Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mediterranean Inspired Sauce for Pasta

I made this up one evening, while trying to use up a few of the many jars of artichoke hearts I had accumulated. It actually turned out really well and with this dish I trained myself to like Kalamata or Greek Olives!

You will need:
Artichoke hearts, already marinated ( at home or store bought)
Kalamata Olives, pitted and diced
Boiler or pearl onions
Fresh Garlic, crushed
Fresh Basil, chopped
Fresh Oregano, chopped
Fresh Rosemary, plucked
Favorite Olive Oil

In the marinade, pour artichokes into skillet and heat. Add pimentos, onions, olives, s/p. Heat and let simmer. Simmer until half the liquid is left. Pour over freshly made pasta of any kind and add the olive oil, basil, garlic and oregano. I add these in last and off the heat because for this dish it is not necessary to add them before and they keep their flavor and the great benefits from the olive oil and garlic are only useful to your body when not heated to a high temperature. The heat from the sauce will be enough to help infuse the flavors but not enough to harm the benefits!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cranberry and Orange Zest Granola

This is another one of my family's favorites. It is very similar to the other granola recipes, but I mix in orange zest and cranberries.

You will need:

*in the same measurements as the Pecan and Cherry Granola
butter (or substitute)
pecans (finely chopped)

to that add:
2 Tbl Orange zest
2 Tbl vanilla extract
1 1/2 Cups dried cranberries

** to make it soft add the milk

Mix all and follow baking instructions for the Cherry and Pecan Granola.

Pecan Cherry Granola

I love to make granola, especially around the winter time when it is cold. I also love to make my granola soft, almost like I took an oatmeal cookie and crumbled it up. Eating it like cereal with warm milk is the best on a cold morning!

You will need:
3 cups oats
1 1/2 all whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups pecans

1 cup dried cherries
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter ( I use a vegan substitute )
1/2 cup honey or agave syrup
cinnamon and all spice to taste

Preheat oven for 350d. Spray down a cookie sheet or two and mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. When the ingredients are all mixed, spread out on the cookie sheets and bake. If you want softer granola for cereals, put it all on one cookie sheet with edges, if you want crunchier granola spread it out over two. Bake until you feel the top get crunchy and pull it out to mix it up and bake it some more. Because there is nothing that needs to cook all the way through you may bake it as long or as short as you want, or until it is the consistency you want. Let the granola cool on the cookie sheet completely. The honey or syrup will continue to cook the granola outside the oven and will let the crunchy chunks set, so this is important. Bag up and enjoy!

Easy Yet Sophisticated Garlic Bread

Don't give your secret away. Once you have made this and served it, your diners will wonder where you had it catered from, never suspecting that it is easier than blinking an eye. A great side for salads, pastas or soups.

You will need:
Loaf of your favorite bread, sliced
Good quality olive oil
Kosher salt (large grained)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Freshly minced : Rosemary &
Garlic cloves
* amounts will all vary depending on you choice of bread and the number of people being served.
** depending on my guests, I like to add a little kick and put in some Cumin and Cayenne as well!

Preheat oven to 350d. Mix salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic together and set aside. On a plate large enough to fit the entire face of your largest piece of bread, pour a good amount of olive oil to cover the bottom. Lay each slice of bread in the oil until one side is completely coated and place, oil side UP, on an ungreased cookie sheet. When all of the bread has been 'oiled', sprinkle the herb mixture on generously and bake until the tops of bread are golden or crispy. Some breads won't brown, they will go from white to burned, so watch them! Serve warm.

Garlic Bread Crunchies

I work in a preschool and we hate to waste money but no one could figure out how to get the kids to eat bread ends, until I threw this together for an afternoon snack!

You will need:
Bread, each slice cut into four rectangles
olive oil
parsley or basil or oregano ( or Italian seasoning)
*opt* Parmesan cheese
** keep in mind that the quantities will change depending on how many people you are serving or how much you want to make.

Preheat oven to 350d. Toss bread with oil and seasoning until the bread pieces have a light coating and bake until golden brown. Great with soups, on salads, pastas or finger foods. And you can use those bread ends and no one will know!

Pumpkin Apple Cider

I served this for a Holiday Party at the preschool I work in. It was a hit with adults and children alike!

You will need:
1 gallon apple juice or cider
4 oz pumpkin (paste form)
2 cups apple sauce
Tbl Allspice
Tbl cinnamon
1 apple, sliced thinly

In a large pot, large enough for all ingredients, place the 2 cups of the juice and whisk in the spices, the pumpkin and the applesauce.
Add the rest of the juice in and heat on medium to medium high, do NOT let boil. Add in apple slices with the juice and let them infuse. Serve warm and stirred ( the pumpkin will settle), with an apple slice in each glass.