Homemade Granola Bars

June 15, 2008 at 6:43 pm (101 cookbooks, B plus, breakfast, Dessert, Grains, Granola & energy bars, My brain)

I’m trying to use up all the grains, nuts and seeds, and dried fruit in my pantry before I leave Montreal. Faced with a huge jar of rolled oats, I discovered this recipe on 101cookbooks for Big Sur Power Bars. I’ve always wanted to try to make granola bars / power bars of some sort, so despite the fact that I didn’t have all the ingredients, I decided to give it a try. Below is the recipe I made from what I found in my kitchen, based on Heidi Swanson’s recipe, and my memories of making hundreds of batches of granola back in my days as fast food chef at the House of Commons co-op. Read the rest of this entry »


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Roasted Brussels Sprouts

January 9, 2008 at 8:39 am (101 cookbooks, Alma's faves, B_, Cruciferous rich, Monthly menu plan, Quick weeknight recipe, Vegetable dishes)

I really love brussels sprouts, and my favorite way to eat them is roasted. They taste sweet and carmelized and delicious, nothing at all liked boiled-to-death sprouts. That said, I’ve been quite unsuccessful at roasting them myself. They’re more often pale or even putrid green, burned on the outside while still raw on the inside, rather than the perfect vibrant green, succulent, carmelized sprouts I’ve had at restaurants. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong; my only theory is that the restaurants use much more oil than I’ve tried, or perhaps parboil the sprouts first. In any case, I was excited when I saw this recipe for pan-roasted brussels sprouts on 101cookbooks.

I followed her directions exactly, and my 24 small sprouts just barely fit in a single layer in my 12-inch skillet. The final sprouts were just a tad too crisp for my taste, but I think with a bit more practice and experience with my stove I could get them to a more tender state. This is definitely a promising technique that I’ll be trying again. It makes the perfect amount of sprouts for two (assuming both love brussels sprouts as much as Derek and I).

I served the sprouts with amarillo pepper sauce, that tangy, spicy, yellow pepper sauce from Peru that I used to eat at La Feria in Pittsburgh. I found it here in Montreal at a South American store on St. Laurent, and have been enjoying it on sandwiches and as a dip for all kinds of foods. In the past when I’ve made roasted brussels sprouts I’ve served them with a yogurt mustard sauce, like the one I described in my recipe for baked tofu. It goes wonderfully with the sprouts, with the mustard faintly echoing the cruciferous tastes of the brussels sprouts, and the sour/sweet yogurt complementing the bitter/sweet carmelized sprouts.

Rating: B
Derek: B

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Skinny Omelet

August 14, 2007 at 7:33 am (101 cookbooks, B plus, breakfast, Dark leafy greens, Necessarily nonvegan, Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes, Summer recipes)

I had some already cracked eggs in the fridge from a recipe that went wrong, and could not figure out what to do with them. I ended up deciding to make an omelet, which in the past has always been a disaster. This “skinny omelet” inspired by the skinny omelet in the 101 cookbooks blog, came out surprisingly well. It’s called a skinny omelet not because it’s so calorie-light but because the omelet itself is quite thin, almost like a crepe. I don’t read many blogs, but the pictures are so beautiful in Heidi’s blog that I find myself checking it out every week. This is the first recipe of hers I’ve actually tried (or modified, in this case).

  • a tsp. of oil to grease the pan
  • 2 large eggs + 1 egg white (preferably organic, free-range), beaten
  • a sprinkle of sliced basil leaves, about 1 Tbs?
  • about 1 ounce feta, crumbled
  • two handfuls of arugula/watercress
  • 6 yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • black pepper, freshly ground

Heidi says to “beat well, until the eggs are mostly uniform in color – they seem to run around the pan more evenly when there aren’t huge patches of yolk vs. whites.”

In as 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat pour the egg mixture and swirl the pan so the eggs cover the entire pan. Sprinkle the eggs with feta and basil and black pepper while they set (about 15 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the heat of your pan). Use a spatula to help slide the omelet onto a plate. Sprinkle with the salad greens and sliced tomatoes, and roll the omelet into a tube-shate. Cut in half on a deep diagonal. Serves 1-2.

My Notes:

The original recipe called for pesto, which I had, but forgot to add. It also called for feta, chives, salt, and salad greens. I used a bit of feta, basil instead of the chives, no salt since the feta was quite salty, and a mix of quite wilted (i.e. left them in the fridge too long) arugula and watercress. I also added a few halved yellow cherry tomatoes. I had 6 eggs and 2 egg whites mix together in a bowl, and I used 3/4 cup, so maybe 3 eggs and 1 egg white? As a result, my omelet was not nearly as skinny as hers, and I had to use a spatula to push the omelet to the center of the pan and let the uncooked parts get cooked. I liked all my additions–I could definitely taste the creamy feta, the greens added a sharp, “green” taste (for lack of a better word), and the tomato and basil were delicious together, the tomatoes contributing a lovely sweetness to the dish. It almost tasted like salad for breakfast, but a bit more substantial.

Derek also enjoyed the omelet, and commented “This is what Enrico’s [a brunch place in Pittsburgh] aspires to.”

I classified this as a nice recipe for Spring because it’s a great way to use some of the very delicate early Spring greens like arugula, spinach, or sorrel, along with a little cheese and any fresh herbs you still have growing on your windowsill. As written, with the tomatoes and basil, it makes a nice summer recipe as well.

Rating: B+

Derek: B+

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