April 10, 2010

Steel Cut Oats


I've been eating oatmeal for breakfast almost every day. I'm finding that I'm fuller for much longer, and I have more energy, too. I tried this recipe on Picky - the original recipe has cinnamon whipped cream for the top. Even with the whip cream, it was ultimately rejected based on texture (she did admit that it tasted good, though - and at least she tried it...). Oh well, it's a keeper for me. Sometimes we spend so much time concentrating on the little ones, that we forget to take care of ourselves.

The recipe is super easy. It does take awhile to cook, but I'm finding that I can use the time it's simmering to put away the clean dishes, make breakfast for Picky, and sip on my morning coffee...
Start with 2 cups of milk (I've been using 2%), 2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt.
Bring the water/milk to a boil on med/high heat, and then add 1 cup of steel cut oats and turn the heat down to low - you're going to simmer it for 30 minutes, or until tender and creamy.
The original recipe has you adding dried fruit just before serving (and whipped cream on top), but I like to add the fruit in while it cooks - if you add dried cranberries, it gives the oatmeal a bit of a pink color. I like the texture of cooked dried fruit, but you can add it after if you like. I put about 1 handful of dried cranberries or raisins.

Serve the oatmeal with a drizzle of honey, some sliced almonds, and fresh fruit, if you like. Yummy! I adapted this recipe from The Family Kitchen by Debra Ponzek

April 7, 2010

New Cookbook, again!!!

I couldn't help myself. I'll get rid of some of my old cookbooks, I swear! I was at Costco, and saw Jamie's Food Revolution, and had to have it. I have a few of his early "naked chef" books, and he had some great stuff, even then. I think he's come a long way, and I'm impressed by his dedication to a cause that needs attention right now. The recipes look great, Picky saw several pictures that she loved (don't get too excited, it doesn't mean she'll actually try it if I cook it...). I even passed up the new cookbook by Alice Waters, although I may pick it up eventually. 

I love Jamie's premise for the book: he invites you (or challenges you) to learn a few recipes from each chapter and then pass them on to one or two others. That's practically an invitation to blog his recipes! Although, really, I'd be preaching to the choir: it's not likely that someone who is uninterested in cooking would be looking at a food blog. Still...

I'm excited to try a few new recipes (and see if I can get Picky to try a bite or two), and I'm excited to follow what Jamie Oliver is doing with his "revolution", and where this all goes! Happy Cooking! :)

April 1, 2010

Carrot cake: a complete food.


My grandmother's motto was "A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand." My mother's motto is slightly different: "Carrot cake is a complete food." I have to agree with my mom, here (although my grandma makes perfect sense...); carrot cake has everything you could possibly need, especially the way we make it. We subscribe to the "more is better" attitude when it comes to carrot cake. First of all, it should have so many carrots in it that it hardly holds together. Then, it's not proper carrot cake without raisins and nuts, and possibly coconut and pineapple as well. Slather it with a thick layer of cream cheese icing. And now you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner: protein, fruit, veggies, grains...



My mom hadn't had a proper carrot cake in awhile, and I've been meaning to find a good recipe. My friend Isabelle pointed me in the direction of King Arthur Flour's recipes (I actually have one of their cookbooks, and I've been ordering stuff from them for years, but never noticed the "guaranteed recipes" that they have on their web site.) Well, her birthday was last week, and we had just the opportunity we needed!


We started with this lovely recipe. Of course, we had to fiddle with it a bit (I had to get that habit from somewhere...). In this case, we used drained canned pineapple instead of dried, 1/2 a cup of golden raisins that had been soaking in rum (I believe my mom put the raisins to soak as we were assembling, and then drained them and added them to the carrot mixture, but I have to defer to her on this one - mom?), and a handful of crystallized ginger, chopped, also added to the carrot mixture.



Oh, yum! This cake is beautiful. And yummy. I could seriously live on this cake alone. And so could my mom. After all, it has everything you need! Picky, of course, liked the frosting the best, and could have done without the nuts. She still ate it, I noticed (although she kept asking for more frosting, but who could blame her?).