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Posts Tagged ‘easy recipe’

Well, I probably exaggerate but it sure is good.  I have been making a Vanilla Almond Granola from Sally’s Baking Addiction for a while.  It is fantastic!  Recently I discovered her recipe for Maple Pecan Pie Granola.  It too is fantastic!  I love the crunchiness of the second – and the pecans, of course – but it was quite a bit sweeter than I really want for every day.  So I made a sort of mash between the two recipes, and it’s now my favorite.

Serve 1/4 to 1/3 cup of this delicious granola on top of plain yogurt, with fruit or by itself.

2-1/2 to 3 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar (dark, light, your preference)
1 to 1-1/4 cups of chopped pecans
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (optional)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1-1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line an 18×13 inch sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat.  I find the silicone mat makes life easier because it stays in place better when you stir the granola during the baking process.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, chopped pecans, cinnamon/pumpkin spice, and salt.  I use three cups of oats, but if you like it a little clumpier, use the smaller amount.  This isn’t going to make a very clumpy granola even with the lesser amount of oats.

In the microwave heat the 1/2 cup of maple syrup in a one-cup glass measure  for one minute.  Add the 1/4 cup of coconut oil and give it a good stir.  If the coconut oil is still partially solid after a good stir, stick it in the microwave for 15 or 30 seconds, and then give it another good stir until it’s well mixed.  Stir the vanilla extract (I recommend Trader Joe’s Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract – it contains no corn syrup!) into the syrup/oil.

Pour the syrup/oil/extract mixture into the dry ingredients, tossing till all of the dry ingredients are coated.

Spread the mixture onto the prepared sheet pan, then bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.   You don’t want to overcook it, because the nuts will over toast and the oats will get too brown.  If I’m not right on the timer at the first two 15-minute intervals (sometimes I’m feeding the dog, and we can’t make the dog wait!), I’ll pull the granola out of the oven before the last 15 minutes have expired.  You don’t want to overcook the pecans or let the oats get too dark.  When you pull it out of the oven for the final time, it will continue to cook a bit because of the retained heat.  Let it cool in the pan.  Store in an airtight container.  I have some for breakfast every day when I make it, so I know from experience it can be stored for at least two weeks.  I doubt this will be in your cupboard longer than that.

How many calories does this have?  I have no idea.  I do know that, with yogurt, it is a delicious breakfast that satisfies my stomach until lunch time.   Enjoy!

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CHICKEN SOUVLAKI SANDWICH

Servings: makes 4 servings

TZATZIKI SAUCE:

Plain Greek yoghurt
Crushed garlic
Drizzle of olive oil
Splash of lemon juice

Mix together and refrigerate.   Sauce will develop flavor, so making this a day in advance makes it extra delicious.

CHICKEN SOUVLAKI:

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 tablespoon yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces

1 red onion, cut into pieces that will stay on a skewer.

4 pieces of pita bread
Red leaf lettuce
Sliced tomato
Crumbled Feta cheese

Mix lemon juice/zest, yogurt, oil, seasonings together in a sealable container along with the chicken; marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to overnight.

Skewer the chicken pieces and onion, grill over medium-high heat until cooked, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Warm the pita bread.  Assemble sandwiches – tzaziki sauce on the bread, lettuce, chicken, onions, tomato, feta cheese – and enjoy!

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OMG! I am so excited! I discovered that it is really easy to make one of my all time favorite soups: Egg Lemon Chicken, or, as the Greeks like to say, Kotosoupa Avgholemono.

Temple of Theseus, between 1850 and 1880. (Library of Congress)


Decades ago, when I worked in downtown Boston, I used to get an incredibly delicious avgholemono at Sultan’s Kitchen on Broad Street. They are apparently still serving up delicious and delightful Turkish cuisine, so if you’re in the area make plans to stop by with your stomach appropriately empty.

The other night I visited Ornery Bastard and clicked through to a site he had learned about, SuperCook, a website where you can type in ingredients you have on hand and it will give you a bunch of suggested recipes. One of the results that piqued my interest was avgholemono but the recipe was a little fussier than I was willing to deal with. My taste buds refused to take that for an answer, so I did some further searching of the interwebs for an easy but honest-to-god recipe for this delicious soup and I found just what I was looking for.

Basically, you need four things:

  • Chicken broth/stock
  • Eggs
  • Rice (uncooked)
  • Lemon juice

If you have some cooked chicken on hand, that’s all to the good as well, but not essential.

I looked at a bunch of recipes and pretty much they all agree on the proportions. Two cups of broth/stock to two tablespoons of rice, one egg and the equivalent of the juice of one lemon (or more, to taste).

I brought one can of chicken broth to a boil in a medium pot, then added approximately 1/4 cup long-grain rice, letting that simmer for 20 minutes. There should be enough liquid so that not all the liquid is absorbed by the rice in the cooking.

Break your egg into a bowl and beat it good, then add your lemon juice to that. Once the rice is cooked, slowly whisk the liquid from the rice into the egg/lemon. If you add the hot liquid too fast, it will screw up the eggs and make it icky, so be sure to add the hot liquid slowly. And by “slowly” I mean as in don’t just dump it all in at once, but it doesn’t mean glacially.

Once you’ve got the liquid whisked into the egg/lemon, go ahead and dump in the rice, grab a spoon and enjoy!

If you have some cooked chicken laying around, you can shred it and add that to your soup. A good quality pita bread makes a good accompaniment. The avgholomeno at Sultan’s Kitchen was so thick that I would scoop it into my mouth with torn off pieces of pita instead of using a spoon. Mmmmmm!

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I made them last night and let me tell you — they are fabulous! They are lightly sweet and fragrantly almond puff-pastry delights. Thank you, Solo!

ALMOND TWISTS!

Yield:  approximately 48 twists

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit

1 package (17-1/4 oz) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 can (8 oz) almond paste (Solo brand!)
Sugar for sprinkling

Sprinkle work surface with sugar.  Unfold one sheet of pastry and lay flat on sugared surface.  Roll out to 12-inch square.

Divide almond paste in half.  Set half of almond paste aside and break remaining half into small pieces.  Dot over half of pastry sheet.  Fold pastry in half over almond paste and roll out to 10×12 inch rectangle.  Sprinkle lightly with sugar.  Fold in half again and roll out to 10×12 inch rectangle.

Cut pastry in half to make two rectangles, each 5×12 inches.  Cut each rectangle into strips (width-wise), one inch wide each.  Twist strips into corkscrew shape and place on ungreased baking sheets about two inches apart.  Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar, if desired.

Repeat with remaining pastry sheet and reserved almond paste.

Bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.  Remove from baking sheets immediately and cool completely on wire racks.

***

Now, that is the recipe as Solo has written it.

Because I am one who tends to rush ahead before I know where I’m going, I did not read the directions fully before I began — actually, not until I typed them in above! So there are a couple things that I did differently.

First, I didn’t use sugar to roll out the pastry, I used flour. I would definitely go with sugar next time, just because I think there may be some additional “sparkle” to be gained, but if you think there’s already enough sugar (which there is — my twists are delicious!), lightly flour your rolling surface.

Second, I had the oven at 350 rather than 375. I have a gas convection oven and they cooked in 20 minutes (two trays at once). It will be interesting to see what happens at the higher temperature. I have had problems in the past with puff pastry not cooking through fully on the underside yet threatening to become over brown on the upper side, so the slightly lower temp may have worked to my advantage here.

The third issue is not related to lack of reading ahead but rather to my execution — I sprinkled too much sugar on the pastry after the first fold. As a result, the two layers of pastry did not bind well together after rolling, though they did stay together well enough that I was able to make the twists without a problem. Perhaps the “extra” sugar I inadvertently added at this stage “made up” for that inadvertently deleted in the rolling-out stage.

And absolutely — remove the twists from the pan as soon as they come out of the oven. If you don’t, they will stick hard and fast. I didn’t have wire racks but used paper towels, making sure that the twists were all top down, with their bottoms in the air, so that the paper towel did not stick to the cooling sugar on those bottoms.

A recommendation I would make is that rather than cutting the finished pastry in half and then into strips, I would cut it into thirds, so that the finished twists are smaller. The recommended size is not too big necessarily, I just think they would be cuter if they were smaller.

Since I used one of my two sheets of puff pastry to make the ham, swiss & mushroom puff pastry quiche, I only had one to make the almond twists, which means that I still have half a can of almond paste in my fridge. I will be running out to buy more puff pastry so I can make some more of these babies and also try one of the other delicious-sounding variations on the twist theme recommended by Pepperidge Farm and others, such as the glazed apricot twists over at Epicurious.

I have a feeling that many of my friends and relatives will be getting a variety of these crispy little delights for Christmas this year.

UPDATE:   Mmm-mmm!  We made them again and learned new things!

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