Wow! I am so impressed by the amazing response to my husbands' face book post that it almost makes me want to reinstate my own face book account (I officially exited society as our generation knows it about two months ago; I just never really understood the appeal...)
Maybe I would rejoin face book if all my "friends" could be different foods. Just imagine the newsfeeds (that is what they are called, right?). My "friend" Roasted Red Pepper may post something like: "just got tossed on a crostini with Olive Oil, Basil, and Fresh Mozzarella... Later I'm going to hang out with Pasta and Parmesan." Now, there would be something I could justify spending my time to read.
Please don't think that I am anti-facebook, or a facebook-hater, I just was never good at keeping up with it, which only frustrated my friends and myself. So, instead, I will update you on my life via blog. And really, who cares where I go and what I do? I'll let you know what I eat.
This granola recipe is so simple, and it can be adapted to many different diets: gluten free, vegan. Also, the types of grains and add-ins can be varied, I always just use what I have on hand. There are two keys to making excellent granola: 1.) make sure you use the right ratio of dry to wet ingredients, and 2.) set a timer. Whether its a kitchen timer, a watch, or an alarm clock, you must set a timer. Otherwise you will promise yourself that you will keep an eye on the clock, but before you know it you will smell something burning in the next room as you sit watching the latest Modern Family you TIVOed, and then you will cause your house-mates to think you are loosing your mind as you leap off the sofa and run into the kitchen shouting expletives about granola. Don't believe you could be that easily distracted? My husband once offered to hire a babysitter so I could make granola.
Anyway, everyone who tries it always says they love it and they want the recipe. And today, I am really feelin' the love, so here it is:
Feelin' the Love Granola
makes about 8 cups
1 cup whole-grain flakes, unsweetened
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 tbsp whole ground flaxseed meal (optional- this imparts a slightly nutty, earthy taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon*
1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly ground is best, of course)
pinch of sea salt
3/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
6 tbsp vegetable oil (I use canola)**
6 tbsp real maple syrup
3/4 cup coconut shavings (unsweetened)
1/2 cup craisins (or chopped dates, or raisins)
Preheat oven to 300. Combine flakes, oats, flaxseed, spices, salt, and nuts in a bowl and sir. Drizzle in oil and syrup, stir to coat. Spread a sheet of parchment paper over a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Spread mixture evenly over the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and stir. Bake another 10 minutes, stir. Bake 5 minutes, stir. Add coconut. Bake 5 minutes. Remove. Add craisins.
The granola should be golden, but not brown and not completely dried out.
Sprinkle on yogurt, or just eat plain. Enjoy.
* pretty sure I use way more than this, I never measure my spices (really helpful side note, huh?)
** I have started using just 4 tbsp of olive oil instead, and the taste has definitely improved, plus it's better for you. I also no longer use cooking spray or parchment paper because my awesome husband got me Calaphon baking sheets for Christmas, which I swear by. They make all cookies etc so much easier.
Chicken Spring Rolls with Lime-Chili Dipping Sauce
Yield: 6 rolls
1 1/2 cups precooked, shredded chicken breast
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1/2 cup black Chinese rice
6 spring roll skins (I used Banh Trang brand)
1/2 cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
1 small carrot, cut into thirds, then sliced into matchsticks
6 tbsp each: crushed peanuts, chopped cilantro, and chopped mint
Coat chicken with hoisin sauce, set aside. Rinse rice and combine in a pot with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to boil, then let it simmer until water is absorbed, set aside. Fill a pie plate (or something large and shallow) with water. Collect all your fillings and the spring roll skins:
juice of 2 limes (actually, more like 1 1/2, as one of the limes I used was rock hard)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili-garlic sauce
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce (such as Soy Vay's veri veri teriyaki)
Whisk together all the ingredients. Serve in a small dish with the rolls. Enjoy.
Well, I've done it again. I bought another unripe melon. I was so confident in my melon purchase this time, only to be deeply disappointed. I think I have finally learned a valuable life lesson: when the price of melons has been discounted, don't buy them.
Anyway, my beautiful newlywed friend Kelly is coming for brunch, and she loves all things tropical, so I have decided to make tropical pancakes. The pancake part was her request. The tropical part is because she just returned from her honey moon in Hawaii to May in Oregon.
I am going to tropicalize (yes, that is now a word) the pancakes with mango and cantaloupe sauce. I made it by pureeing about 1 1/4 cups cubed mango with 1 2/3 cups cantaloupe. The sweetness of the mango completely overrides the unripe yuck of the melon. My son went crazy for it when he tried it. Who wouldn't? It's like pure sugar in a sauce. That mixed with some shaved coconut in a pancake... paradise.
1 egg (lightly beaten)
3/4 cup of the mango-melon sauce (or any blend of fruit; pineapple-mango would be divine)
1/4 cup of milk (I used 1%)
1 cup of your favorite whole grain pancake mix* (see recipe at bottom of page to see my newest)
1/2 cup unsweetened shaved coconut, chopped
butter (for cooking)
Whisk together the first 3 ingredients, then stir in pancake mix until fully combined.
Let sit for 15 minutes (this allows the whole grains to absorb the moisture, resulting in a delectably fluffy cake). Stir in the coconut. Heat a griddle on medium-high. Spread some butter over the griddle and allow to melt. Add about 1/4 cup of the batter and cook until bubbles start to form on the top. Flip and cook until the underside is golden-brown. Enjoy.
*The recipe I used already had oil in it. If yours does not, add a little extra mango-melon sauce or add some vegetable oil for moisture (1 tbsp at a time until you have reached desired consistency, should be a thick batter).
So, here is my Official Review of Food Movies:
Eat. Pray. Love.- Julia Roberts stars, surrounded by beautiful scenery and, for the portion in Italy, amazing food. What could be better? (actually, the book is, as Elizabeth Gilbert is an excellent author)
Watch with: bowl of pasta tossed with tomato, basil, and freshly-shaved parmesan... or a Napoleon
Ratatouille- I desperately hope that James will love this movie so I have an excuse to watch it over and over again. It's an animated movie about a lovable mouse who loves... you guessed it: food! This is a must-see for any age.
Watch with: a big bowl of popcorn (recipe following The Official Review) or a root beer float (just because they are fun and delicious) and your favorite people in the under-seven-years-old crowd.
Watch with: anything chocolate. And by chocolate I am not talking about Nestle tollhouse here (although there is a time and a place for everything). I mean real, good, rich chocolate.
No Reservations- I am sorry to lead you on, but no, sadly, this is not a full-length film starring Anthony Bourdain. It is a romantic comedy (I believe it's based on a German movie called Mostly Martha) starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, and that adorable girl from Little Miss Sunshine. And, like all romantic comedies, it is unrealistic and predictable, but also cute and heartwarming.
Watch with: food. I remember a pizza scene, so possibly homemade, warm pizza. (My husband would like me to add steak to my food recommendations for this movie because, well, you'll see when you watch it...)
Julie and Julia- This is my all time favorite food movie. I could watch it again and again. It wasn't up for best picture at the Oscars or anything like that, but it is everything a movie should be: funny, heart-warming, full of food... one part in particular makes me cry every time, and I am not a crier when it comes to movies. Also, Meryl Streep does an incredible job as Julia Child. If you watch any movie from my list, watch this one.
Watch with: a loved one and food. Cheesy anything, or possibly bruschetta (Amy Adams makes some toward the beginning of the movie that makes me want to pause it and grab a snack), or anything French, of course. Bon Appetit!
The Big Night- A kind of strange movie (I think it's a remake?) about two brothers trying to make it in the restaurant business. It does have an all-star cast including Stanley Tucci (also in Julie and Julia), Mini Driver, and that guy that stars in the TV series Monk. The redeeming qualities: Louis Prima music and the food. Favorite quote from the movie: "To eat well is to be close to God."
Watch with: a loaf of crusty bread with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip.
I have a fabulous problem: every time I see my mom, she loads me up with herbs that she buys in huge bundles from New Seasons. They are wonderfully fresh, aromatic, and liven up everything I put them in. This is great for many reasons, including the fact that every herb (or plant for that matter) that I am given or that I buy, ends up dying. While my neighbors apparently cannot control their rosemary bushes that are growing like weeds, I spent almost a year trying to nurse my little potted sprig back to life, before finally giving up when winter hit.
The constant supply of herbs from my mother is only a problem because the over-abundance can, sadly, lead to some herb fatalities. For example, I discovered a handful of brown and withering thyme in the back of the refrigerator. So, today was the day I decided that I must use up the herbs.
The tart crust recipe is this one from Chocolate and Zucchini, but I substituted the dried herbs for about 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary. Yum. Also, all the steps aren't necessary if you are just making a rustic flatbread. After you have incorporated the water and oil and kneaded the dough a couple times in the bowl, simply turn it onto the greased baking sheet and roll it out to desired thickness on the sheet. Then proceed with the following:
1 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
3 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
8 turns of the salt mill
6 turns of the pepper mill
2 tomatoes on the vine, sliced
about 1 1/4 cups asiago, grated
parmesan for sprinkling
To assemble: coat the dough with the oil. Then spread the minced garlic, half the sage, and half the oregano over the dough. Evenly cover with salt and pepper. Spread tomatoes over dough in one layer, sprinkle with asiago cheese and the remaining herbs. Bake at 400 for about 20-30 minutes (until browning around outer edge of the flatbread). Sprinkle with parmesan. Enjoy.
Today is the exact date when one year ago my husband started his amazing-straight-out-of-college job. I am so proud of him, how hard he worked to graduate with two degrees, and how hard he works now to provide for his family. And what better way to say "thank you" and "I am so proud of you" and even "I love you" than with butter and sugar?
So I made one of his favorite desserts, coconut cupcakes with lime butter cream frosting.
The cakes are light, melt-in-your-mouth, and the butter cream frosting is, well, buttery and creamy, and spiked with just the right amount of lime juice to contrast the indulgent sweetness. Try them, and get a little taste of tropical paradise.
Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009
*The recipe states it makes one dozen, but I think this is done by those brilliant cooking light test kitchen chefs (dream job!) in order to claim that each little cupcake has less calories in them than when you make nine normal size cupcakes. Use this recipe, but just make nine, because, let's be honest, if you made 12 smaller cupcakes, you would have to eat two.
For the cakes:
4.5 oz all-purpose flour
3 tbsp potato starch (I think you can sub corn starch)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
2 tbsp butter (softened)
1 egg and 1 egg white
2/3 c milk (I used 1%)
3 tbsp shredded sweetened coconut (I also added about 1/4 c unsweetened shaved coconut)
Preheat oven to 350. Grease nine* muffin cups, or line with liners. Combine flour, starch, baking powder, and salt; stir together.
Beat sugar and butter together until mixture resembles course sand. Add egg and egg white, beat well. Add flour mixture and milk alternatively to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in coconut. Pour equal amounts into the nine prepared muffin cups, fill the remaining three with water to prevent burning. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until done in center. Cool two minutes in pan, then turn onto rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
3 tbsp butter (softened)
splash (about 1 tsp) milk or cream
zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
about 1 c powdered sugar
Beat butter, milk, lime zest and juice. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Enjoy.
I spent today with my mother and my son in my favorite place on Earth: Multnomah Village.
I was very blessed to live in this sleepy little corner of Southwest Portland for the first eighteen years of my life. It was the perfect place to grow up, with charming neighborhoods and a beautiful, lush park that surrounds a quaint little row of shops known as "the Village."
It seems that time stands still in this village; it's like your favorite fairy tale storybook that you can return to at any age and be delighted with each time.
My son, James, had never been in the village in all his ten months of life, so when my mom asked what would I like to do with a free sunny Friday, visiting Multnomah seemed the obvious answer.
We started at O'Connor's.
This Portland landmark was started in 1934 in downtown Portland before moving to the village in 1991. It serves wonderful classics with a Cajun twist. We have traditionally gone for breakfast, but I do recall having burgers and salads on the back deck. Today I ordered Kate's special (also a favorite of a very kind waitress who remembered my name although it has been too long since I have dined there!). This dish was a mixture of tomatoes, onions, and seasoned potatoes topped with creole sauce, salsa, an egg, and then smothered in cheese. Yum.
There is something for everyone in Gabriel Park: a community garden, grassy fields, wooded trails, a skate park, a dog park, tennis courts, basketball courts, multiple baseball fields, a community center, and a play ground. Our destination was the latter, as we had high hopes for James first swing experience. However, all the eating and shopping and sunshine had been far too exhausting...
So, last night I made these amazing quesadillas. I had to make them again for lunch today so I could photograph them, because I had no idea last night that I would be starting a blog today. Darn.
update on 6/2/11-okay, a quick note- I just made these with cotija cheese, and they were, if possible, even better. Please try this, you won't be sorry
Brie, mango, cilantro, and red onion quesadillas
- 1/2 cup mango, thinly sliced
- about 4 oz brie, thinly sliced (or a good amount of cotija)
- about 1/4 cup cilantro
- 2 tbsp chopped red onion
- 4 tortillas (i love the wheat flour and corn from trader joe's)
Heat 2 tsp olive oil on a skillet. Place tortilla on the skillet, with brie and mango facing up (otherwise you will have quite a mess!). Spread 2 tbsp cilantro and 1 tbsp red onion over the brie and mango on the tortilla. Place the other tortilla over the one on the skillet. Heat both sides until golden-brown spots start to appear.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Enjoy. (serves 2)
*that blog is, sadly, no longer around... Happily, I think the gal quit because she is a new mama :-)
"Fruit's a gamble; I know that goin' in." -Jerry Seinfeld
So true. I am so frustrated every time I come home from the store and, despite all my slapping and tapping and acting like I know how to pick a ripe melon, I cut it open to find it is tough and tasteless. But, it's not like I'm going to return it, so I attempt to use it anyway. First, I give it to my son, James. Who knows? Maybe he will like it?
He picks up a little piece with his now-mastered pincher grasp and cautiously places it in his mouth. He gums it for a second, looks up at me with a furrowed brow, and spits it out onto his shirt. He then avoids the rest of the melon pieces in front of him and concentrates on the more important foods, like cheese. I can't say I blame him.
I then try to give it to my dog, Sadie. She wasn't born yesterday either. After she chews and spits out a couple of pieces, I sigh and decide that I must find a way to use the melon.
So, I made a delicious fruit salad. The key is to mince the melon into small enough pieces that you will never scoop up a bite of only melon. I didn't measure any of the ingredients, but here is a rough estimate:
- 1/2 mango, diced
- 1/4 of an unripe melon, minced
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- 1 cup diced pineapple
- 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- zest of 1 lime