Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Recipe: Carrot Raisin Salad

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 20, 2023

Generally speaking, recipes are merely broad guidelines for the creation of a dish. Very few recipes are anything like the precision necessary in rocket science… although some websites would have their gullible readers to think so.

Fortunately, the best part of cooking and being a cook, is that you get to eat your own mistakes. And THAT is often the best teacher.

So, with the obvious being “said,” here’s a carrot raisin salad, which at its most basic, contains carrots, raisins, and mayonnaise. The dish depicted here contains the following jazzed up ingredients: A stick of celery, key lime juice + apple cider vinegar (ACV), sugar, a tad salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins (of course), dried cranberries (aka “craisins”), and walnuts.😋

Naturally, shredded carrots are the primary ingredient. So if you’re planning on making this dish, you’ll need more carrots than anything else. How many? How about you being the judge of that? It’s YOUR dish, and you’ll make it YOUR way — which is another beautiful part about cooking: It’s highly customizable.

How much mayonnaise? Again, it’s “Player’s Choice” — as much, or as little, as your heart desires.

Don’t like mayonnaise? No problem. Use salad dressing, or some other condiment (though I dare say, mustard probably would not be a good substitution). But hey! To each, their own. One never knows.

Don’t like celery? Not a problem. Omit it.

Sodium restricted diet? (Celery is also sodium laden.) Omit the tiny pinch of salt. But I will say this, about that: Salt, common table salt, even just a slight amount, enhances sweetness.

Of course, there are other salt alternatives, such as MSG (MonoSodium Glutamate), a naturally-occurring substance found abundantly in tomatoes, among other vegetables & fruits, which provides an “umami” type flavor. Umami is the name given to a savory taste which some characterize as slightly resembling meat. MSG has 60% less sodium than common table salt. Plus, there’s potassium chloride, another widely known salt substitute.

Experiment with them, you’ll find a combination that works for you. After all, dishes are “signatures” of their creator.

Don’t like raisins? Well, then… don’t make the dish!

Seriously, substitute dried cranberries, or another dried fruit, such a dried plums (which will have to be chopped up). Or, even dates, could be a reasonable — and VERY sweetly creative — substitute! Dates are nature’s candy!

Don’t like walnuts? Fine. Use pecans. Pistachios or peanuts might not be a good choice, simply because of their flavor profile. Perhaps sunflower seeds? They’re fairly innocuous, and have a mild flavor. Maybe even almonds!

Oh… and regarding the nonsense of “freshly squeezed” juices: It’s just a bunch of phony baloney nonsense. Bottled lemon/lime, and frozen orange juice/pineapple juice concentrate or bottled orange & pineapple juice, are equally, if not superior, choices.

Now, here’s a brief analysis of the dish.

Examine, or consider, the ingredients, and their flavor profiles.

There’s sweet (carrots are naturally sweet), a wee bit of sugar (honey, or any other sweetener could be substituted. [NOTE: I use “natural” ingredients, and strive to use “raw” food ingredients, meaning no highly-processed anything, and NO artificial anything. Which means NO ARTIFICIAL sweeteners, nor alcohol sugars, nor so-called “zero calorie” sweeteners such as xylitol (WHICH IS TOXIC TO DOGS, because it causes their blood sugar to plummet, which could kill them). Honey, brown sugar/white sugar (both cane sugars), agave syrup, sorghum syrup (which is NOT molasses), maple syrup, etc. By the way… NATURAL MAPLE SYRUP (the authentic, genuine stuff that comes from the sap of a maple tree), very unlike most other naturally-occurring sweeteners, does NOT cause blood sugar (glucose) to rise precipitously.

Back to the analysis.

There’s tartness from the apple cider vinegar + key lime juice. Don’t like vinegar? Fine, don’t use it. Substitute orange juice, pineapple juice, etc. Don’t have key lime juice? Not a problem. Use regular lime juice, or lemon juice. Or, none at all.

There’s cinnamon, and a bit of nutmeg. How much? Once again, player’s choice. It’s YOUR dish, and it’s up to you.

So, we have sweet (raisins, carrots, sweetener of choice), we have sour/tart (key lime juice+apple cider vinegar), we have walnuts (a protein) which have a sweet, semi-umami type flavor, and 2 spices (cinnamon, plus a tad of nutmeg). And we mustn’t forget the mayonnaise. I’m partial to Duke’s brand. It’s the ONLY one I use. Sauer’s brand mayonnaise is a close competitor.

Interestingly enough, Sauer Brands, Inc. owns the Duke’s brand through, as well as Bama brand.

Altogether, the combination above is very tasty, indeed. The tart is offset by the sweet, and combines quite well.

If orange juice, or pineapple juice is used, an added sugar might not be necessary. And the enzymes naturally present in pineapple would be most complementary. The slight tartness in the orange also balances the dish.

So, once again, how much of each?

It’s player’s choice: More carrots, as many raisins to make you happy, enough mayonnaise to slightly slicken it up, some ACV + lime juice, a bit ‘o spice and… bada boom, bada BING! You’re in business.

Bon appétit!

3 Responses to “Recipe: Carrot Raisin Salad”

  1. jvlivs said

    That looks delicious! I recently slow-cooked some cheese-stuffed meatballs (something I haven’t done in years, I might add), and I inadvertently overcooked them. The missus had taken the overcooked meatballs and made a shepherd’s pie out of it. Turned out way better than the dish I made…


    • Warm Southern Breeze said

      OUTSTANDING! It’s a CRIME to waste food — especially now, since so many grocers are STILL price gouging and reaping rapacious profits at our expense! Their Wall $treet overlords thank them. Now, come to think of it, I don’t recollect ever having made a Shepherd’s pie. Dual-crusted pot pies (i.e., top & bottom), yes, but a Shepherd’s pie? No. They have some similarities, if I’m not mistaken. Oh! And I’ll share this germane note about the term “pie.” Having recently read an article about “pies” which was written by a British subject, it was interesting to note that the author stated that the term in the UK is decidedly different than that which we consider here in the USA. The term “pie” in the UK refers to a savory dish, one which is the main course of a meal, whereas in the USA, “pie” refers to a sweet dessert-type treat. Bon appéit!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jvlivs said

    I am taken aback by your extensive knowledge and expertise, sir! That was quite informative.


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