Monday, April 25, 2011

Rose Bakery's Honey Granola

I'm trying to participate more in the "featured cookbook" thing on 101 Cookbooks Library.  The featured book through the end of April is Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery.  Many of the recipes are too heavy for everyday cooking - I don't need to make a whole pan of brownies unless there's a special occasion - but I do love breakfast, so I've been focusing mostly on those recipes.

Up until a few weeks ago, I had been making granola regularly, so I settled on the Honey Granola.  I haven't posted it until now because I didn't take a picture when I made it.  I wasn't crazy about it at first, but it grew on me.  At first I thought I overbaked it, despite the fact that I left it in for the minimum amount of time, but from a discussion on 101 Cookbooks library I realized that's the way it's supposed to be!  I was disappointed, but I noticed myself taking bites throughout the day, and then I realized I actually do like it.  I haven't been eating granola lately, but I'm looking forward to giving this recipe another try in the future.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I've never had muesli before.  At least not the right way.  On our vacation in January I had a delicious muesli at a breakfast buffet.  But I ate it just as a cereal, with milk, and didn't give it time to soak.  This Muesli from Super Natural Every Day was super simple to make - just mix a few things together and soak overnight in the fridge while it plumps up full of thinned-out yogurt - and super tasty too.

It got me thinking about other muesli recipes I've seen.  There are two in Good to the Grain - one with hazelnuts, rye and quinoa flakes, and dried cherries and cranberries, and another with almonds, pecans, walnuts, spelt and quinoa flakes, figs and apricots - and one on 101 Cookbooks with dried peaches and apples, sweetened with honey.  I'm thinking about my own flavor combinations too - mainly apricot and pistachio.  I'd also like to try the mixed rolled grains in place of some of the oats for a little variety.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Orzo Salad

I made this Orzo Salad from Super Natural Every Day with a friend who doesn't like cheese or pine nuts (two key ingredients in the pesto) and she had seconds!  I love a good vegetable pesto.  The pesto is made from broccoli, and there are also broccoli florets in the salad.  The creme fraiche in the pesto made it unique.  I've never used creme fraiche before - it's kind of a cross between yogurt and butter.  Kind of the consistency of yogurt, but tastes kind of like flavorless butter.  It's confusing, but I know that you can make cultured butter from creme fraiche, so I don't think I'm too far off here.

Sadly, this was not as good the second day.  Maybe it was too cold while I was eating it, but I was totally overwhelmed by the garlic, which didn't happen when it was fresh.  I liked it, but I'm not sure I'll make it again.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Harissa Ravioli

The Harissa Ravioli is this week's second Super Natural Every Day recipe.  It's somewhat similar to the Harissa Spaghettini recipe I posted last month - they both have a spicy, lemony harissa oil dressing.  This one, however, uses ravioli as the pasta (we used a spinach/ricotta stuffed ravioli) and broccoli florets.  We added feta to the Harissa Spaghettini, and this recipe actually calls for it.

We liked this a lot.  We are really digging the stuffed pasta dishes.  Here, I could have swapped out some of the broccoli - maybe for some of the leftover asparagus from the Tortellini Salad.  I used half of the harissa called for, and it was plenty spicy - this stuff is pretty strong.  I omitted the black olives out of laziness (and Ken hates them) and we decided on toasted slivered almonds for the crunchy aspect, but I'd like to try the pepitas next time.  The recipe says it serves 4, but we used slightly less ravioli and polished it off between the two of us.  I see some more stuffed pasta dishes in our future!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tortellini Salad

I chose a few recipes to make from Super Natural Every Day this week and bought all the ingredients - now I'm committed to making them!  First up this week was the Tortellini Salad, with crisp broccoli and asparagus, creamy avocado, a lemony-garlicky dressing, the bright flavor of cilantro, and crunchy toasted almonds.  It's served at room temperature, which is perfect for warmer weather.  It wouldn't be too difficult to vary the vegetables, and I could even see doing a grilled version - grilled asparagus or zucchini instead of quickly cooking it in the pasta water - even leftover grilled vegetables would work well here.  We used an asiago-ricotta tortelloni (they're bigger than the little tortellini) which brought a great saltiness that tied the outside of the pasta to the inside.  I'd like to try tortellini next time, since it would more closely match the size of the cut vegetables.  I can't wait to get deeper into this book - so far I'm very pleased with the recipes I've made.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ricotta Pancakes

I've been neglecting the current featured cookbook on the 101 Cookbooks LibraryBreakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery.  In addition to my regular everyday busy schedule, I've been making things from the NY Times Recipes for Health and from Super Natural Cooking, and now Super Natural Every Day.  But I bought some fresh ricotta last weekend specifically for this recipe, and I fully intended to try it!

I made two adaptations to the recipe.  First, I added one tablespoon of sugar because I wanted just a bit of sweetness to it.  Also, I ran out of all-purpose flour, which I didn't mind because I didn't want to use all AP flour anyway, but I substituted 25 grams (out of 150) with whole wheat pastry flour.  I think it would work fine to increase the amount, but I ran out of AP at 125 grams, so that's why I chose that amount.  I love that the measurements are in grams - it was way faster and less messy to measure with my scale.

I'd love to try sprinkling in some blueberries - they go well with ricotta and I think they would be great to sweeten up this pancake.  I'd also like to try a savory application, with some chopped fresh herbs and sauteed mushrooms/vegetables.  That could make a nice brunch or dinner, or maybe even a savory breakfast (though that's usually not my thing).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

White Beans & Cabbage

It's finally here - Heidi's new book, Super Natural Every Day, arrived in the mail on Tuesday.  I first made the White Beans & Cabbage pictured on the cover on Wednesday with little success.  The idea is for potatoes and white beans to brown before being tossed with finely shredded cabbage.  I tried to use a stainless skillet, so my potatoes basically crushed themselves into a sheet at the bottom of the pan and prevented everything else from browning.  The result was decent enough to make me want to try again, so I went for it on Friday night with a non-stick skillet.  Everything turned out the way it was supposed to this time, and a generous dusting of finely grated Parmesan tied it all together.

One fun trick I discovered while making this recipe was how to get a fine shred out of cabbage.  I cut it into four quarters, then put the outside part down and held the core with my left hand, kind of like an upside-down triangle.  I ran my knife along the cut side with a downward motion.  I got most of the cabbage shredded finely this way and only had to slice a bit of it.  Knowing this makes me much more inclined to buy and cook cabbage.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bran Muffins with Molasses and Apricots

You'll notice if you look at the linked recipe for these muffins that they are called Molasses Bran Muffins.  Well, the name sounded very familiar to me, so I looked back and saw that I had already made Molasses Bran Muffins from Good to the Grain.  These are different, so I decided they needed a different name as well.

These bran muffins are soft and nice and flavorful.  I like biting into the sweet dried apricots.  Next time I might try to break up the flax seeds to get more of the nutrition out of them.  I think it may also be interesting if I make these, or an adaptation of these, with the pomegranate molasses I got at the market around the corner.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Whole Wheat Oatmeal-Cranberry Muffins

I bought buttermilk recently to make the Granola Muffins and the Buckwheat Amaranth Muffins.  Those two combined used a total of two cups, so I had two cups left to finish in order to avoid wasting any of the buttermilk.  I searched the blogs I read for recipes and found these Whole Wheat Oatmeal-Cranberry Muffins.  I like oats in anything so I decided to make them.

These are fantastic muffins.  They are extremely moist and tasty.  I substituted oil for the 2 tablespoons of applesauce because I didn't have any, but I'd like to try it that way next time to make them healthier.  I was hesitant about the dried cranberries, since they are kinda boring, but I went with them anyway and I think they work really well here.  I'd like to try some frozen cranberries, or orange zest instead of the cinnamon.  I think this could be a great base for a lot of other flavor combinations and different fresh, frozen or dried fruits.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Buckwheat and Amaranth Muffins

Not too long ago I posted about Steel Cut Oatmeal and Blueberry Muffins that I made after I saw the extremely exciting MUFFIN feature in the Recipes for Health section of the NY Times.  These Buckwheat and Amaranth Muffins are another recipe from that series that I had been just dying to try.  You can't see them in the picture, but these muffins have big blackberry-bombs in them.  In fact, 3 or 4 of the muffins had a big chunk fall out the bottom because the blackberry was a bit too close to the edge.  Next time I'll put a small scoop of batter in each cup before I even mix in the blackberries.  And yes, there will be a next time, because these were delicious.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Granola Muffins

I have been making granola almost every weekend.  It started when one of my friends from school was doing South Beach and said she had trouble thinking of things to eat for breakfast that were whole grain.  I suggested granola and she said she would buy some.  BUY some?!  Um, no.  You can make that yourself in like 5 seconds and it is a hundred times better.  She has no interest in doing that, though, so I said I would make her some.  And then I just kept making it every week.

Recently I had a little too much granola.  I saw these Granola Muffins in the NY Times Recipes for Health section and I really wanted to make them.  I used the Honey Granola I made from the Rose Bakery cookbook (I'll post about that soon).  I used dried cranberries here.  I think they taste great, and what a fantastic way to use up extra granola!  I put a bunch in the freezer, so we will get to enjoy them for a while.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Breakfast Grains: Part 1

Ken and I like steel-cut oats or other hot breakfast cereals as a filling morning meal.  I sometimes get bored of them, so I make some similar options for variety.  I thought I'd make notes about some here.  Look for a follow-up post containing more ideas, mostly grains besides oats made into less traditional breakfast cereals.

Quaker Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats I like some plain oatmeal sometimes.  I make it with half water, half soymilk to make it creamy and vanilla-y.  Sometimes I like to jazz it up and make a fancy oatmeal, like Apple Pie Oatmeal or Banana Bread Oatmeal.  I've also been using it to make a ton of granola.

Nature's Promise Organic Steel Cut Oats (Stop & Shop's organic brand) This is the cereal that started it all (the advance cooking of breakfasts, and this post).  The oat groats (funny name, isn't it?) are cut fairly small so it doesn't take all that long to cook, maybe half an hour, but I still make it the night before.  One batch makes 4 servings, which are fairly small servings but quite filling, although I then have to find something for the 5th weekday.  This is a classic breakfast, so not many fun surprises, but it is very versatile.  You could top it with a variety of things, but I particularly like it with the hazelnut topping from the hazelnut muffins.

Bob's Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal This reminded me of cream of wheat, but with oats.  It's basically ground-up steel cut oats.  Definitely whisk it in or it will clump up and the middles of the clumps won't cook.  I made this with half 1% milk, half water.  As with the above, you could top it with quite a few things, but I liked it plain just as well.

Bob's Red Mill 5-Grain Rolled Cereal I decided to make this for myself one day, and since it makes two servings, I figured I'd give Ken the other half for the next day's breakfast.  Not thinking about that last part, I made it with half water and half soymilk.  Once I remembered the other half was for him I decided not to tell him and instead to see how he thought it was.  He LOVED it and I'm just never going to tell him it's made with soymilk.  (I want to try this trick with some other cereals too.)  At first I didn't want to tell him, but I let it slip after a while and he liked it so much that he was fine with it.  This one is used the most in my kitchen (after regular rolled oats), and as a plus, the rolled grains are great in granola, granola bars or oatmeal cookies instead of just plain rolled oats.

Bob's Red Mill 10-Grain Hot Cereal I first bought this cracked grain cereal for the Banana Cereal Muffins in Good to the Grain (it's the cereal, of course) but I've also had it as a breakfast cereal.  I mixed in a dollop of honey, that's it.  Very tasty.

"Grandma's Grain" This is a recipe I've been meaning to try for a while, and I'm glad I finally got to it.  I followed the directions, using red rice (from the last-ingredient options).  I found it was just a bit too salty, though I can understand why the salt was added in the first place.  This recipe made 9 cups, which is just a little too much breakfast for us, as I don't like to eat the same thing every day.  I suppose it could be frozen, but I didn't try it.  I'm not sure it would be too good to eat as breakfast when it came out, but might be a neat mix-in for pancakes or something.