Friday, September 09, 2016

Almond, Blueberry, and Maple Granola


Granola is always awesome, but it's very expensive to buy at the store. Making it at home is inexpensive and just takes a few minutes of active prep time, plus 80 minutes in the oven. For the blueberries, I buy fresh blueberries in massive quantities when they're in season and deeply discounted, then dry them. Typically I do this until I've got about a gallon dried total. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can either oven or sun dry them (If you've opted for sun drying, freeze them for 72 hours after they're finished to kill any possible insect eggs that may have been laid anyway and then store in the pantry). If you want some clumps, squeeze the mixture well once you've put it in the half sheet pan. Otherwise, it will be more like loose cereal.

4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup each: wheat germ, wheat bran, flax seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup each: vegetable oil, maple syrup
 1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 250. Put together all of the dry ingredients except the berries in a large bowl. Whisk together the wet ingredients until well-combined (this takes a couple of minutes), then stir them into the dry until everything is well coated. Spread out on a half-sheet pan and put in the oven. Bake for 1h20m, stirring every 15 minutes (I use a timer b/c I often forget I'm cooking things). Mix in berries when it comes out of the oven. Let cool on a rack in the pan, then transfer to an airtight container. Makes a lot.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Puttanesca Meatloaf

This is a two-in-one meal, as you can make the sauce and eat the remainder of it with pasta (or as sauce for pizza; you can also freeze the leftover sauce for a future meal). In general, I am not a huge fan of meatloaf. Mostly because people tend to put the onions in raw, and the flavor of ground meat and onions that cooked together icks me out. Ross, however, has been asking me for the last few weeks to make him a meatloaf. Specifically, a meatloaf topped with puttanesca sauce in lieu of the more typical ketchup or tomato sauce topping. I stalled on this, because I had some trouble figuring out how I would make this so it wouldn't seem gross to me. I needn't have worried, though: Ross ate almost the entire thing in two sittings.

As it's summer here, I try to make all oven items early in the morning or later at night so it doesn't overheat out house. I made this last night for him, and we were intended to have it tonight for dinner. As soon as it came out of the oven, he ate 3/4 of it. I gave a smaller slice to the Piggy for breakfast (because I'm lazy and it was 7:30am), and then he ate the rest for lunch in sandwiches. I have no idea what it tastes like, but apparently it's good. Hope you enjoy!

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, diced
salt to taste

1 pound ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon each: dried mint, dried parsley, dried basil, paprika, sumac (you can replace the sumac with lemon peel)
1/2 teaspoon each: thyme, marjoram
1 large handful (probably 1/3-1/2 cup) panko
1/2 cup corn kernels (mine were roasted, but yours don't have to be)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 - 1 1/2 cups puttanesca sauce

 Heat oven to 350. Melt butter in small skillet over medium, then add onions and salt. Fry onions until well-browned. Combine onions, beef, spices, panko, and corn. Knead well until everything is completely incorporated, then knead in egg. Oil loaf pan with the vegetable oil, then put the meat mixture in the pan, smoothing out the top. Spread sauce over the top, then bake for 1 hour. Let sit 5-10 minutes before eating. Serves 1-4, depending on appetite.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Rice Pudding with Fresh Dates

I had purchased a pound of fresh dates recently, and we ate on them a bit before realizing we all like them just a bit riper. In interest of not having them go to waste,  I decided to go on ahead and make a rice pudding. Dates are naturally high in sugar, and although these were less sweet than I prefer, I only added just a touch of sugar to compensate for that. Additionally, I made for dinner something I was fairly certain the Piggy wasn't going to enjoy, so this functioned as her dinner and our dessert, as rice is amongst her favorite foods no matter how it's prepared. Hope you enjoy!

1/2 stick butter
12 ounces fresh dates, pitted and chopped (I just cut these in quarters lengthwise, then cut them in half width-wise)
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
juice of 1 small lemon (probably 2 tablespoons)

1 cup rice
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, then add dates, sugar, and lemon juice. Cover and let cook 20-30 minutes, or until dates are very soft. Add rice, milk, and cream, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the liquids are absorbed. If you like, this can be garnished with candied lemon peel. Serves 4.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blackberry-Vanilla-Black Pepper Jam

And, the last of the blackberry jams. Hope you enjoy!

2 pounds blackberries
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

Place peppercorns in a tea strainer or similar. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and macerate 1-2 hours. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes before removing peppercorns and vanilla pod (save the pod, rinsing it well, to toss in a jug of bourbon or to put in sugar for vanilla sugar). Finish boiling until it reaches the gel-point, then water bath process for 15 minutes. Makes 4 half-pints.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blackberry-Bergamot Jam

Here's the blackberry-bergamot. If you don't have access to bergamot, feel free to use a regular sour orange. It will change the flavor but will still be tasty. Hope you enjoy!

2 pounds blackberries
2 cups bergamot sugar
pinch salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons bergamot juice

Combine and macerate 1-2 hours. Boil to the gel-point and water bath process 15 minutes. Makes 4 half-pints.