Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I've been making my own granola for a long time now, probably twelve years or so. It's really easy once you get your recipe down. I make a batch at least twice a month. I've made huge batches for gift giving too. I eat it about 4-5 days a week and really swear by it's health benefits (it's keeps you very regular too!).  I eat it with yogurt or kefir , a little milk and fresh berries. It really powers me through the morning. Equivalent granola in the store is so expensive. I am going to share my recipe which is just that, the way I like it. It's so easy to make it your own with the add ins you like best. I'll walk you through the basics  but encourage you to try different things until you come up with your ultimate granola.

Scott's Granola
4 cups oats (not instant or quick cooking) a great item to get from the bulk section
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chopped up pecans and/or almonds ( or any nuts you prefer)
3/4 cup shredded coconut (optional but gives good texture)
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1/3 cup molasses (or if you prefer use honey)
Mixture of dried fruit. ie. raisens, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dates, and I love to put in some chopped up dried crystallized ginger.(1/2 cup or more)

Preheat your oven to 300º.
Gather your ingredients

Measure all of the dry ingredients and the spices into the bowl, except the dried fruit.
Measure out your water/oil/molasses mixture and pour over the dry ingredients, stirring it all together.

Divide between two baking sheets and put in the oven for 44 minutes.
Stir and rotate shelves half way through baking time (At 22 min.)

When done just let cool on the baking sheets, then add your dried fruit.
Store in an airtight container!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lightening Up

I'm one of those kooks who is still enjoying this cold and snowy Virginia winter. So I'm still making lots of soup and other winter foods ( I have a pot roast in the crock pot right now). But a couple of weeks ago my mother in law was visiting, so between meals of slow roasted short ribs and linguine bolonese,  I decided to lighten things up. As if it were spring I made a large salad and topped it with roasted salmon.  I made a soy glaze of 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup maple syrup reduced on the stove top to 1/3 cup. Brushing this on the salmon before, during and after roasting the salmon (450º for 10min.) Then broiled it for 3-5 minutes.
It tasted so fresh and light.
I'm a big fan of Seafood @ West Main. That's were I get our fish for sushi too.
Speaking of sushi, we ate at Tokyo Rose the other night for the first time in 5 years or so and it was really really good. I will be back soon!
Back to the meal........

For dessert I did pears poached in red wine, topped with whipped cream. What a beautiful fall/winter dessert. So elegant but delicious and not so heavy.
We are so fortunate to live in a time (and country) where you can walk into your local market in February and have access to so many fresh fruits and vegetables. In support of our wonderful Buy Fresh/Buy Local campaign, I take a little longer to see where my produce is coming from. It's so easy in the summer to buy practically everything from local sources, but it becomes a challenge in the winter. I start by trying to buy, if not from VA, then maybe the east coast, then at least from the USA and when all else fails, I buy a papaya and thoroughly savor every bite. My friend Lorrie turned me on to how good and healthy they are with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
 A great start to your day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fresh Egg

Hopefully I can change that title to fresh eggs soon. We only have two chickens, Ivy and Charlotte and the poor things have been shed bound with all of this snow. They are only about six months old.  I think the first egg came out of boredom. They usually have run of the whole yard and just wander back in to the shed at night.

 The girls just let them out for some fresh air and they seem so happy. I'm so proud of their first egg. It is so big it must be a jumbo! They are kind of plus size gals.
 I even thought the little poop on it was charming.

Now I need to decide how to eat the first special egg.......

P.S.- The next day I decided to fry it up for breakfast and lo and behold I got another surprise!
A double yolker!!
I just read up about them, and found out it's common when they first start laying until their reproductive system smoothes things out.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


When our girls went to public school in the very ethnically diverse Los Angeles County, a school potluck was an international feast. I have a vivid memory of the Indian mother that brought the most incredible samosas to a kindergarten gathering. I've always wanted to try making them.
I followed the recipe from the new Gourmet Today. I can't find the exact recipe on line but this link is pretty close. I chose to make the classic potato and pea filling(which is vegan) but the spiced lamb sounds good too.
Next time I think I would roll the dough a little bit thinner.
Here they are waiting their turn to be fried.
The filling had a nice spicy kick, so we ate them with a bit of mango chutney.
Next time I make shrimp curry for a dinner party I think these would be lovely with cocktails!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Gourmet Today

I picked this up at Sam's club last week out of curiosity and then couldn't put it down, so it ended up in my basket. I heard a bit about it when it first came out, but I made the assumption it would be complicated food taken from the magazine. It's so approachable and really all about how we cook today. I can tell I will use this for years to come. It was listed at $40. and Sam's had it for $24.95.  I've been cooking from it since I brought it home.

The first thing that caught my eye was Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock. I've been looking for other good   uses for my pressure cooker besides beans. And the weather was calling for me to make some homemade chicken soup.
I gathered the ingredients: a small chicken, onions, celery, carrots, thyme, garlic, parsley stems, a bay leaf, salt  and peppercorns.

I put it all in the pressure cooker and added 7 cups of water. Brought it to a boil and then put the top on it.
Once it was hissing I turned it down to a simmer and in 15 minutes it was done!
I removed the chicken and picked all of the meat off it for the soup and had extra for chicken salad.
Then I strained everything else out and let the stock cool. After adding fresh carrots, celery, onion,
the chicken and egg noodles we had some comforting chicken noodle soup.