Monday, February 26, 2007

My Sister's Granola

My sister makes the best granola that I have tasted. She's no granola, far from it, but she knows good granola. The recipe makes a HUGE amount, so I've reduced it by half here.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup nuts i.e. sunflower seeds, walnuts( I like almonds)
1 cup dried fruit, any kind(I like unsweetend pineapple, apricots...)

Mix all of the above in a large bowl.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup honey
2 t. vanilla

Heat oil and honey to a rolling boil. Turn off heat and add vanilla. Pour over granola mixture and blend well. Spread on a baking sheet.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, stirring the granola every 5 minutes while baking to ensure even browning. Watch it closely as it can burn fast. For softer granola do not bake as long. This is a great basic recipe add or subtract ingredients according to your taste. You can use less sugar if you like, increase the amount of wheat germ, add flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, raisins, it's perfect for experimenting. I'm going to go make some right now.


Do Not Forget to Vote...

The contenders are in, it is time to cast your vote for the next Haagen Dazs limited edition flavor. Click here to cast your vote and see the 10 flavors vying for your consideration. ( The last contest winner, Sticky Toffee Pudding, showed up at my doorstep last summer, free of charge, because they felt so sorry for me that I had moved to podunk RI.) I am trying to decide between Ginger Cashew Crunch, Caramelized Pear & Toasted Pecan, or Lillikoi Butter & Macadamia Nut. Which flavor will you choose?

P.S. Lindsey, I suggest you get in on the next contest, you would for sure win.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chocolate Sparkle Cookies

Here is the recipe for the cookies I've been promising Liz and Michelle. The recipe comes from this bakery in Vancouver, Canada. I've never been there personally, but I've made the cookies enough to know that it would be worth the trip. They are lovely and chocolatey and rich and you don't even miss the flour. I usually buy the almond meal at Trader Joe's, but you can easily do it yourself with some almonds and sugar and a food processor(just subtract the amount of sugar added to the almonds from the recipe). Make sure the almonds are really cold when you process them or you will get almond butter, which isn't such a bad thing really.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

One good thing...

This is the one good thing about living in Rhode Island so far. The Passion Heart (King David)- molded white chocolate heart filled with a fresh passion fruit and milk chocolate ganache, and the Helena (Peaches and Cream) - a peach pate de fruit layer over a vanilla ganache made with fresh vanilla beans, enrobed in milk chocolate may make life worth living here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fat Tuesday

I couldn't let today go by without mention of this holiday dedicated to gluttony and the worship of food. Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day...for as many names it has there are an equal amount of food traditions. In some countries they eat pancakes and have pancake races. Other countries eat split pea and ham soup and go sledding. Here in this country, I believe savory dumplings are the delicacy of choice. My favorite tradition though, happens to be doughnuts; paczki(paunch-key) to be exact. In Poland , if you don't eat at least one of these jelly- filled doughnuts on this day, things are not going to bode so well for you in life. I think the idea is to eat as many as you can. What a great holiday, no? I think I was only able to down three in one sitting. I heard tale of a certain sister missionary downing 12 at one time. I don't know if that is really true, but it's a good story. Whatever the case may be, it's a good day to stuff yourself silly.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Why I Love Julia

I have been reading, My Life In France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme. One of the reasons I love Julia so much is because she can say things like this," [my] day the American housewife had to juggle cooking the soup and boiling the diapers...'if she mixed the two together, imagine what a lovely combination that would make!'" My favorite quote by far! She was so endearing. She was a master, but still humble and teachable. She was the queen of classical French cooking in America, but would never turn her nose up at a tuna casserole. I watched her on PBS every chance I had when I was a kid. She turned me onto many other cooks and showed me that cooking is cool. Cooking, while a necessary evil for some, has turned into a bit of a passion for me. I am glad to have someone like Julia to look up to and share in that passion. And I am double glad that I don't have to boil diapers.


These boats are known as chalupa in one Mexican dialect, or so I am told. They're quite pretty, but I want to talk about the kind of chalupa that you eat, and NOT the Taco Bell version. My good friend Misa makes a mean chalupa filling. Most of the recipes for the filling seem to have a lot in common, but what makes Misa's recipe so great is that you dump everything into the crock pot and go. Misa has to feed a family of 8 and then some, so the recipe accomodates her quite nicely. I have to pare it down and make half to feed my little brood.

3 lb. pork loin roast - browned (i didn't brown it and it was still good), you can also use chicken
4 - 15 oz. cans of beans - any mixture will do i.e. pinto, kidney, black, etc. drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1-4 oz. can chopped green chilis
2 garlic cloves - minced
1 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
1 T. salt
1 t. oregano

Dump the above ingredients over the meat and mix a little bit. Cook in crock pot until it falls apart, on high for half day or low for all day. Shred with a fork and mix well. This makes a LOT, so you may want to make half. Now for the boat part. Fry up some tortillas in a little oil and place over a bowl to cool thus making the shape of a little boat. Or you can omit that step and just serve in a soft tortilla and roll it up, burrito style. Fill with pork filling and other toppings if desired i.e. cilantro, cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc. Although I have to say, these are outrageously good on their own and don't need a lot of extra fuss. Thanks Misa.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I have this little four year old who has the funniest things coming out of his mouth. It's just the age where they are repeating every little thing they hear. I have had to turn my head and laugh silently most of the time. I often make notes of what he's said on my calendar so I can remember to tell his Dad when he comes home from work. Before I throw last year's calendar away, I want to jot these things down here so I don't lose them for good. He's growing all too fast and pretty soon he'll start making sense and then it won't be so funny anymore.

-"I am not dealing with this right now, I'm dealing with you, Mom!"

-"Try these, they're lovely." (pocorn kernels)

-"I'd be delighted to."

-"Mo-om! I am trying to concentrate on my food!" (while I was using the too loud blender)

-"Did Soph have a go?"

-"Christian's not clever enough."

-"I'm just going to snuggle up."

-"How do you take your hot cocoa?"

-"That would be successful." (anything that is a good idea)

-"Are these biscuits? I want a biscuit."(said in your best British accent)

-"Now YOU cooperate!"(said in your best Mom voice)

-"This is the life!"(on getting into the tub)

-"Can I have butter on my doughnut?"**

-"Whoever wins is me, and whoever loses is you."

-"Mom, did you say that I could say 'it sucks'?"

-"When you lick the sugar it is TOTALLY, COMPLETELY goooood." (on eating grapefruit)

The Caesar closet= The cedar closet

The Celebration Army = The Salvation Army

-"Binga Binya-ah" = Viva Pinata

-"Stunkin' " = anything bad

-On the way to the doctor one day you said, with your monster truck in hand,"If anyone wants to play with my toy then I'll just use my karate skills on them." I say,"How about you just tell them nicely that you don't want anyone to play with your toy?" "No, I'll just use my karate skills on them." Well, we go to the doctor, we wait, you play, no kids are even in the waiting room. We get checked up, we go home. On the way home it suddenly dawns on you..."Awwwwwww, I didn't even get to use my karate skills...oh man!"

and this one is from his sister, age 7 on going to New York for a visit..."You know when you're so excited that you just want to stretch and put your teeth together??!!" Yes, I know the feeling.

**my personal favorite

Friday, February 09, 2007

More Dolly

Just in case you can't get enough of her, Dolly has come out with a new cookbook. She sings AND cooks, what a woman! You can find it here. Can't you just see me and my main man singing Islands in the Stream in a karaoke bar on Valentine's Day?? Now THAT would make for a steamy V-Day for sure! Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Valentine's Day Cookies

I have what I think to be a pretty unique recipe for Valentine's Day cookies. I have sampled a lot of different kinds of cookies in my life and have never come across any like these but from my Mom's kitchen. The original recipe calls them Birthday Cookies, but I have always known them as the Valentine Cookies with the Red Hot Frosting. The frosting is what makes them really special, the color is almost a hot pink, and the taste is not like any ordinary frosting. Try them and you'll see.

1 cup butter, room temp.
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1 cups oats (old fashioned)

Beat butter, powdered sugar, egg, and vanilla together until creamy. Then add the dry indredients. If dough is too sticky to work with at this point, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in freezer for a few. Preheat oven to 375. Roll to about 1/4 inch thick and cut with heart shaped cookie cutters. ( My Mom uses a heart with a scalloped edge, I think that makes the prettiest cookies, I hope she wills that cookie cutter to me someday!) Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes. Do not let them get brown. While cookies are cooling, make the frosting.

1- 8oz. package cinnamon red hot candies(a.k.a. imperial hearts)
1 stick butter
1 pound powdered sugar

Put red hot candies in pan with just enough water to cover them, stir constantly. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then simmer with the butter until all of the candies are dissolved, keep stirring. This may take awhile. Take off heat and add powdered sugar and stir until it thickens just a little. You want it to be a bit runny because it will thicken as it cools. Ice cookies immediately. You can do this by dipping the cookie face down into the frosting(it is more of an icing) or with an offset spatula or knife. The icing will set up nicely on the cookie. Gotta go make some.