Miss Ginsu: About/Bio

 

Giddy for Green Tomato Gazpacho

As the family legend has it, on the night before I was born, my mother cooked up a pizza topped with sliced green tomatoes, and the next morning, pop! There I was. (Though, truth be told, it may actually have taken a bit more effort than I'm leading on...)

I won't go so far as to call green tomatoes some kind of folk remedy for inducing labor, but I sure do think they provide awfully good incentive for anyone taking their sweet time in the womb.

Now that I've been out in the world a few years, I've discovered all kinds of other ideas for what to do with green tomatoes.

Green Tomatoes at the Market

My first suggestion would be that you take just a little time and invest it in making a green tomato chow chow. If you can some now, you'll have it this winter, and it really is just divine, especially when mixed into bean soups, egg salads or (my very favorite) served alongside grilled/broiled meat or fish. Nom!

But if you happen to have a few green tomatoes and not much time to spare, I'd recommend gazpacho. It's easy, it's low-key and since it's not a cooked dish, you won't heat up the kitchen. Or even break a sweat, to be perfectly honest.
Supremely Easy Green Tomato Gazpacho (Serves 3 to 4)

2 cups green tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup green or yellow pepper, roughly chopped
2 small or 1 large clove garlic
1 medium Kirby cucumber, quartered
1 jalapeño pepper, halved and seeds removed (optional)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or 1/2 slice stale bread, torn to pieces
1 cup tomato juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano (or 1/2 tsp fresh oregano)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Optional Garnish
chopped cilantro, 1/2" cubes of cucumber, sliced green onion and/or cubed avocado

1. In a blender or food processor, chop the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, cucumber and jalapeño, if using.
2. Add the breadcrumbs or pieces, tomato juice and olive oil. Pulse to incorporate.
3. Stir in the chopped cilantro, oregano and Worcestershire.
4. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to adjust to your desired flavor.
5. Chill for at least three hours (or overnight). Garnish, if desired, and serve cold or at room temperature. It's great with chewy baguette slices or garlic bread.

The beauty of a gazpacho is that it's so flexible and so forgiving. You can leave it chunky or make it really smooth. You can really even drop half the ingredients here and still come out with a tasty soup, though this happens to be the formula I like.

And on that note, you might notice that this recipe is almost identical to the Red Tomato Gazpacho I blogged a few years ago, or maybe even the Tomato-Watermelon Gazpacho from last August.

Huh! Funny how that happens! Yes, folks. You're on to me. It's all about theme and variation here at Chez Ginsu...

Salud!
Miss Ginsu

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8.17.2009

Chocolate Fondue the Lazy Way

Feeling rushed this week? Broke? Out of ideas for something special you might want to do for the Valentine's Day holiday?

Consider the Lazy Cook's Chocolate Fondue, a recipe that's easy, cheap, fun to do, a little out of the ordinary and supremely decadent — all at the same time.

Chocolate Fondue with Peeps

The nice thing about this recipe (other than the fact that it's dead simple, cheap and reliably tasty) is that it's so very flexible.

If the berries look ugly (February isn't exactly their best month), get dried fruit instead.

Don't like marshmallows? No problem: skip 'em.

Need a Valentine's Day treat for the whole family? Double the recipe. Kids love to dip things... especially in chocolate.

Prefer dark to milk? Go crazy.

Whatever your preferences, this is the chocolate treat for you and your valentine, because you can customize it perfectly to suit the occasion and the participants involved.

Chocolate Fondue with Peeps (Close Up)
Chocolate Fondue the Lazy Way (Serves 2-4)

For the sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
8oz (1/2 lb) chocolate chips, pastilles or small chunks (milk, dark or white)

For dipping (Choose one or more)
Fresh strawberries, raspberries or blackberries
Bananas, cut into 1" chunks
Pound cake, cut into 1" cubes
Dried fruit (apricots, figs, dried cherries, banana chips and pineapple work well)
Jumbo marshmallows
Graham crackers or shortbread cookies
Walnut or pecan halves
Fresh coconut, cut into 1" cubes

1. Count out forks or skewers and prepare a serving plate with the dipping items. (You'll want them at the ready so the sauce doesn't cool down completely while your fussing.)
2. Place the cream and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk constantly until the chocolate melts and incorporates.
3. Pour the chocolate sauce into a pretty bowl and serve immediately alongside your prepared platter of dippers.

Totally easy, right? You can whip this up in less than 20 minutes.

I'm not a white chocolate person, but I must admit it looks particularly cool on the berries.

And feel free to use broken up chocolate bars, chocolate chips, one of those huge Hershey chocolate kisses hacked into little pieces... whatever chocolate you happen to have.

Cheers!

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2.11.2009

Five Steps to Homemade Birthday Cake

Since the late 1940s, Pillsbury, Duncan Hines and General Mills (aka Betty Crocker) have been putting out cake mixes for the masses. Billions of boxes of cake mix for billions of birthdays and graduations and anniversaries and whatnot.

Knowing that I have personally eaten more of these cakes than I can count, I'm led to wonder what minuscule portion of the population has ever made a cake from scratch.

Though it's true that pouring a little vegetable oil and cracking a couple of eggs into a box mix is about as easy as it gets, the very basic yellow cake isn't much more fuss, and the maker gets a lot more control over the end product.

Flight of the Conchords Cake
Easy to make, easy to customize. Bret & Jemaine would approve

I make a fair number of cakes for coworkers' birthdays, and on certain busy occasions, I've felt a gravitational pull to the box mix aisle.

It generally goes like this: I pick up the pretty packages, read the ingredient lists, sigh, put the boxes back on the shelf and move along to the flour and sugar bags so I can get the supplies I need for a scratch-made cake.

Why? Well... read for yourself. This is an ingredient list for a standard box mix:
Sugar, Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol Mono- And Diesters Of Fats, Mono- And Diglycerides), Leavening (Soduim Bicarbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Wheat Starch. Contains 2% Or Less Of:Salt, Dextrose, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Artificial Flavor, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Dextrin, Cellulose Gum, Xantham Gum, Colored With (Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake), Nonfat Dry Milk.

None of that stuff is inedible, of course... I'm just wild about partially hydrogenated oils.

On the other hand, my very basic yellow birthday cake recipe has eight ingredients and five steps. It takes about 15 minutes to mix and 30 to bake. No shortening required, no soy involved and if someone has a milk allergy, it's easy to make dairy-free substitutions. Plus, it's got the real yum.
A Very Basic Yellow Birthday Cake (Makes a 13" x 9" sheet cake)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour or pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder

1. Heat the oven to 350°F and either grease a 13" x 9" rectangular pan, or put a layer of parchment paper across the bottom.
2. Cream together the butter, salt and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the milk and vanilla until blended.
3. Sift together the flour and baking powder.
4. Blend the dry ingredients into the egg/butter mixture until smooth (but don't overwork it).
5. Bake 35 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean), then remove from the oven and cool on a rack 30 minutes before removing from the pan.

You actually don't have to remove it from the pan. I almost never do. Just dust the top in powdered sugar or slather it with your favorite frosting, then slice and serve casually.

Maybe throw in a home-sung rendition of "Happy Birthday" to go along with your home-made cake.

Happy Eating,
Miss Ginsu

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2.08.2009

Chicken Soup 5 Ways

Through an error in calculation, I robbed ya'll of a soup post last week. Mea culpa. I make good today.

So we're aware there's more than one way to pluck a chicken... or make a chicken soup, for that matter.

In addition to making a supremely simple homemade chicken soup from a rotisserie bird, I'm offering up five inspirations from points across the globe on ways to make that satisfying bowl of chicken-soup comfort entirely different. One for each day of the work-week.



Chicken Soup Five Ways
or
Around the World with a Rotisserie Bird

1. Go Italian: Rotisserie Tortellini Soup (Serves 4)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 fat garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 cup tomatoes, diced
6 cups chicken broth
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 lb spinach, chopped
1 15oz can kidney beans or cannellini, drained & rinsed
8 oz mushroom or cheese tortellini
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1-2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken

Grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, for serving

1. In a heavy stockpot over a medium-high flame, heat the oil. Add the onions and peppers and cook 8 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, fennel and red pepper flakes and cook 2 minutes more.
3. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.
4. Add the zucchini, spinach, beans and tortellini. Simmer 10 minutes.
5. Add the basil and chicken and cook another 5 minutes to heat through. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with a little salt and ground pepper, if necessary. Serve hot, with cheese to garnish.

****

2. Go Greek: Rotisserie Avgolemono Soup (Serves 4)

6 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup orzo
3 eggs
3 lemons, juiced
1 cup rotisserie chicken, torn in thin strips
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a heavy stockpot over a medium-high flame, bring the the chicken stock to a boil.
2. Add the orzo and simmer 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs 1 minute before beating the lemon juice into the eggs.
4. Carefully scoop out 2 cups of the hot stock and pour it into the egg mixture in a slow stream, whisking vigorously to prevent curdling.
5. Add the the egg-lemon mixture and the chicken strips to the stockpot. Stir well, season to taste with salt and ground black pepper, and serve.

****

3. Go Mexican: Rotisserie Tortilla Soup (Serves 4)

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
3 fat cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1 lime, juiced
1-2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Salt & pepper, to taste

Ripe avocado and tortilla chips, for garnish

1. In a heavy stockpot over a medium-high flame, heat the oil. Add the onions, celery and peppers and garlic and cook 8 minutes.
2. Add the beans, tomatoes and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.
3. Add the lime juice and chicken and cook another 5 minutes to heat through.
4. Stir in the cilantro, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with a little salt and ground pepper, if necessary. Serve hot, with tortilla chips and sliced avocado atop each portion.

4. Go Thai: Rotisserie Tom Kha Gai (Serves 4)

1 dried chili pepper
1/2 small green chili, sliced thin
1 medium shallot, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1" piece ginger, peeled & minced
1" piece galangal, peeled & minced
6 cups chicken stock
3 limes, juiced
2 Tbsp Asian fish sauce
1/4 cup sliced bamboo shoots
2 stalks lemongrass
4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded (optional)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken

Rice, for serving (optional)

1. Give the lemongrass stalks 2 to 3 good, hard whacks with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin.
2. Heat a heavy stockpot (or a wok) and toast the dried chili in it for 3 minutes. Crumble the chili
3. Add a little oil to the pot and saute the green chili, shallot, garlic, ginger and galangal for 3 minutes.
4. Add the chicken stock to the pot along with the lime juice, fish sauce, bamboo shoots, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, if using. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
5. Cook 20 minutes before adding the chopped chicken. Cook for 5 more minutes to heat the chicken. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with a little more lime or some salt, if necessary. Discard the lemongrass and serve hot, with rice, if desired.

****

5. Go Indian: Rotisserie Mulligatawny Soup (Serves 4)

2 Tbsp cup vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 fat garlic cloves, chopped
1" piece ginger, peeled & minced
2 Tbsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tart apple, peeled and diced
2 cups red lentils
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 lime, juiced
1-2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken

Basmati rice, for serving (optional)

1. In a heavy stockpot over a medium-high flame, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook 12 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
3. Add the garam masala, coriander, tumeric and cayenne. Blend the spices into the onion mixture and cook 1 minute.
4. Add the apple pieces, the lentils and the chicken broth. Bring the soup to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes.
5. Stir in the coconut milk, lime juice and the chicken. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with a little some salt and ground pepper, if necessary. Serve hot, with basmati rice, if desired.

Hoping you stay warm, dry and full of goodness,
Miss Ginsu

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1.21.2009

Day 3: Devils on Horseback

This post marks Day 3 of Miss Ginsu's 2008 Advent Calendar. To find other days and other projects, use the calendar page to navigate.

Knowing one or two dead simple (and deadly delicious) hors d'oeuvres around the holidays comes in handy for the harried host.

Even better, I'm going to reveal a recipe that relies on things you can keep around the house for a bit... they just lie in wait until some unassuming guest happens to drop by.

I'm referring to Devils on Horseback... a sweet n' savory treat you might also know as "stuffed dates wrapped in bacon," but isn't the former name a little more romantic than the latter?

Devils on Horseback

You need only a handful of dried dates, some bacon strips, paper-thin prosciutto or serrano ham and a wee bit of blue cheese. Have any water chestnuts or almonds? All the better...

If you're going with bacon, you may also want to fasten the meat in place with toothpicks (soak them in water for about 10 minutes first... it prevents burning in the oven), but I don't generally need toothpicks when I use serrano or prosciutto.

When that lucky holiday guest arrives, fix him or her a drink and excuse yourself for just a moment.

In just a few minutes, you can toss a few of these together and open up a full-bodied red wine. Maybe go with a Spanish tempranillo, since these little treats are so tapas-ready.
Devils on Horseback(Makes a dozen)
12 large dates, pitted
6 slices bacon, halved crosswise
OR 12 4" x 2" strips of serrano ham/prosciutto.
1/4 cup crumbled Stilton cheese
12 almonds
OR 6 water chestnuts (halved) (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and soak 12 toothpicks in a small bowl filled with water for about 10 minutes.
2. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet and set aside.
3. Halve the ugliest side of the dates lengthwise, but don't cut all the way through.
4. Place a small amount of cheese (if using) in the center of each date. Bury an almond or water chestnut (if using) in the cheese.
5. Wrap a piece of bacon/ham around each date and secure the tails with a moistened toothpick.
6. Place the prepared dates on the baking rack, and cook until browned and cooked through — about 20 to 25 minutes.
7. Drain/cool for 2 to 3 minutes on paper towels before serving.

Some baby arugula or fresh watercress makes a nice bed for serving them, but it's an optional nicety... once you've had a bite, you won't care a bit about the presentation.

Holiday Cheer!
Miss Ginsu

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12.03.2008

Demystifying Mussels

Here's a mystery: Mussels are cheap, tasty, plentiful, fast-cooking, low in mercury, a lean source of protein and a good way to get your omega-3 fatty acids. Early humans were big on 'em.

With all that to their credit, you might think they'd go like gangbusters. You'd think those little black shellfish would be flying out of fishmongers' shops, so to speak. But no. You'd be wrong. Home cooks tend to shy away from cooking mussels.

And I should know... I'm one of those shy cooks. I know how fast and easy and good mussels are (especially with a solid Belgian beer), and yet I very rarely make them.

Mussels with White Wine and Tomatoes

Why not? Maybe it's something about dealing with the shells. Maybe it's the fact that they're living and need to be cooked right away — Mussels really aren't keen on hanging around the fridge.

Then again, maybe it's just habit. It's just so easy to whip up a salad or to sear a steak. It's a cinch to throw on a pot of soup and have something comforting to eat for several days.

But mussels have so much going for them, I really feel like efforts should be made to work them into the routine.

Here's a super-fast, super-easy mussel method. My best tip for success? Make sure they're all closed (or ready and willing to close) before you cook 'em. If their shells are a little open, give 'em a squeeze and see if they make an attempt to shut. Mussels that don't close should be tossed.

Mussels in White Wine & Tomatoes (Serves about 4 people)
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed or minced
2 shallots, sliced thin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 lb fresh mussels
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1. In cool running water, scrub the mussels clean and pull off the little bit of seaweed-like "beard" along the edges.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or heavy-bottomed pan. Add the garlic, shallots and red pepper flakes (if using). Sautée for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the mussels to the pan and stir them about, coating them in the oil. Add in the drained tomatoes and the white wine. Cover the pan and cook until the mussels begin to open, about 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat. Spoon out the cooked mussels and sauce into serving dishes and sprinkle with the parsley. Be sure to offer separate bowls to collect the shells.

Serve with a sliced baguette — you and your fellow diners can soak up some of the savory sauce.

Obviously, this dish is going to go well with the rest of the bottle of wine you used for cooking, so be sure you're cooking with a wine you enjoy (and that's just good advice for just about any dish).

Bon Appetit!
Miss Ginsu

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9.17.2008

Recession-Proof Recipes: Cool Beans

Back around tax time when I started this series, basic black bean soup seemed like a really tasty idea, but after a week of 90-degree days, I must admit that thick, hearty soups seem far less appealing. Just turning on the stove seems far less appealing.

Chickpea Salad
Chickpea, Yellow Zucchini & Sweet Corn Salad w/ Red Wine Vinaigrette

Thank goodness for canned beans. Cheap, tasty protein... no flames required. I've been making bean salads with my CSA vegetables for the past two weeks. And thanks to the remarkable versatility and variety of beans, I'm still not sick of them.

While blanching corn cobs, fava beans or green beans does require a pot of boiling water, there's plenty of veggies out there that are perfectly happy to hop into your salads in raw form.

Market-Fresh
Market-Fresh Succotash

And since bean salads are so simple, it hardly seems worth it to write up a recipe. So but I'll just do a little quasi-mathematical formula:

1 can of your favorite beans (washed & drained)
+ 1 cup sliced zucchini, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, shredded carrot (or whatever veggies you like)
+ 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, mint, dill and parsley all work just fine)
+ 2 Tbsp olive oil
+ 1 Tbsp citrus juice/vinegar (white wine, red wine, cider, malt, balsamic...)

= Tasty Bean Salad


White Bean Salad
White Bean, Cucumber, Tomato & Parsley Salad w/ Lemon Vinaigrette

Beans are already little protein powerhouses, but if you're mad for protein, or just really love meat, you can toss sliced, cooked beef, chicken, tuna, lamb, sausage, etc. atop any of these salads.

I particularly love bean salads with the olive oil-soaked tuna like the Spanish Ortiz Bonito Del Norte, but that kind of blows the economical angle. :)

Bon appetit, ya'll!

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7.22.2008

Sweet-Tart-Cool-Fresh-Bliss!

A composed dessert

J. made this for me because he's full of good things and has to share some of them in order to avoid bursting open, which would be terribly unattractive and inconvenient.

A splendid summer sweet, this dessert is lovely to look at and tangy-sweet-refreshing to consume. Some of the nicest dinner-endings are more like delightful assemblies of good ingredients and less like cooking or baking

Thus, I will attempt to relay the assembly list for you:

A Quick & Lovely Summer Dessert
Lime-Basil Gelato (Il Laboratorio del Gelato)
New Jersey Blueberries
Torn Fresh Mint Leaves
Drizzle of Lime-Blossom Honey

If you were serving this to a crowd, I'd ask you to consider chilling the plates in the freezer and putting down a gingersnap or a teaspoon of poundcake crumbs before plating the gelato. That keeps the melty-ness at bay while you do up a series of plates for your lucky guests.

Bon appétit!
Miss Ginsu

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7.25.2005

Chilled Spinach Soup. So cool. So refreshing.

Cool Spinach Soup
Hot day, cool soup.

Martha Stewart's May issue contained an enticing Chilled Yogurt-Spinach Soup with Shrimp.

It was pretty steamy and warm today, and although I didn't have the requisite cucumbers, Greek-style yogurt, chicken broth, red onion or fresh spinach, I really couldn't face going grocery shopping or doing any actual cooking.

So I changed her recipe up a bit. Never fear! It's still really lovely and couldn't be faster or more satisfying on a stuffy June evening.

I served mine up with a few steamed shrimp and felt blissful. Now if only my landlords would let me out into their backyard...

Chilled Yogurt-Spinach Soup
1 pkg frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
2 cups plain yogurt
8 oz sour cream
2 scallions (chopped roughly)
2-3 fat garlic cloves
Juice of one lime
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups light stock (I used a fish stock, but chicken would be fine)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Pea shoots for garnish

Blend spinach, yogurt, sour cream, scallions, garlic, lime juice, olive oil and stock in blender until smooth. Garnish with fresh pea shoots, chopped parsley, fresh mint, basil or maybe croutons and serve immediately.

Happy Eating!
Miss Ginsu

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6.05.2005

Desktop Panini 101

Tired of brown-bagging cold sandwiches? Here's my method for making hot, crusty paninoteca-style delights in my cubicle with no fuss and no mess. I've been doing it all week and I'm hooked.

This is so darn simple, it's really more of a method than a recipe.
Desktop Panini
1 roll of aluminum foil
1 George Foreman grill or electric waffle iron
electrical socket
desk space
sandwich of your choice

1. Plug in grill/iron. (Don't plug it into the same outlet as your computer. I'm not going to be responsible for the productivity dive when you blow a fuse or something.)
2. Wrap sandwich in foil.
3. Toast sandwich in grill/iron for 12-16 minutes.

A few sample panini combos to try:
Cuban sandwiches (mustard, pork, ham & Provolone with pickles)
Roast beef & cheddar
Reubens or "Rachel" sandwiches (turkey, sauerkraut, thousand-island dressing & swiss)
Roasted onion, red pepper & sun-dried tomato
Turkey, provolone & pesto with hummus
Sauerkraut, grainy mustard & pastrami

I find desktop panino work best with sandwiches that include cheese, but now that I think about it, I bet a Nutella-banana sandwich would be tasty, too.

Whatever you go with, it'll end up toasty on the outside, gooey on the inside. Easy-peasy, yummy and cheesy. Downside? Jealous coworkers will smell what you're up to...

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6.02.2005

My Big Fat Granola Epiphany

Sometimes, I'm just rolling along with my life and I'm suddenly hit upside the head with the realization I've been doing something completely silly for years.

Case in point: Granola. Why have I been buying granola? I feel like such a dope for having paid Kellogg's to make a substandard version of it for me.

It's painfully quick and easy to make. It creates a warm, homey aroma in your kitchen. It's fresh. It's yummy. It's cheap.

And when you make it at home, you can put whatever you want in it. Looking to make it healthier? Toss in some extra oat bran. Not a big fan of raisins? No problem. Love hazelnuts more than life itself? Go nuts. Literally.


And it's even better with fresh berries and yogurt...

This stuff is good with milk, nice for crunch over yogurt, ice cream, fresh fruit or pudding. Get yourself a big tin of rolled oats and forage for some dried fruit and nuts in the back of your cupboard.

So don't be a rube like me. Stop buying granola. Take this recipe and fly free, little sparrow.
DIY Granola Base Recipe (Makes about 4 1/2 cups)
4 1/2 cups rolled oats (NOT instant)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil (or another light, unflavored oil)
1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite chopped nuts or seeds, if you wish a combination of: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, flax seeds, etc.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl, blend all the ingredients.
2. Spread the mix on a cookie sheet or sheet tray and bake 15-25 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking to brown the mix evenly.
3. Cool the tray on a rack, stirring occasionally. Add dried fruit, if desired, after granola has cooled.

After you've done the base batch once or twice, experiment with coconut flakes, macadamia nuts and dried pineapple or perhaps hazelnut and cranberry or maybe dried cherries and almonds or maybe dried apple and walnut...

Happy Eating!
Miss Ginsu

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2.28.2005