Friday, January 12, 2007

Two Recipes

Whole Wheat Carrot Cake
Originally uploaded by Contrary Goddess.

How a Slightly Crunchy Steeply Hillbilly Woman Cares for Her Family

Jury duty took me out of the house and off the farm for two whole and entire days. The kids are big enough now that they can take up most of the slack if one of us is gone so it isn’t like coming home after a hurricane or anything. But when I’ve been gone one of the first things I miss is taking care of my family so as soon as I was out I called home and asked, “Do you have anything in mind for supper? No? Don’t worry about it, I’ve got it.”

They ordered lunch out for us while we were (locked) in the jury room both days. I had the Martha’s Vineyard Salad from Arby’s. I don’t eat out much, and don’t pay $5 for a salad if I do so I’d never had it. It was very nice (and just what this juror needed) -- a very nice bed of leafy greens with some cheese and apples and raisins and some insipid chicken breast thing (that part I didn’t eat much of) and a dressing of raspberry vinaigrette. So that was part of my inspiration.

So I stopped by the grocery to pick up a bag or two of leafy greens (spinach mostly) since right now we don’t have them in the garden. Staring at the greens I glanced over their salad dressings. Now, it has been ages since we bought any salad dressings. It is so expensive and so easy to make, we just make it. Or do with a dollop of sour cream. And just like everything else, home made is flat out better so I never even think about it. But I saw there a jar of some ginger sort of dressing and that was my other inspiration. I added a small piece of ginger to my basket.

At home my daughters set to helping me do things like dice the apples, set out the raisins and grate the cheese while I set to work on the dressing.

Blackberry Ginger Cayenne Salad Dressing

First I grated about an inch, maybe a bit more, of the ginger root. I didn’t peel it first. That is, by the way, a lot of ginger. Then I scraped what was stuck in the grater out too.

I looked in the freezer to see what sort of fruit was handy. Gooseberries? I don’t think so. Then I found a little container with about a half cup of blackberries that had been leftover from the last jelly making. Perfect. I thawed those and put them in the blender.

In the freezer I’d also come across a bag of cayenne peppers, frozen whole. One of those with the stem cut off went in the blender with a glurg of vinegar -- probably a tablespoon or so. Blend thoroughly.

In my dressing container (a pint mason jar), I put the grated ginger, about a quarter cup of honey, and the blended mishmash. And some salt. I think that was all. I forgot all about adding any oil at all so I even made “fat free” dressing. I ended up with about a cup of dressing so maybe I had a few more berries than that.

Let me tell you, this is not dressing for wimps. It is strong and it has a bite. You drizzle this, don’t drown your salad. But with the sweet apples and raisins and carrots too, that sharp bite was perfect. And ginger always feels so good on the stomach.

Since I’d used the last of the cheese, yesterday day I made a batch of cheese and the almost daily loaf of bread and made a bean soup with a broth we had in the fridge and grilled corn cakes with it. But still feeling that need to care for my family, so I also made a carrot cake.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cake

If you know me at all, you know I think AP flour is a complete waste, doesn’t matter if it is bleached or unbleached, it is crap. But to get soft whole wheat flour, you pretty much have to grind it yourself, and if you don’t have soft wheat flour (which is lower in protein), you really can’t make things like cakes and biscuits. So first thing here is to have freshly ground soft white wheat whole grain flour. Really, it is worth it. Really, it isn’t as hard as you think. Really, if you feed your body real whole food, it will thank you by being good back to you.

Ok, I’ll do this one more like a straight up recipe. It was adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook and may or may not resemble it anymore, I don’t really know.

1½ C melted butter
1¾ C brown sugar (or 1½ C honey)
4 eggs (room temp)
3 tsp vanilla extract (did I mention I make this too?)
Grated rind of 1 lemon (which I usually do not have and so don’t use)

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar/honey together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Add remaining ingredients and beat until light in color.

Meanwhile, sift together twice:
4 C soft whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder (make sure it is the non-aluminum kind!)
1 tsp allspice
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Any other pie spices that strike your fancy, like ginger or cloves or whatever -- I like a lot of these spices

And also have:
2 ½ C (or more) packed grated carrot (you might like them more shredded), soaked in juice of 1 lemon (or drizzled with juice from fake plastic lemon that I actually have in my fridge)

To the butter mixture, add flour mix and carrots, alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Mix gently, do NOT beat.

Put in buttered pans. Takes two round pans (least good option), 2 loaf pans, or (my preferred) one tube pan. Bake 40-50 minutes in 350 oven, until done.


I am amazed that people buy icky icing. Or even worse, make it with Crisco. Blealch. I usually top this cake with a mixture of cream cheese, 10X sugar, butter and vanilla . . . but yesterday I didn’t have any cream cheese handy so I used about, oh, a half cup of soft butter, mixed with about 4 cups (1 pound) of 10X sugar, a few teaspoons of my home made vanilla extract (that would be vanilla beans in 100 proof vodka), and enough sour cream to beat into stiff icing. Now that is good stuff.

And also filling. If you aren’t going to a church supper and don’t have a big family, only make half this recipe.


dragonfly183 said...

That looks really good.

Joe Tornatore said...

send a slice north.

the Contrary Goddess said...

I got the photo posted before the post . . . so, the recipe is here now -- make it yourselves! Don't warn people that it is whole wheat! (if you don't have soft whole wheat, use half whole wheat and half unbleached, but still don't warn them!)

ok, post coming in a minute.

Hey Joe -- you been following the making of BSG? Coming down for the filming? If you do, you've got to come by and we WILL feed ya!