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Anne's Kitchen: Thinking ahead to Thanksgiving, eh?


Carrot cake goes great with fall and Thanksgivings, whether you just celebrated the holiday in Canada, or are looking forward to America's November observance. Anne Freeze shares a carrot cake recipe today from a friend who used to live in Canada.

Carrot cake goes great with fall and Thanksgivings, whether you just celebrated the holiday in Canada, or are looking forward to America's November observance. Anne Freeze shares a carrot cake recipe today from a friend who used to live in Canada.
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Anne Freeze



Oh, to be Canadian and live in the United States. Then you'd have the opportunity to celebrate two Thanksgivings! Yes, Canada celebrates the bountiful harvest on the second Monday of October, and we celebrate on the fourth Thursday of November. Reason leads me to think that the Canadian harvest would be earlier as they are further north.  


The official date for Canada was decided by their Parliament in 1957. Although the history behind the holiday is a little vague (as is ours), celebrations have been held to mark everything from Martin Frobisher's successful crossing of the Northwest Passage in 1578, to victories on the battle field, to the recovery to health of the Prince of Wales in 1872. What our two countries have in common for the holiday is taking time out to be with family and be mindful of all we are thankful for.  


While the Canadian thanksgiving isn't as strongly associated with shopping as it is in America, there is football. The Thanksgiving Day Classic is a doubleheader played by teams in the Canadian Football League on the Monday of the long weekend.  


The menus of the two countries are very similar, probably because of the time of the year and what is available. I saw lots of root vegetable recipes, desserts with spices and pumpkin, and turkey. Muriel Porteous, formerly of Canada, now of Columbus, gave me her recipe for carrot cake which she has made for 30 years. She told me that for her family, Thanksgiving was more of a religious or spiritual day.  


Although the following recipes are Canadian in origin, they are perfect for our November Thanksgiving. And here's hoping the weather will be in the spirit of fall then.  


One of the recipes is for Nanaimo bars. Nanaimo is a town on Vancouver Island, and I've included this recipe in honor of my oldest friend, Pooh Ossa, who lives there. The recipe comes from a contest held by Nanaimo Mayor Graeme Roberts in 1986 to find the ultimate Nanaimo bar recipe. This one was the winner, submitted by Joyce Hardcastle. The background of Nanaimo bars remains a culinary mystery. 


Anne Freeze was a restaurant general manager and owner of a gourmet food store before moving to Columbus. She can be reached at [email protected] 








1 cup sugar 


1 cup sunflower or canola oil  


4 eggs 


1 cup all-purpose flour 


1 cup whole wheat flour 


1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 


1 teaspoon salt 


2 teaspoons cinnamon  


2 cups grated raw carrots 


1 1/2 cups grated raw apples 


1 cup golden raisins  


1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional 




  • Mix together the sugar, oil and eggs. Beat to mild thickness. Sift together the dry ingredients and fold into the first mixed. 


    Add the carrots, apples, raisins, walnuts and mix well. 


  • Pour into a greased and floured dish 9-by-13-by-2 inches. Cook 35-40 minutes at 350 F. Cream cheese icing recipe follows. 








    1 package (4 ounces) soft cream cheese 


    1/4 cup butter 


    1 cup powdered sugar 


    1/2 teaspoon vanilla 




  • Beat the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix well. 








    For the bottom layer: 


    1/2 cup unsalted butter 


    1/4 cup sugar 


    5 tablespoons cocoa 


    1 egg, beaten 


    1 1/4 cups graham wafer crumbs 


    1/2 cup finely chopped almonds 


    1 cup coconut 




  • For the bottom layer: Melt first three ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8-by-8-inch pan. 




    For the second layer: 


    1/2 cup unsalted butter 


    2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons cream 


    2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder 


    2 cups icing sugar 




  • For the second layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer. 




    For the third layer: 


    4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 ounce each) 


    2 tablespoons unsalted butter 




  • For the third layer: Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator. 








    1 1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts, tough ends removed and halved 


    4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces 


    1/4 cup beer (preferably dark ale) 


    2 tablespoons grainy mustard 


    2 tablespoons maple syrup 


    1/2 teaspoon salt 


    1 tablespoon bacon fat or unsalted butter 


    1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs 




  • Preheat oven to 425 F. 


  • In a small bowl, combine beer, mustard, maple syrup and salt. 


  • On a large cast iron pan or high-sided skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. 


  • In the same pan or skillet over medium heat, sear sprouts cut-side down until golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Stir in prepared beer mixture and bacon. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until sprouts are tender and liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes. 


  • Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, melt bacon fat or butter. Stir in panko and toast until golden brown, about 2 minutes. 


  • Transfer sprouts to a large serving platter or bowl and sprinkle with toasted panko. Serve.



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