One of my favorite questions I’ve been able to answer this summer was from a lady eating carrots. She asked me, as she was putting a bright orange carrot in her mouth, “Is this the same carrot I saw you pick 30 minutes ago?” My answer was, “Yes.”
In the summer time Chris and I manage an Inn and we are so fortunate that we consistently get asked why our food taste so different and what makes it so good. There are no crazy secrets, we use fresh (often right from our own garden) ingredients and put in the time to prepare them into a nutritious meal. With all the processed foods and grab and go meals so readily available to us, it’s easy to forgot the crunch of a fresh carrot. We’ve served kale to people who didn’t know what kale was until that evening and converted folks who swore they hated beets into people who left the lodge deciding beets weren’t actually all that bad.
I am so fortunate that I am able to travel around the world trying different kinds of food. When I am not being served food in some far flung destination, we are rewarded with many compliments on our cooking and presentation because of the care in both selecting ingredients and preparing the food for our guests. People ask us all the time if our recipes are secret. They are not. The lodge sells a cook book with the recipes we serve and we spend a good amount of time explaining what ingredients are in our food and where it comes from.
In all aspects, the way we grow and prepare our food is changing in a big way. This is no surprise to anyone who is trying to avoid eating carpet fire retardant (brominated vegetable oil often found in soft drinks), rocket fuel (chemical DHMO often used in fruit drinks), agents of explosive metals for war (NaCl chemical often used in salty snacks). If any of you are looking for a cause, join the food revolution. Any efforts to squash Monsanto’s take over of our global agriculture is a worthy investment. If you don’t know, Monsanto is the world’s leading producer of genetically engineered foods as well as the herbicide glyphosate which markets under the Roundup brand. Good documentaries to watch on this are King Corn , Fresh and Food, Inc. Every time you are in the super market you can be a food warrior by purchasing local and organic products. Commit to sourcing one food item you use regularly from a local supplier. Once you start looking, I’d bet you’ll be surprised by how much you might find around you. Create a mission to find food close to home and be proud to call yourself a modern day forager.
People often comment that our food tastes different and it does. Homemade does not mean from a box. Frosting is not from a can. Cookies should not come from a tube. Subway does not really bake nutritious bread. Have you heard because of public outcry they finally removed a carcinogen from their bread? Yup – the same chemical used in yoga mats and rubber soles of shoes was also being used in the bread at one of the world’s supposedly healthy food chains. The corporation didn’t remove this chemical out of the goodness of their heart over concern of peoples health and the environment, they removed it because of one blogger, Vani Hari of FoodBabe.com, campaigned to get them to stop.
Cooking healthy and enjoying homemade food is attainable to us and should not be something that happens only at Grandmas house and in the good old days. We’ve been so fortunate to try food from so many wonderful places. The readers have spoken and based on your requests here is a sampling of our favorite dessert recipes from around the world:
Yield 2 – 10 inch round layers
- 6 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup raisins
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots and brown sugar. Set aside for 60 minutes, then stir in raisins.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 10 inch cake pans.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into the wet mixture until absorbed. Finally stir in the carrot mixture and the walnuts. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. When completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 oz. cream cheese – softened
- 1/2 stick butter – softened
Blend together with mixers.
- Add ~1/2 ts vanilla
- 3 cups confectionary sugar
Blend with mixers until desired consistency adding more sugar or milk until you got it right.
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- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup coconut
- 3 tsp (or more!) finely grated lemon rind
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- Icing sugar to dust
Preheat 350 and about a 9×13 pan, put down wax paper and spray it! Make sure lemon brownies are not too thick because they will cook forever, but the middle will never be done.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and stir mixture till thick and glossy.
Sift flour over eggs mixture and stir till well combined. Stir in coconut, lemon rind and lemon juice. Spread over base of pan.
Bake ~30 min. Cool, lift out, ideally with 2 ppl holding waxed paper. Cut, dust with icing sugar or chocolate, enjoy!
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- 1 c sifted flour
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 1/2 c coconut
- 125 grams butter
Combine in a bowl and press into a 28×18 cm pan. Bake 15-20 min at 350 F until lightly golden.
- 400 gram sweetened condensed milk
- 2tb golden syrup
- 60 gram melted butter
Combine all in a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook whisking for about 8 min or until golden. Pour over base and bake for ~12 min or until firm.
- 60 gram copha (copha is solidified coconut oil)
- 125 grams cooking chocolate, chopped
Place in a double boiler -or- put a glass measuring cup into a pot of gently boiling water to create the same effect. Stir constantly until melted. Pour over the caramel and let cool. Slice into little squares and enjoy with tea or coffee. Bring these to a shared potluck and you will make friends!
Cheesecake – every year until I don’t know when it stopped, my mom made this cheesecake recipe four times throughout: once for my birthday, my sisters, my dads and hers. It was our family tradition and we have made this dessert for so many occasion. This recipe also freezes very well.
- 1 c graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tb sugar
- 3 tb melted butter
Mix together and bake at 325 F for 8-10 min
- 3 8oz cream cheese, softened (must be softened!)
- ¾ c sugar
- 1 tb lemon juice
- 3 eggs
Reduce heat to 300 F. Mix cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice. Add 1 egg at a time, beat well, but do not over beat. Bake 300 for 55 min.
- 1 c sour cream
- 2 tb sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
Mix the above and spread on top. Bake 10 min more.
Ideally, cool overnight, or at least 4 hours.
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Food is one of the most important topics of our time. I don’t know if food has ever really not been important. In the cave days, being able to scour enough food was a big deal so one wouldn’t starve and die. Now not overeating and consequently attaining a myriad of health problems leading to an early death is a big deal. Food was, is and will always be a critical element for our survival as humans. Many times since the invention of the wheel I think we like to believe ourselves to be the most intelligent and advanced species. When it’s raining acid on our homes, we can’t drink much of our water and our food grows better in laboratories than in fields, I question if we can calculate our progress as progress. Every bite we put in our mouth helps create the path for the future of our food. The question is, what are you biting on?