Apr 26, 2015

Peanut Butter Granola

I tried this recipe for peanut butter granola quite awhile ago but never got around to posting it. Part of the reason was just that it fell through the cracks of my mind. But I also think that I didn't love it as a cereal, though there are people who do. However, I have found that I enjoy this granola very much as a snack. I've been munching on it at work. So here it is, peanut butter granola, courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Pinch of salt
1 cup chopped, toasted nuts (almonds, peanuts, etc)
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (also optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl (for the microwave) or in a saucepan (for the stove), combine the peanut butter, honey, vanilla, coconut oil and salt. Melt over low heat until the ingredients are smooth and well-combined. In a large bowl, toss together the nuts and oats. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until evenly coated - the overall granola mixture won't be overly wet once combined so don't fret. Spread the granola into an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, tossing once or twice during the baking time. Let the granola cool on the baking sheet (it will get crispier as it cools). If desired, stir the mini chocolate chips into the granola after it has cooled completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Jan 31, 2015

German Pancake (Dutch Baby), Part Deux

Two weeks ago, I posted a recipe for a German Pancake/Dutch Baby. So why a new and different recipe already? Because I like this one even more. A lot more. This German pancake is puffier and a little less custardy/doughy in the center. The recipe comes from one of my favorite cooking blogs--Food Wishes. Chef John does a lot more gourmet recipes than I ever would, but he has simple, down-to-earth recipes as well. And his video demonstrations make even more complex cooking and baking seem accessible and fun. So check out his site. Plus I appreciate his sense of humor.

To make this pancake, put a 10-inch glass quiche dish (or cast iron skillet) in the oven and preheat the dish and oven to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, blend the eggs, milk, flour, vanilla, and salt in a bowl until smooth. Either shortly before or immediately after the oven is preheated to 425 degrees, put the three tablespoons butter in the pan in the oven to melt and get hot, though you don't want the butter to brown or burn. Once the butter is melted, carefully take the hot pan out of the oven and quickly pour the batter into the hot butter and return the pan to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and puffy. Garnish with melted butter, fresh lemon juice from a half lemon (a Meyer lemon, if you can find them), and powdered sugar. I also added some maple syrup as well. But feel free to try a variety of toppings. Anyway, it's that simple. Makes 2-4 servings.


3 large room temperature eggs
2/3 cup room temperature milk
1/2 cup flour (really pack the measuring cup firmly with flour)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter

Jan 17, 2015

Brent and Fae's Tomato Soup

I haven't made this myself yet, but I hope to this coming summer. It's my Uncle Brent and Aunt Fae's tomato soup recipe, and it is tasty. They make and bottle this every year, and last year they shared a bottle with my dad and me. Thanks, guys!

3/4 bushel tomatoes (1/2 bushel = 16 cups) This is a box of tomatoes
6 onions
6 celery stalks
6 green peppers

Quarter the tomatoes and put in a large pot. Use a potato masher to mash the tomatoes before putting in the other vegetables. Then grate or chop the other vegetables and add to the pot. Stir on high heat. When the vegetables are soft and tender and the mixture has cooled down, put everything through a juicer or blender. Or you can just have chunky soup, which is also good. Then bring the soup to a boil and add the following, mixing dry ingredients together before adding to water.

scant 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup salt

Stir this mixture until smooth, then add to pot using a whisk. Let boil and stir five minutes. Then add 1 cup butter. Ladle soup into hot jars and process in steam bath for 45 minutes. We usually get about 14 quarts of soup from this recipe. We like salt, so you may want to cut down on the amount of salt in this recipe. It may not be as tasty though.

German Pancake (Dutch Baby)

I found this recipe last night on a blog via Facebook and just tried it this morning. Easy and delicious! I made the pancake as described, but I didn't have any lemons, so I just used powdered sugar, maple syrup, and raspberries. Still very good. However, I'll try the lemon syrup for sure next time since I love nearly all things lemon.

Pancake
1/2 cup butter
6 large eggs
1 and 1/2 cups milk
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Lemon Syrup
juice of two lemons
powdered sugar

Put butter in a cast iron skillet or glass pie plate and set in a preheated 425 degree oven. While the butter is melting, lightly beat eggs in a large bowl with a wire whisk. Add milk and flour. Mix with a wire whisk until large clumps disappear and the batter is fairly smooth. Don’t over-mix or your pancake will be tough.

Carefully remove skillet or pan from oven and pour batter into the hot, melted butter. Return pan to oven and bake until well browned and puffed on the edges, 20 to 25 minutes, depending on pan size. Cut into wedges and serve with the lemon syrup! Fresh berries are a wonderful addition to this breakfast dish.

To make the syrup, juice the lemons, discard the seeds, and add powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time until the syrup tastes sweet enough to your liking. Mix with a wire whisk.

Dec 7, 2014

Holiday Butter Cookies

I found this recipe on the Huffington Post website. Because of its versatility, they call it "the only cookie dough recipe you need to know." I certainly wouldn't go that far, but I just took the first couple of batches of these cookies out of the oven, and I do like this recipe quite a bit right off the bat. They have a great texture and are buttery tasting.

The Huffington Post writer goes on to say the following: "The holidays are stressful enough, so make things easy by appointing this the season of one basic butter-cookie dough. Then, you can customize it based on the occasion, whether you're going to a bake sale or cookie exchange, throwing a dinner party or just having a late-night craving for a little something sweet. This brilliant recipe calls for just five ingredients: salted butter, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla and flour. No matter how you shape them or upgrade them with flavors, they're wonderfully buttery, crispy, light and rich."

At this point, I've only tried a vanilla version, but I'm anxious to try a couple of additional flavorings suggested on the site, either adding 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or 2 teaspoons of finely grated orange or lemon zest. I can hardly wait!

Anyway, here is the basic recipe.

3 sticks salted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Red, pink, orange, or multicolored decorating sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add yolks and vanilla, beat again to combine, and then beat in flour.

Form dough into 1" balls and arrange on large, ungreased baking sheets, spacing cookies about 2" apart. Transfer decorating sugar to wide, shallow dishes. Press 1 ball of dough with the bottom of a decorative patterned glass. Then dip the glass in sugar and flatten a cookie with it, so the pattern and sugar transfer to the top of the dough. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Bake until cookies are lightly golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let rest on baking sheets 2 minutes, then gently transfer to baking racks to cool.