Carrot Cake Cookies

One recent weekend Neil and I were invited to a small gathering where the theme of the night was soup.  The basic idea being that the hostess makes two or three varieties of soup to choose from, someone brings bread, someone else brings handheld nibbles, and we eat, drink, and are merry, then run outside into the cold New England evening to watch the annual Torchlight Parade (several towns trim their fire trucks out in Christmas lights and parade down the main thoroughfare).

Since bread had been accounted for, as had corn muffins, southern style red beans & rice, and three varieties of soup, I decided to bring cookies.  While at lunch that afternoon Neil commented “I wish that there were such a thing as carrot cake cookies.” and it was decided that was what we’d make.  What I did to create this recipe was look at existing carrot cake cookie recipes, then cross some of my favorite elements with our family recipe for carrot cake which includes the likes of shredded coconut and fresh pineapple.  The result was a chewy cookie with a creamy and not-too-sweet filling that was very well received by party-goers.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup coarsely grated carrots (2 medium)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (I like to use a variety: Thompson, red flame, and golden)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup fresh pineapple, diced (see note if using canned pineapple)
  • 1/8 cup coconut flour
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  • Whisk together flour, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, baking soda, and salt in a bowl
  • Beat together butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla until pale and fluffy
  • Mix in carrots, and raisins, shredded coconut and pineapple at a low speed, then add the flour mixture and beat until just combined
  • At this point the dough will be a little too wet to scoop, so add in the 1/8 cup of coconut flour a little at a time until the dough just tightens up
  • Drop walnut-sized balls of dough for each cookie cookie 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, about 12 minutes
  • Pull the baking sheets out and flatten each cookie with a fork in a manner similar to that performed on a peanut butter cookie, then pop them back in the oven for 1 minute to finish
  • Cool cookie sheets on racks for a  minute, then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely
  • While the cookies are baking, blend the cream cheese, honey and lemon zest until smooth
  • Sandwich the flat sides of the cookies together with a generous helping of cream cheese filling

*Note: if using canned pineapple, your dough will be more wet.  To offset this, add up to 1/4 cup coconut flour at the end to tighten it up to the appropriate consistency.

You could also add walnuts to the cookie dough for depth of flavor.  A great alternative to cream cheese would be a soft goat cheese.  Feel free to omit the lemon zest if it’s not to your liking.

 

Carrot Cake Cookie

Carrot Cake Cookie

Roasted eggplant with tomato stuffing

Eggplants are popping out in northeast CSA shares this week.  And farmer’s markets are crawling with tomatoes.  Thus this seems like the perfect dish to try this week.  It can easily fly solo as a vegetarian main course, or be served as a hearty side to a simple sausage or chicken breast.  You can add or subtract as many veggies as you like to the stuffing- for instance collard greens would go great as would broccoli, green peppers, or even butternut squash.  Go ahead and get creative with your favorite flavors!

1 small eggplant, halved lengthwise

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 small onion, sliced

4 oz. cremini mushrooms, cubed

1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced

1 small carrot, quartered and sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tomato cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 F
  • Place eggplant halves in a 9×9 pan, cut sides up. Sprinkle each half with about 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • In a small skillet over a medium heat, sauté the onions, mushrooms, zucchini and carrot in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until onions begin to be translucent, about five minutes
  • Transfer the mixture into a small bowl and stir in the tomato, basil, and remaining salt
  • Pile the mixture on top of the eggplant halves and drizzle the remaining olive oil, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove the foil and bake until eggplants are soft and tender, uncovered, for about 20 more minutes

We opted to have chicken sausages for our protein with this dish so I added them to the baking dish at the point where I removed the foil and baked for 20 more minutes (as my sausages were pre-cooked).

This recipe was inspired by this post and tweaked by me.

J

Ginger Pork Tenderloin with Asian Vegetables

This meal was inspired by a recipe posted on WHF for Asian Sauteed Cauliflower.  I say “inspired by” because, of course, it grew into something very different.  The stand-out element here is the dressing that you make for the vegetables.  It’s a little salty and a little sweet, and it’s made almost buttery, if you will, with the addition of cilantro at the end.  I used many of the same ingredients to dress the pork with.

Ingredients:

Pork:

1 pork tenderloin

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablespoon tamari

salt & pepper

Vegetables:

1/2 of a medium head cauliflower, trimmed & florets cut into bite-sized pieces

1 decently-sized carrot, sliced into rounds

1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced into half-rounds

½ of a large onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
5 Tablespoons chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 medium cloves garlic, diced small
2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoon tamari
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  • Season the pork with salt & pepper
  • Heat a cast iron fry pan on the stove top at a medium-high heat, add the oil, then begin searing the pork tenderloin
  • While the pork sears, mix the ginger, vinegar, honey & tamari, then pour it over the seared pork
  • Pop the frying pan, with pork & dressing, into the oven for 23 minutes (adjust up or down depending on size)
  • While the pork finishes in the oven heat the chicken broth in a large skillet at a medium to medium-high heat and when it begins to steam add the cauliflower, carrot, zucchini, onion & ½ of the garlic, cover and allow to steam for 5 minutes
  • While the veggies steam, mix together the ginger, remaining garlic, vinegar, honey, tamari, olive oil, salt & pepper
  • After the veggies have cooked for 5 minutes, uncover them and add the dressing
  • Turn the heat off under the pan, and stir the veggies every couple of minutes to distribute the dressing
  • Serve the veggies topped with cilantro

This meal was very tasty 😉

J

Kidney Bean Soup with Lime Yogurt

Now that we’ve had the tiniest turn in the weather here in New England, I feel as though I can post a soup recipe again without being driven from the free land of the internets 😉

This soup is high in protein, low in fat, and has a wealth of vitamin A.  It’s also got a fantastic thick and creamy consistency.  As far as flavor goes you get the standard kidney bean with the tangy yogurt and sweet lime all at once.  Then that’s all rounded out with the cumin & chili powder for a wonderful finish.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces

1 celery stalk, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces

4 medium garlic cloves, chopped

3 cups + 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth

3 TBS tomato paste

1 TBS ground cumin

2 TBS ancho chili powder

1 TBS dried Mexican oregano

1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained

salt and pepper to taste

Lime yogurt

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 TBS lime juice

1 TBS chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • Chop onions and garlic, carrots and celery & set aside

  • Heat 1 TBS broth in medium-sized soup pot and sauté the onion in the broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently
  • Add garlic, carrots, celery, and continue to sauté for a minute
  • Add broth, tomato paste, kidney beans, and spices and bring to a boil
  • Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for another 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender ·
  • Make lime yogurt by combining yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro in small bowl
  • Puree the soup in a blender in small batches
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Reheat, and pour into serving bowls, top with lime yogurt, and serve

I opted to serve this soup with a side salad topped with edible flowers (greens & flowers from Old Friends Farm).

This recipe inspired by a post on WHF.

J

Cod with Fennel and Cauliflower

What this dish lacks in color it certainly makes up for in flavor and aroma.  A little salty chicken broth, sweet  lemon & carrot, aromatic fennel, pungent garlic.  And the texture of the poached fish is very different than baked or fried fish.  It holds together well and is very moist.

Ingredients:

2 cod fillets

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

1TBS + 1 cup chicken broth

1 medium sized onion, cut in half and sliced thickly

1 large carrot, cut into 1½ inch pieces and quartered

½ head cauliflower, florets separated

1 medium-sized fennel bulb, sliced thin

5 medium cloves garlic, pressed

salt and pepper to taste

chopped fennel greens for garnish

Directions:

  • Slice onion and chop garlic and let sit for at least 5 minutes
  • Rub cod with lemon juice and season with a little salt and pepper. Set aside
  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a skillet and sauté onion in broth over medium heat for 5 minutes,stirring often
  • Add the rest of the broth and the carrots. Simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes, covered

  • Add the cauliflower, fennel, and garlic. Place cod steaks on top and continue to cook, covered, for about 11-12 more minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Serve  sprinkled with chopped fennel greens

Cod served on a bed of quinoa

And with the left-over fennel bits I created a cocktail- 1/4 lemonade : 3/4 seltzer : fennel stalk

Fennelade bubbly

The recipe was inspired by this post on World’s Healthiest Foods.

J