Maple Pecan Granola All Week

February 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

Whenever I eat yogurt, I must have granola.  I have been making granola for the last few months and my husband has been taken to snacking on granola in the evenings.  Earlier this week I made maple pecan granola and it has been great to have around the apartment all week.  Here is the basic recipe (try adding ingredients that pair well with maple for some great combinations).

Maple Pecan Granola

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3/8 cup maple syrup (splurge on the real stuff!)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2-3 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 325°.

2.  On the stove, melt the butter in a small sauce          pan.  When melted, add in the brown sugar and        maple syrup.  Stir the mixture until the brown          sugar granules dissolve (about 2-3 minutes).

3.   Put the oats and chopped pecans in a large        bowl.  Pour the warm liquids over the oats.  Stir until the dry and wet ingredients are combined.

4.  Spread out the oat mixture on a large rimmed baking sheet.  When spread out on the baking sheet, sprinkle the cinnamon on top of the oat mixture.

5.  Bake the granola for 25 minutes.  Stir the granola every 5-8 minutes.

6.  Let the granola cool completely.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Fish Taco Monday

February 15, 2010 § 2 Comments

I bought cilantro at the farmer’s market and have been wanting to make cilantro rice, so I decided to make some tropical fish tacos to go with it.  These fish tacos are very light and perfect for a sunny Monday in February.  I love southern California!

Ingredients:

  • Trader Joe’s corn tortillas
  • Trader Joe’s Papaya Mango Salsa
  • Mahi Mahi
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cilantro (leaves with no stems)
  • vegetable bullion
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • avocado
  • parchment paper

Cooking directions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 350°.  Get a piece of parchment paper that is large enough to put to fillets of Mahi Mahi on (and still be able to wrap the fish and twist off the edges).  Put the fish fillets on the parchment paper and top with 3-4 tbsp. of the papaya mango salsa and 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes.

2.  Wrap the parchment paper around the fish and twist off the ends.  This will keep all of the liquids inside the parchment and will help cook the fish. Do not add oil, it is not needed to cook the fish.  Cook the fish for 25 minutes in the oven.

3.  While the fish is cooking, put 1 and 1/2 cups of water and a vegetable bullion in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until the bullion is dissolved.

4.  Add the cilantro leaves to the vegetable broth.  Blend in a blender or use an immersion blender to break down the cilantro leaves.

5.  Add the cilantro and broth to 1 cup of white rice.  I put all of these ingredients into a rice cooker, but you can use a stove top method to cook the rice if you do not have a rice cooker.  If cooking rice on your stove, follow the package’s  directions for cooking the rice.

6. Warm up the corn tortillas to your liking.  I don’t like using oil to fry the tortilla, so I just warm it up on a nonstick pan.

7.  Put the fish on the tortilla and garnish with tomatoes, avocados, papaya mango salsa, and lettuce.

8.   After you make your tacos, add some cilantro rice to your plate and enjoy.

Valentine’s Day Breakfast by the Honey!

February 14, 2010 § 1 Comment

The hubby made Valentine’s Day breakfast of French toast and mixed berry topping before I even woke up! Thanks, honey!!!

This was amazingly delicious, but if you want the recipe, post a comment and Brad will respond. 🙂

Russian Roots Friday

February 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

This salad is very popular in Russian households, especially in the wintertime when roots (carrots, potatoes, beets, etc) are readily available.  Although this is a salad, it is definitely hearty enough to be served as a light dinner main course.  It is best served at room temperature or cold.

This recipe is quite simple and it is perfect for the end of the week because the roots you get at the farmers market will still be nice and fresh.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boiled potatoes (I used mini potatoes — you could use any size, just make sure they are young potatoes)
  • 4 boiled fist-sized beets
  • 1/2 lb boiled carrots (I used red carrots, but regular orange ones are fine too)
  • 1 cup peas (I used Trader Joe’s organic frozen peas)
  • 4 dill pickles or 1 large dill pickle
  • 2 small yellow onions OR 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 large APPLE (add it if you have it, it will change your life)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Note on boiled vegetables: In order to prepare the boiled vegetables, simply wash them and boil them in a large pot so that the water is always covering them.  Boil on medium for about 30-45 minutes.  Test with a fork to make sure they are cooked: stick a fork into the largest vegetable and if the fork slides in and out smoothly, they are done.

Do not worry about peeling anything before boiling.  It is much easier to peel them once they are cooked.  Once the vegetables are cooked, peel the beets and the carrots by simply scraping your knife over the skins until they come off.  See picture below.

Next, cut the vegetables, apple and pickles into 1/4″ pieces and combine in a bowl with peas, olive oil, salt and pepper:

Mix and serve.  (I can’t get over the beautiful color of the beets!)

Gold and Sweet Tain Friday

February 12, 2010 § 1 Comment

For the last two weeks, I have eyed the leeks that one of the vendors bring to the farmer’s market.  I decided to keep my eye out for a recipe that I will have to buy leeks for.  I didn’t want to make soup, and I wanted to use the leeks in an easy one dish recipe.   The February edition of Martha Stewart Living has a great recipe that uses leeks.  It is in an article that boasts a lighter take on comfort foods.

The tain has an interesting flavor because of the combination of Yukon Gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, green apple, leeks, and Gruyère cheese.  The apple helps keep the dish moist, so it doesn’t need  calories or fat from cream.

Recipe:  See Martha Stewart online.  Search Potato and Sweet potato Tain.

My husband and I really enjoyed this recipe, but next time I try it I would like to adjust it a little bit.  I want to try to substitute a mild blue cheese for the Gruyère and add a walnut bread crumb topping.  I would also like to try a layer of escarole on the bottom of the pan, to add a little bit of a pepper taste and some greens.  I’ll give it a try later this month and post how it went.  I am not sure if I can make a Marth Stewart recipe better, but I’m sure going to give it a try.

Shades of Green over Brown Rice

February 10, 2010 § 2 Comments

The older I get, the more I come to the realization that I am really a minimalist at heart.  This recipe is a perfect example.  It has five ingredients, takes 20 minutes to make, and is three different shades of green, so it looks pretty!

Before you begin the vegetables, begin to cook your brown rice according to the instructions on the package.  You should start to cook the rice about 10-15 minutes before beginning the vegetables.

The ingredients:

  • Romanesco broccoli (this is a type of cauliflower)
  • 2 large leaves of a leek
  • a handful of snow peas
  • sesame oil
  • cooked brown rice

I just love the way the Romanesco broccoli looks — it seems unnatural the way the spirals are perfectly formed, but in fact, the Romanesco  broccoli (sometimes called the Romanesco cauliflower) is an heirloom breed that has been grown since the 16th century in Italy.  According to the guy from the farm I bought it from, this type of cauliflower has 5x more nutrients than regular cauliflower.  
Planet Green has some more great photos and a great description of the plant’s background.

Here is how to make the dish:

  • Chop the Romanesco cauliflower into quarters and remove the hard stem.  The flower should then disassemble (with your help) itself into small 1″ pieces.
  • Chop the leek leaves into small pieces.
  • Heat skillet and add two tablespoons of sesame oil, throw everything in, and salt to taste.
  • Sauté on med-high for about 5-10 minutes.  (Note: the time you cook will depend on whether you like your vegetables softer or crisper.  I like them somewhere in the middle, so I sauté for about 7 minutes.

Doesn’t it look so zen with all those shades of green?

The final dish is simple and amazing.  Because of its simplicity, you could really appreciate the taste of each vegetable and the hint of sesame.  The Romanesco cauliflower is really a unique taste that is quite distinct from both cauliflower and broccoli.

Bon appetit!

Snow White Turnip Salad Tuesday

February 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

I call this salad “snow white” because it literally is the color and look of a handful of snow when its finished.  It could not be easier to make and makes a great side salad or appetizer.

Here is what you need:

  • turnips (I used 2 turnips and 1 rutabaga, but you should estimate about 1/2 – 1 turnip per person and use whatever ratio of turnip to rutabaga you desire)
  • olive oil
  • salt (I used Mediterranean pink salt from Trader Joe’s)

Shred the turnips either by hand or using a food processor, add 1/2 – 1 tablespoons of olive oil per three turnips.  Salt to taste.

… and voila!

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