Carrot ring reflections
Last Sunday, before Rosh Hashanah began, I rushed to make a simple carrot ring to enjoy during the holidays. Normally, I find baking to be therapeutic and calming. Something about the way you have to measure and calculate. It has a way of forcing me to slow down a bit and act methodically. One wrong spoonful of an ingredient can create a disaster.
And slowing down is a challenge for me. Taking care of two small kids, running a business, volunteering and finding time to enjoy moments with family and friends doesn’t happen without constantly being on the go. Which is why I try to reserve my baking time to evenings after the kids are in bed or early in the morning before the daily hustle.
But this carrot ring had to be made, and I had pushed it to the last possible minute. I didn’t have a choice but to make it Sunday morning while my husband was working, and I was playing referee in the playroom with my little ones. So I took a (seemingly) calm moment, while the kids were playing independently to get the carrots boiling. As I placed the lid on the pot, the crying over whose toys are whose began, and I stepped away from the stove to intervene.
Suddenly, I began to smell something burning, and now remembering the fully cooked carrots on the stove, I rushed over to find water boiling over and a ring of burned carrot residue on my stovetop. Several deep breaths later I regained control over my kitchen and got the ridiculously hot carrots in a food processor with some butter and blended away.
Looking back and forth between my carrots (which I now realized I should have definitely let cool before blending) and the remaining ingredients specifically the eggs (which would turn into scrambled eggs if I added them into the recipe now as instructed), I stressed about how this was going to turn out. A few more deep breaths and I constructed a cooling bowl for my bowl of hot carrot soup to chill. I took the opportunity to chill out, too, and took my time to carefully measure out the rest of the ingredients and slow down.
The carrots and butter cooled, and I got ready to add the eggs. And a shell breaks. And then the kids begin to fight. I quickly add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl (minus the egg shell), stir everything up and pour the batter into my pre-greased Bundt pan. I turn my oven on to preheat and step away to mediate once more. A few minutes later, both kids are playing independently (finally) and the oven tells me it is now time to put in my cake. However when I go to put it in, I realize I forgot to take the pans that we store normally in the oven (yes, we have a storage problem) out of the oven before preheating.
I now have to find a place to put these pans before I am able to put the cake into the oven. Remember my stove is still burnt and too hot to clean so out come every pot holder and cooling rack I have to save the day. Pots out of the oven. Cake in the oven. A few more deep breaths.
As the cake cooked and I began to wash the sink full of dishes, I thought about all of the missteps that I had during the making of this (supposedly) simple carrot ring. And I began to laugh. I laughed at the utter chaos that had just taken place and realized how it truly represented the past year for me. There were many times this past year where my missteps caused me to pause and refocus. And if I rushed through things, I was not nearly as productive or thoughtful as I was when I planned things out and took my time.
And I laughed at how completely odd it was that rushing to bake a cake was pushing me to reflect on how far I have come and how much further I have yet to go. At the beginning of last year, I felt like the chaos was always winning, and it took me awhile, but I learned that while I can’t control what is thrown at me, I can control my reactions to them and how I move forward. This year, I aim to be calmer and more thoughtful, to slow down a bit, and try to enjoy even the crazy moments.
P.S. The cake was delicious. Here’s the recipe in case you want to enjoy a slice as well!
Bobi’s Carrot Ring
1 1/2 lbs of carrots
2 sticks (1/2 lb) of melted butter (can use margarine to keep Parve)
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
A pinch (1/2 tsp) baking soda
A pinch (1/2 tsp) salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour (sifted)
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook, drain and cool carrots. When cooled, place them in a food processor with the melted butter. Once combined and mashed, place in a bowl and add all other ingredients. Pour the fully missed batter into a pre-greased Bundt pan or ring mold. Bake for 1 hour and let cool before slicing.