Saturday, March 22, 2008

Granola.

This stuff is delicious, and the great thing about granola is that you can pretty much substitute, subtract or add any of the dry ingredients, as long as you don’t mess with the total amount too much, and it will still be yummy. I found a whole bunch of recipes online and just sort of combined them and added some stuff of my own.

Dry:
8 cups rolled oats
1-1/2 cups wheat germ
1-1/2 cups oat bran
1 cup flax seeds & flax meal (I just put them both in the 1-cup measure, so they add up to a cup together. You could do more or less of either.)
About a cup of almonds
About a cup of pecans
About a cup of walnuts

Liquid:
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon

To be added last:
A cup or two of coconut
A cup or two of raisins or dried cranberries or other dried fruit

Preheat the oven to 200 F. I used a big turkey-roasting pan, because it makes it easier to stir. I was going to line it with parchment paper, like a few of the recipes said to, but I didn’t end up doing it, and it was fine. So don’t waste your paper.
Combine all the dry stuff in a really big bowl, except for the last two ingredients.
Bring all the liquid stuff to a boil over medium heat, and then pour it over the dry stuff and stir until it’s all coated.
Dump it all in your big roasting pan, and bake it for about 50 minutes, or until it’s as crispy as you like it.
Stir it about every 10 or 15 minutes so that it bakes evenly.
Stir in the coconut, if you want it, in the last 10-20 minutes.
When it’s done, stir in the craisins or whatever fruity thing you decide to put in there.
Then open up a paper grocery bag and spread all your delicious granola out on the counter to cool.
When it’s cool, store it in an airtight container.

One of the things that a lot of the recipes said to try is to use coconut oil instead of the vegetable oil, because apparently it’s really good for you. Plus, can you imagine how yummy and coconutty it would be? Delish. But we didn’t have any, so I’ll have to wait until the next batch I make.

Also, today a whipped up another 1/2 batch of the liquid mix and coated half of what was left of the granola and baked it again in a 9×13 pan and it made some pretty tasty homemade granola bars. I baked it at 350 for about 25 minutes, and only the outside edges were done, so I took them out and baked the rest a little longer. I think next time I would do it at maybe 275, and do it for maybe 30 or 40 minutes, in the hope that it would bake a little more evenly. They were still really good, but all the pieces had different consistencies. Some were really soft and fally-aparty, and other pieces were like a hard granola bar that you would buy in the store. I’d like to find some sort of happy medium between the two. If I figure it out, I’ll let you know, and if any of you end up making these and you figure it out, you let me know too, hey?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread has several variations. This is just one that I've loved, but if you can't stand the raisins or the caraway seeds, just leave them out.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup butter, melted
2 cups Buttermilk*
1 C. Raisins (optional)

*substitute for buttermilk is one cup of milk with a tablespoon of white vinegar. Allow to sit for a few minutes and use as directed.

Preheat oven to 325°. (that's 165 C for those across the pond)

Sift flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. For those who don't like to do this, it's recommended to prevent clumps of ingredients like, baking soda or flour to end up in the bread.

Add buttermilk, egg, and melted butter. Make sure the melted butter is a bit cooled so it won't cook the raw egg.

Pour dough into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake for approximately 65-70 minutes. Cool on rack, serve warm.

It doesn't last long at my house, but for those who want to make leftovers, this bread dries out quickly. Serve fresh from the oven or wrap tightly in foil.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shrimp Alfredo over Pasta

Ingredients:

3 Cups of Heavy Cream (Some people substitute half and half for a healthier version, but we like it with the Heavy Cream)
1 1/2 sticks of butter
3 Tbsp. Cream Cheese
¾ to 1 C. Parmesan cheese (we get the fresh grated kind, but powdered works too)
1 tsp. Garlic powder or you can use fresh chopped garlic to taste
½ to 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (I buy the easy peel kind, so I don’t have to mess with deveining and the shell peels right off)
2 T additional butter
Minced Garlic to taste
1 lb pasta of your choice

Preparation:
In a medium saucepan combine butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Simmer this until all is melted, and mixed well. Add the Parmesan cheese and Garlic powder (or fresh garlic if you so desire). Simmer this for 10 minutes on low, stirring as needed. The sauce will thicken and expand, so be careful not to let it boil over. You may wish to season with a little salt and pepper.
While the sauce is simmering, melt the 2 T additional butter in a pan. Saute the minced garlic in the butter, and then add the raw, peeled shrimp. Cook the shrimp in the butter until the Shrimp is pink and curls into nice little rounds. Add the shrimp mixture to the Alfredo sauce and stir well. Serve over the pasta of your choice (we like Angel Hair pasta here, and when we make this volume of sauce we make a whole pound of pasta.) This recipe serves 8. You can easily cut it in half or even 2/3 for a smaller group of people. The sauce without the shrimp added is also great if you are not a seafood fan. Just leave the steps where you cook the shrimp in butter and garlic out. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Oklahoma Coleslaw

I'll give Uncle Joe credit for this recipe. He made up a batch of slaw for us after tasting a wonderful Carolina Pulled Pork sammich at RibCrib. It was served with coleslaw on top of the meat. It was very yummy!

Oklahoma Coleslaw

1 ½ lb green cabbage, quartered, cored and shredded
3 tablespoon cider or malt vinegar (we added just a tad bit more)
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 small onion grated (optional)
2 medium carrot grated
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
In a large mixing bowl, toss the cabbage with the vinegar and salt. Grate the carrots and optional onion directly into the bowl. Add the mayonnaise and toss well.

The slaw can be served immediately, but it is much better, more melded and tender, if allowed to stand and tossed occasionally for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

We found this recipe on-line and liked it because it was very simple and we had all the ingredients and weren't going to have to make a special trip to the store. :o) AND IT DIDN"T CALL FOR CELERY SEEDS!! (the best reason to try it in my celery-hating opinion!)

~Aunt Jo