Monday, October 17, 2011

Butterscotch-Nut Bars

This is adapted from a recipe in Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates. I made it last weekend and it was a huge hit.

1.5 cups raw unsalted nuts (cashews, pecans, & almonds)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1//2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1.75 cups white flour

3 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9x13 baking pan.

Toast the nuts on an unoiled baking sheet for 7-10 minutes, until golden; then chop toss with 3/4 tsp salt, and set aside to cool.

In a heavy saucepan or skillet, heat the butter until it begins to bubble, turn amber colored, and leave tiny brown particles on the bottom on the pan. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and refrigerate 10 minutes.

Beat the brown sugar, egg and vanilla into the cooled butter until creamy. Sift in the remaining 1/4 tsp salt and half of the flour; mix until blended. Sift in the rest of the flour and mix until the dough is stiff and forms a ball. Press the dough evenly into the bottom on the prepared pan and set aside.

For the syrup, warm the butter and sugar on medium-low heat in a saucepan just until the mixture bubbles vigorously and the sugar begins to melt. Add the water and stir until most of the sugar has melted into the syrup. Toss the nuts in the syrup and spread evenly over the dough.

Bake for 25 minutes, until just golden and firm. Cool and then cut into 24 bars.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Saffron Quinoa with Apricots & Almonds

I found this recipe in Yoga Journal, one of several created by Charity Ferreira. I'm always looking for interesting things to do with quinoa and this one is a keeper.

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/8 tsp turmeric
pinch saffron threads, crushed
1 cup water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup thinly sliced dried apricots
1/4 cup currants
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
minced zest from 1 orange
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, bring juice, turmeric, saffron, and 1 cup of water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is absorbed, 20 minutes.

2. Stir in almonds, apricots, currants, oil, lemon juice and orange zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sweet Pasta Salad

I found a version of this recipe in Parents magazine. I haven't served it to Abel yet, but I can attest that it is indeed tasty and a welcome change to the typical pasta routine.

2 cups cooked mini wheel-shaped pasta (or farfalle)
1 small apple, cored & chopped (1 cup)
1/2 cucumber, seeded & chopped (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup raisins
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients and chill before serving.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nappa Cabbage Salad

The salad is miscellaneous Americanized-Asian, more or less inspired by the Asian salads and thai chicken wraps available at restaurants.

1/2 head of Nappa cabbage, shredded & washed (I use a salad spinner)
1 cucumber, peeled & diced
1 carrot, peeled & diced
about a cup of crunchy "Chinese Noodles" (aka Chinese crackers, I used the MeeTu brand), crushed
2-4 Tbsp (to taste) prepared Thai peanut satay sauce
3.5 oz Trader Joe's Teriyaki Baked Tofu (or use cooked chicken), diced

Toss all the ingredients together and eat while the "noodles" are still crunchy.