Sunday, September 13, 2009

Not "A Nutter" One!

You guys are getting off light this year... if you remember any of my garden harvesting or use-up posts from last year you know that our garden can become a bit of a monster when the season starts winding down. And the story should have been the same this year, really! Rows of carrots, beets, pumpkins, peppers, beans, corn, cukes and both summer and winter squash were planted faithfully in their newly mulched and turned beds, accompanied of course by a host of tomatoes, and for the first half of the summer, everything was moving along all hunky-dory and it looked I'd be enjoying beet and carrot salads and making pickles for months!
Then we had the first of two major blows to our gardening pride. A massive storm cell smashed right into the GTA, bringing at the very least gales of wind with torrents of rain and hail and at the worst end tornadoes that brought destruction to the region. Our neighbourhood was more or less smack-dab in the middle of the mess, so while we didn't get the funnel clouds we sure did get a healthy dose of the wet and windy! When we went out to assess the damage the news was not good... while our gazebo survived the fray (unlike last year!) most of the young shoots were not so fortunate. All the corn, along with most of the cucumber, half the winter squash and a good portion of the pepper plants looked like they had never been planted in the first place, and the only trace of some sort of "bed" for them was smushed up against the fencing around the vineyard. But, we still had the tomatoes, and the root vegetables, and the rest of the vegetables were slightly sheltered by the house and weren't hit too hard.
Then along came the second plight to befall the garden... at the hands of none other but famous garden thief Peter Rabbit. In just under three days, every last beet had been unearthed and eaten by the fat brown bunnies from the backyard's forest. Ironically, almost all the carrots were spared, and I hastily thinned out the seedlings so that the remaining Purple Hazes could grow to full size. None of the baby roots went to waste, however! In addition to eating them at every meal and pawning bags of them off on some fellow foodie friends I still wound up with a large Ziploc in my crisper stuffed with slowly wilting carrots! Knowing that there were only more to come, I put sails to the wind and made... yes... another carrot cake.
Want to know the kicker of this long-winded story? The next time I went out to check on the garden (after the cake was done) the rest of the carrots had been carted off. No beets, no carrots, no cucumbers... tomato salad anyone?
So, you get off light. Only one carrot-fuled recipe for you this year, but it's actually more of a fruit and vegetable melange as I sought out to not only conquer the rest of the carrots, but to finish the last bits of slowly decaying fruit and ends of the home made nut mix that was going nowhere fast. And all the components - backyard carrots, strawberries from a local farm (Whittamores), and the last of the maple syrup from a sugar bush in the Purple Woods Conservation Area - came together at the perfect moment to celebrate Sugar High Friday (Locavore Treats!) hosted this round by Mmm... Tasty!

Not "A Nutter" Carrot Cake
Serves 10
1 banana
4 oz strawberries
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
5 oz grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a large loaf pan.
  2. In a food processor, combine banana, strawberries, vegetable oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and egg. Puree completely and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together flours, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir to just combine.
  5. Fold in carrots, nuts and chocolate chips.
  6. Bake for 55 minutes, then cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a rack and cooling completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 308.0
Total Fat: 12.3 g
Cholesterol: 21.2 mg
Sodium: 68.8 mg
Total Carbs: 47.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.7 g
Protein: 5.3 g


  1. Oh my gosh, your garden really went through hell this summer, didn't it? That stinks.

    But this cake looks like a great way to wrap up the garden season! It's got everything that I like!

  2. It has been a hard gardening year this year hasn't it. We don't plant carrots but get so many from our CSA I'm overloaded on them

  3. Sounds delicious. A few slices would be great right now.


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