How many of you remember the old Morrison’s Cafeteria in the mall, which later changed its name to Piccadilly Cafeteria?
I would always look forward to eating lunch there from time to time. The journey would begin by walking down the long hallway to the back of the restaurant, where I would grab one of those large brown trays and slide it down the metal bar while contemplating what to select from the smorgasbord of steaming hot comfort food.
In reality, I would eat there so frequently that one of the waitresses — who, by the way, was one of the most accommodating waitresses I have ever been acquainted with — would see me walking down that long hall to the buffet line and go ahead and prepare a sweet tea with lemon in a to-go cup, then have it sitting on a table waiting for me when I sat down.
The cafeteria served a choice selection of home-cooked meats, vegetables, salads and desserts. One of my favorite side dishes was the carrot souffle. Now understand, I really don’t like carrots, and I really don’t like to eat a sweet dish with my meals. However, I would crave Piccadilly’s carrot souffle. Maybe it was because of the high sugar and butter content in this recipe?
Nevertheless, this is one of those side dishes where you can convince yourself you are eating “healthy” because it’s made with a vegetable. Haha.
As the Easter season is approaching and we reflect on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I thought that this carrot souffle would be a good addition to your Easter dinner menu, as a complement to a meat such as ham or pork roast.
One time-saving tip is to buy bagged baby carrots, which are already peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces. You can also prepare this dish the day before, store in the refrigerator and bake the day of.
Since this is a souffle, be sure not to overfill your pan because it will puff up.
I also wanted to think of something you could make in the kitchen with children during this Easter season. My children are all grown up now, so I am looking forward to the day when my 7-month-old granddaughter, Emersyn Kate, is old enough to help me make things like this Easter Marshmallow Bark. It is a simple, fun recipe, and also looks very festive. It is quick and easy to prepare, and would be great to take to an office party or church function.
Greg Morgan lives in Oxford. His food column appears the first Wednesday of each month. Contact him at email@example.com.
PICCADILLY’S CARROT SOUFFLE
3 ½ pounds carrots, peeled
2 ½ cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ cup flour
6 medium eggs, beaten
1 cup butter, softened
Powdered sugar for garnish
Boil carrots in water until very soft and drain well. While carrots are warm, add sugar, baking powder and vanilla and blend with a mixer until thoroughly mixed.
Add flour and mix well. Add eggs and butter and blend well. Pour mixture into a 13x9-inch pan; only fill about halfway as the souffle will rise. Bake in a 350-degree oven for approximately 1 hour until the top is light golden brown. Start checking it at 45 minutes. Let cool, then sprinkle powdered sugar on top.
EASTER MARSHMALLOW BARK
1 (12 ounce) bag white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening
3 cups mini rainbow marshmallows
Line an 8x11-inch glass dish with parchment paper.
Place white chocolate and shortening in a glass bowl and melt in the microwave for 1 minute. Give it a small stir, then return to the microwave in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is melted when you stir it. Don’t overcook it in the microwave. Just keep stirring and it will melt.
After chocolate is melted, add marshmallows and stir to coat. Transfer to the prepared pan and press with a spatula to spread marshmallows evenly in the pan. Shake sprinkles on top.
Place in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes until set. Remove from the freezer and place on the counter to return to room temperature. Cut into squares — or use Easter-shaped cookie cutters.