Sunday, December 23, 2007


I love granola. I eat it for breakfast in the morning with vanilla yogurt. It's good just to munch by itself as a snack. It's good over ice cream. Here is a very basic granola recipe.

Homemade Granola

6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the oats, coconut and almonds together in a large bowl (LARGE BOWL). Whisk together the oil and honey (or mix till gently heated in a pan on the stove). Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated.

Pour into a 13 x 18 x 1 inch sheet pan (I coat mine with vegetable oil first). Spread around till even. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns into a nice, even golden brown, about 45 minutes. (After 30 minutes, KEEP AN EYE ON IT. It tastes AWESOME when golden brown, not quite so good when dark brown.)

Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally.

When COOL (this could be overnight, even) add the dried fruit, seeds and nuts.

You can add some or all of these goodies:
1-1/2 cups diced dried apricots
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried golden raisins
1 cup currants
1 cup dried banana chips (broken up)
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews (or other nuts or a mixture. No peanuts)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
(Or any combination of dried fruits and nuts and seeds that pleases you)

Stir to mix. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 5 pounds.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is another Chocolate Chip Cookie for Adults variation. As everybody knows, Mocha is a combination of chocolate and coffee. Simply adding espresso powder dissolved in water didn't seem to "do it" for me, so finally I decided to cut up an Espresso Infused Dark Chocolate bar by Seattle Chocolates and use that in place of the semisweet chips. Adding some white chips (or a cut up bar of good quality white chocolate) and almonds really took these to the "next level."


Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

1-1/2 cups cake flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
9 Tablespoons butter-flavored shortening
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
2 2.5 oz Espresso Infused Dark Chocolate bars, chopped
1 cup white chips
1 cup sliced almonds
Nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream fat and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat thoroughly. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides once with a rubber spatula. Add the almonds and chocolate and white chips. Beat 5 seconds on low. Use the rubber spatula to finish mixing in well.
4. Spray cookie sheets lightly with nonstick cooking spray. With tablespoon or small ice cream food scoop (I use a #40, about 1-1/2” diameter), drop slightly heaped tablespoons of batter about 2 inches apart onto the greased sheets. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the sheet on a cooling rack for 3 minutes, then remove the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I love biscotti. They are not too sweet, and they are crunchy. I found this recipe in the Sunday paper many years ago. I haven't tasted a better chocolate biscotti. They always disappear whenever I bring them anywhere. The dough is very stiff, and a stand mixer is helpful to mix in the dry ingredients thoroughly. Aside from that, this is a really easy recipe to make. They are pictured at the far right in the photo above. The lighter ones are Lemon-Pistachio Biscotti, and I will post that recipe in a few days.

Chocolate Pecan Mandelbrot

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, miniature
1 cup pecan halves

Set the oven to 350 degrees. Rub a baking sheet with oil or line it with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients together in a bowl and stir to combine. With the mixer set on its lowest speed, mix in the dry ingredients until well mixed and the just until the nuts break up slightly.

Spoon the dough onto the prepared baking sheet in two strips, making sure there is plenty of room between them. Flatten and smooth the logs with a metal spatula so they are 12 inches long and about 4 inches wide. Transfer the baking sheet to the hot oven and bake the strips for 40 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let them sit for 5 minutes.

Carefully transfer the strips to a board. Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut the strips on a diagonal into ½ inch slices. Place the slices on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Return the sheet to the oven and bake the slices for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Remove them from the oven and transfer them to a rack. Store the cookies in an airtight container. Theoretically they will keep for a couple of weeks. Mine get eaten sooner than that.

From The Boston Sunday Globe Magazine

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Avocado Vinaigrette

This little salad couldn't be simpler. Halve a ripe avocado, remove the pit and fill the cavity with your favorite vinaigrette dressing, then serve. My son adores this.

Vinaigrette Dressing
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons vinegar (here I've used Balsamic)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk together the garlic, mustard and vinegar along with salt and pepper to taste. Gradually whisk in the olive oil in a slow steady stream, until the sauce is emulsified.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


When you have Basil like this, you make Pesto.

Obviously you don't get Basil like this in December. I made lots of Basil Pesto this summer, and froze it in ice cube trays for use later.

It's later. It's nice to have pesto available to me at this time of year. I use the pesto cubes in spaghetti sauces and soups, or as an addition to mayonnaise in chicken salads. You can also add pesto to mashed potatoes! They are green, but -oh- so good!

Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil
1 cup fresh Italian parsley (helps keep the pesto bright green)
1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated (I prefer Romano)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (spread on baking sheet and put in a 350° oven for 4 minutes)
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree until the mixture forms a smooth, thick paste.

To keep the pesto for later, divide into ice cube trays and freeze.
When frozen solid, turn out and save in zip bags.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sausage and Vegetable Soup

A few years ago my son went Christmas shopping at the Mall with his grandmother. While there they had lunch at a restaurant and he had a sausage and vegetable soup. He came home raving about how good it was. He couldn't remember any details of what was in the soup, so I did an internet search and found this recipe and made it. He loved it. I make it frequently.

Since fresh basil is hard to find in New England in the winter, I add some basil pesto, which I make in the summer and freeze in ice cube trays.

Sausage and Vegetable Soup

1/2 lb sausage
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 lb mushrooms, chopped
4 cups canned chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup arborio rice
1 12 oz can plum tomatoes
2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp basil, chopped
1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Gently squeeze the sausage meat out of its casing, shaping the meat into small balls as you go. In a large pot, heat the oil over high heat; lightly brown sausage balls in 2 or 3 batches. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage to a plate.
2. Over medium-high heat, sweat the onions until translucent, about 3 - 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next, add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add the broth, wine, rice, tomatoes and sausage. Simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 - 20 minutes.
3. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in the zucchini. If the soup is too thick, add some extra chicken broth. At about the same time the rice is tender, the zucchini should be soft and bright green. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Before serving, top with basil and grated Parmesan cheese.