Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Carat of Carob Please

Carob is a foreign pod to most Americans; however, this sweet little pea has gained quite the reputation among the the vegan and health-conscious communities.  Usually used as an alternative to chocolate, carob has been wrapped around raisins, powdered on pastries, and stirred into sweets as a rich, all-natural dairy free substitute.

Carob, like chocolate, is a legume. It is the fruit of the carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua, a member of the pea family.  Native to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions, these sweet pods are very popular across the pond and used in a number of dishes and desserts. The genus is derived from the Greek word for carob - keration. Back in the day (and by that I mean thousands of years ago) they weighed gold and gemstones against carob seeds, thus deeming the term "carat," from the Greek keration. With modern advances, the carob beans were left to be eaten and the carat was standardized to .2 grams.

Lia stopped in our favorite Middle Eastern market, Bitar's, and picked up some Carob Molasses.
Carob Molasses has proved itself as my new favorite sweetener. Also, mix it with tahini and it makes a killer breakfast spread.

 Carob molasses is made by soaking milled carob pods in water, straining the liquid, and boiling it down until it forms a thick, dark syrup. That's right: No cane sugar, thickeners, or any other ingredients, just pure, sweet, delicious carob.
Lia in front of a Ceratonia siliqua in Schinos, Greece.

Fresh-off-the-tree carob pod.

I decided to calm my craving for pizza with a Middle Eastern spin, and instead of using tomato sauce, I spread on some of this new sweet love. Paired with caramelized onions and red peppers, this pizza turned out absolutely delicious! And of course, we all know the rules to pizza making:
1. has to be made with friends
2. consumed with a nice cold bubbly beverage 
3. you can't make just one.

Along with the carob 'za, we put together a lovely veggie with broccoli, tofu ricotta, and roma tomatoes, and a portobello and onion 'za, both with red sauce.

Carob 'Za!
Look at that team work - just screams fun.


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  2. This looks delicious-- I may have to try this using a cauliflower pizza dough!