September 22, 2014
Dried Carrots - Get Your Hydrator On ♥ Recipe Redux Challenge September 2014
First let me say something........
I CAN'T BELIEVE SEPTEMBER IS ALMOST OVER!!!!!
OK, now that I got that off my chest.
I CAN"T BELIEVE SUMMER IS OVER, WAAAAH!!!
Sorry, it just came out.
Here in New Jersey we had the summer of my youth this year, the way summer's were in the Garden State growing up. Only two days over 90 degrees, sun and breezes. Perfect for growing vegetables and flowers. The don't call New Jersey the Garden State for nothing. I had a bumper crop of Sweet 100's and Big Boys, my miniature eggplants grew to about plum-sized, and my chard was bountiful.
I bought a dehydrator many years back and I finally got the chance to use it this year.
I mostly dehydrate aromatics, you know, carrots, peppers, tomatoes. Not for using during the cold winter months but to concentrate their flavors for use in sauces, all year round. Most of the dried goodies never reconstitute to what they were, certainly not like mushrooms, but the reward is in the juice that leaches out of these foods. For me it is all about the burst of flavor they can give to a sauce, adding nutrients as well as a huge burst of flavor. Just like you get when using anchovies and tomatoes in a tube.
My secret weapon to sweeten a sauce naturally without the addition of sugars, is to throw in a tablespoon or two of dehydrated carrots. See the color of the carrot soaking liquid? That goes into your sauce. One sip and you will be convinced to buy a few bunches of carrots, slice them as thin as possible on a mandolin and dry them overnight. You could use a dehydrator (Ron Popeil still sells them) or on a Silpat in an oven as low as the heat can go.
The flavor you will extract is a safe way to sweeten dishes and that's something a Diabetic can love.
But hey, I think with all the recent high fructose awareness, everyone could benefit from natural sweetening. Honey is wonderful, but sometimes you just want a light sweetness that is not pronounced, like in a wine sauce, a cream sauce, a pasta sauce, or a meat gravy. For those who don't like cooking with wine (for what ever personal reason), throwing a handful of dried carrot slices instead, will sweeten a sauce just enough to balance the acid.
Italians use the dried porcini soaking liquid in many sauces, so I took my inspiration from them.