Friday, November 20, 2009

A Promise is a Promise

You are just going to have to trust me on this. My intentions were good, really they were.
I spent an evening scouting out the perfect recipe. I wanted it to be savory, of course, and I wanted to share it with you. I went out and bought special secret ingredients. I came home, tied my apron around my waist and got to work. My goal was to create the most astounding Fried Chickpea Salad that there ever was. I was set, and ready and excited. Alas...
Beautiful, no? Oh yes, I thought so too before I tasted it.
Don't get me wrong, it was good... but it was far from great. You have no idea how sad this made me. I debated about whether or not I should share it with you, but in the end it came down to the fact that it didn't move me. And when it comes to food, I want to be moved!
I'm issuing a formal apology right now, because what came next was quite far from being the least bit savory. What came next was one of my favorite comfort foods of all: French Chocolate Granola. Oh baby, is it ever good.
I didn't take any pictures of it, so this can kind of still count as a savory post! Just a note, my family went through 10 cups of this granola in three days. Bon Appetite!

French Chocolate Granola
Adapted from Orangette

3 cups rolled oats
½ cup almonds, chopped
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tbsp. mild honey
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
½ cup, or more, finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 300.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut, sugar, and salt. Stir well to blend.

In a small saucepan, warm the honey and oil over low heat, whisking occasionally (be careful! the oil may want to splash out!) until honey is loose. Pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to combine

Spread the mixture evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Set a timer to go off halfway through the baking time, so that you can give the granola a good stir; this helps it to cook evenly. When it's ready, remove the pan from the oven, stir well (this will keep it from cooling into a hard solid sheet) and cool completely.

When cool, transfer the granola to a large bowl, storage jar, or zip-lock plastic bag. Add the chocolate, and stir (or shake, if using a jar or bag) or mix.

Store in an airtight container.

Yield: Makes about five cups of granola

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I've Been Caught!

It's happened. I've been caught by some terrible flu/cold thing that I just can't shake. I don't know about you but when I'm sick, my appetite goes somewhere far away, on vacation or something, and becomes almost non existent. So, as can be expected, my diet this week has been completely uninspiring. It has mostly consisted of packages of Fisherman's Friend and mandarin oranges. I can't seem to muster up the courage to step foot inside the kitchen. I would love to whip up a big batch of vegetable soup, but my arms feel like they weigh 50 lbs each. And I want cookies, but only kind of. I know things are rough when not even baking can spark my interest.
The other day, I decided that it would probably be a good idea to introduce some food with actual substance into my diet. I wracked my brain for and idea. It would have to be something simple and easy, because in my current state, everything seems more difficult then it should. Almost instantly I remembered one of my favorite breakfasts from when I was a kid: A Toad-in-the-Hole. I bet there are nearly a million names for the toast with a whole cut in it and then an egg fried in it's center! Oooh yes! It truly is a match made in heaven. And practicality wise, it just makes sense to put your egg inside your bread!
I found some fresh baked bread on the counter (courtesy of my lovely grandmother) and, as usual in my house, our fridge was loaded with eggs. So that was half the work right there. The rest was equally as easy. I like to vamp up my Toad-in-the-Hole a little bit, and I do so by slicing up some aged cheddar and fresh tomatoes and placing them on top of the whole thing. The cheese gets kind of melty and the tomatoes get warm and the whole thing together is like a flavor explosion, in the simplest, most delicious way possible!
My little breakfast was better then I could have imagined. Healthy, and delicious with nearly no effort required! I almost felt energized after it's consumption! Really, sometimes simple is best.
So, I'm passing on this little gem, just in case you are sick, or get sick (but lets hope to goodness you all stay healthy!), so that you can eat something yummy, even when you don't feel much like doing anything at all.


1 piece of whole wheat or multigrain bread
1 egg
3-4 slices of aged cheddar cheese (I use a lactose free kind, and it's fabulous!)
2 slices of tomato

Heat a small fry pan on medium-high heat with a bit of oil or butter on the bottom , just enough so that the egg doesn't stick to the pan.
Cut a hole in the center of a piece of bread. I use a small cup to do this.
Place bread in pan and crack an egg into the hole. Cook on one side and then flip (about 2-3 minutes). On top of cooked side, place cheese and tomato. Let cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy!