There’s a moment of frustration, of pull, of tiredness that always sets in around this time of year, particularly if you reside in an area whose climate really acknowledges all four seasons.
The beauty, calm, and stillness of winter subsides and one can become more and more let down as they leave their home each morning realizing that the spring warmth isn’t here yet.
Alas, there are indeed things to excite you! The days are getting longer, brighter in the morning, a light navy sky still holding on at 6pm. The ‘spring’ forward of the clocks is happening in one week, and while many may not observe Easter, it’s right around the corner & is always the hopeful symbol of spring…and chocolate bunnies & butter lambs.
We all have various signs of spring that excite us, for my father it’s NCAA March Madness, for me it’s my first sighting of the earliest budding hyacinths, tulips, and daffodils. The bulb plants that are brave enough to go up first, sturdy enough to still endure winter’s last chills and frosts.
Last week on a particularly gray and chilly day, I was walking through the Union Square Greenmarket and there they were, early daffodils springing from clay pots, looking at me and practically saying, “You’re almost there, we’re coming, we’re coming, it’s coming, spring is coming“. You can imagine the joy I felt as the soft yellow petals of the brave daffodils comforted and spoke to me.
(Not exactly sure where my personification of flowers came from…perhaps it’s Alice in Wonderland, perhaps it’s Georgia O’Keeffe…although she didn’t really ‘personify’ them…but I always assume flowers have a voice and those of daffodils, particularly on a dreary day, are my favorite.)
In celebration of this sighting, and my frustration with all things root vegetable, winter, and cold, I’m finding my last joys in them, knowing that spring vegetables are ‘somewhat’ around the corner, so I turned some root-y carrots into pancakes, carrot cake pancakes, you’re welcome.
Note: This recipe is a riff off a My Fitness Pal recipe that came my way. (Sign up for their weekly emails, they’re always featuring yummy recipes and interesting articles regarding fitness and nutrition.) It yields about 12 hearty pancakes. Plate featured above is from Best Made Company, check it.
Carrot Cake Pancakes
-3/4 C. unbleached AP flour
-1/2 C. whole wheat pastry flour
-1/4 C. chopped walnuts, toasted
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
-Dash of ground cloves
-Dash of ground ginger
-1/4 C. brown sugar
-3/4 C. buttermilk
-1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
-1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-2 large eggs, lightly beaten
-2 C. finely grated carrot (used the shredder attachment of my food processor for this, about two and a half carrots shredded)
-3 Tbsp. butter, softened
-2 Tbsp. good honey
-In a large mixing bowl, combine the AP flour, whole wheat pastry flour, walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
-In a separate mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, and eggs.
-Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just until moist. Gently fold in the grated carrots.
-Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, slick the pan with a bit of butter. Spoon 3-4 (pending on the size of your skillet) mounds of batter onto the pan, mounds should be about 1/4 C. Spread evenly with a spatula.
-Let cakes cook for about 2 minutes or until sides look firm and bubbles appear on the surface, carefully flip cakes and cook another minute or so until golden brown. Continue with the remaining batter.
-For the honey butter, combine softened butter and honey in a small bowl, serve with pancakes. The cakes are delicious and sweet enough with the carrot and honey working together, but if you live life on the edge, maple syrup couldn’t hurt…actually maple syrup never hurts.
In addition to using my big batch of carrots for pancakes, I also peeled and diced them along with some assorted potatoes, roasted them with a few sprigs of fresh oregano, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes in a 400°F oven for 25-30 minutes. Made for a yummy carb-y treat to sit alongside some boisterous greens (I used mustard greens) and a protein of your choice (I had a batch of turkey meatballs on hand). Enjoy!