A Carrot-ful Meal
I think my mom, Kate, might be stressed out this week, don't you? I'll give her the day off and post a few recipes that Kevin and I made this past weekend. We never thinned out the carrots in our garden and so we are swimming in a sea of orange roots right now. I wanted to use up a lot of our carrots, but in an interesting way. Carrot soup seemed too plain, and carrot cake needs those little carrot jockeys in order to be fun, so I scoured our cookbooks and the internet for other recipes.
The first recipe we made is Padma Lakshmi's Mahi Mahi Coconut Curry with Fennel and Carrots. It includes a few ingredients that aren't normal for a Western kitchen (mainly kaffir lime leaves and curry leaves) but I found them quite easily at the Asain grocery store and I definitely wouldn't leave them out since they imparted a wonderful, bright flavor to the coconut milk. The resulting curry was amazingly flavorful (but not very spicy). As Kevin proclaimed, "this is on the rotation!" We both loved it.
Mahi Mahi Coconut Curry with Fennel and Carrots
1. Put the mahimahi fillets in a large, shallow dish. Pour the lemon juice over the fish and season
lightly with salt. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. In a very large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the garlic cloves and cook over moderately high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chiles and curry leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and lime leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Add the fennel, carrots and curry powder and season lightly with salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes longer.
3. Add the mahimahi and any accumulated juices to the casserole, nestling the fish into the stew. Cover and simmer over low heat, shifting the fish a few times, until it is just cooked, about 15 minutes. Transfer the fillets to a large, deep platter. Pour the sauce over and around the fish. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.
But wait, we needed something for dessert! After looking through Food and Wine for for carrot-related desserts, I found this Almond and Carrot Cake that looked like it would be a nice finish to our meal. I didn't get a good photo of the cake, but trust me, it turned out to be a wonderful cake, not too sweet, with a flavor of almonds, lemon, and just a hint of carrots. And it was perfect with my afternoon tea the next day! We didn't have the appropriate pan, so we used an angel food cake pan and adjusted the cooking time, but it all turned out in the end!
Almond and Carrot Cake
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Generously butter and flour a 10-inch springform or fluted cake pan. Toast the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer the almonds to a large plate to cool to room temperature. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.
- In a large mixing bowl, using a fork, blend the flour with the baking powder, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. In a food processor, grind the toasted almonds with the sugar to a fine powder; do not let the nuts turn into a paste. Add the almond powder to the flour mixture in the bowl. Add the carrots to the processor and whir until very finely chopped; add them to the bowl. Add the egg yolks to the bowl and stir until blended.
- In a large stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, stir one-third of the egg whites into the carrot mixture to loosen it, then gently fold in the remaining whites until the batter is just blended.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake is just set. Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool slightly in the pan. Unmold the cake onto a serving dish. Just before serving, sift confectioners' sugar over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.