Mar 31, 2012

Baked Oatmeal

A lot of people don't like oatmeal because of the texture. It looks like something disgusting that is plopped on metal trays and given to people in prison. I don't necessarily feel that way but some people do. ;-) For those of you who may have unresolved issues with oatmeal, I encourage you to try baked oatmeal. The texture is slightly crunchy/chewy on the top and soft in the middle. Today was my first time making baked oatmeal, so I have much more to learn, I'm sure. I'm going to play with the recipe some more--maybe try adding nuts or fruit, try steel-cut oats, experiment with a few different sweeteners, etc. But I liked the initial result.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the butter in a 9 × 13-inch baking dish and place in the oven to melt. Be sure not to let the butter burn. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, maple sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well, making sure all of the oats are moistened. Remove the pan with the butter from the oven. Pour the oats mixture into the pan and stir, mixing until most of the butter in incorporated, but leaving some unmixed at the edges & bottom of the pan. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are golden, about 30 minutes. Serve hot with cream and perhaps a drizzle of maple syrup.

Mar 11, 2012

Roasted Salmon with Potatoes and Mushrooms

I know that health concerns should be a more important part of my dietary choices, and I'm moving slowly in that direction. It's just that many dishes/foods that are healthy don't always taste very good. And I have a difficult time forcing myself to eat foods that don't taste very good on any kind of regular basis. Anyway, here is a dish that is both healthy and delicious. Plus it's made largely in a single dish. The recipe comes from Real Simple. I particularly like the accompanying sauce.

1 pound small new potatoes (about 10), halved
8 ounces button mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 1 1/4-pound piece skinless salmon fillet
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes, mushrooms, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until the potatoes begin to soften, about 20 minutes. Push the vegetables to the edges of the pan and place the salmon in the center. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast until the salmon is opaque throughout, the mushrooms are tender, and the potatoes are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey, and parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salmon and vegetables before serving. Serves 4.

Mar 10, 2012

Balsamic and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

This is a delicious take on cauliflower, and the recipe couldn't be easier. Roasting makes the cauliflower slightly nutty, the vinegar gives it a tang, and the Parmesan cheese makes it taste even better. I'm not usually a huge cauliflower fan, but this makes it worth eating. Give this recipe a try. The original recipe came from Eating Well.

8 cups 1-inch-thick slices cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram (the original recipe called for this, but I omitted it since I didn't have any and don't think I've ever had any ;-). Maybe I don't know what I'm missing, but the cauliflower tasted great without the marjoram.)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste (Confession: I'm not a big pepper fan, so I omitted this as well)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar (I actually just brushed the vinegar lightly on the florets) and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more. Serves 4 or 5.