October 31, 2012

Cranberry Relish

Late October is the time we start to brainstorm for our contributions to the annual Thanksgiving potluck with my husband's family. We particularly enjoy bringing bright lively dishes with fresh tang, zesty crunch or straight up spiciness to balance out the traditional turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pies that we know will be there. Whatever else we bring, every year we also bring this fresh cranberry relish. It is standard of my mother's as well and is based on the Uncooked Cranberry Relish recipe in The Joy of Cooking (we have the First Scriber edition from 1995). We just reduce the sugar.

Raw Cranberry Relish

1 pound cranberries
1 orange (leave the peel on)
1-2 Cups sugar (the original recipe called for 2 Cups, we like less)

Grind the cranberries in a food processor. Remove the seeds from the orange, add it to the cranberries and grind them together. Stir in sugar. Cover and refrigerate. Ideally for 2 days, but one is fine and if you haven't planned that far ahead then serve it fresh. It will still be tasty.

October 27, 2012

Pear Carrot Cake

This is based on a recipe for Fat Free and Delicious Pear-Carrot Cake in Bakin' Without Eggs which calls for all purpose flour and less carrot and vanilla.  Yes, I understand you may be skeptical that a vegan carrot cake can be moist and delicious with whole wheat flour. But it's true. This recipe was from something of an accident. I was up late baking Friday night in preparation for our annual pumpkin carving party on Saturday afternoon. After a couple of batches of cookies and cupcakes, I started to prepare a carrot cake and realized only after shredding the carrots and dicing the pears that I had only a small amount of all purpose flour left. So I used my last cup of all purpose and substituted whole wheat for the rest and hoped for the best. Boy was I pleasantly surprised when party guests on Saturday afternoon declared the cake delicious. I tried a slice myself, to verify that it wasn't just a case of over-politeness, and can confirm that this is a great cake.

Pear-Carrot Cake

1 1/2 Cups shredded carrot (I used the larger of the shred disks on my food processor)
3 large ripe pears cored and diced relatively small, but not tiny
1 Cup all purpose flour
2 Cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1 Cup water
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 Cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a Bundt pan with oil. Use a large bowl. Add the carrots and pears first. Then the flours, leavening and spices. Then the sugar. Add the liquids and stir. Fold in raisins last. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Cool pan on a wire rack for several minutes then invert to turn cake out onto serving platter.

Notes: The recipe I was starting from gave a time of 35 to 40 minutes. That was not nearly long enough for me. Maybe my oven is getting wonky. But I suspect that 35 minutes wouldn't be long enough for any oven.

This kept well for me just letting it cool on the rack for awhile and then inverting it and placing the Bundt pan back over the cake and leaving it to sit that way until the following afternoon.