Raw Carrot Cake Love




I remember a few years ago when the idea of 'raw' food really started trending. Did any of you ever pick up a copy of this? I had one on my bookshelf.
Never made a single thing out of it.

As much as I'd love to fit into my jeans from senior year, have glowing skin for another three decades and a memory like a vault, I'm just not willing to say goodbye to all 'bad' foods. The thought of pizza not making an appearance in my life each week...well no words can describe the horrors.

And along with pizza, cake plays a rather large role in my culinary life. Heck, I even figured out a way to weave its presence into a business magazine. Genius, right?

Carrot cake is one of my favorites. The small British tea shop across the street from my office makes one of the best I've ever had. And my recipe, found in this Southern Living cookbook, isn't so shabby either.

So why go and mess with a good thing by going 'raw' with it?
Because.
Because this cake is pretty remarkable.
No sugar, no flour, no vegetable oil, eggs or butter.

The ingredients are simple.
Carrots, dates, almonds, cashews, a splash of maple syrup.
Oh-my-good.

I literally crave this cake. Its my go-to quick breakfast (oatmeal is on hiatus until the first frost). And its my late night dessert.



While snapping a few pictures last night at sundown, Otto showed up in the kitchen. Never before has he walked over to something I'm photographing and started digging in. But that's exactly what he did. My first instinct was to jump in..."Otto, mommy is photographing this. You need to wait, please." But I didn't. Instead I smiled as he loudly stated "Cake! It's my birthday!" (not true...rarely what he says lives in reality).



Rosemary Buttermilk Biscuits



Despite being sans traditional kitchen set up right now, baking hasn't fallen too far to the wayside. Fingers in dough is a form of stress relieving therapy for me. Even before we bought a little counter top convection oven I was grilling pita bread and pizza dough as often as I could.
This weekend we took brunch to a family across the street with a sweet little baby girl welcomed into their fold of two older sisters. Thinking of what to feed a total of 9 mouths with my grill and counter top convection oven proved to be a fun challenge. In the end, I settled for homemade granola with yogurt and berries and grilled sausage patties on flaky rosemary cheddar biscuits. Easily made, easily transportable.
The recipe is adapted from who knows where. I've kept a 3-ring binder now for 15 years of odds and end recipes with my notes in the margins. Newspaper and magazine clippings, handwritten recipes from those light bulb/improv-in-the-kitchen moments, recipes passed down from friends and family…it’s a huge hodgepodge of crazy and its one of my most treasured bits of goodness.
I have added chopped rosemary from my kitchen window herb garden, to the recipe along with a few tweaks here and there to make these a bit more billowy and flaky. They are super, super simple. I often mix the dry ingredients the night before, chop my butter and keep it wrapped in the fridge and then in the morning~ between groggy eyed sips of coffee I simply assemble, roll out, cut and bake.



Rosemary Buttermilk Biscuits ~ Yields 12-14 biscuits

4 cups AP flour (I use White Lily for biscuits)
4 Tbsp. chopped dried or fresh rosemary
4 tsp. baking powder
4 tsp. sugar
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1.5 sticks unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1.5 cups cold buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Whisk together the dry ingredients except for the chopped rosemary. Blend in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the dry ingredients resemble clumped sand. Stir in the grated cheese and then dump the buttermilk into the bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated and a dough ball begins to form.
At this point, dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead gently a dozen times or so until it a cohesive dough ball but absolutely DO NOT over knead or else your beautiful little balls of butter will start to melt from the heat of your hands. That’s a no no.
Pat the dough (or gently roll) until it is around 1.5” in thickness. Cut the biscuits with a cutter (I use a square cutter from King Arthur Flour.)
Arrange them about 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and the biscuits are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, split and fill with any goodies your groggy-eyed-self desires. And don’t forget to share with the neighbors….

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Unpacking and Rediscovering Home

I had forgotten how long it takes for a new city, a new street…a new house to feel like home. For some, it may happen as soon as the first box reveals something familiar to place on a shelf. For me...it takes a bit more. In fact, we lived in Lexington nearly a decade and it wasn't until our last couple of years that everything finally ‘clicked.’ Relationships flourished, our favorite dinner spots had been deemed, I knew what racks to hit at the shops for the best sales, my secret parking spot downtown was always open for me, school days and soccer schedules felt routine… things became…should I dare say, easy?

But change is good, right?
Right.

And my life is always FULL of change thanks to this daily bit of goodness. And because of that, home is one thing I’ve come to rely on for my ‘ease’ factor in life…when all else is in beautiful chaos and unpredictability.
But we said goodbye to Lexington nearly 6 months ago. Goodbye to those routines and parking spots and great sale finds, weekly outings with girlfriends I didn't want to say goodbye to and to our favorite take-out Chinese spot, Pete's Wok.
And we headed off for a new city, a new street, a new house.


Ezra's rooster painting..one of my favorite things.