recipes and talk about:
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maple granola

maple granola. yummmmmmo

This March was in like a lion, out like a lamb, just as it’s supposed to be, right and good. It’s a slow-brewing Easter revelation: for the past several days, we’ve had our eye on the forecast and those double digits creeping up from 40s to 50s to 70s. We’ve been talking about the weather forecast in awed, hushed tones: it’s going to be 75°F by Thursday! Maybe 80°F on Friday!

We so want to be true believers in meteorology, just this once. We’re ready, after months of snow and ice and wind and mud, to prostrate ourselves at the altar of the Mighty Blue Screen of Meteorological Prophecy.

And today, we are believers. It’s 56°F right now. We see whispers on Facebook: our Chicago friends wax poetic in their status updates about their glorious weather, and we close our eyes and smile, knowing that what’s in Chicago today will be here tomorrow.

in the hippie spirit

maple granola ingredients

And since I’m in this warm hippie spirit, I’ll offer up a foodstuff so linked to hippes that it became an adjective all its own. Read more on maple granola…

daring bakers: nanaimo bars

nanaimo bars stacked

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca. Recipes for whole wheat graham crackers and Nanaimo bars at the end of the post.

Read more on daring bakers: nanaimo bars…

daring bakers: halloween boo-burgers

halloween boo-burgers! that doesn't sound too much like boogers, does it?

okay, fine, “macarons”

Well, en français they’re called macarons. Silly Frenchies. Macarons were October’s Daring Bakers Challenge. I filled them with lime-colored peppermint buttercream, and decided they looked like little hamburgers, and since it’s that time of the year, they’re now officially Halloween Boo-Burgers. Yay!

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

I must be a real hick, because I’ve participated in Daring Bakers challenges two months now, and I’d never heard of either month’s baked good. Vols-au-vent? Macarons? Double-you-tee-eff, mate?

Turns out macarons aren’t those coconut cookie things. They’re simple-looking cookies made of almond flour and powdered sugar folded into egg whites that have been beaten into a meringue and slightly sweetened with granulated sugar. As a result, they’re kind of nutty and kind of sweet, but not overly so. A perfect macaron will have a thin crunchy outside, chewy inside, and crunchy “feet” at the base.

so close...must eat...

It’s quite easy to become obsessed with achieving the perfect feet.

macarons, first try

Word among the Daring Bakers was that this particular macaron recipe was a bit finicky. My first attempt, plain macarons, came out pretty well…. Read more on daring bakers: halloween boo-burgers…

July 28, 2009 in main course, salad2 comments

spring tuna wraps

spring tuna wraps

ohnoes, shrinkage!Shrinkage. It’s not just for George Costanza anymore. Thanks to rising costs and a disinclination towards outwardly raising prices, food manufacturers are selling less for the same price. Everything comes in a smaller package these days, and not all of it is due to chilly swimming pools.

And in the process, mucking up loads and loads of recipes. Jerks.

But I’ve got a present for you. Spring tuna wraps uses 5 ounce cans of tuna, yay! Well, that’s because I sort of just wrote down the precise measurements today, but you didn’t read that, did you?

But it’s not spring anymore, I hear you complaining. Too bad. Up here in Michigan, it’s been a cruel cool cool summer, and peas, lettuce, radishes, and green onions are still going strong in the garden. Confession: my peas are sugar snaps, so I use frozen in this recipe, shh. Don’t tell anyone!

gah, someone get this cat off my countertop

Oh, wait. Hold up. My dad’s cat, who likes to come in my house at night, keeps jumping up on the counter to lick the measuring cup that had mayonnaise in it.

So annoying. I hate getting hints that it’s time to wash the damn dishes.

Okay, tossed the cat outside, now back to the wraps. I’ve always liked canned tuna, and missed it when I eschewed fish in the strict vegetarian phase. Even as a kid, a tuna sandwich was always a special treat and change from the normal peanut butter and jelly sack lunch. I would have had it in every lunch if I could. As a grownup, I finally found out how tuna is supposed to taste, via tuna steaks in good restaurants, but canned tuna still holds a special place. I don’t know why, because it bears about as much resemblance to tuna the fish as canned salmon does to salmon the fish, and I hate canned salmon.

gresh parsley and chopped green onion

Now, updated for grownups: brighten up tuna salad with tangy lemon, sweet peas, and crunchy bits of radish. Toss in some toasted almonds, splash on a bit of Thai chili sauce, tuck it all into whole wheat tortillas with leafy lettuce. Yes, there’s still mayo in here, and celery, and some green onions and…you get the point. A melange of springy vegetables ready for sandwich noshing.

Oh wow. Even at six servings, each tuna wrap is 242 calories apiece! Sounds pretty good to me. Read more on spring tuna wraps…

July 4, 2009 in salad8 comments

strawberry and feta salad

strawberry feta salad

Update: strawberry and feta salad is now entered in this week’s ZOE Secret Ingredient Challenge. Psst: the secret ingredient is feta.

With strawberry vinaigrette!

You know. I’ve really got to begin paying attention to presentation when I snap these photos. I’ve been just putting something on a plate or bowl the way I’d eat it and sometimes it’s not quite so…attractive.

Like this strawberry and feta salad. I shouldn’t have mixed it up first. I should have put the lettuce in the bowl, artfully arranged the strawberry slices on top, rakishly sprinkled the toasted slivered almonds atop that, and strategically placed feta crumbles throughout. Then I should have drizzled the strawberry vinaigrette on the lettuce only, magically avoiding the strawberries, almonds, and feta.

But noooooo.

It’s all mixed together, feta tinted pink by rogue strawberry juices, lettuce with messy-looking bits of cheese and strawberry clinging to it, almonds haphazardly fallen to the bottom of the bowl.

It’s a pictorial Hindenberg.

/end rant

This is the last of the strawberries. Everybody heave a big sad sigh here. Don’t tell sis; these are the ones I got from her last week. They’ve been languishing in the fridge covered in plastic wrap, crying out in their tiny high little voices. Needless to say, some of them had to go. But they were in decent shape; a few soft spots here and there; a few too soft to use.

bibb, curly, and oak leaf lettuce from the garden

The lettuce in the garden is still going strong, which is really weird for July. It made it through last week’s hot spell without bolting, and these cooler days are making it happy face.

If you have rabbit food and some strawberries in the fridge, try out this salad. The tang of the feta is a neat counterpoint to the strawberries, and who can resist crunchy almonds?

Try the strawberry vinaigrette on a spinach salad, too. What do you like to do with fruity vinaigrettes? Read more on strawberry and feta salad…