March 27, 2007

nut party

I can't say I truly appreciate the idea of granola. It's not one of those foods you wake up and hurry to eat; it's more of a depressing Monday food. I never ate it when I was younger (over developed taste buds) and don't really know what to do with it besides put it on yogurt; it's never really been an interesting food. However, it was very interesting today when I made my own recipe. The jist of it is to add your favourite things, nuts, seeds, dried fruits and of course chocolate. I particularly enjoyed this granola by the handful but I suppose you could add a little milk to it, something I'll try tomorrow morning. This batch included some Easter smarties, a little festive anticipation.

3 C rolled oats
1/2 C sliced almonds
1/2 C crushed walnuts
1/2 C pumpkin seeds
1/2 C flakes coconut
1/3 C canola oil
1/2 C honey
2 T cinnamon
1/2 C dried cranberries
1 C smarties

Mix all nuts and seeds together in bowl. Whisk oil and honey together (I used fireweed honey) and toss to coat with nut mixture adding cinnamon. Spread out on foil lined baking sheet and dry out mixture at 250 degrees for 2 hours, mixing periodically. Stir in fruit and chocolate and cool completely.

March 26, 2007

weekend rewards

Fruit pancakes are always the perfect way to start the day under any circumstance. I have been eating pancakes since I can remember eating and these particular pancakes are tremendous. I took out a bunch of frozen berries last night and threw them in the fridge (which isn't necessary, you could always add them frozen).
Anything can be added to pancakes, spices, fruit, berries, chocolate, jams, nuts, cheese, grains, dried fruits, meat, vegetables, and of course wine. But of all beverages a nice fruit tea works best.
The pancakes I was raised on as a kid were the dutch version called pannenkoek, which are basically a thicker version of a crepe. These pancakes were always eaten for dinner. They consist of eggs, flour and milk and were always (for me) topped with cheese wiz.
These pancakes, however, are by far the most flavorful, versatile and interesting.

Fruit pancakes
2 eggs
1 C milk
2 t vanilla extract
3 T melted butter
1/2 C frozen fruit, thawed
1 1/2 C flour
3/4 t salt
2 t baking powder
2 T sugar

Put the eggs, milk and vanilla extract in the blender until light and foamy (there is nothing like the wake-up call of a blender when you are trying to sleep in on Saturday morning). Add 1/4 C more milk if you are not adding the extracted fruit liquids. Then add melted butter and fruit blitzing quickly. In a bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Gently but quickly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and then let the batter relax while heating griddle (batter will thicken while resting).
The pancakes are flavorful on their own, but of course toppings are recommended.

March 24, 2007

fruit puddles

With leftover fresh fruit common in this house, not being avid fruit lovers as we are, I decided to journey to the some-what tedious land of jam. My first attempt at this turned out to be fairly satisfying and I am now convinced of my jam making abilities. Of course canning these babies was not in the itinerary and so maybe I have much to learn. Regardless, a little experimenting is always necessary in any recipe, thus the addition of vanilla extract.
My first attempt at a fruit experiment happened at eight years old with a food mill
and some peeled, quarter, cored, uncooked apples. I don't recall the outcome of the episode, but it probably wasn't edible.
In this case I used plums and nectarines that were slightly overripe, which made chopping and peeling them slightly more of a challenge, as the flesh beneath the skin was very slippery. I recommend perfectly ripe fruit for easiest production.

Plum jam
1 1/4 C peeled and chopped plums (2 plums)
3/4 C white sugar
3/4 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract (optional)

Cook all ingredients at mild boil (less than medium) for 20 minutes. The consistency I found to be perfect at 20 minutes. The vanilla prominently enhances the flavour of the fruit and was the favourite on the breakfast table.

Nectarine jam
1 1/2 C peeled and chopped nectarines (2 nectarines)
1 C white sugar
1 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract (optional)

Cook all ingredients at a mild boil (less than medium) for 25 minutes. 30 minutes I found to make the jam a little thicker than desired and I would recommend 25-27 minutes followed by a blitz in the food processor to get rid of the chunks (which I find undesirable.) The vanilla drastically deepens the flavour of the nectarine and brings out the tartness in the fruit.

March 23, 2007

latte and espresso

One of my many favourite snacks will always be chocolate covered espresso beans and a latte. There is something so tantalizing about chocolate and coffee, coffee and chocolate, especially on a miserable rainy day such as today. Of course there is always room for improvement in a latte and so today's latte was delicious.

2 T fresh coffee grounds
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
375 mL water
1/2 C steamed milk with foam

Coffee grounds and spices should be added to coffee filter to brew together. Add milk to your preference.

I will say though that I did not eat all those espresso beans myself. There was a houseful of siblings to help me.

A massacre of horrible sorts

Tourning a potatoe is a more complicated procedure than most. To tourn involves carving a vegtable into a seven equal sided football shapped mass. Such a procedure demands a whole heck of a lot of practice and so the butchering of 10 pounds in potatoes. I can't say we accomplished a whole lot, nothing emerged from the dead or living shaped as a football. Though I must say I never realized how inexpensive potatoes really are. I should also say that potatoes do not burn well al forno.