Tag Archives: carrot

Carrot…pie? A Recipe Swap and a giveaway!

Perhaps I reacted to this month’s Burwell General Store Recipe Swap recipe a little differently than most people. I was ready to cook up some carrots and bake a pie! Carrot pie sounded like another delicious variation of some of my favorite pies: pumpkin and sweet potato. Could carrot pie be even better because of what it has in common with carrot cake (my absolute favorite)?

I wanted to find out whether another orange vegetable would make a lovely, fall-flavored pie so I decided to stick closely to the original recipe. That turned out to be pretty easy, since the recipe was so vague that I didn’t have a rigid ingredient list to follow. It reads something like an oral history gathered by some culinary folklorist. Can I have that job, please?

I steamed “the carrots”, added them to milk and eggs, sweetened them with sugar, and added cinnamon for spice. That wasn’t all, of course. The full recipe is at the bottom of this post. My take on carrot pie includes ricotta cheese and allspice but no crust. I gave up baking custard pies in crust long ago. All I want is the filling so baking that in little ramekins or muffin cups makes dessert much more enjoyable to me.

Individual custard cups may not be quite as pretty as a whole pie and sometimes it’s nice to have some crunch with your silky-smooth filling. That’s where this bag of granola comes in!

I happened to have a bag of Cherry Berry Granola in my pantry from the NatureBox each blogger received as part of the Foodbuzz Festival gift bag. NatureBox delivers a monthly package of healthy snacks anywhere you need them (in the U.S.). They come in neat little resealable pouches and have already saved me from a snack black hole at least once. I love the dried fruit, nut mix, and Blueberry Almond Bites but I’m especially excited about the granola, since it’s on the light side – just how I like granola – with a good ratio of oats to whole almonds and dried berries.

The crunchy granola was a perfect topping for my carrot custard, which was still warm and gooey when I snacked on it yesterday afternoon. It was reminiscent of pumpkin or sweet potato pie but with more substance, thanks to the ricotta cheese, and plenty of flavor from the vanilla bean and spices. Lee and I did a bike/run brick workout that morning so I snacked for the rest of the day. The rest of my little carrot pies went in the fridge for weeknight desserts.

 

If you’d like to try some healthy, convenient snacks for yourself, NatureBox has generously offered one of their future month’s boxes to one of my lucky readers! All you have to do is comment on this post telling my where and when you most need a snack during the day. The winner will be chosen at random from those comments. One entry per person, please. I will announce the winner in 1 week. At this time, NatureBox can only deliver to U.S. addresses and cannot customize box contents. Be sure to check out the NatureBox Blog for delicious recipes and snack ideas!

You’ll also find inventive recipes inspired by carrot pie from my fellow recipe swappers below.



Little Crustless Carrot Pies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 half-cup ramekins

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized carrots
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese*
  • 1/4 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar, brown sugar, or other sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut carrots into 1 inch chunks and steam until tender.
  3. Puree carrots in a food processor or using a hand blender.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs.
  5. Add ricotta cheese, milk, sugar, spices, salt, and vanilla, stirring with a whisk until well blended.
  6. Add carrots and stir until combined.
  7. Pour batter into ramekins coated with a little oil or silicone muffin liners. Place these on a baking sheet.
  8. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the center of each pie is solid and the edges begin to pull away from the dish.
  9. Cool on a wire rack until ready to eat.
  10. Pies may be served warm or chilled, topped with granola, cookie crumbs, or even whipped cream. If using muffin cups, you may remove pies form the cups before serving as long as they are significantly cooled.

Notes

* Yogurt or pureed tofu may be substituted for ricotta.

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Filed under desserts, Recipe Swaps, snacks

Naturally sweetened carrot rice pudding bites

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Those look good, don’t they? Or maybe I’m the only one who thinks prickly little hunks of healthy stuff look appetizing. Humor me.

Grab a carrot, pull that bucket of dates off the top shelf in your pantry (What? You don’t have a huge container of dates in your pantry? Well go get some!) Put those cashews you’ve been munching on for days to good use. I know you have leftover rice or some other grain in your fridge.

This isn’t so much a recipe post as it is a post about creativity. I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity over the past couple days. Training for my new museum internship started this week and learning through creative design is the institutions main focus.

Creativity…design…those are two crucial aspects of blogging as well as more aspects of our life than we probably realize. They have always been intimidating words for me. I’ve never considered myself to be an “artsy” person and in certain circumstances I’ve felt uncomfortable pressure to be “creative”. Design? How could I ever design anything?

So far, what I’ve learned about creativity in my internship is more relevant to this blog than I thought it would be. I have fresh motivation and renewed ambition. I cannot wait to see what I can really do with this blog if I let loose and break free of how I think things should be. Let’s just find out where this goes.

What does this have to do with carrot rice pudding bites? Carrot rice pudding bites are what happens when I let myself get creative with food. I have some kind of craving for a particular taste, flavor, shape, or texture. I have certain ingredients at my disposal. I really, really want to use something because it’s been in the fridge for bordering-on too long. I look at some recipes – thumbing through cookbooks and clicking through bookmarks online. In the end, I get pull out some ingredients, mash them together in a bowl, smoosh them into a mini-muffin tin, and bake them.

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How do they taste? Pretty good for being a total experiment in culinary creativity. Did Lee and I eat all of these tasty bites? You betcha – every last sticky-sweet little bite.

Unfortunately, I have not quite mastered the practice of writing down what I’m doing when I’m experimenting in the kitchen. Thus, I don’t have a recipe. That said, I think wads/bites/hunks/balls like this are best made as free-form, creative, recipe-free items. Here are the basic components and a method that seemed to work for me at least once.

Naturally Sweetened Carrot Rice Pudding Bites

dates: 10 small pitted
cashews: 1/2 cup, raw

Chop these up in a food processor. Pour this mix into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.

carrot: 1 medium, grated
cooked brown rice: maybe 1 1/2 – 2 cups
spices: allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger…you know, those yummy ones…as much or as little of them as you like
flour, whatever kind you want (I used millet flour): 2 tablespoons
egg, beaten: 1 (or make it vegan with 2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 1/4 cup water)

scoop “dough” into a lightly oiled mini muffin pan or onto a cookie sheet (also lightly oiled or lined with parchment/Silpat)
Bake at 375 F. for 10-12 minutes, or until muffins/balls are firm and starting to brown.

Munch away! These are surprisingly sweet for containing no processed sugar.

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Chocolate Chip Carrot Muffins

I need to learn to wear an apron. I have one. It’s colorfully striped and my mom gave it to me several years ago. Do I ever think to put it on when I’m about to make a huge mess in the kitchen? No. It sits in a drawer right in front of me while oil spatters on my shirt an little flecks of tomato sauce make their way onto anything white that I might be wearing. I should really wear the apron while I’m eating, for that matter, since balsamic vinegar and pasta sauce rarely make it to my mouth without leaving a drop here and there.

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When I started grating the carrots for this recipe I remembered my apron, got it out of the drawer, and put it on. No carrot juice left it’s mark on me!

Now for the muffins. It’s been a while since I’ve baked my favorite treat. The time was right for muffins this morning. I was craving chocolate after breakfast (who doesn’t?) so I shuffled through some cookbooks and my recipe box for a chocolate chip vehicle. A recipe for Carrot Cake Bars came up as the winner. I’ve made these bars many times before and they always satisfy my craving for carrot cake without making me feel too guilty if I eat several a day.

How did bars become muffins, you ask? I don’t have the right pan to make bars and muffins come pre-portioned. I swapped out raisins with chocolate chips and made the recipe vegan, since Lee ate the last eggs this morning. Necessity is the mother of invention!

Hot from the oven with melting chocolate chips in every bite, these satisfied my chocolate craving. I love how oats give muffins crunchy tops and chewy centers!

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C is for carrot. C is for chocolate: Muffins on a cute little plate from my grandmother.

Chocolate Chip Carrot Muffins

Adapted from Cooking Light

2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter or vegetable oil*
3/4 cup milk or non-dairy milk*
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons ground flax seed + 1/4 cup water
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice, because it’s yummy)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated carrot
Handful semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine ground flax seed with water. Set aside.
In a medium bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together sugar and butter (or oil).
Add the milk, flax mixture, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, wheat germ, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring gently until just combined.
Fold in grated carrot and chocolate chips.
Spoon into muffin pan lined with paper or silicone liners or into silicone liners on a baking sheet. (I filled 10 silicone cups about 3/4 full and the batter rose just to the tops of the cups when baked.)

Bake at 350 F. for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are crispy and brown.

Next up: The sourdough loaf I’ve been baking but still haven’t captured on film? ICE CREAM in my new ice cream maker? I know, maybe some sourdough waffles in my untested waffle iron. I’m sure all these things will make it to the blog eventually!

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Carrot Quinoa Muffins

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Finally, redemption. I knew I wouldn’t be happy until I’d replaced my unsatisfactory muffins with something to be proud of. This morning’s baking produced definite winners: moist carrot muffins speckled with quinoa!
I’m always trying to make extra grains for dinner so I’ll have leftovers for various uses. Last night’s dinner included quinoa, one of my favorite quick-cooking foods with Mesoamerican roots. It happened to be red quinoa, which looks all the more exotic and gives these muffins great visual texture.

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As for the carrots, something about hanging out with my mom makes me crave carrot cake. Both of us consider it our favorite cake. I couldn’t let the carrots in the fridge go un-shredded knowing they could make us both very happy as a dessert!
And so, Carrot Quinoa Muffins were born! Actually, I found a recipe on the Whole Foods website and added quinoa. It was a great recipe to start with so the only other thing I changed was to cut down the flour a little because I was adding so much . That 1/4 cup of flour probably could have stayed but these muffins came out so well the way I made them that I don’t think I’ll be making any more changes!

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Featured on Baking is Hot

Carrot Quinoa Muffins
Adapted from Carrot Apple Muffins from Whole Foods Market

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
In a separate, larger bowl, beat together eggs, milk, applesauce, sugar, carrot, oil, and vanilla until fully combined.
Gently stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
Spoon batter into 12 lined or lightly oiled muffin cups.
I experimented with sprinkling a little of vanilla sugar I got the other day on top of the muffins before baking them. It turned out to be powdered vanilla sugar and probably should have gone on after baking but it made these smell fabulous in the oven!
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack. I plan to store these in the fridge since they’re so moist.

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