Sunday, May 22, 2011

Muesli Breakfast Bars

"The original breakfast cereal called muesli (a German word meaning 'mixture') combined rolled oats with nuts and fruit.  The bars here are perfect for breakfast-on-the-go or for a healthful snack anytime."

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup soy flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup sliced almonds or chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup dried apples, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark honey
1/2 cup natural unsalted peanut butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Lightly coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with olive oil cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, dry milk, wheat germ, almonds, apples, raisins, and salt.  Stir well to blend, and set aside.

In a small saucepan, stir together the honey, peanut butter, and olive oil over medium-low heat until well blended.  Do not let the mixture boil.  Stir in the vanilla.  

Add the warm honey mixture to the dry ingredients and stir quickly until well combined.  The mixture should be sticky but not wet.

Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan.  Press firmly to remove any air pockets.  Bake just until the edges begin to brown, about 25 minutes.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then cut into 24 bars.  When just cool enough to handle, remove the bars from the pan and place on the rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

My Review

These hearty bars are packed full of flavor.  They went well with coffee in the morning and an afternoon snack for my daughter.  This batch made 24 bars and I wrapped them individually to stay fresh and to take on-the-go.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Miso-Glazed Bacon and Asparagus

"Nothing with bacon wrapped around it can ever be bad and this is a case in point.  The snap of the asparagus paired with the sweet of the miso all combined in a little bacon wrapper and roasted in the oven is simple and delicious."

24 asparagus spears, bottom 2 inches trimmed
12 smoked bacon slices, halved crosswise
Bamboo toothpicks, soaked in water
1/4 cup shiro miso (white miso paste)
1/2 cup mirin (sweetened rice wine)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame seeds


Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Peel the asparagus stalks and halve each spear crosswise.  Place an asparagus tip and stalk across each bacon strip, then roll them up and secure with a bamboo toothpick, pushing the toothpick through both pieces of asparagus.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the miso, mirin, sugar, and lemon.  

Arrange the asparagus bundles on a rimmed baking sheet...

Brush with the miso glaze, and bake until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and bake until the bacon is cooked and slightly crispy around the edges, about 5 minutes longer.

Serves 6

My Review

These are fabulous little bites.  They made the perfect Spring appetizer for a family brunch today and we couldn't stop eating them!  Crisp asparagus, smoked bacon and a touch of sweetness... you can't go wrong with this one.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spicy Cauliflower Soup

"This is an unusually spicy and full-flavored soup; if necessary, adjust the pungent spices to your comfort level."

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
6 cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed of green leaves and coarsely chopped
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon dried chile flakes
Fresh-ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot.

Add and cook onion, carrot, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, chile powder, turmeric, chile flakes, salt and pepper stirring often, over medium heat.

When very soft but not browned, add the cilantro sprigs, cauliflower, chicken broth and water.

Raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very tender, about 30 minutes.  Stir vigorously with a spoon or whisk to coarsely puree the soup.  You may need to add more broth or water to thin the soup if it is too thick.  Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and serve hot.  Garnish each serving with yogurt, chopped cilantro or mint and a squeeze of lime juice.

Makes 2 quarts; 4 to 6 servings

My Review

This fragrant soup has the perfect amount of spice.  The cauliflower picks up all the flavors.  I used my stick blender to puree the soup.  Adding the garnishes makes this one!  

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Slow-Braised Pork Pot Roast with Apples & Onions

"My friends go crazy for this flavorful dish, nodding approval while fitting in compliments between mouthfuls and sopping up every dribble of juice with their bread."


1 (2 1/2 pound) boneless pork shoulder or butt roast
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 Gala apples, each cut into 8 chunks
1 large onion, cut into 16 chunks
2 large springs fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, optional
1/3 cup raspberry or white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F. 

Pat dry the pork roast and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.  

Place apples, onion, thyme, and garlic in a small roasting pan...


and set the pork roast on top.  Sprinkle with the caraway seeds.

Mix together the vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolved...


then pour it around the pork.

Place the pork in the oven and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.  Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and continue roasting for about 1 1/2 hours more, until the pork is fork-tender.  The total roasting time will be about 2 1/2 hours.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

My Review

From Seattle's Culinary Diva, Kathy Casey delivers this succulent recipe that is a must try.  Savory, sweet and tangy flavors melt together in one pot.  This simple dish results in a great comfort meal to feed a crowd.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pomegranate Martini

"A perfect balance of sweet and tart, and blushed with color.  Bring out the seasonal joy of fresh pomegranates with a garnish of fresh ruby-red seeds."

superfine sugar
1 lemon wedge
2 ounces (1/4 cup) citrus vodka
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) pomegranate juice
1/4 ounce (1 1/2 teaspoons) fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grenadine
6 pomegranate seeds
lemon twist

Spread a little superfine sugar on a small saucer.  Rub the rim of the martini glass with the lemon wedge,

and then invert the glass onto the sugar to coat the rim.  Discard the wedge.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the vodka, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and grenadine.  Cover, shake vigorously,

and then strain into the prepared glass. 

Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and lemon twist.

Serves 1

My Review

The perfect holiday liquid refreshment!  This festive bev would be a fun addition to your holiday get-togethers this season.  Easy to make and easy to drink...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Peasant Soup

"Something I make on a long dark afternoon to chase autumnal blues away.  It's simple and endlessly variable.  You could put whatever you have hanging around in it."

1 onion, chopped
About 3 tablespoons of olive oil
A few cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cups of chopped kale
1 quart of vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup of white wine
2 cups of cooked or drained canned cannellini beans
1/2-1 cup of grated Parmesan

Begin, as always, with the onion, oil and garlic in a heavy, bottomed pan.  Cook on low for about 5 minutes.  

Add the carrot, celery and kale and stir for another 3 minutes or so. 

Pour on the stock if it gets sticky before then, otherwise, add it at this stage along with the wine.  Simmer on low for 20 minutes and then add the beans.

Simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the Parmesan.  Fish out the garlic at the end just before serving.  You can make this as thick or thin as you want; go by instinct and taste, adding or taking away as you want.

Serves 4-6

My Review

Ok, I confess...  I bought another cookbook!  I could not resist this one from Sophie Dahl (author, Roald Dahl's granddaughter).  This beautiful cookbook is filled with gorgeous photos and stories from Sophie.  Organized by seasons, this recipe is from the chapter, autumn suppers.  I could look at this book all day and dream. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spinach Frittata

"Since the ingredients in this recipe are ones you may well have on hand, this Italian-style omelet makes for an easy supper."

1 t olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups baby spinach leaves
3 whole eggs, plus 4 egg whites
3/4 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
2 waxy red or white potatoes, peeled and shredded
2 T julienned fresh basil
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella or provolone cheese

Preheat the broiler.  Position the rack 4 inches from the heat source.

In a large, nonstick frying pan with a flameproof handle, heat 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and saute until softened, about 1 minute.

Stir in the spinach and cook until it wilts, 1-2 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl.  Set the frying pan aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the whole eggs and egg whites.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.  Set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat and heat the remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.  Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the bell pepper...

and the potatoes and cook until the potatoes begin to brown but are still tender-crisp, 2-3 minutes.  Spread the potatoes in an even layer in the pan. 

Spread the spinach evenly over the potatoes.

Sprinkle with the basil.  Pour in the beaten eggs and sprinkle evenly with the cheese.

Cook until slightly set, about 2 minutes.

Carefully place the pan under the broiler the broil until the frittata is brown and puffy and completely set, about 3 minutes.  Gently slide onto a warmed serving platter and cut into wedges.  Serve immediately. 

Serves 4

My Review

This is a great frittata recipe...  hearty enough for dinner and filled with scrumptious flavors.  So easy and so versatile.