Monday, April 26, 2010

weekly granola

I'm obsessed with granola. For some reason, it just struck me a few weeks ago that homemade granola is an ideal breakfast. I can control the sugar and fat levels, everything is of the highest quality, and I know there is no questionable crap in it. Throw a handful on top of some fat free Greek yogurt and you have a filling, nutritious, tasty breakfast. And the best thing about it is that I can constantly change it up, so I don't get too tired of eating it several times a week. It's a fun puzzle to come up with interesting flavor combinations every week. Sometimes I want something a little strange, sometimes something classic. I've made an island-inspired flavor with pineapple, coconut, and macadamia nuts. A sort of middle-eastern flavor with apricots, cashews, and cardamom. This week, it's my super-health mix: blueberry for antioxidants, almonds for calcium and vitamin E, flax seed for fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. I use olive oil in all of my granolas for flavor and healthy fat, and I sweeten with agave syrup, which apparently has a lower glycemic index than sugar or honey. Normally I don't worry too much about that, but I'm experimenting with the glycemic index issue for breakfast, to see if it keeps me on a more even level throughout the day.

Alright, that is a paragraph of way more healthiness than I am normally inclined to discuss on this blog, so I'll stop now. Did I tell you that I tasted a heavenly lardo at Dickson's the other day? Recipe after the jump:


3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup raw pumkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup flax seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch ground clove
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup light agave syrup
1 cup dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except blueberries. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before breaking up. Break up into a large bowl and add the blueberries, tossing to combine.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

lemon! pie! lemon pie!

What is this, the 50th lemon pie I've made on here? Who is obsessed with lemon pie? I am!

And this one was really pretty interesting: Shaker Lemon Pie. This sour marmalade-like pie is said to be an old specialty of the Ohio Shakers, and is beautiful in both its simplicity and its craftiness. Kind of like their furniture! It uses the whole lemon, peel and all, to add a depth of flavor and let no part go wasted. For a lemon fiend like myself - who also happens to be baking pie crusts like a maniac lately - it is a perfect slice of tart and sweet and fresh and even a tiny bit bitter. Not for the those who are ambivalent about lemons.

I used Meyer lemons for this recipe, well, mostly just because I could. Recipe after the jump:


1 recipe pie crust for a 2-crust 9" pie (My Favorite)
4 Meyer lemons
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs

Slice the whole lemons as thinly as possible, taking care to remove all seeds (use a mandoline if you have one). Toss with the sugar and salt and set aside.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Roll out half of your chilled pie crust and line a 9" pie plate. Cut off the excess, leaving about 3/4 of an inch overhang all around. Place in the freezer to chill while you prepare the filling.

Beat the eggs well with the vanilla and stir into the lemons. Remove the chilled pie crust from the freezer and pour in the lemons.

Roll out your top crust and place, cutting away overhang. Tuck the edges of the top crust under the overhang of the bottom and crimp to seal. Cut slits or a hole to allow steam to escape. If desired, brush the crust with egg white and sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top. Put back in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.

Bake the chilled pie on the lowest rack for 15 minutes at 450°F. Then turn the heat down to 375°F and move to the center rack. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the crust is golden. If the crust edges begin browning too much cover with foil.

Let cool for at least half an hour before eating. This pie is great with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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Monday, April 05, 2010

j-cat cooks: sweet and spicy lamb ribs

Part two of the series "We Are Obsessed with Lamb". Sticky and sweet, spicy and lamby. J-Cat had himself a craving for a some lamb ribs and went above and beyond with these. The combination of ancho chile and cayenne pepper with orange marmalade and red wine vinegar was balanced and even, and perfectly messy. This was one of those meals where there may have been other dishes on the table, but we just hunkered down and ripped away at these ribs and didn't speak for a while. And used many many napkins. Recipe after the jump:

Adapted from Gourmet, May 2007

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons pure chile powder (preferably ancho)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 to 3 1/4 lb Denver ribs (lamb breast spareribs; 2 racks)
1/2 cup orange marmalade (not bitter)
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar

Marinate ribs:
Stir together oil, garlic, chile powder, cumin, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, and 2 teaspoons salt in a small bowl. Pat lamb dry and rub all over with spice mixture. Transfer lamb to a large sealable plastic bag and seal bag, pressing out excess air. Marinate lamb, chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight.

About 1 hour before you're ready to cook, remove the ribs from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Transfer lamb to a 17- by 12-inch heavy shallow baking pan and cover pan tightly with foil, then bake 1 1/4 hours.

Meanwhile, stir together marmalade, vinegar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a 1-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

Discard foil from lamb and carefully pour off and discard fat from pan. Brush lamb with some of marmalade glaze and roast, basting every 10 minutes (use all of glaze) and turning racks over every 20 minutes, until browned and tender, about 1 hour. Cut racks into individual ribs.

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