Sunday, July 26, 2009

Homemade Granola

The recipe for this granola came from a new blog that I’ve recently discovered called Kiss My Spatula. The recipe can be found here.

I decided to make this after reading Kiss My Spatula, and I thought about the 25 pound bag of oats I have. Oatmeal is my breakfast of choice in winter, but not in summer. I have also been reading about the glycemic index of various foods, and oats are really excellent in terms of the glycemic load. The nature of the fiber in oats is such that one metabolizes them more slowly, thus they stick with you longer and keep you feeling satisfied longer. This, I need.

But the best part is how really wonderful this freshly made granola tastes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chai Tea Ice Cream

Oh boy. This is good stuff. I modified a recipe for Black Currant Tea ice cream from the David Lebovitz book, The Perfect Scoop, changing it to a chai tea base. This involving steeping Darjeeling tea, nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves in milk, sugar, and heavy cream for an hour. If I had had fresh ginger around, I would have thrown that in there too. If you’re interesting in formulating your own chai tea recipe, this website was very helpful.

This is a custard-based ice cream, but the extra trouble that takes is very much worth it. There isn’t a crystal of ice to be found in it. Michael and Isaac used words like luscious and creamy. Well, Isaac also said palatable. Later he told me that he is now converted into a chai tea fan. I suggested to him that it was a gateway drug into stronger forms of caffeine.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Grilled Tuna Salad "Sandwich"

Sherry and Mike Hebert are good friends of mine who live in Minneapolis. Sherry and I taught school together back in the early 90's in Illinois. But then I moved to Utah, and she moved to Minnesota. Soon after, we began having an annual trip to hang out. On one of the early trips, we ate this salad at Anthony's Pier 4 in Boston. We re-created it tonight in Minneapolis. This "sandwich" consists of grilled tuna, served on top of salad greens, with lots of vinaigrette. The olives and avocado are optional, but really nice. In this case, the olives were genuine nicoise olives from France. The vinaigrette is made from 2 parts olive oil to one part vinegar (we used Trader Giotto's balsamic), plus a little mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper. We grilled the bread (a sourdough boule from Lund's), which goes underneath the salad. The original salad did not have grilled bread, but it was a nice touch. Served with an Argentinian chardonnay on the deck, with the kitties close by for little bites of tuna.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt


You can’t buy this stuff. You can only make it. It has intense strawberry flavor, from, duh, real strawberries. Whole milk yogurt with a touch of honey and no weird thickeners makes a lovely base. The recipe is from my newest cookbook acquisition: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. He occasionally posts some of the recipes from this book on his blog, which is where I got the teaser recipes that forced me to buy this wonderful book. I won’t post the recipe here, because I would rather not deprive an author of income that might result from the purchase of a book.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lamb Burgers with Gorgonzola in a Pita Pocket




1 lb. ground lamb (grass fed from Lau Family Farms)
1/2 a large red onion, chopped
chopped fresh herbs (whatever you’ve got around)
olive oil
gorgonzola or blue cheese

Saute the onion in olive oil until soft. Combine onion, lamb, salt, pepper, and chopped herbs. I made 3 patties.

Before laying them on the grill, rub olive oil on them so they don’t stick—the lamb is pretty lean. Let them rest while you warm the pita pockets on the grill, which gives them a little flavor and softens them up nicely. Layer the burger and the gorgonzola inside the pita pocket for a nice tidy little package that’s easy to eat. Because the meat has rested a minute, the juices won’t run all over your hands when you bite into this decadent burger.

Serves 3 people with normal appetites.

Sourdough Pancakes


Nearly every weekend, Michael makes sourdough pancakes from sourdough that he started over 30 years ago (when he was married to someone else—because I was 13 and too young to marry at the time). He started it with whole wheat flour, honey, milk, and a little bit of yeast. His father, the old man of the mountains, came to visit him in Flagstaff in 1976, and they hiked into the Grand Canyon a little ways and hiked back out. To celebrate this rare occasion of his father leaving Alaska, he started this batch of sourdough and made him the first batch of pancakes.

The sourdough starter doesn’t have to be started with yeast. He cheated. You just leave whole wheat flour and water in a warmish place. There are wild yeast beasties in the whole wheat, especially if it is stone ground organic flour. (If you want to buy starter, here’s a good place to get it.)

Each time you use it, you must feed it a bit. Michael uses flour and milk or water. Occasionally he adds honey if he hasn’t used it in a long time.

Michael learned to make sourdough pancakes from his father, who learned it, maybe, from his grandmother. Michael is now waiting for his children to show an interest so he can pass it on to them.

To make pancakes he flops some of the sourdough into a bowl and adds more flour, more milk, honey, eggs, oil, and a little bit of baking powder. The consistency should be like runny yogurt. The pans, preferably cast iron skillets, should be hot, but not smoking hot.

We put cheater syrup on it, made from brown sugar, water, and maple flavoring. Once in a while we splurge and buy real maple syrup, or someone gives it to us for Christmas. Michael puts straight molasses on his. I really like to have yogurt and fruit on mine. Isaac is a strictly no butter, plenty of syrup guy. Nancy, when she was little, liked hers with honey.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Chicken Burger on a Brioche Bun

DSC_0003The thought of a regular hamburger made from CAFO beef just doesn’t do it for me. So I looked at the ground turkey, but couldn’t feel much assurance that it was much better than CAFO beef. So, I thought, why not grind my own chicken? I decided to use the organic free range chicken, which I can only hope is raised and slaughtered in less mass-market industrial ways. 'Course, I bought it at Smith's, so it is still a mass-market product. It seems we can only make better choices, and rarely find food that isn't tainted in some way by the way it was produced or transported or sold. Sigh.

To make the burgers, I chopped a shallot in the food processor, threw in some rosemary and thyme, and then the chicken thighs. I whirred those babies up, and it turned into pink goo. I formed the patties grillside, rolling them in olive oil before flattening them and laying them gently on the grill. They cooked up (or in chef-speak, grilled off) pretty quickly, turning into lovely burgers, which I put on these incredible brioche burger buns. DSC_0005

The recipe for the buns came from Smitten Kitchen, which in turn came from an article in the New York Times. If you like reading food blogs and seeing lovely photos of homemade cooking, you’ll like Smitten Kitchen. Deb, the blogger, tried many recipes before finding this one. And she’s right—it’s perfect. I didn't use the bread flour as called for, but I was using King Arthur unbleached all purpose, which has a high protein level (11.7%) like bread flour (which has 12-14% protein) and is made from hard wheat like bread flour. I'm pretty sure the magic of these buns really came from the one egg inside and the eggwash applied to the outside just before baking.

Morrocan Lamb Kebabs with Golden Couscous

We bought lamb from Lau Family Farms last week at the Gardener’s Market. The most suitable use of them had to be kebabs. I searched the Epicurious website for a good recipe and found this. I didn’t use as much garlic as it called for, and that was probably a mistake. More mint would have been good too, but all in all it was pretty tasty. Isaac loved the grilled onions, and the grilled apricots were an interesting note.

The couscous had sauteed onions in it, plus broccoli and toasted almonds. I wish I had remembered to salt the water when I put it in with the couscous. I had to add salt later, which never works out quite as well.

There are three tidy little ferkins of leftovers for lunches this week. Nice.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Birthday Cheesecake

Using Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, I fashioned this lovely cheesecake for my husband’s birthday—his request when I said, “What do you want for your birthday dinner?” So we had a strawberry spinach salad DSC_0098

for our entree (Isaac loved the balsamic vinaigrette due to the use of brown sugar, I think) and cheesecake for our “protein.”

The cake is made from four hunks of cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, a little lemon zest, and lemon juice (not so much as to turn it into a lemon cheesecake, just enough to give it a little oomph). The crust is a traditional graham cracker crumb crust, made with Nabisco Honey Maid graham crackers because they were the only brand of three available that contained actual molasses.

The raspberries are from Bear Lake, via the truck parked near Wellsville. Perfectly ripe, picked this morning, they are a treasure unto themselves. The obligatory sprig of mint is from the backyard—one without so much bird poop on it.