Simple Granola

Simple Granola

I have mixed feelings about this granola.  ha.

I apologize to you for opening with such a terrible granola joke.  Apparently I get all my schtick from popsicle sticks.

This granola is – forgive my hubris – simply amazing. I love it and I couldn’t keep my little paws of out the bowl. I finally had to seal it up and put it int he freezer so I would stop thinking about it.  The mixed feelings come from the fact that this started out as a savory snack. I’ve been trying to develop a decent savory-spicy granola for a long time, and have been failing. For a long time.  This was oh, version 3.5 of testing. “3” meaning the third time I’ve tried, and “5” meaning the fifth batch of the third attempt. After the batch 3.3 failed, I just gave up (ahem, temporarily set aside) the idea altogether and decided to go with traditional sweet granola. Like most things in life, tradition can be both good and bad. Granola good. Patriarchy bad.

Out of the fury of wasted oats comes this a crisp little snack.   It’s crunchy, of course, with little chewy pockets that surprise you. There’s citrus and spice, brown sugar, cinnamon, love. And just a small bit of cayenne because I couldn’t give up the fire altogether. Honestly, you can barely taste the cayenne, but the fact that it’s there makes me feel better.

Simple Granola

Speaking of batches, this is the second reincarnation of this blog, which is why the url and the blog name are different.  There’s a long story behind that, which I won’t go into now. Although I probably should, eventually. You see, at the advice of Abby, I put an SEO plugin on here and it scolded me and told me my posts were too short. I was shocked, because I’ve been told that people just want the recipe, so keep the chit-chat to a minimum, little girl.

I’m glad I can relax now and talk a little longer, even though the SEO felt a little naggy. Word count, what, am I back in school or something? Oh, wait. I am back in school. Speaking of which, I have a few items coming up that will require invested attention. I might be around less in the next two weeks or so, because real life sometimes has to come before virtual life.

One the the best things about real life is your real life persona has tastebuds, and your virtual persona doesn’t. And as long as we’re gonna be living our real, late night, early morning, headache, stack-of-responsibilities lives, we should keep our taste buds content.

<3

Simple Granola

 

Simple Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 3/4 cup grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 2 1/4 tsp dried orange peel
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • optional
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Blend up 1/2 cup of the oats.
  3. Combine the blended oats, the whole oats, 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds, and 1/2 cup of the pecans.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the grapefruit juice, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, the orange peel, the flax meal, cinnamon, vanilla, and cayenne.
  5. Add the olive oil to the grapefruit mix.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the oat mix and stir well.
  7. Spread the oat mix over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Break up the rest of the brown sugar into chunks and sprinkle in spots over the granola.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven. Do not open the oven. Leave there for 4-4.5 hours, until hardened.
  9. Break into chunks of desired size.
  10. Add the remaining nuts and seeds
  11. Add the chocolate chips and dried fruit.
  12. Enjoy
http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/simple-granola/

clumping method taken from here

Brussels Sprout Poppers

brussels sprout poppers brussels sprout appetizers

I haven’t had jalapeno poppers in years, so I can’t say for sure whether these are better than the classic casual dining appetizer. But they’re not fried (extra points for sprout poppers), have a goat cheese-sriracha filling (more points), are gluten free (yada yada points) and made with the best veggie ever, Brussels sprouts. I think we know who wins here. And considering I am a lover of jalapenos and all things spicy, that’s saying a lot. Well, these are spicy too.

The crunchy coating is made from finely-ground corn Chex (or, um, “oven-toasted corn cereal”) and it’s so very crispy. 

I made sure that I got the precious caramelization on the sprouts before I added the cheese. I’ll eat non-caramelized sprouts, but only grudgingly or if I got home late and was really hungry and just wanted to shovel something in my mouth. The thing is, you can’t stir-fry like you’re used to. You have to stir very carefully so that as many leaves stick to each sprout. You also have to be  careful when cutting them. Cut as close to the heel as possible, so as to not lose leaves. 

These taste best when they are hot and fresh and right out of the oven. They just don’t taste anywhere near as good the next day.  Refrigerated-reheated sprouts are never quite as fun.

What is fun is being able to make these right at home, without any of that casual dining flare.

Ok, maybe a little flare.

brussels sprout poppers brussels sprout appetizer

 

 

Brussels Sprout Poppers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sprouts
  • 3 1/2 cups of corn Chex
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dry Italian seasoning mix (Hidden Valley is GF)
  • pinch of salt
  • small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 oz goat cheese
  • 3 tbsp sriracha

Instructions

  1. Grind up the Chex in your food processor until you have fine crumbs.
  2. Toast the crumbs gently in a sauté pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally so they don't burn. It will take 10-15 minutes. They can go from almost-done to brunt in mere seconds, so watch closely.
  3. Combine the Italian seasoning mix, the Chex crumbs, and a pinch of salt. Mix well and set aside.
  4. Wash and trim the sprouts. Cut them in half lenghwise.
  5. Coat a large sauté pan with non-stick spray or oil and bring to medium heat.
  6. Sprinkle the sprouts with a little salt and place them, cut-side down, in the pan.
  7. Cook for 10 minutes, turn, and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring slowly and constantly, for 5 more minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  10. Combine the sriracha and goat cheese in a blender until an even color and consistency is reached.
  11. Scoop the sriracha cheese into a pastry bag with a larger-than normal piece of the tip cut off.
  12. Place the sprouts on a large tray or baking sheet, cut side up.
  13. Put HUGE dollops of cheese sauce on the cut side of each sprout.
  14. Place the sprouts and cheese in the freezer for 10-12 minutes.
  15. Preheat the oven to 350.
  16. Beat the eggs together with a fork.
  17. When the sprouts come out of the freezer, the cheese should be very hard.
  18. Dip the sprout poppers in the eggs and then in the corn chex crumbs. It's best to use a fork to do all this or else your fingers will be very messy.
  19. Place poppers on a non-stick silicone sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy right away.
http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/brussels-sprout-poppers/

Good Ol’ Chocolate Chex Mix

easy chocolate chex mix

Sometimes I’m afraid that I blame too much on being a rookie blogger. Like the matcha-not-matcha biscotti.

I made these matcha biscotti, and while they were delicious, they did not taste like matcha. So I made them again with more matcha, and they still did not taste like green tea. I wanted to make them a third time, but by then I was down to one bag of almond flour, and I needed to make it last until my next order came in.

Chex mix, on the other hand, I can nail every time. That’s the beauty in Chex mix. It’s reliable. It always tastes good. You can’t mess up Chex mix. Even if you’re me.

Heck, you can’t even mess up chocolate-covered espresso beans, even if you’re me. I should know. BGE can be somewhat of a picky eater (who doesn’t like french fries??!), and he ate through two batches of beans before I could even make the mix.

Now, dipping the beans can be a little tricky. Luckily, Shelly, one of the Great Sages of Internet Sweets, has wonderful advice on dipping small objects. Using a fork, dip a few beans at a time and then tap the fork to remove the excess chocolate – pretty much what you’d do to dip anything else.  Then, using a chopstick or similar tool, flick the beans onto wax paper. Yes. You have to flick one bean at a time. But it’s really easy work. Almost meditative. And who wouldn’t want to meditate in chocolate?

I wasn’t sure if I should post this because it’s not a truly a recipe, and chocolate Chex mixes aren’t a new idea. But it came out exactly as I wanted, smells great, and tastes even better, so I figured that was more than enough.

 

Good Ol' Chocolate Chex Mix

Good Ol' Chocolate Chex Mix

Ingredients

    for the cereal
  • 1 box of Chocolate Chex, with all the plain pieces picked out
  • for the almonds
  • 1 cup of raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp honey
  • pinch of salt
  • for the espresso beans
  • about 1 cup of beans
  • 5-6 oz. of dark chocolate

Instructions

    for the almonds
  1. Combine the cocoa and salt, then set aside.
  2. Place the almonds and honey in a small saucepan and heat on low.
  3. Stir so all the almonds are evenly coated with honey.
  4. Add in the cocoa and continue to stir until almonds are evenly coated. Remove from heat.
  5. for the espresso beans
  6. Melt or temper the chocolate.
  7. Remove from heat and dip the beans.
  8. It'd easiest to dip them a few at a time (5-6) . You might need to return the chocolate to the double boiler or microwave if it starts to harden. A good way to keep it from hardening is to stir it vigorously after every few dips.
  9. Allow chocolate to harden and cool completely before adding to mix.
  10. for the mix
  11. Put the chocolate chex pieces, almonds, and espresso beans in a big bowl and toss to combine. You'll end up with about 7 cups.
http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/good-ol-chocolate-chex-mix/

Almond recipe from The Pescetarian and the Pig.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

aw nuts

I love chestnuts.

tumblr_inline_mxb1q0uyoF1rva0fu

 

Chestnuts are a funny nut. (Your mom’s a funny nut, hawhaw) Unlike most nuts, they are actually low in protein. That’s not a bad thing. Chestnuts are a complex carb, which makes them good energy food. And, unlike most other nuts, they are low in fat. But the best part is that chestnuts are absolutely packed with potassium, which is great for your bones. Strong bones = strong running.

Incidentally, if you click on the potassium link, you’ll find yourself at the usda website…..it’s a great source for calculating all the nutrients and calories in your foods. A lot of calorie-counting websites tend to leave out a plethora of information, but this will tell you just about everything you want to know.

Onto preparing chestnuts. It’s incredibly easy.

Wash off the chestnuts. Using a serrated knife, make a single long slit across the convex part of the nut. The old way is to make an X on the nut, but making a single slit will make it much easier to get the nut out. Don’t cut through the whole nut. Just cut deep enough to completely pierce the outer shell.

Put the nuts in a pot and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil.

Preheat your oven to 450. Once the water boils, remove the nuts from the pot. Place them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with more salt.

Bake for 15 min. They will have opened up like clams, and are easiest shelled when warm.