I believe there are many who are governed by emotions rather than by appetite. That we look to food not only for nourishment but also for the association of a jubilant event or simply to get us into a better state of mind. Even when calamity has stricken, a table abundant with various delectable edibles nearby can be a comforting site.
Combine this with a pleasure for feeding people, and this certainly can turn into a good reason to consistently be thinking about food. Of course, it doesn’t always have to be a eight course dinner. Various items can claim the same effect. Luscious vine ripened fruit, noon-o-panir-o-sabzi an herb and feta cheese pinwheel, or a slow simmered marmalade, slathered onto warm English muffin with soft butter.
In an effort to always have an attainable array of items in the fridge ready for consumption, I grabbed a bulging bag of carrots from my local Costco store and went to work on making moraba haveej, or carrot marmalade. I always feel a bit self-indulgent when I am making any kind of marmalade because of the sheer enjoyment I get out of the activity. Cardamom and saffron help to make this one a particularly warm and inviting palate pleaser. Once completed, the ribbons of carrot swimming in the sticky sweet syrup take on the look of a stained glass and emit a golden glow.
The version that I made took three days from beginning to end, but a labor of love is no labor at all, right?
5 cups carrots, peeled and shredded
4 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 Tblsps. slivered orange peel
2 Tblsps. orange flower water
5-6 cardamom seeds or 1/3 teaspoon cardamom powder
½ tsp. saffron ground up with 1 tsp. of sugar
Wash the oranges under warm water.
Zest the oranges into strips, making sure to remove the pith.
Blanch the zests for 5 minutes in water, discard the water and repeat.
In a glass bowl, add the sugar and orange flower water and zest. Let it sit overnight.
The next day, remove the zest from the sugar.
Pour sugar into a heavy bottom pan and add 2 cups of water. Dissolve the sugar on medium high heat.
Boil for 2 minutes and add the orange zest.
Cook for 30 minutes on medium heat.
Add the carrots to the orange mixture and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it come to room temperature.
Once at room temperature add the cardamom and boil for another 20 minutes. Let it set overnight.
On the third day, add 4 Tblsps water to dissolve the saffron/sugar mixture.
Add to marmalade and boil for 2 minutes for a final time, skimming any foam off the top.
Pour into hot sterilized jars.