Sunday, November 7, 2010

Yummm...Cinnamon Glazed Carrots

Hola darlings!  I'll be signing off after this post - the Packers play tonight against the - whatever that team in Dallas is called - and they will be on Sunday Night Football.  I've got the t.v.s on upstairs and downstairs but the sound turned off; I prefer to listen to the Packers Radio Network commentary and description of the action.

Meanwhile, today was a beautiful day here, sunny and warmer than yesterday.  Tomorrow and Tuesday we may break temperature records - I'll see about that!  Temperatures in the 60's this time of year are not uncommon, but folks these days seem to think we zip right to below zero!  Sometimes, I confess, it feels like it, like Friday, brrrr.  It was damn cold walking to the bus, and I had on my winter wool beret, my medium weight winter jacket, and my medium weight winter gloves (I save mittens for the coldest weather). It was raw, what can I say?  Three-quarters of a mile hike to the bus stop doesn't get any easier at this time of year! 

It was still cold yesterday, sunny but cold, but the Badgers won.  Can an injury-depleted Pack do likewise tonight, before a national television audience?  Last t.v. appearance we crashed and burned, oy!

Anyway, this time of year I'm cooking my head off and stoking up on lots of calories.  Not good for the figure, but good for the psyche.  Last night I whipped up a feast of filet mignon (barely cooked), sauteed mushrooms, herb mashed potatoes, and cinnamon glazed carrots.  Here is my recipe for cinnamon glazed carrots, a real crowd pleaser:

Basic Recipe for One Person

Three medium to large carrots
Remove tops and bottoms of carrots to get rid of the icky parts.  Throw outside for the bunnies.  Cut trimmed carrots smaller at top, about 1/4 inch, to 1/2 inch toward bottom.  Toss into a small heavy duty aluminum sauce pan (I found this works the best for cooking).

Add about 1/2 teaspoon sugar, dash of salt (less than 1/4 teaspoon), and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  Mix seasonings into carrots.  Add a generous portion (about 1-2 tablespoons) of unsalted butter, and one tablespoon water.  Cover.

Working on gas stove, turn heat on low, barely simmering flame.  I don't know what this equates to with an electric stove.

After 5 minutes, lift cover and check to see if there is any sign of bubbling.  If not, slightly increase temperature until bubbles appear after checking 5 minutes later.  This is give and take.  The goal is to bring the carrots and mixture to a simmer/bubble without going overboard and boiling away all of the moisture.

Keep covered as much as possible, that helps preserve the moisture.  Once a bubble is achieved, turn down the heat to a low simmer.  There is no art to this, you must check every ten minutes or so with a fork to see if the carrots are tender.  If they are not tender, continue to cook longer, until all carrots are fork tender.  Each time you lift the lid of the pan, make sure its drippings fall into the pan.  Stir after each check for doneness. 

As the carrots continue to cook you will notice that the "sauce" thickens - it is composed of the water and sugar plus the moisture from the butter you added plus the natural juices from the carrots.  The goal is to create a nice "glaze" of buttered cinnamon that coats the carrots without getting burnt, so keep the cooking temperature low, and give it as long as it takes.  If you are running out of time (for instance, potatoes are ready to mash and steak is resting), leave off the cover and slightly -- very slightly -- increase the heat and, while stirring regularly, evaporate away excess liquid.  Remove from heat and cover while you finish other dishes.  If necessary, after dishing into a nice serving bowl, warm-up in a microwave for 30 seconds on high.

The natural sweetness of the carrots works so well with the cinnamon and butter - it's a sinfully delicious dish and very low cal/low fat.  The bit of salt brings out the flavors and the small amount of sugar makes the glaze in combination with the other ingredients. 

It sounds like a lot of work, but when you're wrestling around other dishes on a stove top, it really isn't; the carrots cook themselves, you basically just have to monitor that they don't burn or carmelize too soon, and the recipe is very forgiving.  Just don't use too much sugar. 

The beauty of this recipe is that it can be adjusted for more people.  I like carrots so eating three large ones at a sitting is nothing to me.  Realistically, three large carrots probably serve two people, so you can plan accordingly.

And now, I'm going downstairs to cook another superb evening meal in honor of Daylight Savings Time, which kicked in today.

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