Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fennel Awesomeness

When you have a lot of one kind of the same vegetable, you might want to enlarge your repertoire of dishes that contain it. But then you have the one simple delicious dish that you can make over and over again. For example, we had lots of sugar snap peas, which we used for stir fries and cold noodle Thai salads, but mostly, we ate them as a salad, by simply blanching them and then adding salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. They are delicious as they are simple.

We just started exploring the possibilities with fennel, and only used it thrice* so far, but I already know what my favorite fennel recipe is:

Roasted fennel with balsamic vinegar and olive oil!
So simple: just cut the fennel in half or quarters, place it in a casserole dish, spray olive oil on top, smother with drizzles of vinegar, sprinkle some salt, and cover. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until nice and soft all the way through. We baked it at the same time Mark's Best Roasted Potatoes Ever were baking, and enjoyed a very yummy dinner.

* The first time out of the tree was a failing attempt to make this very recipe -- covering the casserole dish is crucial!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Carrot Cake (Low Fat)

A few years ago, while we still lived in NC, Robin brought the most delicious carrot cake I have ever had over to Mark for his birthday. It's his favorite cake, and it's very low fat. Even though I had the recipe (developed by Mark and Robin), I could never make it myself, because I did not have a food processor. But now I do! So I made the cake:

Here's the recipe, which I modified slightly to make it a bit less low-fat, but also a bit less wasteful, as I do not know what I would do with extra yolks:

In a large bowl combine:
  • 1 egg
  • 6 egg whites (this is where I just used 3 eggs)
Beat, then add:
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 c unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 t vanilla extract
Beat some more

In a separate bowl combine:
  • 2 c minus 2 T all purpose flour
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 T cocoa powder
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix only till incorporated, then add:
  • 1 lb shredded carrots
  • 2 c raisins
Pour into three 8" pans lined with wax paper and bake in a 350 degrees F preheated oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool, and in the meantime prepare the frosting:

  • 2 8oz packages of fat free cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
beat well, and spread on cakes.

For decoration, I used solid glaze:
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • a drop of almond extract
All mushed together with a fork, then colored and shaped as carrots. I got 4 large yummy carrots.