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Posts Tagged ‘carrot’

Carrot cake is all about the spice, and I love  spices. That and the cream cheese frosting, of course.  So when my step-dad mentioned his love of carrot cake, I was excited to make one to split with him.  Not fair for him to get the whole thing.  PS- Thanks for washing my car!

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 packet vanilla pudding mix
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/4 granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3-1/2 cups shredded  carrots (about 7-8 medium)

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cream cheese (1-8oz package) softened
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp butter flavored shortening (you could leave this out, but it makes a difference!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar

You’re going to need two mixing bowls, one medium and one large and an electric hand mixer for the frosting. You’ll also need either 2 round cake pans or 1  9X13 inch pan to bake it in.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In the medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla pudding mix, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, cloves and salt. Also known as the first 9 ingredients on the list!

Set it aside.

In the large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and milk.

After that is thoroughly mixed, whisk in your butter until combined, and then whisk in the oil.  Make sure both the butter and oil are completely blended. You’re not done whisking if it looks like this-

Whisk until it looks like this-

Time to stir in the shredded carrot.

Then a cupful at a time, incorporate your flour mixture into the carrot mixture.

DO NOT over mix.  Stir until just combined. Then pour into the baking pan/s of your choice.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool before frosting.  Be patient. This can take up to 3 hours!!! Wash out one of your bowls to use for making the frosting while you’re waiting. Or make this when you’re ready to frost the cake since it doesn’t take very long.

As for the frosting…

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat your cream cheese, butter, shortening, sour cream, and vanilla.

Once it’s smooth, scrape down the sides and add in your powdered sugar.

Beat until smooth, AGAIN.

Refrigerate while waiting for the cake to cool.

Then it’s time to frost!!!

The right side is MINE!!!!!  Well maybe the left too… ugh, I may have to make another cake.

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Nothing celebrates spring like a bright plate of pasta chock full of veggies.  I find myself craving this every year as the fields turn bright green with new foliage. It always makes me think of my friend Trina, and trips to Alexander Valley for wine tasting. Oh, the days when I didn’t have kids…    OK,  enough with the daydreaming.  At least there’s still the primavera. PS:  T- I miss your little water-tower house!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta of your choice (Fettuccine is the norm, but I didn’t have any so I used farfalle in this recipe)
  • 16 stems of asparagus, woody end snapped off
  • 2 small zucchini (6-7 inches long)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 tbsp butter, separated into tbsp sized pats
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 4 tomatoes, preferably Roma or Plum but whatever is on hand will work
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a garlic press (which is my personal favorite way!)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, or Italian cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup of loosely packed basil, chopped
  • the juice from half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 large bowl of ice water

This will make enough for 6-8 entrée sized servings, so beware! You can always cut the recipe in half.

Put two pots on the stove with 3-4 quarts of water and 1 tbsp of salt in each. Start prep work while bringing the water to a boil.

I cut up the vegetables in a specific way to speed up the cooking process. Be sure to keep them separated since they are initially cooked separately. Start with the asparagus. I cut two inches of the tips off, then slice in half lengthwise along the remaining stalk, and in half again as shown in the picture below.

As for the zucchini and carrots, take a peeler and press down a little while making your peeling motion in order to get a slightly thicker peel.

Then stack up the peeled strips and cut them in half lengthwise.

If you buy whole mushrooms, slice them!!!

Once your water is boiling, drop in the asparagus and boil for 45-60 seconds.

Then remove using a slotted spoon and plunge immediately into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

Ta-dow. Once it’s cooled down (about a minute) remove from the cold water with a slotted spoon (you’ll need the water for cooling down the other cooked veggies) and put into a colander to finish draining.

Next cook the zucchini for 30-40 seconds

then plunge into the ice water, repeating the cooling down and then draining process. Next are the peas for 30 seconds, remove, cool-down and drain, and then the carrots for  1-1/2 to 2 minutes. I bet you can guess how you cool these down.  Once all veggies are cooled and drained, you should end up with a big and beautiful bowl of color. Take a look!

Purty!

Cut an “x” into the tips of your tomatoes like so –

and put into the boiling water.  Cook until the “x” on the end just starts to peel back or split, then plunge into your ice bath to stop the cooking process.  They should look something like this –

The skins should slide off pretty easily. Use the peeler on any stubborn pieces of tomato skin.  Now cut out the stem and chop them up.

Now is the time to cook your pasta. Pour it into the second pot of boiling water and stir to prevent sticking.

You can finally dump out that boiling veggie water from your first pot, and rinse it out since we’re going to use it to make the sauce while the pasta is boiling. Yep, we’re only using two pots to make primavera. How great is that!

Put 3 tbsp of butter into the dry pan and saute your mushrooms until lightly browned. Add in the chopped tomatoes.

Cook until the tomatoes start to break up about 8-10 minutes.

Check you pasta. If it’s done, drain and set it aside. If not quite done, continue to boil.

Add in the last tbsp of butter and your garlic to the mushroom mixture.

Cook until the garlic has mellowed, approximately 3 minutes. Turn down the heat to low, then add in the cream and half of the parmesan cheese (Save the rest of your cheese for sprinkling on top!) and stir until the cheese has melted and blended in with the sauce.  Simmer for an additional 3 minutes stirring until the sauce has slightly thickened. Set aside off of the heat until your pasta is done.

Pour drained pasta and veggies into the sauce and stir until completely combined.

Stir in basil and lemon juice and serve! Of course I sprinkle mine with more cheese due to my dairy addiction.

Join me.

I’m a dairy pusher.

Cut to 3 minutes later.

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Bored with the same old side dishes?  My Hubs was too. I’d mention green beans, and he would cringe. I had to get a little crafty, and thank goodness it paid off! This is one of his new favorites.  Add a protein and some potatoes into this mix and you have a full skillet meal.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped or sliced

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed (frozen will work too)

2-3 carrots, cut carrot stick style (or into rounds or whatever!)

2/3 cup water

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press

pepper to taste

Melt on medium high heat your butter and olive oil in skillet until butter is foaming. Add in onion and mushroom and sautee until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add in 1 clove of minced garlic and cook until fragrant, which only takes another minute. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet add, green beans, carrots, water, onion powder, salt and remaining garlic.  Simmer, covered for about 4 minutes. Remove the lid and finish cooking until water is mostly evaporated, another 4 minutes or so.

Pour the mushroom mixture back into the skillet and stir until everything is combined. Season with pepper and more salt if needed, and serve!!

This is also pretty darn good with a fresh herb mixed in, like basil or thyme, or rosemary, parsley… the list goes on!

Sorry!!

I will update with photos asap…

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