Friday, November 25, 2011

A pictureless summary

While I'm waiting for my official photographer to send me our Thanksgiving photos, I thought I'd share some notes on recipes that I haven't gotten around to posting about.  I've got a few posts started for recipes that I never photographed - since the main point of my blog is to post about the food I make and to avoid making the same mistakes twice, I'm going to share them quickly all at once, instead of dedicating a separate post to each.  Tune in later this weekend for our Thanksgiving post and for some Italy pictures!

Coconut Granola Bars
The coconut granola bars, from NY Times Recipes for Health, were a tasty treat on our vacation.  We snacked on them at the airport and on the plane, crumbled some into yogurt at the continental breakfast, and left a few for Deanna's roommates too.  They were super easy and very crunchy.  If you like those Nature Valley crunchy oats and honey granola bars, you'll like these, and you'll be eating a home-cooked, less-processed (and therefore BETTER) version of them.

Napa Cabbage Salad with Peanuts and Cilantro
I found the recipe for this salad in Deborah Madison's book, Local Flavors.   I made a number of changes to this based on what I had on hand. (It was good, but I thought it would be even better as written.) I didn't have any lettuce, so I used entirely cabbage, and a bit more than called for, a change I think was great! I omitted the scallions because I didn't have any, so I added in a shallot with the dressing. I made the dressing in the blender, and I also added the cilantro to the dressing instead of the salad. I skipped the basil and mint because I didn't have any. Next time I would add extra carrots too!

Fire-Roasted Tomato Stew with Eggplant, Bulgur, and Chickpeas
This one comes from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals.  It's been a while since I made it (eggplant season), but it was good.  I stuck a bit in the freezer for lunches.  The chickpeas are an optional addition, but I think it's always better to toss in some vegetable-based protein when you have the opportunity.  I used bulgur instead of farro, because it's cheaper and I wasn't sure how this would turn out, and also because I thought it would go better with the other flavors.  I was a fan of the golden raisins - if I remember correctly the recipe called for regular dark raisins, but I prefer the golden ones, and I thought they gave the stew an interesting dimension of flavor.

Slow-Cooker Black Bean Mushroom Chili
I made this chili recipe in the slow cooker I got for my birthday.  My old slow cooker is very temperamental and the temperatures seem to be off (thanks to the internet, I've found that this is a very common complaint with that particular brand and model).  My new one lets you set the time by the half hour, and you can jump straight to warm if that's what you want.  This chili recipe uses dried beans, which cooked very well in the 8 hours in the slow cooker.  One complaint is the fresh tomatillos I used - I don't think we scrubbed them well enough and their sticky coating lent a slightly bitter taste to the chili.  The mushrooms gave it a nice meaty element and the spices were a little unusual and interesting.  I would try this one again, maybe with the tomatillos I canned several weeks ago in place of fresh ones.

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