How You Like It Carrot Quickbread

Boyfriend-less tonight…and about to be permanently so (for a while, for good—I really don’t know). Dennis leaves next Monday; he’s going home to Lima and isn’t coming back.

Life is weird. I’ve only been seeing Dennis for 2 months; after the first week of dating, he was offered a job in Peru. And he decided to take it. Really—it’s a good thing. And I’m happy for him.

At the same time, I’m thinking to myself—What.Is.Going.On.Here???

Am I attracted to unavailable men? Or is this all part of the greater plan, i.e. my long-term relationship was supposed to end so that I could grow up, so I could meet Dennis, so I could learn more about myself? I don’t know.

It was hard to let go and learn to feel something for someone again. But I did, and I’m glad.  Now that he’s leaving, though, I feel like I’m kind of back where I started. Alone.

So this “being-without” feeling is something I’m going to have to get used to. It’s also an opportunity to get used to the “being-complete-and-happy-on-my-own” feeling. I mean, look what I accomplished today: I blogged, I edited photos, I took a long, hot bath. And I baked a lovely carrot loaf.

It being already 10 PM—and PAINFULLY cold outside—I wasn’t going anywhere to get anything. So I stared at the contents of the fridge and was immediately drawn to the big, orange eyesore that is Melita’s jumbo bag of Costco carrots.

What can you really do with carrots—actually, lots. Carrot cake cookies, breakfasty carrot-oat-raisin muffins…I’m already planning on making carrot, coconut, date and walnut biscotti. Could be interesting, right?

This time, I went with a loaf cake. I know I just made one Friday, but this one is completely different. It’s really a whatever-you-have-on-hand cake. I found a recipe for zucchini bread online (I can’t find the source anywhere!?!?!) and decided it would be reasonable to change it into a carrot cake. I tweaked it slightly by adding a little milk and also tossing in a handful of white chocolate chips (blondie leftovers from way back when), 1 cup of chopped pecans and 1 cup of chopped prunes…yes, prunes. It’s tasty AND will keep us all regular at the same time. (^o^”)

Straight out of the oven, it really is striking. It’s all autumny golden, orange; speckled throughout with white chocolate chunks and prune bits. Though I’m dying to slice a piece now and slather on a slab of butter, I know better. If I wait until tomorrow to slice into the loaf, it will be completely cooled, and also fully set and moist and rich and dense and absolutely luscious.

I can’t wait!

And now:


How You Like It Carrot Cake with White Chocolate, Pecans and Prunes (adapted from a recipe whose source I can’t find anymore!! Help!)

INGREDIENTS

Dry Mixture:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp ground cloves (had to omit this—don’t have this at the house)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1  tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

Wet Mixture:

2/3 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 cup unsalted butter)

4 cups carrots, grated

3 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 cup chopped nuts, like pecans

1 cup chopped dried fruit, like golden raisins, prunes or dates

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until combined.
  5. Fold the nuts and prunes into the mixture.
  6. Pour the mixture into a greased 9×5 loaf pan. Bake for 75 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing. (Tip: Let it sit overnight. I promise—it’s worth the wait.)

The verdict? Oh, oh, it’s good!  Spicy from the cinnamon and nutmeg and fruity and sweet from the prunes and carrots.

As for texture: light and crispy top crust, super-moist center and dense loaf cakey middle. The pecans also give nice crunch throughout.

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