Thursday, May 31, 2012

Whole Grain-Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are simple to make and 100% whole grain.  I was actually surprised at how little flour there is the cookies (just 3/4 cup), but the texture is the same as any other chocolate chip-oatmeal type of cookie. Overall, the dough is a tasty, buttery backdrop for whatever mix-ins you like.  I went with chocolate chips, walnuts, and coconut chips - so tasty!  The recommended cookie size (rounded teaspoons) makes teeny tiny cookies - this was good in my case since I was taking them to a coffee hour-type of event, but I think for most people you'll want to make the cookies larger (maybe a rounded tablespoon).  Just be aware that the cooking time will be longer and the yield will be smaller.

Whole Grain-Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
Makes 5 dozen small cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup plus 1 T white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
2 T milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut chips or shredded coconut.

1. Beat together the butter, sugars, vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until well combined.  Beat in the egg.
2. Add the flour and oats and beat until well combined.  Beat in the milk.
3. Stir in the nuts, chocolate chips, and coconut chips.
4. Cover and chill overnight.
5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
6. Drop small rounded teaspoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
7. Bake 12-14 minutes, until a light golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Potato Salad with Peas + Cheeseburgers

This was the first meal Tim and I cooked together in our new place: cheeseburgers and potato salad for Memorial Day!  The burgers turned out super juicy and delicious (no surprise using 80/20 ground beef as recommended by Bobby Flay!).  We garnished with cheddar, lettuce, and avocado.  The potato salad is a recipe Tim picked out when I was flipping through one of my food magazines.  It's creamy, a little tangy, and the peas are a great twist.  They add a nice pop of color and sweetness to the potato salad. I also like the fresh herbs, which add something a little special to the dish with minimal effort.  Overall, a great first home-cooked meal in our new place, with many more to come!

Potato Salad with Peas (adapted from Food Network Magazine)
Serves 4-6

1-1/2 pounds waxy potatoes
2 T cider vinegar
2 cups frozen peas
Heaping 1/2 cup mayonnaise
Heaping 1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/4 cup minced chives
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and place in a pot.  Cover with water by 2 inches and salt the water.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer until tender.  Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and cider vinegar.
2. Return the water to a boil, add the peas, and simmer until just tender.  Drain, and add to the bowl with the potatoes.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, and chives.  Add to the potatoes and gently toss to combine.  Taste, and season with salt and pepper.  Can be served warm or chilled.

Here were are in our new can see there are still a few boxes to unpack! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Strawberry Crisp

This weekend has been all about moving - Tim and I moved into new place and we're exhausted but loving it!  Haven't done a lot of home cooking lately because of all the packing and unpacking (plus, we still don't have silverware!) - but, luckily there are plenty of delicious recipes that I made at my old place but never got the chance to post about. 

I've been buying strawberries at the store like crazy lately, and sometimes I definitely buy a few too many! Even if you haven't bought more berries than you can eat, it's definitely worth buying some specifically for this recipe.  The berries are prepared very simply, with just a little bit of sugar, some lemon juice to brighten them up, and some cornstarch to thicken their juices.  The topping is lots of fun, with oats, walnuts, and coconut chips for maximum crunch and flavor.  I didn't add any spices since I don't love cinnamon with strawberries and I couldn't think of another spice that I thought would pair well.  But, the topping is definitely your place to play around with this recipe - you can easily add different nuts, a favorite spice, or anything else you can think of!  Just keep the proportions of flour, sugar, and butter constant and you're good to go.

Strawberry Crisp (adapted from The Budding Cook, original recipe here)
Makes 1 8x8 pan

For the topping:
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut chips
Pinch of salt
3 T unsalted butter, melted

For the berries:
1 quart strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of one lemon
3 T cornstarch
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8x8 pan.
2. Combine all the topping ingredients except the butter in a small bowl.  Add the butter and mix in with your fingers until the topping forms a crumbly texture and begins to hold together.
3. Place the strawberries in a large bowl and add the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt.  Gently toss to combine.  Transfer the berries to the prepared pan.
4. Evenly sprinkle the berries with the topping.  Bake 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the berries are bubbling.  Serve warm.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stir-Fried Chili Beef with Bell Peppers and Snap Peas

For some strange reason, I don't tend to turn to stir fries when I need a quick dinner idea.  I think part of the problem is that I often don't have many of the required ingredients in my pantry, but this recipe is well worth a trip to the grocery store.  Plus, once you make the recipe one time, you'll have leftover sauce ingredients to make it again.

Once you get your ingredients set up, this recipe comes together quickly.  I definitely recommend doing a mise-en-place for this recipe, because it would be easy to burn or overcook the food in the wok if you're busy prepping other ingredients on the counter.  The finished dish is pretty darn spicy (you could use half the amount of hot bean sauce if you're not a spicy fan), with super flavorful, tender beef and colorful, crunchy vegetables.  I really like the sauce because it's got a touch of sweetness from the hoisin sauce, but it's not overly sweet like some stir fry sauces can be.  The dish is definitely best fresh out of the pan, but leftovers kept reasonably well.

Stir-Fried Chili Beef with Bell Peppers and Snap Peas (adapted from Fine Cooking)
Serves 4

12-16 ounces flank steak
3 T Shaoxing rice wine, divided
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 tsp soy sauce
1-1/2 tsp cornstarch
Salt and pepper
1 tsp plus 2 T vegetable oil
2 T hot bean sauce (also called chili bean sauce or chili black bean hot sauce)
2 T hoisin sauce
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces snap peas, trimmed and cut in half
1 medium bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch by 2-inch strips
6 medium scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

1. Cut the beef with the grain into 2-inch-wide strips, and then cut each strip across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices.  Transfer to a bowl, and add 1 T of the rice wine along with the ginger, soy sauce, cornstarch, 1/4 tsp salt, and a few grinds of pepper.  Stir until the cornstarch is dissolved.  Add 1 tsp of the oil and stir until coated.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the hot bean sauce, hoisin sauce, and remaining 2 T rice wine.
3. Heat a wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact.  Add 1 T of the remaining oil, swirl to coat, and then add the garlic.  Stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds.  Push to the sides, and carefully add the beef in one layer.  Cook undisturbed for 1 minute, and then stir-fry with the garlic for another minute, until the beef is browned but not cooked through.  Transfer to a plate.
4. Add the remaining 1 T oil to the wok.  Add the peas, bell pepper, and scallions, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, and stir-fry about 1 minute.  Return the beef and any accumulated juice to the wok.  Add the hot bean sauce mixture by swirling it around the sides of the wok.  Stir-fry until the beef its just cooked through and the vegetables are crisp-tender, 1 minute more.  Serve over rice.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vanilla Bean Yogurt Cake

When I have a carton of yogurt in the fridge that needs to be eaten, I often turn to yogurt cake.  This one is a great option - it's easy to put together (no mixer needed!), and very tasty.  The cake is not too sweet or rich, making it a tasty dessert but also at least semi-appropriate for breakfast. This yogurt cake wasn't as moist as some I've made, so my favorite way to eat it was toasted with a little something sweet spread on top (Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter was especially good).

Vanilla Bean Yogurt Cake (adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini, original recipe here)
Makes 1 loaf cake

1 cup plain yogurt (low fat is okay)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 T light rum
1 tsp ground vanilla
2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Generous pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.
2. Whisk together the yogurt, sugar, oil, eggs, rum, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until just combined (some lumps are okay).
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake 60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Apple, Fennel, Dried Cherries, and Goat Cheese

I love grain salads - they're easy to make ahead, stash in the fridge, and then pack in my lunch all week for something healthy and filling.  The base of this salad is quinoa, one of my all-time favorite whole grains - it's crunchy, nutty, and has lots of protein to keep me full.  The quinoa is dressed with a tasty cherry balsamic dressing (thanks to my awesome sister for the cherry balsamic vinegar), and then tossed with tons of flavorful add-ins: sweet apples, crunchy fennel, toasted pecans, chewy dried cherries, and creamy goat cheese.  I packed this salad as a sorta main dish alongside half a sandwich and a fruit or vegetable, and it worked perfectly in that role.  If you're making this salad ahead, I recommend squeezing some lemon juice over it just before serving to brighten up the flavors.

Quinoa Salad with Apple, Fennel, Dried Cherries, and Goat Cheese (adapted from Fine Cooking)
Serves 4-6

1-1/2 cups quinoa (I used a mix of red and white), rinsed
Kosher salt
1/3 cup cherry balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T walnut oil
Salt and pepper
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 small apple, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch dice
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
2 T minced fennel fronds
2 T minced tarragon

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and then add the quinoa and salt.  Lower heat, and simmer about 20 minutes, until tender, adding more water as needed.  Drain and run under cold water until cooled.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, and walnut oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Combine the cooled quinoa, fennel apple, pecans, goat cheese, cherries, and herbs in a large salad bowl.  Gently toss to combine.  Add about 1/2 cup of the dressing and toss to combine.  Taste and add more vinaigrette, salt, or pepper as needed.  Keeps well in the fridge.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Quick "Tandoori" Chicken

This chicken recipe makes for a quick, flavorful dinner.  Roasting the chicken in the oven is an easy preparation and a good option if you don't have a grill, but it definitely won't give you that tasty charred crust that real tandoori chicken has.  If you do have a grill or a grill pan, those would make for tasty preparation methods, although you might want to cut the chicken pieces larger so it would be less fussy.  The chicken is spicy-but-not-too-spicy with great flavor from the yogurt, ginger, and cumin.  We served it alongside roasted peppers and onions and some fluffy naan-like bread from the Armenian market.

Quick "Tandoori" Chicken (adapted from Cooking Light)
Serves 5-6

2 cups plain 2% yogurt
1/2 cup minced onion
3 T peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 T ground cumin
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground turmeric
6 large garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into strips (like chicken tenders)
1 T oil

1. Combine the yogurt, onion, ginger, cumin, red pepper flakes, turmeric, and garlic in a large tupperware or bowl.  Add the chicken and toss to combine, making sure each piece of chicken is totally covered.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.  Sprinkle both sides of the chicken lightly with salt.
4. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease with the oil.  Arrange the chicken on the baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast in the hot oven for about 8 minutes, then drain off any accumulated liquid and flip each piece of chicken. Continue roasting until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle (timing will vary depending on the size of the chicken tenders).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

When this recipe appeared in my inbox, I knew I wanted to make it for dinner.  This unique spin on pesto is the perfect recipe for asparagus season, when the grocery store is overflowing with bright green stalks.  I'm actually not a huge fan of traditional basil pesto, but this version is absolutely perfect.  The flavor is less assertive, slightly sweet from the asparagus and nutty from the almonds.  The roasted tomatoes add a great hit of acid to round everything out.

I forgot to add olive oil to the pesto while making it, and so I inadvertently ended up with a somewhat healthier pesto.  Feel free to add 3 T olive oil to the pesto while pureeing it if you like, but I found that the dish was plenty delicious without it - I just ended up adding a little extra pasta water to make the pesto loose enough to toss with the pasta.  The dish was fantastic, but didn't keep well in the fridge - leftovers were certainly edible, but nowhere near as tasty.  So, try to make just as much as you'll eat for dinner.

Asparagus-Almond Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes (adapted from Fine Cooking)
Serves 4

Kosher salt
3/4 pound trimmed asparagus
1 pint grape tomatoes
Vegetable oil
Heaping 1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
2 Tbs. finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish
1 pound dried pasta
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with foil.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Put the asparagus on one baking sheet and the tomatoes on the other.  Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss to combine.  Roast until the tomatoes are soft and starting to burst, and until the asparagus is slightly caramelized - about 10 minutes for the tomatoes and 15 minutes for the asparagus (depending on size).  Shake the pans a couple of times during roasting.
3. Place the almonds in a large non-stick pan over high heat.  Toast until golden in spots, stirring or shaking the pan often.
4. When the asparagus is done, cut off the tips and reserve.  Combine the asparagus stalks, toasted almonds, basil, and Parmesan cheese.  Puree with either a food processor, blender, or hand blender until slightly chunky.
5. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until done.  Reserve a cup of the pasta water, and then drain the pasta.
6. Combine the pasta and pesto, along with enough pasta water to create a loose sauce.  Gently toss in the roasted tomatoes and asparagus tips.  Serve, seasoned with salt, freshly ground pepper, and additional Parmesan cheese.   

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ratatouille Lasagna

This veggie-packed lasagna is a fun twist on a typical vegetarian lasagna, while still being familiar enough to qualify as comfort food.  Fresh pasta is layered with roasted vegetables, tomato sauce, and fresh herbs, and then topped off with mozzarella and Parmesan.  I particularly liked the addition of so many fresh herbs - the mint in particular added a really unique flavor that paired perfectly with the roasted veggies.  The lasagna is also fairly spicy thanks to the dried chile flakes - I was actually pretty surprised how far the small amount of chile flakes went (or perhaps we simply had a particularly spicy batch).  In any case, if you aren't a fan of spicy, you should leave these out; personally, I loved it! 

You'll definitely want to set aside an evening when you have a bit of time to make this recipe, as it has lots of different steps. But, I think it's well worth the time investment, and the leftovers do keep very well in the fridge, like most baked pasta dishes.  I recommend using a food processor to do most of the chopping if you have one. It can be used to slice the eggplant, zucchini, pepper, and onion, and also to grate the cheese.  Although this is still a fairly involved recipe, this step will at least cut down on the prep time a bit.

One other thing to note about this recipe - the original recipe claimed this was a "lighter" version of lasagna and that a pan would serve only 4 people, but we definitely did not find that to be the case.  Although there is less cheese than your typical lasagna, the final dish seemed pretty much just as hearty to me as the normal vegetarian lasagna that I make (although maybe my normal lasagna is lighter than most); we also got at least six servings out of the pan.

Ratatouille Lasagna (adapted from Serious Eats)
Serves 6

7 T olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp dried chile flakes
1 tsp herbes de Provence
1 pound eggplant, sliced into 1/8 inch  to 1/4 inch rounds
3/4 pound zucchini, sliced into 1/8 inch  to 1/4 inch rounds
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 large red onion, thinly sliced
12 cloves garlic, in their jackets 
Salt and pepper
28-ounce jar marinara sauce
3 sheets fresh pasta (or enough smaller sheets to make 3 layers of pasta in your baking dish)
6 sundried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped 
1/4 cup water
15 leaves fresh basil
10 leaves fresh mint 
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
8 ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, grated
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Line two half sheet pans with foil.
2. In a large bowl, toss together 6 T olive oil with the chili flakes and herbes de Provence.  Add the eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, and garlic and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Divide the vegetables between the two baking sheets, in a single layer as much as possible.  Roast until softened and beginning to brown, 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Peel the garlic and mash slightly with a fork.
3. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
4. Assemble the lasagna in a 9x13 baking dish.  Spread half a cup of marinara sauce in the bottom, and then top with a layer of fresh pasta (trimming as necessary).  Top with another 1/2 cup sauce.  Top with half the vegetables in an even layer.
5. Add another layer of pasta and top with another 1/2 cup of sauce.  Top with the chopped sun dried tomatoes, the remaining vegetables, and about a third of the shredded cheese.
6. Top with the final layer of pasta, followed by the remaining marinara sauce.  Add the water to the marinara jar, shake, and pour over the lasagna.  Gently press everything down to ensure that all the pasta is coated in liquid.
7. Top the lasagna with a layer of fresh herbs, followed by the mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese.  Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Cover with foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
8. Bake 30 minutes, and then remove the foil from the lasagna.  Turn the oven up to 450 degrees.  Bake another 5 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pizza with Buffalo Mozzarella, Artichoke Hearts, and Lemon Zest

When I first saw this pizza on Technicolor Kitchen, I knew I had to make it - the combination of flavors just sounded so good!  The pizza definitely did not disappoint.  Briny artichokes, rich buffalo mozzarella, and bright fresh basil go perfectly together, but it's the lemon zest that really takes this pizza over the top.  I don't think I would have come up with the idea of lemon zest on pizza on my own, but it's actually a perfect flavor booster.  Since you're using zest instead of juice or slices, there's no added tartness, but the zest adds an amazing lemon-y scent to the whole pie.  One word of warning with this recipe - since some of the ingredients are rather 'wet' (especially the melted cheese since buffalo mozzarella is much wetter than regular), you'll want a medium-thick crust for your pizza instead of a super thin one, so plan accordingly and use a very thin layer of pizza sauce to avoid a soggy pizza.

Pizza with Buffalo Mozzarella, Artichoke Hearts, and Lemon Zest (adapted from Technicolor Kitchen, original recipe here)
Makes 1 pizza

Pizza dough for one pizza (such as this recipe from Martha Stewart)
1/3 cup tomato sauce
1 ball buffalo mozzarella, very thinly sliced
8-10 marinated artichoke heart quarters
Finely grated zest of one lemon
A few basil leaves, julienned

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and grease a pizza pan.
2. Shape the pizza dough into a circle and place on the pizza pan.  Spread with a thin layer of tomato sauce (as thin as possible).  Scatter the mozzarella, artichoke hearts, and lemon zest evenly over the pizza.
3. Bake until the crust is cooked through and browned on the bottom, and the cheese is melted.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the basil leaves.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Skirt Steak with Salsa Verde

I was looking for a quick and tasty dinner while riding the train with the most recent copy of Bon Appetit.  Luckily the magazine delivered with this fantastic steak recipe.  If you have a grill, of course feel free to go for it (although I imagine that would up the prep time somewhat), but you'll also get excellent results with a grill pan set over high heat on the stove, which is what we used.  The steak is simply seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled, and then topped with a super-flavorful herb-lemon-garlic mixture called salsa verde.  This is a great recipe for using up fresh herbs that you have around the house, and I can imagine that lots of combinations would be very tasty - I used parsley, mint, and tarragon with great results.  The original recipe does note that parsley should be one of your choices for the best flavor, so keep that in mind. 

The salsa verde is easy to prepare, but does take half an hour to marinate, so plan on starting that component first, then prepping your side dish, and finally grilling up the steak.  We served the steak with roasted green beans, and I think most green vegetables would pair well with the juicy steak and fresh herbs. Do be sure to serve the steak with extra lemon wedges for squeezing over - the extra acid really made the dish pop.

Skirt Steak with Salsa Verde (adapted from Bon Appetit)
Serves 2

2 T olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs (I used a combination of parsley, mint, and tarragon)
Vegetable oil
3/4 pound skirt steak, trimmed
Lemon wedges

1. Mix 1 T olive oil, the garlic, and the lemon zest in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and let sit for 20 minutes.
2. Add the herbs and stir until coated.  Let marinate 10 minutes.  Stir in the remaining olive oil, taste, and season with salt and pepper.
3. Set a grill pan over high heat and let sit for a few minutes until hot.  Brush with oil.
4. Season the skirt steak with salt and pepper.  Grill 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare.  Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.
5. Slice the meat against the grain, on the diagonal.  Spoon the salsa verde over and serve with lemon wedges.

Monday, May 7, 2012

SRC: Oatmeal Jam Bars

For this month's installment of the Secret Recipe Club, I was paired up with Amy of A Little Nosh.  I knew right away that I wanted to try her oatmeal jam bars, because I have so much jam that I canned last summer and still haven't managed to consume!  I think I might need to make smaller batches this year since I do love to try lots of different kinds of jam!  In any case, my surplus jam situation certainly makes for a good excuse to make baked goods with jam in them, such as these tasty oatmeal jam bars.  An oatmeal crumble is pressed into the pan to form a crust, topped with jam, and then more oatmeal crumble goes on top.  So easy - the recipe took maybe 10 minutes to prep, plus baking time - and so delicious!  This is definitely a winner - perfect to take to a summer barbecue or to snack on during one of these lovely, warm afternoons we've been having lately.

Oatmeal Jam Bars (adapted from A Little Nosh, original recipe from Rachel Ray)
Makes on 8x8 square pan

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup plus 2 T brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
6 T unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup jam (I used strawberry-black pepper jam)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line an 8x8 pan with parchment.
2. Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cardamom.  Cut in the butter.  Mix in the rolled oats with your hands until the mixture is relatively uniform with some chunks of butter remaining.
3. Tip about 2/3 of the mixture into the prepared pan.  Press down with your fingers to create a crust.  Evenly spread the jam over the crust.  Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the jam.
4. Bake 25 minutes or so until the oats begin to brown.

Previous recipes of mine featured on SRC

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pineapple-Cucumber-Avocado Salsa

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Tim and I celebrated last night with homemade fish tacos, but I didn't manage to get a good photo, so I'm sharing this tasty salsa instead.  The recipe was originally for a guacamole, but we didn't think the amount of avocados specified really made for a dip that felt like guacamole - rather, avocado is more of a minor player along with tart pineapple, crunchy cucumbers, and spicy chiles.  We enjoyed it this way, but you could also double the avocados if you'd like them to be more prominent.  This delicious and unique salsa will definitely make any Cinco de Mayo celebration special - we ate it with chips, but I think it would also be fantastic over grilled chicken or fish. 

Pineapple-Cucumber-Avocado Salsa (adapted from Truly Mexican)
Makes about 5 cups

10-ounce cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup minced red onion
2 jalapeno chiles, minced
2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 tsp fine salt
2 large avocados
1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, divided

Stir together the cucumber, onion, chiles, lime juice, and salt.  Cut the avocado into chunks, and gently stir into the other ingredients (do not mash).  Gently stir in the pineapple and half the cilantro. Taste and adjust salt, lime juice, and chiles to taste.  Serve sprinkled with remaining cilantro. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

French Carrot and Fennel Salad

This salad is super easy and tasty - my favorite combination! I love the bright orange carrots paired with fennel for the ultimate crunchy salad. The garlic and lemon give the salad bold flavor, and the parsley and fennel fronds add a green, herb-y punch that pairs perfectly with the veggies.  The salad is best cold, and will keep in the fridge for several days, making it a great make-ahead lunchbox option.

French Carrot and Fennel Salad (adapted from La Tartine Gourmande Cookbook, via Steamy Kitchen)
Serves 4

1 bulb fennel
3 large carrots
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 heaping T minced fennel fronds (from the top of the fennel bulb)
1 heaping T minced fresh parsley
1 small garlic clove, minced 
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Trim and core the fennel bulb and thinly slice either on a mandoline or by hand (I sliced mine 3/16" thick on a mandoline because I like some crunch, but you could also shave them thinner depending on your preference).  Trim, peel, and grate the carrots.  Place the veggies in a large bowl.
2. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, fennel fronds, parsley, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a jar with a tightly fitting lid.  Screw on the lid and shake until well combined.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.
3. Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss to combine.  If the salad looks a bit dry, add more oil and toss to combine.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.  
4. Chill well before serving.