Friday, 11 February 2011

Baking with vegetables

Photo credit: and
The title of this blog needs no explanation. But to give some context; we have been committed to Urban Acres for some time now. They are our local organic farm store, which provides a co-op style produce (fruits and vegetables) system. We are members of the co-op and every fortnight (2 weeks) we pick up a box of produce, most of which is local; all of which is organic and in season. The joy of this system is that it has introduced me to cooking with many vegetables that I would never have cooked with including turnips (great turnip, sweet potato and potato recipe here), butternut squash (the BEST recipe ever involving butternut squash, chick peas and a zesty lemon and tahini dressing; here). Mustard greens, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, fennel the list is endless……..
The other joyful aspect of the veggie box is that as we share it with our friend, LizinBigD, we are constantly exchanging recipes and on the lookout for new and wonderful things to do with our veggies. (No need to be dirty *eyes rolling and exasperated sigh*) She has recently been gifted with a juicer and so is happy juicing away the dozens of carrots and beets we have been in receipt of recently.
We are sadly lacking in a juicer but I have discovered a new and probably not so healthy ways in which to consume the carrots and beets we have been overwhelmed with recently. This brings me to the slightly frustrating aspect of the produce box, as it is seasonal we are literally overwhelmed with carrots or beets or kale and then we get none of the above and are overloaded with apples etc.
This frustration of mine clearly indicates the times in which we live. In moments of weakness i.e when I see two dozen carrots in my box for the third week in a row, I do get frustrated with the seasonal aspect of our veggies! But this is how people lived for thousands of years and it is literally only in the last 50 or so years where we have been able to fly the kiwi fruit across the planet for my eating pleasure and we have been able to hot house strawberries throughout the winter months. As we all know an organic seasonal fruit or vegetable can tickle our taste buds in a way a hot house tomato fails to do and carbon miles on our greens is not helping our planet stay healthy. So being seasonal, local and organic means that we will get two dozen carrots for the third week in a row and in my stronger moments i.e after a big slice of carrot cake, I am grateful for this. Not only do I feel healthy (erm obviously not after having obliterated the carrot cake), I feel I am doing my bit for local farmers, local businesses, the organic farming community and the earth.

Ahem; apologies for the distractions and finally moving on to the baking aspect of this blog post and how to consume carrots and beets in an unhealthy way. Although at least you know how much sugar goes into your deserts and a little of the sweet stuff is always always a good thing?  Carrots are easy; a yummy moist carrot cake with a wicked cream cheese frosting, recipe link here. I recently tried to bake carrot cake “cup cakes” with a certain degree of success.

The odd combination of beets and chocolate intrigued me. However these yummy not too sweet earthy cakes or to be more specific muffins went down a treat with many. The golden yellow beets that I used were gorgeous baked and I set some aside for salads with goat cheese, another match made in heaven. I failed to take pictures; if we are blessed with beets again I will recreate and post pictures.


CarrieI said...

Part of the reason there are so many ways to save foods (canning, freezing, etc) is because you get overloaded with a certain type at one time and can't get it later.

Jigna said...

Thanks Carrie, I should try canning one of these days, my freezer never looked so full!

anish said...

I love Carrot Juice !!

Dhara said...

I have been inspired to get a veg box! (after many years of umhming and aaahing about it) A local one for £10 - it's very generously filled and like you my freezer never looked so full!

Jigna said...

Anish, when we are all back in London lets make a date to Wagamama and enjoy some fresh Carrot juice! Dhara, what did you get, any cool recipe ideas?