Sunday, November 25, 2007

Carrot Custard (and an Erupting Volcano)

It’s fall, it’s Thanksgiving… Oh! Here comes Christmas!

Normally this time of year I’m thinking very domestic thoughts. Preserving apples, butternut soup, what knitting project will entertain me best through the rainy weekends.

And even though the dry season has begun and I see the sun more than clouds now, I’m still thinking those thoughts. I suppose it’s something basic, something instinctual.

And so while I steered away from imported miniature pumpkins in Managua and the fake Christmas trees at the local market, I wanted to indulge in something autumn-y feeling, without looking too far afield.

So here is my version of fall this year, carrot custard crisp (with lime-cilantro syrup).

While it turned out incredibly delicious for such an experiment, it wasn’t exactly a straightforward process. If you do decide to make it, give it some thought because I’m sure there are plenty of shortcuts you could make with a trip to a US grocery store.

By the way, there’s a short note about the volcano eruption yesterday after the recipe. And last, but certainly not least! This is for SHF #37 Beta-Carotine (both carrots AND cilantro!), hosted by definately not martha!

Carrot Custard

2 quarts of grated carrots (seriously, if you can, just buy carrot juice with nothing added)
4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
4 oz cream cheese

Put the carrots and milk in a pot and stir over low heat until boiling. Set to simmer and stir until the milk is reduced by half. Take off heat, strain out carrots, stir in sugar, cinnamon and cream cheese. Chill.


1 stick butter
6 graham crackers

Crush graham crackers, mix with melted butter in a hot pan until slightly browned. Cool and sprinkle over custard.

Lime-Cilantro Syrup

¾ cup lime juice
1 cup chopped cilantro (the cilantro here looks more like basil, I’m not sure what the difference is, but you may need to adjust this amount with the standard US type of cilantro)
1 ½ cup cold water
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch

Mix, boil, strain and cool, then drizzle onto the custard. It’s pretty strong, so use sparingly.

P.S. The volcano on the island of Ometepe erupted beginning yesterday and occasionally through last night. It’s the first time I’ve seen it happen from the mainland and it was incredible to watch how the huge ash cloud silently (from my perspective) raced hundreds of feet into the air in just a few minutes. I hurried to the beach to watch with others from the office, the sub-director on the phone the whole time with the orphanage on the island.

Everyone there is fine, the ash clouds even drifted in a direction away from the house, so they didn’t have to deal with a blanket of ash this time, but it certainly reminds all of us that we have work to do to provide a safe home for the kids away from the eruptions! We are currently scheduled to begin construction on the first house on December 10th. Given my previous experience with contractors here, the chances of us actually starting in earnest will take a little longer, but we are excited to be starting soon.

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

Kudos on your efforts for the kids. It's good to see someone using their degree to build something other than "built-in obsolescenc" for a huge company in the States.

Your recipe looks very interesting, sort of sweet and savory.