Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ann’s homemade granola bars

June 1, 2015

granola bar

My version of granola bars is suited to my particular tastes. I like them chewy and moist, but with a variety of textures. I’m not averse to letting them put a toe or two over the line towards candy bar. I will admit that the last time I made these I used Cocoa Pebbles for the cereal component. I will admit to fantasizing about using Golden Grahams. I’m not a purist.

I was able to find brown rice syrup in the syrup section of my regular grocery store.

1 1/2 cups (150g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup (45g) sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 cup (60g) whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (75g) pecan halves, coarsely chopped
1 cup crispy rice cereal, flavored or plain
1 cup (125g) pitted and diced dates
1/3 cup (50g) dark chocolate, chopped into chunks or use chips
1/3 cup (35g) dried fruits like cranberries, raisins, blueberries, apricots, or cherries (choose one or make a combo)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup (65g) smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 cup (80g) honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 – 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20cm) square pan with an 8×15-inch rectangle of parchment paper, making sure the ends hang over the edge.

Spread the oats, sesame seeds and nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking, until they are slightly browned. Let cool and scrape into a large bowl.

Add the rice cereal, dates, chocolate and dried fruit to the bowl. Stil to combine.

Warm the rice syrup, peanut butter and honey for 10-15 seconds in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium heat. It should be warm enough to be pourable but not so hot that it will melt the chocolate. Mix in the vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon. Pour the liquid over the ingredients in the bowl and stir until everything is completely coated and starts to stick together in clumps. A silicone spatula or wooden spoon works well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Use wet or lightly oiled hands to firmly press the mixture into the pan. I also like to use the oiled bottom of a heavy glass or a meat pounder so I’m able to exert a lot of pressure. You want to really pack it in so that the bars will stay together.

Using a bench knife, cut down through the mixture to make rectangles. Freeze the granola bars for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the freezer and run a knife around the edge to help release it from the pan. Using the ends of the parchment paper, transfer the bars out of the pan to a cutting board. Use the bench knife to recut into rectangles and wrap each bar in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Store in a airtight container.

Makes 8-12 bars.

Lickety-split pressure-cooker greens

November 6, 2014

Last night I arrived home from work with 2 thick-cut pork chops and some new potatoes.  I couldn’t think of anything better to go with them than some slow-cooked greens.   When there’s no time for slow-cookin’, greens can be ready in about 15 minutes, start to finish, using a pressure cooker.  Better yet, they’ll taste like they’ve been simmering all afternoon.

Lickety-split pressure-cooker greens

1/4 pound diced bacon

1 small red onion, sliced

1 garlic clove, sliced

1 lb. curly kale leaves, roughly chopped but still in large pieces

1 cup water or low-salt chicken broth

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

red-pepper vinegar or some hot sauce

Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in the cooker until limp.  Add the red onion and cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is beginning to brown.  Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add greens, broth, and salt.  Stir to combine everything.

Secure cover to pressure cooker and bring to high-pressure over high heat.  Turn to low heat after it reaches pressure.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Quick-release pressure according to the instructions of your pressure cooker.  I run cold water over the lid.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Shake on red-pepper vinegar or hot sauce to taste.

Serves 4

Chocolate balsamic vinaigrette

July 31, 2014

Chocolate balsamic vinaigrette

2 tbsp chocolate balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp walnut oil

1 tsp honey

Pinch of salt

A couple of grinds of black pepper

In a small bowl, slowly whisk oil into vinegar. Whisk in remaining ingredients.

Serve with fruit and cheese. Watermelon and feta is good. I think it would also be good over strawberry shortcake or a chicken/berry salad.



Favorite citrus vinaigrette

March 24, 2014


Favorite Citrus Vinaigrette

This vinaigrette is delicious with hot or cold food and it takes about 5 minutes to make. I have used it as a dressing for greens, chilled and hot asparagus; in sandwich wraps; and over hot salmon. It is very versatile.

2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed citrus juice

2 Tbsp. lemon-flavored olive oil

pinch granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. coarse-ground or Dijon mustard

Freshly ground pepper

pinch of salt

Pour citrus juice into a medium bowl anchored with a dish towl.  Begin whisking in the first tablespoon of olive oil by SLOWLY dripping it into the bowl.  If you see large pools of oil, stop pouring the oil until it has been incorporated into the juice.  The mixture should start to look slightly creamy.  Add the 2nd tablespoon in the same way.  Add the rest of the ingredients, tasting to make adjustments.  Whisk briskly until creamy.

Use immediately or transfer to a small container and store in the fridge.  Shake well before using.

Lasagne . . . Soup? Short rib and sausage lasagna soup with cheese

April 19, 2013

I originally made this back in April on a cold rainy day, but never got around to posting it.  I thought I’d missed my chance to publish it for this year.  But here we are, almost June 1, and it’s still cold and rainy.  And what tastes better than soup on a cold and dreary day.  This soup tastes amazing on the second day, if you can wait that long.

Lasagne soup with short ribs, sausage and cheese
Adapted from

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 pound Boneless Short Ribs
Kosher Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
½ pound Hot Or Sweet Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 medium Onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 Red Bell Pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 medium Cloves Of Garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon
1 ½ cups Dry Red Wine
1 (28-ounce) Can Diced Tomatoes With Juice
6 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
1 Tbsp Dried Italian Seasoning Mix
¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 Bay Leaves
4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
8 sheets Lasagne Noodles, (do not use no-boil) wrapped in a towel and broken against a counter edge
½ cup Ricotta Cheese
⅓ cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
¼ cup Shredded Asiago Cheese
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (About 5 Ounces)
1 tsp Grated Zest From 1 Lemon
Pitted green olives (optional)

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 300°F.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, oven-safe stockpot or Dutch oven. Generously season short ribs with salt and pepper. When oil is shimmering, brown short ribs on all sides until golden brown, about 6 minutes total. Remove meat and transfer to a platter.

Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking up into little bits, until nearly cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic to pan and sauté, stirring periodically, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Return short ribs to pan. Add wine, tomatoes, chicken stock, fennel seed, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, bay leaves and thyme. Season with about ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to oven to cook until meat is fork tender, about 2 ½ hours.

Remove from oven and transfer pot to stovetop. Shred short ribs using two forks. Remove and discard bay leaves and thyme springs. At this point you could refrigerate until the next day.

When ready to serve, return the soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until still slightly firm. Meanwhile, combine ricotta, Parmesan, Asiago, mozzarella, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Remove soup from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Spoon into individual bowls, top with a generous dollop of cheese mixture and garnish with olives and serve.