Thursday, August 14, 2014

Best Granola Ever

Hands down, this is the best granola recipe I have tried. I have made it countless times over the past few months, but I keep forgetting to take good pictures of it (since I'm usually too busy eating it). It's Alton Brown's recipe, and you can modify it using different kinds of nuts, but it always turns out perfectly. What I think is distinctive about it is the fact that you slow-roast it - it's not time consuming at all to make, as long as you set a timer every 15 minutes or so and just give it a stir in the oven.

BEST GRANOLA EVER

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans or walnuts (he uses cashews)
3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins (or you can put any chopped dried fruit here)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a food processor, pulse the nuts a couple times to chop roughly. Mix oats, nuts, coconut and brown sugar in a bowl.

In another smaller bowl, mix syrup, oil and salt. Pour into the oat mixture, mix well, and spread over a big cookie pan. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to turn the oats over.

Once done, mix in the dried fruit.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

This is a super easy, make-after-work recipe that can be done in about 45 minutes or less. If you have fresh ginger, add it when you add the garlic. If you have green onions or other vegetables, throw them in as well. Best thing about this is how few pots you need.

Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 lb boneless round steak, cut into 3 inch strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 cups frozen broccoli florets
2 cups baby carrots
1 small onion, cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup water


In a bowl, mix 2 Tblsp. of the corn starch with 2 Tblsp water and garlic powder. Add 2 Tblsp cornstarch, 2 Tblsp water and garlic powder until smooth. Add beef and toss.

In a large skillet or wok over medium high heat, stir and fry beef in 1 tablespoon oil, browning lightly. Remove to a plate and keep warm.

Add onion and carrots to pan and brown lightly, 4 minutes. Add garlic and frozen broccoli, cook another two minutes. Return beef to pan.

Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and remaining 1 Tblsp cornstarch and 1/2 cup water until smooth; add to the pan. Stir to combine, test broccoli to see if it's done. Serve with rice.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Slow cooker two-bean chili with quinoa

This is going to be my new go-to recipe for vegetarian chili. I've found that a lot of recipes for vegetarian chili don't have that extra thickness/heartiness that is present in a meat-based sauce, and they end up being more soup-like. This recipe, which was inspired by this one, remedies that. The secret ingredient? Quinoa, which is loaded with additional protein. If you don't have a slow cooker, you could easily make this on the stove, too. It tastes even better after it sits.

Slow cooker two-bean chili with quinoa

1 onion
1 Tblsp minced garlic
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can red beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup red quinoa, rinsed (you could use other kinds of quinoa as well)
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 cup frozen sweet corn (or canned hominy)
1 can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tblsp. chili powder (use 2 Tblsp if you have a mild powder)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt


Saute onion and garlic in a dash of olive oil until softened. Add to slow cooker, along with all your other ingredients. Cook on high for three hours, or you could also probably do high for one hour, low for 4-6. Serve with a sprinkling of feta cheese or grated cheddar on top.



Monday, February 17, 2014

Buttermilk biscuits

If you make these biscuits, you may never need to go out for breakfast again - all these need are a couple fried eggs, a side of grits and a cup of hot coffee. These biscuits are amazing. I've made them multiple times, and I keep returning to the recipe again and again. So, I'm putting it here for posterity.

Buttermilk biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tblsp baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
6 Tblsp. butter or earth balance substitute
1 cup buttermilk (Make your own! Add 1 Tblsp. white vinegar to a cup of milk, let sit for 5 min).

**Tip to getting these just right - don't handle the dough too much. Don't use a rolling pin.

Preheat oven to 450.

Mix dry ingredients in a food processor. Throw in the butter and pulse until crumbly. Mix in the buttermilk. Mixture should be sticky. Turn onto a floured surface and pat and fold the dough over about five times. Pat it out (do not roll it) to about 1 inch thickness. Cut out biscuit shapes with a glass or cookie cutter, place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. (Place so they are touching each other if you like them soft).

Bake 10-12 minutes until light golden brown. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bannock (quick bread)

I found this recipe in an in-flight magazine, and I could tell from the ingredients that it was going to be good. It reminds me of Irish soda bread, but basically, it's a quick bread that you make in a cast-iron skillet. Bannock is in the biscuit/scone family, and it's a bread with Scottish/Irish/Northern England origins. Apparently it's also familiar in Native American cuisine, though sources say it was imported to the Americas. This recipe, which I've adapted and changed slightly (the original calls for light cream, butter, all flour, and rosemary), comes from a restaurant in Minneapolis called The Bachelor Farmer. In my version, 1% milk replaced the cream (and I used less than in the original), I used earth balance instead of butter, and I mixed in some whole wheat pastry flour with the regular white flour. This makes a great weekend breakfast - a slight hint of sweetness, soft crumbs, and very flavorful slathered with butter and honey. I made it with blueberries, but I'd bet cranberries would be good, too.

Bannock

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tblsp. + 1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
4 Tblsp. sugar
1 1/8 cup earth balance or butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups milk (lowfat, 1%, any kind)
1 egg
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400. In a food processor, pulse together flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add butter and pulse until pieces have mostly disappeared and been incorporated with the flour mixture. Remove to mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and egg. Stir into flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Fold in the blueberries. Pour into a greased 8" cast iron skillet, and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. (Mine was done at 15). Cool slightly and serve.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Hello summer... Gazpacho for one...



Craving a savory smoothie today, I thought of gazpacho, which reminds me of Spain... where even Burger King has this refreshing cold soup. I whipped this version up today for lunch - it lacks bread, which is traditional, and contains basil, which is not. I kept it all for myself, but if you wanted to share, use another tomato, a whole cucumber and green pepper, and a bit more water. You could also use a different fresh herb in place of basil - parsley or cilantro, perhaps?

Gazpacho for one

3 cups ripe tomatoes – about 4 medium sized tomatoes
1/2 peeled chopped cucumber
1/2 chopped green pepper
1/4 cup onions
1 cup fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
1 Tblsp small green chilli (optional if you don't like heat)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, sea salt, or more to taste
1/2 cup filtered cold water o
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tblsp white wine vinegar

Blend all of the above in a blender or Vitamix...

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Vietnamese Cabbage & Carrot Salad


So, I have a recipe for baked Moroccan fish tagine featured in the new Zumba Lovers Cookbook, available exclusively from Zumba.com (though I can get it for you at a 20% discount if you're interested ;) The cookbook is actually surprisingly good. I mean, if Zumba can make an amazing dance fitness program and a clothing line, why not a cookbook, right? But I would have been skeptical had I not tried some of the recipes, which are actually really good. What's also cool about the cookbook is that the it is comprised entirely of recipes submitted by Zumba enthusiasts, along with stories about how many of them lost weight and adopted healthy lifestyles through Zumba. And they tested every recipe - I know because I was in communication with the editor multiple times about measurements and other issues with mine. The cookbook is also visually beautiful, full of bright pictures of food and people.

I've tried making several of the recipes in the cookbook so far, and most have been impressive. One of my favorites is this red cabbage and carrot salad. Lately, I've discovered that there are many vegetables that I despise when cooked but love when raw - brussels sprouts and cabbage are two of those. This red cabbage salad is crunchy, bright, and colorful, much like the cookbook itself. The peanuts add protein and a bit more heft to it, but it is still light. Original recipe credit goes to Huong Nguyen of Perth, Australia, but I've altered it somewhat, below (less vinaigrette than the original, more herbs)...

Vietnamese Cabbage & Carrot Salad

2 Tblsp. lime juice
1 Tblsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small red chile, seeded and diced (optional if you don't want heat)
1 Tblsp. olive oil
1 Tblsp. honey

1/2 red cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups - could use green if that's what you have)
2 medium carrots, peeled & julienned (about 1 cup)
1 Tblsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tblsp. chopped fresh mint
1 cup lightly salted roasted peanuts, chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

Whisk together first six ingredients for vinaigrette. Set aside.

Place cabbage, carrots, and herbs in a large bowl. Pour in dressing and toss. Add peanuts. Season with salt and pepper.

If you want to make this ahead of time, mix the vegetables and refrigerate but don't add nuts and dressing until you're ready to eat it.

4 servings, 315 calories, 10 grams protein. 0 mg cholesterol.