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Calling All Carrots!

April 27, 2006
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The Jewish love affair with carrots is obvious when you see how many recipes using this vegetable appear in most cookbooks, writes Michael van Straten, author of the recent The Healthy Jewish Cookbook.

The first time he sampled carrot cake was in a tiny village overlooking Lake Zurich in Switzerland while visiting a friend's cousin. He assumed that the cake was Swiss, rather than Jewish, until he discovered a variety of kugels made from vegetables cooked in cake or loaf pans, which were either sweet or savory. Traditional dishes of European Ashkenazim - and originally made mostly of potatoes - they're now made from many different and much healthier vegetables, including sweet potatoes.

The following recipe is moist and succulent, and full of health-giving and nutritious ingredients. It can top off either meat or milk meals.

Carrot Cake With Coconut
2 Tbsps. honey
2/3 cup raw sugar (if unavailable, use light brown)
1 cup (scant) olive oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
13/4 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
9 oz. carrots, grated (about 13/4 to 2 cups)
4 oz. unsweetened coconut (about 12/3 cups), plus 2 Tbsps. for decorating (or decorate with coconut flakes, if you prefer)
3/4 cups mixed unsalted nuts, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the honey, sugar and oil into a bowl, and whisk briskly until well-combined.

Add the eggs and cinnamon and whisk well again.

Gradually sift in the flour, and whisk until well-combined, then stir in the husks that have collected in the sifter.

Stir in the carrots, coconut and nuts.

Pour into a greased, 7-inch cake pan and cook for about 90 minutes.

Let cool. Serve sprinkled with extra coconut.

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