Saturday, January 31, 2015

Couscous with Apricots & Ginger

This comes from a collection of recipes - "The Well-Fed Backpacker". With ingredients that are easily transportable, require no refrigeration, and easy one-pot cooking, this could make a warm, filling breakfast or is plenty sweet to serve as a dessert. Personally, I don't think it needs the extra honey. I happened to have pearl couscous on hand, but the smaller grained variety would work just fine.

Recipe makes enough for one hungry hiker.

1 C couscous
1½ C water
½ C dried apricots (torn or diced, if desired)
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp cinnamon or nutmeg
1 T honey
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in saucepan, stir to combine. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until water is absorbed and couscous is tender.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Smoky Mushroom Stroganoff

This doesn't satisfy my craving for a traditional stroganoff; the sour cream flavor is less pronounced. But the smoky, mushroom combo is a nice switch. I'd love it with pappardelle, I'm sure, but I had spinach linguine on hand...delicious and nice colorful presentation too!

1 8-10 oz pkg dried pappardelle (or other pasta noodles)
1½ lb mushrooms, sliced (button, cremini, shitake, etc)
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbls olive oil
1 8-oz carton sour cream
2 Tbls flour
1½ tsp smoked paprika
1 C vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley to garnish, if desired

Cook noodles according to pkg directions; drain and keep warm.

In large skillet, cook mushrooms and garlic in olive oil 6-8 minutes over medium heat, until tender. Remove from skillet; keep warm.

In skillet, combine sour cream, flour, and paprika. Slowly add broth, stirring until smooth and creamy. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened and bubbly. 

Serve mushroom mixture and sauce over noodles; garnish with parsley if desired.

Crispy Chickpeas

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
2 Tbls olive oil
1-2 tsp smoked sea salt

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Rinse and drain chickpeas; place on clean kitchen towel or several paper towels and dry thoroughly. Lightly coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In medium bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and toss. Spread in a single layer on coated baking sheet.

Bake 1 hour, shaking pan halfway through. Let cool thoroughly; chickpeas become crunchier as they cool, but are best eaten fresh.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cranberry-Mint Chutney

Still using up cranberries...I made this chutney and used it as a marinade for an elk steak. The stronger flavors balance well with the game meat; elk has a relatively mild flavor as game meats go, and this was good.

1 C cranberries
¾ C sugar
¾ C water
1 C dried cranberries, divided
pinch salt
¼ C chopped mint
2 Tbls cider vinegar

Bring fresh cranberries, sugar, water, ½ C dried cranberries, and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer util berries pop and chutney thickens (about 10 minutes). Cool slightly. Stir in remaining dried cranberries, mint and vinegar.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cranberry Granola

¼ brown sugar
¼ vegetable oil
¼ maple syrup
2 C oats
1 C cranberries
1 C salted pepitas
½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300˚. Whisk together brown sugar, oil and syrup. Toss with remaining ingredients. Spread on a baking sheet and bake 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 

I was trying to use up ingredients (cranberries in particular) not buy more stuff; I didn't have pepitas on hand so I had to substitute peanuts. Tasted great, but the pumpkin seeds would be really good too.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Orange-Cranberry Bread

Makes 2 regular loaves, or 6 mini loaves

1½ C butter, softened
1½ C sugar
4 eggs
1 C orange juice
1 C sour cream
2 Tbls grated orange zest
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 C flour
1 Tbls baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 C cranberries; dried or fresh
   For icing:
2 C powdered sugar
7-8 Tbls orange juice/liqueur

Preheat oven to 330˚. Lightly coat two 6-cup capacity loaf pans (or six mini loaf pans) with non-stick cooking spray.

Cream butter and sugar together in large bowl until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add orange juice, sour cream, orange zest, and vanilla; mix until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to batter. Mix until dry ingredients are completely absorbed; do not overmix. Gently fold in cranberries. Divide batter evenly between loaf pans. Bake 70-75 minutes (or about 60 minutes for mini loaves), until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

     For icing: Stir together powdered sugar and orange juice/liqueur. Icing should have consistency of thick syrup.

Let loaves cool in pans 10 minutes; remove onto cooling racks set over baking sheet. with fork or skewer, poke deep holes in tops of loaves. Drizzle with icing to coat top, seep into holes, and run down sides.

Lemon-Blueberry Bread: Substitute blueberries and lemon juice for cranberries & orange juice. Straight lemon juice is pretty strong, but ½ C apple juice and C lemon juice works fine.
Cherry-Almond Bread: Substitute cherries for the cranberry, and add ½ C chopped or slivered almonds. Substitute apple juice for orange, and almond extract for vanilla. Use cherry liqueur or almond extract in the icing.
Apple-Cinnamon Bread: Substitute peeled, diced apple for cranberries. Use apple juice instead of orange, and brown sugar instead of white. Add 1 tsp cinnamon to the batter and the icing. Use maple extract instead of orange juice/liqueur in icing.
Or...come up with your own favorite!

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 C flour*
1 Tbls sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 C buttermilk
1 egg
3 Tbls butter, melted

Whisk together dry ingredients. Add buttermilk and egg, stir until just combined. Add melted butter. Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook pancakes until small bubbles appear around the edges; flip and cook a minute on the other side.

* I used half whole wheat flour, half white flour.