Food Columnist Judi Leaming focuses on the carrot in all its deliciousness.
“A carrot a day keeps poor eyesight away” … those of us who were raised in the 1940s may remember hearing our parents say this – or something like it. When I researched carrots on Wikipedia, I found this interesting suggestion below as to why this phrase became a dinner table mantra:
An urban legend says eating large amounts of carrots will allow one to see in the dark. The legend developed from stories of British gunners in World War II, who were able to shoot down German planes in the darkness of night. The legend grew during the Battle of Britain when the RAF circulated a story about the pilots’ carrot consumption as an attempt to cover up the discovery and effective use of radar technologies in engaging enemy planes, as well as the use of red light (which does not destroy night vision) in aircraft instruments. It reinforced existing German folklore and helped to encourage Britons – looking to improve their night vision during the blackouts – to grow and eat the vegetable.
Today’s nutritional research has shown that a diet that regularly includes carrots is valuable in fighting cardiovascular disease. Additionally carrots rank high as an anti-oxidant food. Carrots can be eaten raw as a snack and studies show that steaming instead of boiling them gives an increased flavor boost.
Our daughter Jennifer regularly brings out carrot sticks (or baby carrots) for her “tribe” to munch on for a mid-afternoon snack and they thoroughly enjoy this treat. Sometimes she even accents the carrots with a dip. The recipes that follow offer you suggestions for working carrots into your regular menu planning.
2/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
1 tablespoon minced dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Cover and chill well before serving to let flavors blend. Serve with raw vegetables.
2 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cups Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups scalded milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Combine carrots, onion, eggs, bread crumbs and small pieces of butter and stir to mix. Place in prepared baking dish and gently pour scalded milk evenly over all. Bake for 45 minutes.
Buttered Carrots and Celery
8 medium carrots, cut into julienne strips
4 stalks celery, cut into julienne strips
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place carrots, celery, water, first 2 tablespoons of melted butter, sugar, salt and pepper in a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove cover and drain. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and toss to coat. Serves 4.
Aunt Edna’s Carrot “Souffle”
2 cups cooked and mashed carrots
2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
3 eggs, well-beaten
1/2 cup milk
5 tablespoons butter, melted
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a round 2-quart baking dish. Combine all ingredients, stirring well to mix. Spoon into casserole and bake for 30 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.