mix together the grated carrot and chopped parsley and add the dressing. Stir until evenly coated. Season to taste with more salt and ground peppers. Serve or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Quick Carrot Top Pesto

Originally from Clean Eating Magazine, April 2016


Using organic carrots is recommended for this recipe. Store carrot-tops separately from the carrots so that the tops don’t drain energy and moisture from the roots. Makes one cup.


Ingredients:

Leaves from the tops of one bunch organic carrots, washed and chopped (approximately 1 1/2 cups)

Handful of Thai Basil leaves or other basil, optional

1 large garlic clove, chopped

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

zest and juice of 1 small Meyer lemon or 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons toasted walnuts

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 - 2 organic carrots sliced into thick coins


Directions:

In a blender or food processor, add carrot-top leaves, basil leaves, garlic, oil, salt, lemon zest and juice. Pulse until combined (scrape down sides if needed). Add nuts and cheese and pulse until combined. Serve with carrot coins for dipping.

Stella Fong's Oven Roasted Carrots

This recipe first appeared in San Diego's North County Magazine, Summer 1997.


By roasting, the carrots are caramelized, bringing out their natural sugars. Serves four.


Ingredients:

6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, smashed

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 medium fresh basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

freshly grated black pepper, to taste

(Not in original recipe - but I add the juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon and some granulated sugar.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 ºF.

In a bowl, gently toss the carrots and garlic with the olive oil.

Spread the carrots evenly in a single layer in a baking pan.

Roast uncovered, for 20 - 40 minutes, stirring and tossing occasionally until cooked through and lightly browned.

While the carrots are roasting, cut the basil leaves into thin strips, called "chiffonade," and set aside.

Toss the finished carrots with the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Quick Pickled Mexican Carrots

Source unknown. Makes one quart.


Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups apple-cider vinegar

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons coarse salt

3 cups filtered water

4 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally 1/4" thick

2 small red onions, peeled, halved and sliced into

3/4" wedges

4 jalapenos, quartered lengthwise; ribs and seeds removed


Directions:

Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Add the carrots, onions and jalapenos and reduce heat to medium-high. Simmer 'til carrots are just tender, 10-12 minutes.

Store in the refrigerator.

Karen England is President of the SDHS and Editor-in-Chief for the San Diego Horticultural Society’s Newsletter, Let's Talk Plants!



She is a past president and current member of the Vista Garden Club, as well as, she is a member and was on the board of the International Herb Association and has contributed to various of the IHA's Herb of the Year books.


She can be found on Instagram @edgehillherbfarm - give her a follow!