Thursday, October 2, 2008

Carrots by Jamie Oliver and Isa Chandra Moskowitz: Vegan MoFo #1

October 1 was supposed to be the start of VeganMoFo; I'm starting a day late, so what? I'll post twice. Anyway, I finally got around to experimenting with Carrot Cake Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

To tell you the truth, I am a carrot-phobe. I pretty much despised them throughout my childhood and adult days, except for carrot cake. I hearted carrot cake so much, I think I had it once for my birthday cake back as a teenager (how I chose carrot cake over chocolate, I'll never know.). I don't remember the last time I tried carrot cake though; last Monday I made Isa's Carrot Cake Cupcakes because [1] I haven't made vegan carrot cake yet, and [2] a coworker of mine wanted to order cupcakes from me, but they had to be carrot cake style.

One dozen cupcakes called for a whopping 1 cup of shredded carrots with a measly 2/3 cup of sugar. Nude carrot cake cupcakes are just slightly sweet, specifically to make way for the frosting. I had some lemon buttercream left over, which I topped on the cupcakes with a sprinkle of cinnamon. I think these taste best refrigerated so the cupcakes firm up a bit. Overall though, these are pretty good. Hmmm, now that I think about it, I really miss carrot cake.

I think my hate affair with carrots was due to the fact that every carrot dish I came across was boringly boiled or steamed with no imagination. In terms of savory food, the first time I truly enjoyed carrots was when I made Jamie Oliver's Roasted Carrots with Orange, Garlic, and Cumin.

Wow, these were sooo
good. I made these back in the day when I didn't own a camera, hence the stolen photo from his website (did you think my own food photography was this good? Oh I wish...). The recipe originally appeared in Jamie's Dinners which is his cookbook for kid-friendly, family-friendly, crowd-friendly food. I think I really enjoyed his take on carrots because they did not taste like carrots. The orange really brightened up the flavor (even masked it, thank God) and it was a winning match with cumin, which was an optional ingredient. Since orange tends to be on the sour side, you might want to add a sprinkle of brown sugar.

For those who can't operate an oven to save their life, you can totally use a toaster oven, which I did. just line the toaster pan with foil or parchment paper for easier clean up. You want the carrots to get that nice brown "sear" from the roasting.

Roast Carrots with Orange, Garlic, and Cumin
adapted from Jamie's Dinners

Peel carrots with a peeler; if using large carrots, slice them into sticks.

Boil them in salted boiling water with a tablespoon of brown sugar, a splash of olive oil and a few pinches of dried thyme.

Cut an orange (I used local satsuma oranges) into eighths; add them to the water with a couple of whole garlic cloves in their skins.

Add a few pinches of ground cumin.

As soon as the carrots are cooked (fork tender, like potatoes), drain them, discard the herbs and all but one of the orange pieces. Place these on a foil or parchment-lined baking pan.

Squeeze the garlic out of its skin and chop the remaining orange piece finely; toss with the carrots, some salt and pepper, and a little more olive oil. Roast them at 200°C/400°F/gas 6 for 10 minutes, tossing halfway through.

When you see the brown bits on the carrots, you're done.


For the love of all things carrot,
I leave you with a photo depicting what someone else thinks about Isa's cupcakes:

Happy October VeganMoFo! And Happy World Vegetarian Day (yesterday)! More to come.


Bex said...

aww pretty kitty
Roasted carrots are the best!

Bethany said...

carrots are so good, but I almost never have them. strange, huh?

that orange cat is so adorable.

vegan domestic goddess said...

hehe come to think of it my cat matches the orange theme of my post...

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