Food samples, Easter recipes available during Business Expo

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By The Staff

This week is a very special week for me. Approximately one year ago, Ben Carlson came to my house and interviewed me about my new business and put me on the front page.

Soon after, Ben called and asked if I would be interested in writing the food column every week. I never considered myself a writer but I liked the idea of a new challenge. I have so enjoyed sharing recipes and stories with all of you. I hope you enjoy them, too. I have heard from a few of you in the grocery store and around town, and of course Hometown Manor. The food column is great because I don’t receive any angry letters, or criticism, just words of encouragement and great questions. Writer’s block only happens occasionally and my family is never short on great suggestions.

This coming Saturday is the Business and Community Expo being held at the middle school. The Chamber of Commerce always does a fantastic job bringing all the local businesses into one place for the community. I decided this year to join in the fun. I will have a booth set up to explain what I do as a personal chef and talk about my services. I will have some samples of food and great ideas for your Easter table. I look forward to seeing you and meeting my loyal readers. If you can’t make it, here are the recipes of the food I will have at the booth.

Quinoa salad with orange and fennel

4 servings

3 Cups (18oz) Quinoa, cooked and cooled

2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed, halved lengthwise, cored and sliced thinly crosswise

2 (10oz) cans of mandarin oranges in juice or water(not syrup)


2 T fresh Lemon juice

1/4 C Olive oil

1 T Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Whisk lemon juice and Dijon mustard in a large bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add shaved or thinly sliced fennel.

Drain oranges, add to fennel. Add in cooked, cooled quinoa. Toss to coat everything. Chill overnight to let the grain absorb all the flavors.

Carrot cake

For the cake:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1 pound carrots, peeled, coarsely grated

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup vegetable oil

For the frosting:

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Generous pinch of kosher salt

4 cups powdered sugar

Make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat two 9”-diameter cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds; lightly coat rounds with nonstick spray. Plump raisins in warm water for 15–20 minutes, drain set aside. Combine carrots and buttermilk in a medium bowl.

Whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually stream in oil. Add pineapple. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with carrots and buttermilk mixture until smooth. Fold in raisins with a rubber spatula. Scrape batter into prepared pans.

Bake cakes, rotating pans halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35–45 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cakes cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around sides of cakes and invert onto wire rack; remove parchment. Let cool completely.

Make the frosting:

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla extract and salt. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in powdered sugar. Increase speed to high and beat frosting until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Assemble the cake:

Place 1 cake, domed side down, on a platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting evenly over top. Place remaining cake, domed side down, on top. Spread top and sides with 1 1/4 cups frosting and chill 30 minutes to let frosting set. Spread remaining frosting on top and sides for a smooth finish.

Lawrenceburg resident Laura Hahnes is the owner of Dinner Thyme, LLC Personal Chef Service. Reach her by email at Dinnerthymenow@gmail.com or phone at 502-517-1707.