Monday, June 21, 2010

Back to School Raspberry Granola Bars

This is one of those amazing cookie bars...sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy.  And I usually have the ingredients on hand, which means that anytime someone says, "can you bring dessert," I can at the drop of a hat (ok, not quite the drop of a hat, but assuming I have a little time in the morning....)  I found this incredible recipe in Food and Wine from Karen DeMasco who suggests making them for school bake sales...which, I guess would work if I didn't feel like hiding half the baked goods away for me to eat throughout the week.


1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan

1 cup raspberry preserves (THIS IS KEY...use the best you can find...none of that "no sugar added" naturalist stuff...time to pull out the big guns.  I use a Russian/Israeli mixed berry jam that I find at Jon's Market)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Spread the chopped pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the rolled oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda and pecans. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the melted butter until the oat mixture is thoroughly combined.
  3. Press two-thirds of the oat mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared baking pan and top with the raspberry preserves. Sprinkle the preserves with the remaining oat mixture.
  4. Bake the bars for about 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the top is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the granola bars cool completely, about 3 hours. Cut into squares and serve.

Make Ahead

    The bars can be kept in an airtight container for up to 1 week.  If they last that long.  Hah!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Israeli Couscous with Roasted Shrimp

I picked up this main course salad (perfect for warm weather dining!) from a blog I found on my favorite food porn site called which itself adapted a recipe from Ina Garten (of Barefoot Contessa fame.)  The original recipe called for orzo, but Joelen substituted Israeli Couscous, which is way more fun!.

Kosher salt
Good olive oil
1 cup dried Israeli couscous +  equal amount chicken broth for preparing
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined, depending on how much shrimp you desire
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill (I totally left this out and it was fine)
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced (persian cukes work well too)
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped and seeded tomatoes
3/4 pound good feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare the Israeli couscous as directed (bring broth to boil, dump in couscous, simmer 15 min or so covered.)  Once cooked, place in a large bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook!

Add the shrimp to the couscous and add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.