Everything in our garden is now beginning to produce fruit. We just picked some carrots last week. This year, we chose a variety called “Calliope Blend”. They are a bit spicy and range in colors that include white, orange, yellow, purple and red. (Check out a picture of them on our Facebook page.)
What we have learned trying to plant and grow a garden is patience, persistence and how to observe. Last year was a prime example. The squirrels and groundhog (that lived under our neighbor’s shed) got the best of us. Just as vegetables were ready for harvest, the animals got to them before we did. What was to be a labor of love, turned into an upsetting, exasperating, painstaking challenge! Even my sister Lee got drawn into the battle. She would stand watch whenever time allowed, warding off the thieving critters, but to no avail.
It became a comedy of fools. And there wasn’t anything we could do to stop it. I tried everything. I fenced the crops in and covered them with netting. Sprinkled the surrounding grounds with crushed red pepper flakes. If we heard of about a solution, we tried it; yet the critters always prevailed leaving us open eyed and empty handed. It got so bad I thought Lee’s was going to burst a main artery in her neck. To try and calm her down, I would remind her that they were also God’s creatures and had to eat as well. I don’t think it helped her cope with the losses.
This year we are faring much better. There are fewer sightings of the furry antagonists largely because of “FOX URINE”. Yes, Fox urine! PJ, Danielle’s garden buddy told us about it. We found the reeking animal excretion at the Metropolitan Plant Exchange. We are keeping our fingers crossed, it’s still working!
Jane asked me what we should do with them and I instantly replied, “Carrot cake. What else?”
The following recipe is from The Hilton Short Hills. It’s a moist, fragrant cake that happens to be one of my favorite recipes we used there. I modified it a bit to balance out the spiciness of these home grown darlings. I suggest serving it with either; cream cheese frosting, maple syrup and whipped cream, or combination of oranges, raisins, walnuts, coconut and yogurt. Jane liked it so much she had it served neat and straight up.
Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.
Quantity: 1 - 9” Cake
Oven Temperature: 350ºF - about 45 - 50 minutes
Whisk - to blend dry ingredients and beat liquid ingredients
Mixing bowl with paddle attachment
9-inch Cake Pan lined with parchment and pan spray sides
1 lb. Shredded Carrots
14 oz. Sugar
5 oz. Canola Oil 4 Eggs
9 g Vanilla
9 oz. AP Flour
6 g Baking Soda
3 g Salt
5 g Cinnamon
3 g Nutmeg
2 g Cloves
Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and mix well using a whisk and set aside.
Add sugar and oil to a bowl. Mix until combined.
Add eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated scraping sides and bottom of bowl in between additions.
Add some of the flour mixture to the shredded carrots. Stir to coat evenly.
Add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture in small batches until it has been incorporated.
Add the carrots and mix in just until incorporated.
Pour into a prepared cake pan and bake in a 350ºF for about 45 to 50 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack before removing it from the pan.
*Adapted from my days at the Hilton Short Hills.