Friday, March 21, 2014

The Last Granola Recipe you'll Save

Granola...such an intriguing concept and yet so often it tastes like sawdust.  Most commercial granolas suffer from the lack of that one little kick that balances out the sweet and the nutty...salt.  Looking at this recipe, from Eleven Madison Park via Serious Eats, I was elated to see salt (tee hee, see salt) and yet a little dubious as to the amount of salt (a tablespoon?  really?) in the recipe.  But all that sweet and all that (unsalted) nuttiness and even the olive oil cry out for some serious salt.  And, except for the coconut chips/flakes, you can find every ingredient at Trader Joes.  Which is always a bonus (the coconut, by the way, is available at Whole Foods.  If you walk in there without a basket or cart, pick up your coconut and head to the cashier, your wallet won't be sucked dry.)

I don't know about you, but I have collected granola recipes over the years and they have stayed in the digital form of a kitchen junk drawer forever.  And after finding this recipe, they will remain there just that much longer.  Because this one is just that good.


  • • 2 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • • 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • • 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips or flakes (not shredded coconut)
  • • 1 tablespoon salt
  • • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • • 1/3 cup maple syrup, perferably Grade B


Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, and salt.

In a small sauce pan combine brown sugar, olive oil, and maple syrup. Bring heat to medium and whisk occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Pour over oat mixture. 

Spread oats along prepared baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and mix in dried cherries.

Put in tupperware and try really hard not to eat too much everyday.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Miso Marinated Root Vegetables

Miso Marinated 2

It is 80 degrees in February in Los Angeles and with the exception of a couple of weeks of temperatures hovering in the mid sixties, this has been the least wintery winter that I remember in a long time.  Not that I am complaining too much (the fall cashmere sweater purchase was a bit of a waste, though.)  But foodwise, we still have to wait for spring to get the best asparagus, strawberries and spring peas.  So root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes of all kinds, rutabaga, turnips, whatever) are still a great seasonal choice.  Peeling and chopping are the only  ”tough” thing about this and you can attack this part the day before if you like. This recipe, adapted from Food52 is pretty light and pretty delicious and pretty pretty, too.  Leftovers would be great atop some sort of grain (farro, bulgur, red or black rice come to mind) with a fried egg and some sriracha sauce.
2 pounds peeled root vegetables, cut in roughly 1/2-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons miso paste (see above)
2 Tablespoons maple syrup (or honey, if you prefer)
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 Tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or just oil it) or do nothing…it will work either way.
Whisk together the miso, maple syrup, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and oil. Toss the sauce with the cut-up root vegetables, coating them well. Transfer to the baking sheet and roast, turning periodically, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until they are soft (but not mushy) and caramelized. Eat as soon as possible.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mediterranean Mashup Salad

I LOVE a good Greek salad...cucumbers and tomatoes and feta, oh my!  It is the ultimate summer salad for me and now that the good backyard tomatoes are out in full force, there is no reason to let this one wait.  

Since the carb loving girl in me can't resist a great panzanella salad, I was thrilled to see Ina Garten do a great panzanella/greek salad mashup.  Garlicky, feta-y and super crunchy, a better lunch cannot be had on a day when the temperatures rise above 80 degrees.  Throw a piece of Costco roasted chicken on the side (because who the hell wants to turn on the oven on a day like today?) and you have an enviable meal.  Have your significant other show off his/her mixology skills (like Jeff did today with cucumber soda and gin cocktails) and you have a meal that lifts right off the pages of Sunset Magazine.  

Get thee to a market for the ingredients and whip this one up!


For the salad:

2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cups sourdough bread cubes (1 inch)...I took a sourdough sliced loaf from Sprouts and went to town.
Kosher salt
1 cucumber, peeled, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick  (OR persian cucumber, not peeled and cut into chunks...much easier)
1 red bell pepper, large diced
1 yellow bell pepper, large diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved OR 4 or 5 bigger tomatoes, preferably from someone's backyard, chopped into 1 inch chunks
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
4-6 oz. crumbled feta cheese
2.5 oz. can sliced black olives, drained (husband doesn't dig these, so they didn't make it into ours)

For the vinaigrette:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1¼ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil


To prepare the salad, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5-10 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the heat.  You can do this while cutting up all the other veggies.

Combine the cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onion in a large bowl.
To make the vinaigrette, combine the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil to create an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives, and bread cubes. Mix together lightly. You can set it aside for 30 minutes to let the flavors blend OR just scarf it down as is and it is still pretty darn good.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shaved Fennel Salad

Oh, the cruelty of early summer.  Yeah, cherries abound and you can find those amazing Blenheim apricots at the farmer's markets. But real summer fun has yet to begin with peaches (peach crisp, anybody?) and amazing tomatoes (nothing like Ad Hoc's gazpacho in the blender on a hot day) and super sweet watermelon (can't wait to make again this watermelon and feta salad.) 

But one of the beauties of spring is fennel which, though available year round, is at it's best right now.  And this salad (adapted from Heidi Swanson's fantastic book, Super Natural Every Day , though simple in ingredients, is very very big on flavor and presentation both.  With it's bright citrusy flavor, crunchy veggie base and salty feta thing going on, it is a perfect gateway to summer kind of salad.  And it is pretty.  Never underestimate the power of pretty in food.


1 medium-large zucchini, sliced into paper thin coins
2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and shaved paper-thin
2/3 cup loosely chopped fresh Italian Parsley (yeah, I totally forgot this step, still good.)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper 
4 or 5 generous handfuls arugula
Honey, if needed
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled


Combine the zucchini, fennel and Italian parsley in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside and marinate for 20 minutes, or up to an hour.
When you are ready to serve the salad, put the arugula in a large bowl. Scoop all of the zucchini and fennel onto the arugula, and pour most of the lemon juice dressing on top of that. Toss gently but thoroughly. Taste and adjust with more of the dressing, olive oil, lemon juice, or salt if needed. If the lemons were particularly tart, you may need to counter the pucker-factor by adding a tiny drizzle of honey into the salad at this point. Let your taste buds guide you. Serve topped with pine nuts and feta.

Serves 4 to 6.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Maple Cider Popcorn Balls

I have made traditional popcorn balls a couple of times in my life...they never quite tasted as good as they looked.  They were too "one note" for my tastes.  I saw this recipe in the Tasting Table Kitchen Blog and thought, "One more chance."  Glad I did. 


And the best part is that in spite of the copious amounts of butter and sugar via marshmallows, one could maybe sort of justify it as a more healthy snack than your average buttery sugary snack since it boasts puffed versions of the ancient (and therefore good for you, right?) grains kamut and, I can feel my cholesterol dropping even as I write this.  And the carmelized maple-y apple thing really puts it to another level.

The real key is that they are definitely not One Note Nancys (apologies to my many friends named Nancy.)  The different grains (and kettle corn) create different texture and the caramelized maple syrup/apple cider/marshmallow glaze ain't half bad.  Puffed Kamut and Puffed Millet can be found at Whole Foods, or more cheaply at Sprouts Market.  

And speaking of Sprouts Market, word is that it will be opening in Westwood on May 1st.  That means I can walk to purchase their amazing dark chocolate covered honeycomb.  Good thing it is a very long walk.

1½ cups unsweetened puffed rice cereal
1½ cups puffed Kamut cereal (or substitute puffed rice cereal)
½ cup puffed millet cereal
7 cups store-bought kettle corn or freshly popped popcorn (preferably kettle corn-style, lightly buttered or unflavored)
¾ cup apple cider or juice
¼ cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 ounces marshmallows (either 3 cups mini marshmallows or 3¼ cups jumbo marshmallows)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously coat the interior of a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. On a rimmed baking sheet, place the puffed rice, puffed Kamut and puffed millet, and bake in the oven until fragrant and toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to the greased bowl. Add the popcorn and use your fingers to combine.
2. To a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the apple cider and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the maple-cider mixture produces thick, foamy bubbles and the temperature on an instant-read thermometer is 250°, 12 to 15 minutes (you can also test the temperature by dipping a metal spoon into the hot maple caramel and then submerging it in ice water; after 5 seconds, you should be able to press the bit of cooled caramel into a soft ball) ( took a LOT longer than 15 minutes for me and I ended up raising the heat level to medium high.) Turn off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter, whisking to combine, then whisk in the cinnamon and salt.
3. While the maple-apple cider mixture caramelizes, melt the marshmallows: In a medium skillet set over medium-high heat, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add the marshmallows and reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally until the marshmallows are melted, about 3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the maple-cider caramel into the marshmallow mixture, whisking to combine. Immediately scrape the marshmallow-maple caramel over the popcorn mixture and use a wooden spoon to thoroughly combine. The mixture will become very webby.
4. Immediately use the nonstick cooking spray to generously spray your hands and form the mixture into nine 3-inch balls, respraying your hands as needed to prevent sticking. Place the popcorn balls on a baking sheet and set aside for least 1 hour to set up before eating. (To store, wrap the popcorn balls in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container for up to 5 days.)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lemon-Glazed Madeleines

The interesting thing about madeleines is that most store bought ones taste like stale cake.  Other than the very pretty shape, I never really knew what all the fuss was about.  Until I made my own.  Specifically, until I made my own lemon glazed madeleines.  The buttery, lemony sweet little cake (really, it is not a cookie in the true sense of the word) is a confection unto itself.  And I don't really dig cake all that much, so that is a high compliment indeed.
This recipe, from blogger extraordinaire David Lebovitz is pretty foolproof as long as you follow the directions.  Use madeleine molds: I tried both the metal and silicone versions...the metal is slightly better and there is so much butter involved that the cakes come out clean.  And you may need to double the icing...I did. They are a big hit, both in the looks and taste departments.  The only thing is that they don't keep super well, so you better eat them shortly after you make them.  Or you can invite my daughter over and she will make sure they are gone for you.  She does it for me every time.

3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
zest of one small lemon
9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds

3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water


1. Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.  (I was totally lame with this step...forgot to dust with flour, forgot to put in fridge, but then again it was a cold day.)

2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.

3. Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. (Rest the bowl on a damp towel to help steady it for you.)

4. Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.

5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)

6. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

8. Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter which you think will fill it by three quarters (you'll have to eyeball it, but it's not brain-surgery so don't worry if you're not exact.) Do not spread it. I used a small ice cream/cookie dough scoop thingy.

10. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. While the cakes are baking, make a glaze in a small mixing bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.

11. Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. The moment they're cool enough to handle, dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated and scrape off any excess with a dull knife. After dipping, rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.

Storage: Glazed madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they're best eaten the day they're made. They can be kept in a container for up to three days after baking, if necessary. I don't recommend freezing them since the glaze will melt.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip Steak

So this is my NEW favorite meat recipe that I pulled from the blog, Simply Recipes. You can keep your filet mignon, your rib eyes and your giant roast beast.  This recipe is easy and pretty foolproof.  I had posted another tri tip recipe using a red wine  marinade, but that requires forethought and planning and marinating.  This recipe is easier and, frankly, better.  And requires only the forethought of having an awesomely stocked spice collection and catching the tri tip sales at your local market.  

My family likes it rare, hence the "dead cow walking" look to the photo, but you can cook it longer if you like.  This is one of the few recipes that my entire family gets happy about...can you imagine this universal enthusiasm for the sweet potato recipe I posted earlier?  Clearly a carnivorous crowd.


1 Tri tip roast, 2 1/2 to 4 lbs, well marbled with fat
Santa Maria Rub (enough for a 4 pound roast)
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp finely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 teaspoon dry rosemary (or fresh, finely minced)
1/2 teaspoon dry sage


1 Mix the rub ingredients together in a bowl. Sprinkle the rub on the meat on all sides, and massage the rub into the meat. Cover and let sit at room temperature for an hour.

2 Prepare your grill for hot direct heat on one side, and indirect heat on the other. Sear the roast on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Carefully watch the roast during this process as one side of the roast is typically quite fatty and as the fat heats up it can drip down and cause flare-ups. Keep moving the tri tip away from the flame if flare-ups occur.

3 Once the tri tip is seared on all sides, move it away from direct heat and place it fat-side up on the grill rack.  If you are grilling on charcoal or wood, you may want to turn the roast over every few minutes, for more even heating. Try to maintain a grill temperature of 250°F to 300°F.

4 Cover the grill and cook until the temperature of the interior of the tri tip reaches 120°F for a rare roast, 130°F for medium-rare and 140°F for medium. At this point the meat will take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to cook, depending on how hot your grill is, how well done you want it, and the size of the cut. Note that the interior temperature will continue to rise at least 5°F after you take the roast off the heat.

5 Once the roast reaches temperature, remove it from the grill and let it rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve.