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.