Carrot Cardamom Puree on Cucumbers
I think that these pictures say everything and the less I add the better.
I will just give you the setting: a cool August evening, candle lanterns hanging in the trees lighting up the hillside like giant fireflies, a 60’x40′ tent in a grassy meadow, and the bride in a lacy wedding dress that nearly hid her cowboy boots underneath. A perfect setting to eat these little gems.
The edible flowers are from local vendors and my garden: violets, red runner beans, bachelor buttons, (the petals pulled off of the main flower), miniature marigolds, and I pulled off orange petals of an unknown (to me) flower—it looked like an orange daisy.
The carrot juice reduces into a bright tangy syrup, a great natural food coloring. As the liquid cooks off and the sugars become concentrated, it will easily scorch if you look away for a moment. It’s not as temperamental as cooking candy, but you don’t want to multitask when it begins to look like a syrup.
I love that this color is real!
A pastry bag with a textured tip is a great way to apply the cream cheese to the cucumber or cracker. It gives a delicate shape to the spread, and it saves time if you are making a quantity of them.
This recipe came from my favorite go-to book for appetizers, Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres. I altered it, increasing the amount of carrot juice and cardamom to add more color and flavor.
Carrot Cardamom Cream Cheese
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes to simmer carrot juice, 10 minutes to mix
Simmer over low heat:
1 cup Carrot Juice, freshly juiced or packaged
Occasionally scrape the sides of the pan with a spatula.
Simmer until it becomes a syrup.
Be careful—as it becomes thicker the concentrated sugars can scorch.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Mix in a food processor or in a bowl:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
up to 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cardamom (OR simmer 4 Cardamom Pods in the carrot juice)
Dash of Salt
Reduced Carrot Juice
Slice on the diagonal:
1 or 2 Asian or European “Seedless” Cucumber
Place a dollop of the cream cheese on the cucumber slices, or use a pastry bag to apply.