Tuesday, May 10, 2005

This sure beats Froot Loops!

If you read the previous post ("Breakfast of champions") and want some "real" food to go along with your morning sweets, try some of these recipes. They aren't exactly healthy, but they taste so wonderful you won't care.

Golden Granola

I love granola, especially when paired with some fruit and yogurt, but the stuff you buy at the grocery store is usually filled with unpronounceable ingredients and is pretty darn expensive. This is one of many recipes I've tried, and it is by far my favorite. Feel free to adapt it to your own tastes--pine nuts and macadamia nuts are especially good additions, and other dried fruits would be tasty as well.

2 cups old-fashioned oats
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup roasted salted sunflower seeds
1 cup natural unsalted cashews
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or honey)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place oats on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until oats are lightly toasted, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer baked oats to large bowl.

Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Spray same rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Mix shredded coconut, nuts and sesame seeds into baked oats. Whisk maple syrup, vegetable oil, dark corn syrup, and light molasses to blend in small bowl. Pour over oat mixture; toss to coat evenly.

Spread granola on prepared rimmed baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Mix in raisins. Bake until deep golden, about 12 minutes longer. Cool granola on sheet and then break into pieces.

Makes about 5 cups.

Pan-Seared Oatmeal-Raisin Squares
I first came upon this recipe in an issue of Cooking Light. I've altered it slightly to meet my own tastes--it's a fairly adaptable recipe, so feel free to tweak it yourself. I like the squares topped with the cinnamon syrup recipe listed below, but it seems like a nice fruit compote would also be a good pairing.

3 cups water
1 cup milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats

Combine water, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; stir in oats. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Spoon oatmeal into an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray; cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or until set.

Using a sharp knife, cut oatmeal into 4 equal squares cut each square in half diagonally to form 8 triangles.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oatmeal triangles; cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from pan and serve warm with syrup.

Makes 8 triangles.

Orange-Flecked French Toast with Cinnamon Syrup

What can be easier than a batch of French toast for breakfast or brunch? You just slice up some bread, dip it in a mixture of eggs, milk and sugar, and fry it up until it's golden brown. Here is a simple, tasty recipe that will brighten anyone's morning.

If you don't have Grand Marnier, or would prefer to leave it out, go ahead; the final result will be just as delicious.

Oh, and don't ignore the variation noted at the end of the recipe!

French Toast:
1 loaf challa or other rich, eggy bread
6 large eggs
3/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier (or other orange-flavored liquor)
2 teaspoons orange zest
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Cinnamon Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To make the syrup: Combine 1 cup of water and brown sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil until the syrup reduces to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and cinnamon. Keep the syrup warm. (The syrup can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before serving.)

Meanwhile, prepare the French toast: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Slice bread crosswise into 3/4-inch thick round slices. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. Add the cream, milk, sugar, liquor, zest and cinnamon and whisk until well mixed. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on a large nonstick griddle over medium heat. Dip 3 slices of bread into the custard, turning to allow both sides to absorb the custard. Grill the soaked bread slices until they are golden brown and firm to the touch, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the French toast to a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining butter, bread slices, and custard.

Transfer the French toast to plates. Lightly dust with the powdered sugar. Drizzle the cinnamon syrup over and around the French toast and serve immediately.

Variation: Take a page from Giada De Laurentiis' book, Everyday Italian, and use thick slices of panettone in place of the challa (or other) bread.

Mile-High Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy and Scallions
I came upon this recipe while searching the New York Times' website for "must visit" restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina. A profile of that city's Hominy Grill restaurant included this recipe, which I had to try. It's a nice, vegetarian-friendly change of pace from the heavy, sausage-laden biscuits and gravy recipes I'm used to.

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons chilled butter
3 ounces chilled vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups milk

Mushroom gravy:
8 ounces mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk, plus more as needed
Tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, for garnish.

For the biscuits, begin by preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until slightly crumbly. Add the milk, and stir gently until mixture comes together.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly (less than 10 strokes) and loosely shape into a ball. With floured hands, pat into a large disk about 1 1/4 inches thick. Using a floured 3-inch biscuit or cookie cutter, cut into 12 biscuits. Place on a baking sheet about two inches apart (or place as many as possible in 8- or 9-inch round cake pan).

Bake biscuits until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

For the gravy, begin by finely choping mushrooms.

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter, then add mushrooms. Saute until liquid released from mushrooms has evaporated and they begin to brown.

Reduce heat to low, add flour and stir constantly for 2 more minutes. Slowly add milk to mixture, stirring constantly. Allow mixture to thicken for a minute or two, then add more milk as needed to achieve the consistency of thick gravy. Season to taste with Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper.

To serve, place two biscuits on each plate. Top with mushroom gravy and scallions.

1 comment:

najjie said...

Yum, those biscuits are making me really hungry. Screw the diet, I might have to make some!