(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
The next time you are in the mood for dessert, consider sauteing that bunch of carrots in your vegetable bin in butter and then giving them a long luxurious hot bath in coconut milk. The silky result, when crowned with spices, golden raisins and crushed pistachios, is a rich pudding that just may make you forget there is any dessert ingredient beyond surprising carrots.
If the furthest you've ventured into such terrain is trying carrot cake, you are in for some treats, as just such an Indian-style, sweet-spicy pudding will immediately alert you. Simply making crisp oat-whole wheat cookies, brimming with thin carrot "coins" nestled next to dark chocolate chips, dark chocolate-covered raisins and chopped walnuts may mean you never settle for plain chocolate chip or oatmeal-raisin varieties again.
Here are a few other dessert ideas for the just-sweet-enough vegetable:
- Add shredded carrots, finely chopped dates, and well-drained minced pineapple to a brownie recipe and finish with cream cheese frosting.
- Saute shredded carrots in butter and maple syrup; use as a thin glaze/topping spread over ready-to-eat or freshly homemade cheesecake. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.
- Place shredded carrots and unsweetened cocoa powder in a dessert sweetened crepe recipe and, once the crepes are cooked and cooled, fill with whipped cream that's been prepared with dashes of ground cinnamon and ground cloves.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. The food tips take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since these are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations. They can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup mashed soft tofu (see Note)
6 peeled baby carrots, cut into thin "coins"
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup (preferably dark) chocolate raisins
1/4 cup small broken pieces of (preferably 70 percent cacao) dark chocolate
Yields about 14 cookies.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly spray two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Combine flour, oats, baking powder, nutmeg and allspice in a large bowl.
Add maple syrup, canola oil and mashed tofu and stir until just combined. Add rest of ingredients and combine well.
Place the cookie dough by very heaping teaspoons onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about an inch between cookies. Carefully place in the oven and bake until the cookies begin to turn brown around the edges. Check at 12 minutes; may take about 25 minutes. Leave cookies on baking sheet until completely cool and firm to the touch. Serve immediately or store in airtight container in refrigerator.
Note: Tofu, which adds no flavor, works in place of eggs; do not leave it out.
-Adapted from Ralphs Supermarkets "My Magazine." CARROT-SPICE PUDDING
1/2 cup regular or vegan butter
6 medium carrots, shredded
2 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup golden raisins
4 cardamom pods, bruised
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachio nuts, crushed (for garnish)
Yields 6 servings.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and then add carrots. Reduce heat to medium-low and coat carrots in butter.
Carefully stir in coconut milk; simmer on low heat, uncovered, for 45 minutes; stirring occasionally.
Stir in rest of ingredients, except for pistachios. Stir frequently, until sugar is dissolved into a pudding-like consistency, about 15 minutes.
Cool slightly and carefully transfer into small dessert bowls. Store in refrigerator to set and, after that, when ready to serve invert onto dessert plates and garnish with crushed pistachios.
-Epicurious.comQUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:
"If you have a little leftover wine in the bottle, don't pour it down the drain," writes Melissa d'Arabian in "Ten Dollar Dinners." Instead, "fill an ice cube tray half-full with wine and then freeze (if you fill all the way, the alcohol won't freeze). Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a resealable freezer bag. The next time you need to deglaze a pan or make a quick pan sauce, toss in a few cubes for an extra layer of flavor that didn't cost you a dime."Lisa Messinger
is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes
(Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet
(Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.