On Halloween, the kids and I went out to Herrle's Farm Market to buy pumpkins for carving, and discovered that it was their last day open for the season, and not only were there free cookies, danishes and butter tarts for customers (hello, heaven), but many items were on sale, too. So, among other purchases, including some delectable pickled sugar snap peas, we hauled home a huge bag of carrots. Usually, the kids eat so many carrots raw that they're all devoured before I can cook with them. So, carrots became the theme of my Day of the Dead meal: carrot soup to start, and carrot cake to finish. The soup recipe is worth posting. Smooth, sweet, mild, and optionally vegan.
Ginger Carrot Soup
Peel and trim 2 lbs of carrots (or more, whatever looks good in your pot), add 4 cups water (or more, depending on how many carrots you're using). Bring to a boil, simmer till soft. Reserve.
In a separate soup pot, saute 1-2 chopped onions, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 2 tbls grated ginger (or 1 tsp ground ginger) with 1 tbls butter or oil. Add additional seasonings: 1 and 1/2 tsp salt, plus 1/4 tsp each of the following: cumin; ground fennel; cinnamon; allspice; dried mint. (Add more or less of each according on your family's tastebuds). Saute till onions are soft. Remove from heat. Stir in 3-4 tbls fresh lemon juice.
Now, pour/ladel in the cooked carrots and their cooking water. Puree everything together (I used last year's Christmas gift: a handheld submersible food processing device that I stick directly into the cooking pot, hugely cutting down on the mess, and which I highly recommend.)
You can also add a cup of toasted cashews to the mix, though I didn't.
(Adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook.)
A couple of months ago, a friend requested my granola recipe. She said my granola, as pictured on this blog, looked delicious, but hers always turned out raw-ish and sat heavily in the belly all morning. That was a small aha moment for me, because, truth be told, my granola looked pretty on the blog, but that most recent batch had effected a similar response in the gut. So I couldn't, in good conscience, post the recipe. Till now! Last weekend, I had great success with a modified granola recipe, which even Apple-Apple will eat. It's crunchy and sweet, almost cookie-ish, and flavoured with maple syrup.
Really Good Granola
Combine in a pan on the stove: 1/2 cup water, 1 cup oil, 1 cup maple syrup and/or honey, in whatever combination you like, 2 tsp vanilla, and 1 tbls salt (or a good deal less salt, if you prefer). Simmer till the ingredients are all melted together.
Meanwhile, in a separate large mixing bowl combine: 2 cups whole wheat flour, 6 cups rolled oats, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup wheat germ, and 1 cup flax and sunflower seeds in combination. (The coconut is definitely optional).
Now, add the warm blended liquids to the dry ingredients, mix thoroughly, and spread in a thin layer on two greased cookie trays. Bake at 250 degrees till dry and crunchy. This could take up to two hours, but check every half hour or so to stir and test, till it reaches your preferred texture.
You can add dried fruit and nuts afterward; but my kids prefer it very plain. Store in covered containers. This will last awhile ... but hopefully not too long; the whole goal is to make food that disappears!
(Adapted from the More-With-Less Cookbook).
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