Sunday, January 13

Maple Almond Granola

I love granola, and when I received Peace Meals for Christmas, the recipe for peanut butter granola caught my eye. Granola is too good because it typically is healthy oats coated in loads of sugar and oils. I was intrigued that this recipe used all peanut butter as an efficient-protein packed oil. As I researched more recipes online, I ended up opting for an almond and maple twist on a peanut butter and honey granola recipe I found online. Next time, I will try it with all almond butter and no olive oil. Next time I make peanut butter, I'll certainly be trying the original peanut butter and honey version.


adapted from eat sleep cuddle {photo cred} and Peace Meals
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup wheat germ or wheat bran
1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup honey1/4 cup [fresh/all natural] almond butter {make your own with a food processor!}
1/2 tsp vanilla

 1 1/4 c raisins
maple syrup
Mix together dry ingredients, then add wet and mix together. Spread out on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes (it will get golden brown around the edges).  While it's baking, toss raisins with a few shakes of maple syrup and cinnamon. Once granola is finished, let cool completely, until the granola has set. Break up gently and combine with raisins in a bowl or jar with tight fitting lid. 

Wednesday, August 1

Caramelized Onion + Eggplant Pizza

More CSA dinner bounty! I made this galette-looking pizza from all from stuff I had at home plus the vegetables from my box. I used a big Galine eggplant, small purple "candy apple" onion and a yellow ringo pepper. The onion, pepper, garlic, salty goodness totally made the pizza and perfectly complimented the soft, creamy eggplant. I was grateful for Epicurious' inclusion of peppers; as a result, I was inspired to throw one of the peppers in the skillet and am so glad I did!

{Caramelized Onion + Eggplant Pizza}
adapted from Epicurious
1/2 of this pizza dough
1 chinese eggplant or 1/2 of a large globe eggplant (to make 8-10 thin slices)
1 T. olive oil
2 t. coarse sea salt
1 small onion, cut in thin strips
1 small mild pepper, cut in thin strips
1 t. minced garlic
1/4 c. pesto
1/3 c. shredded mozzarella
1/4 c. shredded parmesean
cracked pepper
Broil eggplant: Cut eggplant into 1/4 inch-thick rounds and arrange in 1 layer on a foil-lined large baking sheet. Lightly brush both sides with oil and season with salt. Broil 2 to 3 inches from heat until golden brown and tender, about 4 minutes. Heat oil in a small cast iron skillet over medium heat, gently sautee onion and pepper along with coarse salt, until soft and then browned and fragrant. Add minced garlic once onions begin to brown. Once completed, remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 500°F. Shape and stretch dough into 12- to 13-inch round. Spread pesto and half of mozzarella chese. Cover with eggplant, overlapping it, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Spoon evenly over eggplant. Fold crust over about 2 inches all the way around, like a galette, if you're feeling creative. Bake pizza until dough is crisp and browned about 9 - 10 minutes. Top with cracked pepper.

This morning I used the rest of the squash including the cute sunburst squash to make zucchini bread. Whew! Veggie overload! Fortunately my next box isn't coming until the 22nd.

Tuesday, July 31

{Dal with vegetables} from Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook

We ventured into Indian territory today thanks to my new Food Matters cookbook from Mark Bittman and my first CSA bounty from Johnson's Backyard! I had lentils I'd been trying to come up with something to do with as well as TONS of cauliflower. My CSA box had two kinds of squash, two kinds of eggplant and some darling onions. So when I saw this recipe, it seemed a perfect fit! I used long eggplant (what may be Chinese) and yellow squash for this. I'm saving my big, globe eggplant, my pattypan squash as well as some of the peppers for roasted ratatouille

Dal with lots of Veggies
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
1 T. minced garlic
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 c. cubed eggplant, bite sized
1 c. cubed squash, bite sized
1 c. bite sized cauliflower florets
1 c. lentils
2 T. garam masala
2 cloves
Heat oil and butter in large, heavy bottomed pot on medium. When butter is melted add ginger, onions and garlic. Sautee until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove garlic and onion mixture from pot and increase heat to medium high. Add cauliflower and satuee until browned 5-10 minutes. Remove cauliflower and reduce heat to medium. Add eggplant and squash and brown, about 5 minutes. {do all this browning at once if your pan is big enough} Return cauliflower and onion, garlic mixture to pot. Add garam masala, some generous shakes of pepper and cloves, along with lentils, stir about a minute. Add enough water to cover ingredients by an inch. Bring to boil then reduce heat so contents are gently bubbling, cover and cook 25-30 minutes until lentils are tender. Add more water if necessary. Should be saucy but not too watery. A thick soup or something that could also be served on rice or pita bread.


Friday, June 8

grilled skewers

I love vegetables. My husband loves meat. I had been wanting to do skewers since, well, last summer when I bought some metal skewers.

We called these shish-ka-bobs growing up. It was a super easy very flavorful and flexible summer meal. Surprisingly, this was my first meal to ever grill myself. I was really proud of myself. Next up: grilled pizza.

Summer Skewers on the grill
makes eight skewers {or five skewers plus about 4 cups side veggies in a grill basket}
1 squash
1 zucchini
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 onion
2 heads garlic
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 chicken breast (or more if you don't want to have just veggie skewers. Next I want do shrimp.mmmm.)
1/4 c. olive oil
2 t. pepper
Old Bay Seasoning
seasoning salt
Heat grill to medium, somewhere between 300 and 350. Slice all vegetables. See pic above. Peel garlic into individual cloves. Toss vegetables and garlic cloves with olive oil, pepper, a few dashes of seasoning salt and generous amounts of Old Bay Seasoning, maybe 1-2 tablespoons. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and sprinkle with Old Bay. I'd allow this to marinate in something if I'd had the forethought.

Skewer everything in a fun alternating pattern. Be sure each skewer gets a clove of garlic or two. Be sure that you hog the mushrooms for yourself. I made sure as many cloves, onions and peppers were touching the chicken pieces as possible.

Grill for about 35 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill.

I tossed some corn with old bay and olive oil and put that on the grill as well along with the extra veggies in a basket. It was awesome and great the next day too!


Friday, January 6

Winter Slaw Salad with Orange Tahini Dressing

Bartlett's has an Asian salad that I really like involving mint, mango and avocado. When I saw a winter slaw recipe calling for a tahini orange dressing, I decided to make something similar because I have a jar of tahnini, oranges and orange juice crying out to me from the fridge. 

We had this with a chicken and broccoli dish: 
I marinated pieces of chicken in an Asian marinate then stir fried them in 2 tablespoons of peanut oil. Pulled the chicken out once cooked. 
Added to the same pan about a cup of broth and about 2 cups each broccoli florets and halved brussels sprouts along with 2 teaspoons each garlic, fresh grated ginger and red pepper flakes, scraping up the meat pieces and stirred. 
Simmered until cooked and liquids reduced. 
Tossed it all back with the chicken and about 1/4 cup soy sauce!

This dressing was really good and this salad has a great variety of textures and flavors. It tastes really fresh but hearty at the same time with the tahnini dressing. Which is technically why it's called a slaw, I believe. Taylor would not have eaten it had I called it a slaw, however.

Winter Slaw Salad with Orange Tahini Dressing
adapted from My New Roots, to whom the picture belongs.
2 cups each shredded Savoy cabbage, purple cabbage, kale (I only did purple cabbage, about 3 cups)
2 cups shredded carrots
2 scallions, finely sliced
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
½ cup chopped mint
½ cup slivered almonds
1 orange, cut into bite sized pieces (mango would be ideal but I have oranges coming out my ears... it was great)
3 T. roasted sesame seeds or even better an Asian Spice Mix (such as Adams Reserve Asian Spice rub which is a mixture of sesame seeds, garlic, sweet pepper, red pepper and green chili pepper flakes, turmeric and garlic)

Tahini Cream Dressing with Orange
Makes 1 cup
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp.  agave or honey
1/3 cup tahini
2 Tbsp. water
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
a couple pinches of salt
zest of 1 orange

Combine herbs, nuts, fruit, shredded cabbage, kale and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients together (or shake up in a jar). Add water to thin to desired consistency. Toss desired amount of dressing with salad once you're ready to serve. Garnish with extra parsley, mint and sesame seeds.

This dressing would be good over soba noodles too.

Sunday, January 1


I love bagels and have been wanting to make my own for a while. In keeping with my resolution to try to bake more bread, I went for it yesterday! I tried it with some heartier flours and as a result, I think I should have been more patient with the rising time {winter day + denser flours} and done a bit more research as to how the dough is supposed to feel after kneading. I let them start their rising without getting the dough to a supple stretchiness. Adding a bit more water during the kneading process would have fixed this easily, but I wasn't sure how the dough was supposed to compare to the feeling of pizza dough that I'm used to. I'm thinking it should feel as supple as pizza dough because mine were still pretty dense after rising, which then affected how well they baked.

Homemade Bagels
Adapted from Artisan Breads Every Day by Peter Reinhart and BGSK
Makes 6-8 bagels

You can find barley malt syrup at a specialty foods store or Whole Foods.

For the dough:
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup, honey, or rice syrup
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 ½ teaspoons salt, or 2 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3 ½ cups (16oz) unbleached bread flour (or other flour by weight. I did about 4oz rye and 8oz bread flour and 4oz whole wheat flour

For the poaching liquid:
1 ½ tablespoons barley malt syrup, honey, or rice syrup
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt, or 1 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt

Stir the malt syrup, yeast, and salt into 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water. Place the flour into a mixing bowl and pour in the malt syrup mixture. Use a large, sturdy spoon and stir for about 3 minutes, until well blended. The dough should form a stiff, coarse ball, and the flour should be fully hydrated; if it isn’t, stir in a little more water. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Transfer to a very lightly floured work surface and knead. The dough should be stiff yet supple, with a satiny, barely tacky feel. If the dough seems too soft or overly tacky, mix or knead in a little more flour.
I did this all in a stand mixer with the dough hook, about 8 minutes.

Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes. Patience is key.

Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper, then misting it with spray oil or lightly coating it with oil. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 equal pieces.

Form each piece into a loose ball by rolling it on a clean, dry work surface with a cupped hand. Holding the dough with both thumbs in the hole, rotate the dough with your hands, gradually stretching it to create a hole about 2 inches in diameter.

Place each shaped bagel on the prepared sheet pan, then mist with spray oil or brush with a light coating of oil. Cover the entire pan with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes

Fill a pot with 2 to 3 quarts of water, making sure the water is at least 4 inches deep. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain at a simmer. Stir in the malt syrup, baking soda, and salt.

Gently lower each bagel into the simmering poaching liquid, adding as many as will comfortably fit in the pot. They should all float to the surface within 15 seconds. After 1 minute, use a spoon to turn each bagel over. Poach for another 30 to 60 seconds, then use the spoon to transfer it back to the pan. 

Transfer the pan of bagels to the oven, then lower the oven heat to 450°F.

Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and check the underside of the bagels.  Bake for another 8 to 12 minutes, until the bagels are a golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. 

Image belongs to Smitten Kitchen who has a similar albeit more complicated version of Peter R's bagels. There was no way I was going to attempt bagels for the first time with all that business. Too daunting to attempt. This was simple and I was quite happy with the result and what I learned. I plan to keep working on them and will keep you posted.

By the way, this is helpful baking advice. ... because I freeze butter too and yet am also an impulsive baker.

Saturday, October 29

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

This was so good and perfect for the recently cooler weather! I could have eaten the roasted tomatoes straight off of the baking sheet.
Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup
recipe & bottom image from SpoonForkBacon
Makes 7 cups 
1 ½ lbs Roma tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced*
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons dried basil*
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup heavy cream {I did not have cream. I mixed in about 4 oz cream cheese but thought it was great without it}
feta cheese, crumbled.
*I did have fresh basil but not fresh thyme or dried basil. I used extra fresh basil and about a 1/2 tablespoon Italian spice mix.
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Spread tomato halves onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper.
3. Roast tomatoes for about 1 hour.
4. While tomatoes are in the oven, melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
5. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
6. Stir in the garlic and thyme and sauté for another 5 minutes.
7. Add crushed tomatoes, basils and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Stir the mixture and reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
9. Pour broth and roasted tomatoes into the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
10. Continue to simmer soup, covered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
11. Carefully pour soup into a blender and blend until smooth. {Immersion blender party! Get one!}
12. Pour soup back into the pot and stir in the cream until fully incorporated.
13. Simmer the soup for 3 minutes before ladling into bowls.
14. Top each soup with a sprinkle of feta cheese and basil and serve hot.