Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

slow carrot cake May 15, 2009

Filed under: cake,slow cooker — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 9:40 am
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We don’t have much longer for carrots at our farmers markets.  So put that cooker outside and eat dessert in less than two hours.  This ingredient list looks long but the enhancements (orange, lemon, vanilla and pecans) are optional.

  • 181 grams organic whole wheat or white whole wheat flour (about 1 1/2 cups minus a scant 2 teaspoons)–Whole Foods carries the King
    Arthur brand 5# bag, the least expensive packaging I’ve found.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 168 grams local honey, (1/2 cup)
  • 1 stick organic butter, melted and cooled slightly–Organic Valley is my preference–use your Whole Deal WF coupon for the best price right now
  • 1 Tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 1 drop orange oil or a small pinch of orange zest from a Texas orange (organic if you can afford it.  If not, then scrub your orange very well with some dish liquid or produce wash.  If you zest a few of your oranges during our citrus season and stash the zest in the freezer you’ll find yourself tossing it into all sorts of dishes.)
  • 2 drops lemon oil (Occasionally in season you may find precious meyer lemons at our farmers markets and of course it’s my dream to get my own tree.  You’ll find small trees for sale around town, too.)
  • 2 large eggs, preferably from the farmers market or your own backyard
  • 112 grams  finely shredded carrots, preferably local and/or organic
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla rum (steep a vanilla bean in a jar of rum–I use Flor de Caña Gold.  It’s ready to use in a couple weeks.  Leave the bean in there and top it off with more booze when necessary.)
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped toasted Texas pecans

Whisk together your dry ingredients (through the salt).  Whisk together your wet ingredients, through the vanilla.  Pour the flour mixture on top of the wet stuff, sprinkle the pecans around and whisk quickly and gently til well combined.  Pour the batter into a well greased (I use coconut oil) 4 quart round slow cooker lined with a round of parchment on the bottom.  Cook on High for about 1 1/4 hours, until the cake tests done (a skewer inserted into the center will come out clean).  Loosen the sides of the cake and pop it out.  Serve right away (or later).

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slow artichokes part 2 May 12, 2009

What do you do with those giant artichokes on sale at Newflower Market (2 for $4, only one more day!)?  Yes, you can cook them in the slow cooker but you gotta cut them in half.  Otherwise you’ll be cooking them longer than you can stand it.  I use a large (6 quart) oval cooker.  Three of these big un’s just fit.

First load up your cooker with:

  • ½ cup white vinegar—Whole Foods (WF) 365 organic is the best buy I’ve found
  • about 6 cups of water
  • some celery leaves if you’ve got ‘em—Finca Pura Vida at Sunset Valley Farmers Market (SVFM) grows gorgeous celery leaves that keep well in the fridge, wrapped in a tea towel and cradled in a plastic bag.  OR a stingy to generous pinch of celery seeds, to your taste.
  • a strip or two of lemon peel—Central Market usually has the best price on organic lemons, not that they’re a bargain, but right now Sun Harvest has them on sale at $2.97 for a 3# bag.  OR if, like me, you bought a likely lifetime supply of lemon oil some years back, just add 12 drops
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 peppercorns
  • as many cloves of fresh garlic as you care for—Hairston Creek Farm at SVFM has it right now. peel them if you can, but don’t frustrate yourself.  Very fresh garlic is hard to peel.
  • About a tablespoon of kosher salt (I prefer Diamond Crystal) or half that amount of table salt (I go for RealSalt and WF sells it in bulk for the best price.

NOW, trim up and rinse your artichokes.  Check http://www.saveur.com/article/Mise%20en%20Place/Trimming-Tips for guidance.  Next, stand your globe stem end up and slice it into two equal halves.  Just slice right down with a good sharp chef’s knife.  It’s easier than it looks.  If the baby’s sleeping go ahead and scoop out the choke.  Otherwise just remove that part at eatin’ time.  Cram the artichokes into your crock stem ends up.  Here’s the fun part for Central Texans:

Put the slow cooker outside!

The slow cooker doesn’t warm up the house as much as the pressure cooker (my usual artichoke cooking appliance) or the oven, but why even let that heat in?  Turn it on to High and check your chokes in about 8 hours.  They’re done when you can easily pull out a leaf, no resistance.  Eat ‘em hot or cold and don’t forget to eat the garlic.  We don’t fuss ‘em up further with sauces ‘cause they’re already seasoned.  And portable!

 

Appliance Theory

Filed under: bread machine,slow cooker,thrift — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:55 pm
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I hope you’ve discovered thrift stores.  They’re not just for collectors.  Many of my kitchen appliances have come—quite cheaply—from the resale shops.  The toaster oven (gotta have one in Texas), Cuisinart ice cream maker, Cuisinart mini processor ($2.50—really!), salad shooter (aka poor man’s food processor), both of my slow cookers, and, OK, almost all of my waffle iron collection.  Too many implements for me to remember, geez or even own, have come into my life via the thrift store.  Do you need a bread machine?  Depending on your requirements a used model may be just right for your kitchen and your budget.  For almost whatever you need, I advise a trip to your local used goods outlet.