Cooking

Oatmeal, Coconut and Cranberry Breakfast Bars

Oatmeal, Coconut & Cranberry Breakfast Bars    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Oatmeal, Coconut & Cranberry Breakfast Bars

My favorite Grab & Go breakfast for the past few months has included fresh fruit and yogurt or Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt KIND Bars.  This type of KIND bar is delicious.  I was averaging 4-5 per week without a trace of remorse.  Then, a terrible, terrible thing happened.  For 2 weeks IN A ROW both stores by me have been sold out of the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt KIND bars!  I must be visiting the stores at a the wrong hour.  Either that or my evil twin has been swooping in to clear the shelves before I get to the right aisle.

Oatmeal, Coconut & Cranberry Breakfast Bars      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Oatmeal, Coconut & Cranberry Breakfast Bars

This being the sad state of affairs and me being a picky breakfast eater, I cleaned out some odds and ends in the pantry and paid homage to an old breakfast staple, Nigella Lawson’s Breakfast Bars.  They are crazy simple.  You take oats, a bunch of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut and sweetened condensed milk, mix them up in a bowl and pat the mixture into a pan.  Bake, cool, cut and serve.  Num nums.

Oatmeal, Coconut & Cranberry Breakfast Bars      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Oatmeal, Coconut & Cranberry Breakfast Bars

These are what sustain me now in the mornings while I wait for my beloved KIND bars to come back.  They got me through early mornings and final exams for several years, too.  I did hide these from my little brothers when I lived in my parent’s house.

I hope you can enjoy these as much as I have over the years!

Oatmeal, Coconut & Cranberry Breakfast Bars   www.morewinelessehines.com

Oatmeal, Coconut & Cranberry Breakfast Bars

 

Breakfast Bars

Original Recipe from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson

2.5 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. shredded coconut
1 c. dried cranberries
1 c. mixed seeds (I used sunflower seeds )
1 c. nuts (I used a mix of cashews & blanched, sliced almonds)

14 oz can condensed milk

Preheat oven to 250 F.

Spray 13″ x 9″ baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients except milk in a large bowl.  Stir together with a big spatula.  Pour in sweetened condensed milk.  Stir until combined.  Transfer oat mixture into greased baking dish.  Even the top with the spatula/ bottom of the measuring cup (spray it with cooking spray first), or your hands (again, spray them with cooking spray first).

Bake 1 hour.  Do something useful while you wait for these to bake.  Then, remove from oven.  Place on cooling rack.  After an hour, slice into bars, 4 across and four down (for 16 bars total).  Let cool completely before serving.

Enjoy!

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Cooking, Gardening

Porterhouse Steak, Mashed Potatoes & Chive Oil

Chives from the Garden   www.morewineless.whines.com

Chives from the Garden

This weekend I did a deep dive into the cookbook, Jean-Georges Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef, by Jean-Georges Vongerichten & Mark Bittman.

Below is what I have planned on the menu for this week:

Mushroom Soup with Greens (I already made the mushroom broth.  It is waiting patiently in my refrigerator.)

Gently Cooked Salmon with Mashed Potatoes

Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro

Sunday’s Dinner:

Steak with Red Wine Reduction & Carrot Puree

Let me begin by saying that I do not eat a lot of red meat.  I save it for special occasions (such as making meatballs and sausage for Sunday tomato sauce, beef tenderloin skewers with cognac mustard dipping sauce or marinaded beef kabobs).  Occasionally, I will ‘splurge’ on a good cut of beef.  This past weekend was one of those occasions.

Chive Oil     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Getting Ready to Make the Chive Oil

I made this steak recipe for the first time on Sunday.  It involved 3 ingredients:  porterhouse steak, red wine & carrots (plus sea salt, pepper & H2O).

Chive Oil     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Chive Oil

The grilled steak turned out perfectly, but the sauce did not work for me.   We let the steak sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, preheated the grilll,  sprinkled the steak with sea salt & pepper, and cooked the porterhouse 4-5 minutes per side over medium heat.

Porterhouse Steak - soon to be topped with chive oil    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Porterhouse Steak – soon to be topped with chive oil

I used an inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon for my red wine reduction.  While the wine tasted fine in a glass on its own, by the time I reduced it for almost 30 minutes, it was very apparent that there was little nuance in flavor.   All that hit my palate were peppery, bitter notes.   I plan to re-make this recipe in the future with a different wine.

Grilling a Porterhouse Steak    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Grilling a Porterhouse Steak

While the wine reduced, I thought I would make the chive oil ahead of time for Tuesday’s salmon dinner.  This oil is so easy – chives, canola oil & sea salt.  The most time consuming part of making this flavored oil was cutting and washing the chives from my garden.  I made the oil by whirling all the ingredients together in the mini food processor.  Voila!  Magic!  I tried the flavored oil and just said “wow.”  I ended up drizzling this on my porterhouse steak and mashed potatoes instead of the red wine reduction that I (conveniently) botched.  It was so good that all attempts at taking photos of the finished product were forgotten.

Porterhouse Steak - soon to be topped with Chive Oil      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Porterhouse Steak – soon to be topped with Chive Oil

I still have a little bit left for the salmon we are having Tuesday evening!

If you can, please try making and serving this flavored oil with fish, vegetables, rice, chicken or steak.  It is excellent and I will be making it often in the future.  I can see adding this simple recipe to both my Thanksgiving and Easter menus.

Chive Oil
Original Recipe from Jean-Georges Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef

20 chives, cut into 2″ pieces
4 tsp. canola oil (or other neutral flavored oil such as grapeseed)
pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a small food processor.  Pulse 10-15 seconds or until mixture begins to get creamy.  Scrape sides of bowl down with spatula if needed.  Pulse one last time prior to serving.

Spoon atop your favorite vegetables, fish or meat.  Store in sealed container in fridge no more than 5 days.

Enjoy!

Mashed Potatoes

Peel and chop 2 lbs small yellow potatoes.  Place in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan.  Cover with water by 2″.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat slightly and allow potatoes to boil for 30 minutes or until fork tender.  Drain.   Immediately transfer potatoes to stand of a MixMaster.  Using paddle attachment, beat on speed 4 (medium) until smooth.  Mix in up to 4 T. unsalted butter, 1 T at a time, up to 3/4 c milk (we use skim) and a pinch of sea salt to taste.   Serve warm.  These are excellent with a little chive oil drizzled on top.

 

Grilled Porterhouse Steak

Let the steak sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.   Preheat the grill.   Sprinkle the steak with sea salt & pepper, and cook the porterhouse 4-5 minutes per side over medium heat or to desired doneness.

 

Serve the above meal with a mixed greens salad.

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Roasted BLT Salad

Roasted BLT Salad   www.morewinelesswhines.com

Roasted BLT Salad

This is another recipe I found in my “paper” archives.  It hails from the January 2013 issue of Better Homes & Gardens.  I have made this meal several times the past two summers.  It is a great way to use up some extra cherry tomatoes, which are abundant in my garden right now.  It is also a great dish to make when it is not summer.  Why?  You can do everything in the oven!  You don’t need fancy or delicate lettuce – just a sturdy romaine!  You don’t need garden fresh tomatoes, as roasting intensifies and sweetens their flavor.  I just happen to have a lot of tomatoes I am trying to use up from my garden.

I hope you enjoy this meal!

Roasted Weeknight BLT Salad        www.morewinelesswhines.com

Roasted Weeknight BLT Salad

Roasted Weeknight BLT Salad

6 slices cooked center cut bacon, broken into pieces (I used Applewood Smoked Bacon)
1 c. cherry tomatoes
2 T. fresh oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 baguette, cut into 1″ cubes
1 head romaine lettuce, quartered lengthwise
sea salt, garlic salt & freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

1/4 c. romano cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray. Toss cherry tomatoes with garlic, 1 T olive oil, oregano, some sea salt & pepper. Spread onto pan. Roast 20 minutes. Transfer tomatoes and juices to a medium bowl.

Toss bread cubes with a 2 T. olive oil, sea salt, garlic salt & pepper. Spread on pan. Bake 5-8 minutes. Drizzle romaine with a little olive oil, move bread to edges of pan and place romaine in middle of pan. Roast 3-5 minutes.

Toss bread with tomatoes and let sit for a little bit to absorb juices.

To serve:
Place 2 “quarters” of Romaine on each plate. Spoon bread and tomatoes over romaine. Top with bacon. Drizzle with a little olive oil (optional) and sprinkle with Romano cheese.

Enjoy!

Roasted Weeknight BLT Salad      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Roasted Weeknight BLT Salad

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Summer Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella, Feta, Pesto & Bruschetta

Summer Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella, Feta, Pesto & Bruschetta      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Summer Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella, Feta, Pesto & Bruschetta

When I envision a traditional grilled cheese sandwich, I think buttered slices of thick bread, a frying pan, lots of yellow/orange colored cheeses and tomato soup on the side.  With summer Chicago days at 86 F in the shade, I can sub in baguette slices for regular bread, a grill for the frying pan, fresh mozzarella and feta for the yellow & orange cheese and fresh tomato bruschetta for the tomato soup.  I even add in a little sautéed spinach, pesto and chopped olives for more texture and flavor.

The result?  A grilled cheese perfect for a hot Saturday afternoon, served with fresh fruit!

Ingredients for Summer Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella, Feta, Pesto & Bruschetta www.morewinelesswhines.com

Ingredients for Summer Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella, Feta, Pesto & Bruschetta

If you don’t like one or all of the ingredients, feel free to omit them.    This is a loose recipe meant for experimenting.

Summer Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella, Feta, Pesto & Bruschetta www.morewinelesswhines.com

Summer Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella, Feta, Pesto & Bruschetta

Summer Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella, Feta, Pesto & Bruschetta 

Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 baguette , cut into 2 pieces, with each piece ‘halved’
2-3 oz feta cheese, cut into 1/2″ pieces
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2″ pieces

Pistachio Pesto
Bruschetta or Tomatoes
Sautéed Spinach (see recipe below)
Brined olives, chopped

Drizzle cut side of each baguette slice with olive oil.  Place, cut-side down, on a grill over low-medium heat for 2 minutes.  Using tongs, flip baguette slices so that the cut side is facing up.  Sprinkle cheese on bottoms of baguettes.  Spread pesto on the top sides.  Grill 2 minutes longer.  Remove from grill, top with optional bruschetta, spinach and olives.  Press the two slices together and enjoy!

Makes 2 sandwiches.

Sautéed Spinach:

Heat 1 T. olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add 2 cloves garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Saute 60 seconds. Add 6 oz spinach & 2 T+ water. Stir until spinach reduces and is soft, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in a little lemon juice at the end for flavor. Season with sea salt & pepper.

Sautéed Spinach   www.morewinelesswhines.com

Sautéed Spinach

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Skillet Corn Griddle Cakes with Bruschetta

Skillet Corn Griddle Cakes with Bruschetta www.morewinelesswhines.com

Skillet Corn Griddle Cakes with Bruschetta

Back in July 2012, when I had not yet developed a serious Pinterest addiction, I ripped a recipe out of a Better Homes & Gardens magazine.  I had every intention of making the recipe and even put it in a page protector in my recipe binder (the one meant for ‘winning’ recipes)!  Yet, there in my binder the recipe remained hidden and untested.

Fast forward 2 years.  It is July.  The first of of many sweet corn crops has hit the farmers market in the Midwest.  Illinois sweet corn, harvested several miles from my home, is delicious.  This is the only time of year I consume fresh corn.  I stopped by my favorite family at the local farmer’s market and left with 5 ears of sweet corn for $2.00.

The first of Summer's Sweet Corn Season www.morewinelesswhines.com

The first of Summer’s Sweet Corn Season

We had 3 ears of sweet corn for dinner and saved the remaining 2 for a savory breakfast on Sunday.

How to Cut Corn Kernels off the Cob without losing a finger www.morewinelesswhines.com

How to Cut Corn Kernels off the Cob without losing a finger

Tip of the summer:  If you must cut the corn kernels off of the cob, break out the bundt pan!  Rinse the dust off of the bundt pan.  Place it, open end up, on top of a damp towel on the counter.  Stand the end of the corn that was attached to the stem atop the center of the bundt pan.  Carefully, holding corn at the top, cut the corn kernels down and into the warm confines of the bundt pan.  Magic!

How to Cut Corn Kernels off the Cob without losing a finger www.morewinelesswhines.com

How to Cut Corn Kernels off the Cob without losing a finger

Skillet Corn Griddle Cakes with Bruschetta 

Original griddle cake recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

1 T canola oil
corn kernels freshly cut from 2 ears of corn
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. coarse ground yellow cornmeal (same kind I used for Polenta)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 T canola oil
1 T shallot, finely diced

Extra canola oil, for frying.

Optional Toppings:
Greek yogurt or sour cream
Chives or green onions
Bruschetta or chopped fresh tomato
Manchego or feta cheese

1. In a large non-stick skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add corn kernels in even layer & sprinkle generously with salt. Cook, without stirring, 3-4 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, 10-12 minutes more, until some kernels are browned. Reserve 2 T corn for garnish.

2. Meanwhile, whisk flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Then whisk in milk egg & 1 T canola oil until just smooth. Stir in chopped shallot and remaining browned corn.

3. Wipe out skillet with lightly oiled paper towel. Heat a little canola oil in pan. Drop batter (using an ice cream scoop) by 1-2 T. measures onto the hot oil in the pan. Cook until browned on one side and corn cake appears set. Turn and cook additional 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter. Set aside on paper towel lined plate.

Serve each griddle cake topped with your favorite of the optional toppings above. If you can make my bruschetta, please please try it with these. It is exceptional!

Skillet Corn Griddle Cakes with Bruschetta    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Skillet Corn Griddle Cakes with Bruschetta

 

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Girl and the Goat Magic Green Beans – A Recipe and Experience

Sautéing green and yellow wax beans    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Sautéing green and yellow wax beans

Please forgive my absence.  I have been a little under the weather lately.

One of the many restaurants that is on my “must try” list is Girl and the Goat (plus the Little Goat  Diner) in Chicago.  Given that the reservation wait for a seat at Girl and the Goat can take months and the fact that I have minimal patience, I decided to take a different route.

My local Standard Market hosted an event featuring Stephanie Izard, her book, Girl in the Kitchen,  and a recipe demo.

My favorite recipe take-away from the event?  Magic Beans.  I arrived early to the event, but was still shuttled far back in the throngs of eager onlookers ready to meet Stephanie.  I did not stay to shake hands or even to have a book signed.  I simply stayed long enough for the Magic Beans recipe, went home and made them.

Sautéing green and yellow wax beans with Shallots   www.morewinelesswhines.com

Sautéing green and yellow wax beans with Shallots

I found both the regular green beans and yellow wax beans at the Farmers Market earlier in the morning.  Here is an interesting fact:  my husband hates green beans.   When he saw the beans in the fridge he started moping about how much he dislikes them.  I asked said husband to snap the ends off the beans while I made the vinaigrette/sauce.  He complained the whole time.  I was silent and squeezed the lemons and measured out the remaining ingredients into my Cuisinart for the vinaigrette/sauce.

Girl and the Goat Magic Beans    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Girl and the Goat Magic Beans

My interpretation of this recipe is simple.  You start with good beans, sauté them with 1/2 c. finely minced shallots, then add in the sauce, stirring occasionally, and let the mixture steam away until finished.  You could mix some vinaigrette with Mayonaisse and drizzle on top if you like, but we found that unnecessary.  In the original recipe, which is posted HERE, cashews are recommended.  I used toasted pistachios and they were excellent.

I placed these beans in a serving bowl when they were done cooking.  I turned around, grabbed my camera and reached back for the bowl.  It was not there.  Instead, it was propped against one of Mark’s hands while the other hand held a perfectly cooked green bean.  He would not give me the bowl back.  I finally grabbed it and hastily snapped a few photos.  Needless to say, he liked these green beans.  I think you and your family will, too.

Enjoy!

Magic Beans

Original Recipe by Stephanie Izard can be found HERE.

1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of 4-5 small organic lemons)
1/2 c. + 2 T fish sauce (Three Crabs Brand)
1/4 c. + 2 T low sodium soy sauce
1 heaping T dijon mustard
1 tsp.            sriracha
5 small garlic cloves
4 oz + olive oil (canola oil would be fine here, too)

freshly ground black pepper for seasoning

2 lbs green beans and/or yellow wax beans
1/2 c. shallots, finely minced
2 T. canola oil

Optional:
1/2 c. pistachios, toasted & chopped

Sauce:  Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a Cuisinart.  Blend for 10 seconds until smooth.  Dip in the tip of a spoon or a green bean and taste the mixture.  Adjust seasoning if needed (more acid = lemon juice, more heat = Sriracha, etc).  Put lid back on Cuisinart and slowly drizzle in the oil through the feed tube until emulsified, pulsing the blade to thoroughly bend everything together. Taste, adding more oil as needed.

Beans: Heat 2 T. canola oil in a large, wide rimmed sauté pan.  Add shallots and sauté a few minutes.  Add beans.  Sauté 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Pour in enough of the sauce to cover the beans and allow to steam, stirring occasionally, over medium heat.  Watch that the sauce does not burn.  (Note: It will burn if you do not stir and allow the heat to get too high).

Transfer beans to a serving dish and garnish with pistachios or other nuts (optional).  Enjoy!

Serving Notes:

  • I served these beans for dinner with grilled, marinated chicken breasts and a watermelon salad.
  • They would be great with pork tenderloin, short ribs, corn on the cob or just about any dish you can dream up.
  • I like these served with a wine called Vouvray.  Experiment and let me know if you find any better pairings!

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Strawberry Sauce for Waffles

Breakfast of Champions     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Breakfast of Champions

I grew up with four younger brothers, 25+ cousins  and a household that was filled with no less than a half dozen kids at any one time.  Now, I am married and have a house and puppy of my own.  Life is a balancing act filled with a full work schedule, graduate school and eking out time with family and friends.

A few weekends ago, we invited our little cousin to have a weekend sleepover at our house.  We had so much fun!  A terrible storm came through our area right after she came over so we nixed the big walk in the downtown area and instead started making the #1 kids treat known to man – Rice Krispy Treats!  I know, I know, these are filled with sugar and artificial ingredients and not healthy at all…. but they are so fun to make!

Then we moved on to dinner.  What was on the menu?  Salad from the garden with my favorite vinaigrette, freshly sliced watermelon, roasted potatoes (which took too long so we had them with breakfast instead) and oven ‘fried’ chicken.

While the chicken and potatoes roasted, I painted my 9 year-old cousin’s nails a bright cherry red.

For breakfast on Sunday, we had orange juice, fresh fruit, some roasted potatoes (a dinner debacle turned into a glorious breakfast treat), and waffles with a delectable strawberry sauce.

The strawberry sauce was made with a cup of strawberries from the farmer’s market, some freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, water and a pinch of salt.  It’s easy and tastes great!  I had my cousin make this sauce.  I stood back, gave her instructions and let her measure, pour and stir away.

This recipe comes from The Pie and Pastry Bible by my favorite cookbook author, Rose Levy Beranbaum.  I  used previously in a Double Strawberry Pie and thought it was good enough to stand on its own next to fluffy belgian waffles.  Indeed it is!

Strawberries from the Farmers Market      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Strawberries from the Farmers Market

Sunday Strawberry Sauce for Waffles

Recipe found in The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

1 c. strawberries
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. sugar (less if strawberries are super sweet)
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T. cornstarch
1 pinch sea salt

Heat a small heavy saucepan  over medium heat.  Crush strawberries in the pan with a wooden spoon.  Add the remaining ingredients except cornstarch and stir.  Sift cornstarch into pan and stir vigorously.  Bring mixture to a boil for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Pour mixture into a small bowl to cool.  Serve spooned over pancakes or waffles.

Enjoy!

 

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