My very favorite granola

If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried at least 10 different recipes for granola- each of them ok, but not something that you want to make… and then make again.  With this recipe I’ve tweaked it a few times until I found the balance that makes me happy.  It’s slightly crunchy, a little salty, it has the chew factor, it has texture, the little bit of sweet offered up by the dried fruits, and a teeny bit of heat, ’cause, well, why not?  So without further adiue….

Granola

Granola

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 Cup whole raw cashews
  • 1/2 Cup chopped raw cashews
  • 3/4 Cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/4 Cup grade B pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 Cup canola oil
  • 3/4 Teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/3 Cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 Cup raisins (I like variety so I use 1/3 Thompson, 1/3 golden, and 1/3 red flame)

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F
  • In a 1 Cup liquid measuring cup combine the maple syrup, canola oil, kosher salt, cinnamon and cayenne- give it a real good swirl around in there
  • In a bowl, combine the oats, all of the cashews, and the coconut
  • Add the liquid to the solid and combine the mixtures as evenly as is possible so that you can’t see any bog, dry clumps at all
  • Spread the mixture out on a jelly roll pan, evenly, and cook for an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even brownesss
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes, then add the cranberries & raisins
  • Store in an airtight container in a cupboard for up to 1 week.  Enjoy dry or with your favorite milk (cow, goat, soy, almond, hemp)

Socca

While flipping through my most recent edition of National Geographic Traveler I came across this 1-page article on Socca (chickpea flour crepes).  Seeing as the picture indicated that this Socca (which I had never heard of before) was a food, I decided to read on.  The ingredient list was simple: chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt.  The intent seemed ideal: to be in rough shards, eaten with your fingers.  How could I go wrong?  So I tried it.

The batter is fairly thin- much like crepe.

Socca batter

Socca batter

There are several options for cooking these- under a broiler (in a fry pan), on a very hot baking stone, stove top.  I opted to make my first three on a baking stone, preheated in a 500 degree oven, and the last in a cast iron pan so that I could see the difference.

Broiled socca: crispy edges and nicely cooked center

Broiled socca: crispy edges and nicely cooked center

I served these as a gluten-free flatbread type of side to lemon-pepper chicken and green salads topped with crispy-fried mushrooms, roasted red peppers and cheddar cheese.

Socca makes a great app or accompaniment

Socca makes a great app or accompaniment

Ingredients:

2 cups chickpea flour
2 cups water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt (or more if you really want to taste it)

Directions:

  • Whisk together the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, garlic, thyme, and salt. Let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours
  • Preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a baking stone in it
  • Give the batter a quick whisk and ladle a quarter of it into the skillet
  • Switch the oven to Broil and let it go for 5-10 minutes, until the top is browned and the socca is cooked in the middle (yet still tender) and crispy around the edges. Use a spatula to remove it from the stone
  • Repeat to make the additional flatbreads
Socca- ready for cutting

Socca- ready for cutting

Tan-tan chicken and snow peas

Tan Tan chicken with snow peas

In the spirit of trying to eat all things local, I’m posting this recipe as snow peas are now available in our local fields. At the very least I know that Red Fire Farm has them because they’re on the list for CSA members for Pick Your Own crops this week. If they’re not available yet in your area, these crisp, flat peas are typically out in loose bins at most grocery stores.

Between its sweetness and its crunch, the snow pea is a great snack in raw form. They’re also fantastic steamed or stir fried, and they do not require the accompaniment of any sauce or spice. In this case, I’ve tossed them in a peanut sauce that is just a little sweet, a little savory and has a touch of heat. This dish is fine on its own, but would be great served over rice too.

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp peanut butter

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

1-1/2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp honey

2 medium cloves garlic, chopped

2-1/2 TBS peeled & grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp water

pinch of cayenne to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups Snow peas, ends trimmed

1/2 cup minced scallion

Directions:

  • Bring a fry pan up to a medium heat and sauté the chicken breasts in sesame oil
  • When the breasts are cooked, remove them from the pan and set aside to rest while you prepare the sauce
  • Blend all of the remaining ingredients, except the scallion, together in a blender
  • Cut the rested chicken breasts up into bite-sized chunks and return them to the pan and toss with the snow peas, sauce and scallion

 

Pork and Kimchi Sliders

While perusing through my pile of recent magazine recipes I came across one from Food and Wine for “Crunchy Pork Kimchi Burgers” and I thought well, this sounds weird, but oddly good at the same time.  Then I went to the Northampton Tuesday Market  and there was a vendor sampling fresh kimchi which was nothing like the shelf-stable stuff that I had eaten in the past- a little less crunchy, a little less bitter, more sweet, and simply lovely.  Just a hop-skip-and jump up from her stand was Mockingbird Farm who had ground pork for sale and I just knew that I had to give this recipe a try.   I grabbed some baby spinach from Enterprise Farm and now had the makings for this lovely sounding dish, locally sourced.  Since I was on a roll, and they looked fantastic, I grabbed some white turnips too (from Old Friends Farm)- I figured they’d be great for roasting.

Since I’ve eaten primarily grain-free since the beginning of this year, I adjusted the recipe to omit the flour and panko and obviously had a different end product than what was advertized in the magazine.  I really loved the dish the way that I made it and will definitely make it again this same way.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 large garlic clove, pressed

2 scallions, chopped

1 lb. ground pork

3/4 cup finely chopped kimchi (I ran it through the food processor rather than hand-chopping)

Sprinkle of Kosher salt

Vegetable oil, for frying

10 oz. baby spinach

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

sesame seeds (for garnish)

Directions

  • In a bowl combine the ginger, garlic, scallions, pork and kimchi with the salt

ginger, garlic, scallions, pork and kimchi with salt

  • Form the mixture into eight small patties, about half an  inch thick (to get these all a uniform size, I used a number 2 scoop)

Add the patties and fry over moderate heat...

  • In a large skillet (cast iron if you’ve got it), heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Add the patties and fry over moderate heat, turning once only, until you have a beautiful crisp on each side and there is no more pink visible from the outside(you want them to be cooked through)
  • Set aside to drain on paper towels and let the juices finish distributing
  • Pour off all of the vegetable oil from the skillet and add some toasted sesame oil and the baby spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook over a medium-high heat until wilted (about 1 minute)

baby spinach wilting in toasted sesame oil

  • In a small dish, mix the mayonnaise, sesame oil and soy sauce
  • Pile the spinach on plates and top with the sliders, drizzle with the sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy

Pork and Kimchi Sliders over wilted sesame spinach with roasted white turnips

I will admit to eating two left-over patties the next day, straight out of the fridge.  A different experience, but good still.  The sauce is a bit salty, so be sure not to over-do it.

J

Crock pot Chicken Chili

Whether you’re looking for a meal that can be thrown together in the morning to cook off slowly throughout the day and be ready for when you get home from work/power-shopping/day-tripping or for a healthy chili recipe for game day, this could work for you.  Moist chunks of chicken flavored with smoky ancho chili powder, combined with sweet white corn kernels, and creamy cauliflower give this dish a heck of a texture profile.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 can kidney beans

2 anaheim chili peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped

1 cubanelle chili pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped

1 (16-ounce) bag white corn

1 quart low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup low-fat sour cream

2 teaspoons sea salt

 

Directions:

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt, pepper, and ½ of each of the cumin & chili powder,  and cook, turning once, until golden, about 10 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside to cool a bit before chopping
  • Add the onions to the pot and cook until they’re golden brown, about 10 minutes
  • When the onions are done, add about ½ of a cup of chicken broth and deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape up all of the brown bits from the bottom
  • Cut the mostly-cooked chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks
  • To the crock pot add the cauliflower, beans,  peppers, onions, corn, chicken and broth (including broth from deglazing), cover and set to low for 8 hours
  • Season with sea salt to taste
  • Dish up, dollop with sour cream and serve