Oatmeal Scones with Dried Cranberries and Pecans

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These are incredibly easy scones that take less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Most recipes start with preheat and your oven is heated up long before your recipe is mixed. Not with this, even starting to preheat before you mix one thing, you might have to wait to get to 425.

In a large bowl, mix the following dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Combine the following wet ingredients in another bowl. Pour them into the dry. You can make a little well in the dry ingredients to pour the wet in as that makes it just a bit easier to mix.

  • 1 egg, beaten until frothy
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup of melted butter

Note: This recipe is so forgiving it does not care whether you melt the butter and add it with the milk and egg or if you mix cold butter into the dry mixture by hand until it is crumbly. You can choose. Either method has the same result. It is just slightly easier and faster to melt the butter in the microwave for 45 seconds or so.

Mix the ingredients so all the dry is incorporated. It will be a wet, sticky dough.

Put parchment paper on cookie sheet.

If you are ambitious, you can flour a board and roll it out into two circles about 1/2 thick and cut each circle into 4 pie-size wedges. I think it is just easier to roll out eight balls of dough and press them into 1/2 thick little rounds. Separate them so they are not touching.

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until risen and browned.

You can serve warm with some butter, jam or cream cheese, but I like them plain with nothing else, warm or cold.

Makes 8 scones.

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Sour Cream Slaw with Fennel

Sour Cream Cole Slaw with Fennel, Carrots and Dried Cranberries

I had company the other day and decided to make a big batch of cole slaw. I love cole slaw and am always trying to find new ways to make this favorite form of salad. Of course I started with cabbage. Using a mandoline, I cut 1/2 of a medium sized head of cabbage into thin slices. I added some salt and let it rest for an hour. After an hour, I squeezed the excess liquid out. This keeps the salad from getting watery after it is dressed.

Next I sliced one bulb of fresh fennel on the mandoline, I set the slicer blade at the thinnest option for both the cabbage and the fennel. I then peeled and sliced on carrot, switching out the triangular piece of the mandoline from flat to one that cuts matchsticks. I chopped up one half of a Spanish or red onion and added that. I shook all the ingredients together.

For the dressing, I added about 1/2 cup of sour cream and squeezed in the juice of one fresh lemon. I then added 1 TBSP of white wine vinegar, some salt and pepper and a tbsp of poppy seeds. Lastly I added a large handful of dried cranberries.

The fennel adds a great light tanginess to the hearty slaw. The dried cranberries balance the sourness of the sour cream and the choice of sour cream instead of mayonnaise made this salad much lighter and fresher tasting, perfect for a hot summer day.

This made 8-10 servings.

Couscous with Red Chard, Celery, Leeks, Tarragon, Dried Cranberries and Toasted Almonds.

Couscous with Celery, Leeks, Dried Cranberries and Toasted Almonds.

This was a fast and easy salad to make. In the morning when I made tea, I poured 2/3 cup of boiling water on 1/3 cup of couscous (tri-color couscous) and sealed the container it was in, letting it rest on the counter until I was ready to make the salad. I also toasted about a dozen almonds in a dry pan and let them cool off on the counter for later.

I got out my mandoline for fine slicing. I sliced two stalks of celery and 1/4 cup of leeks. I tossed them in with the couscous along with a  handful of dried cranberries. I cleaned two stalks of red chard and rolled them up so I could cut them into thin slices. Then I chopped them the other direction for small pieces.  I removed the leave from 1 bunch of tarragon and chopped the leaves up. I chopped the almonds in half and tossed them in. Then I added some salt and pepper and about 1 TBSP of balsamic vinegar and 1/2 TBSP of olive oil. I put the lid back on and shook it all up and let it rest in the fridge so the flavors could marry.

This made about 1.5 pints of salad, 4 servings.

There is a nice bite from the leeks, a bit of tang from the tarragon, earthiness from the chard and zingy sweetness from the dried cranberries. The balsamic blends the flavors perfectly.

Red Chard, Couscous with Dried Cranberries and Feta

Red Chard Couscous

This was a fast and easy supper dish that is incredibly flavorful, filling and delicious with just minutes of cooking. Of course, anything with couscous is pretty quick and easy to make.

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, dice
  • 3/4 cup couscous
  • 10 0z can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 sm can chickpeas, drained
  • 6 red chard, stems and leaves chopped separately
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper
  • feta cheese

So, first I heated a tbsp of olive oil in a small kettle with a lid while I chopped 1/2 of a yellow onion and diced 1 clove of garlic. I added the onion and garlic to the oil with some salt and pepper, sautéed for a minute then added 3/4 cup of uncooked couscous and salt and pepper. I used the three-color couscous that has been colored with spinach and tomato. I toasted to couscous for about three minutes. Remember to add salt and pepper at each stage of cooking. Adding small amounts incrementally will use less in the long run and develop deeper flavors.

While the couscous was toasting, I heated 1 TBSP of olive oil  while I chopped up another clove of garlic and the stems of 6 red chard. I added the stems and garlic and salt and pepper and let them sauté while I opened and drained a small can of chick peas (garbanzo beans). After a minute or two, I added the beans. It’s now time to go back to the kettle of couscous.

Then I opened a 10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chiles and added it to couscous along with 1/2 cup of water. I turned the heat up and as soon as the liquid began to simmer, I put the lid on and removed from the heat. I left the lid on for a few minutes until the liquid absorbed (3 minutes or so). By then the chard was done, but if you’re cooking a bit more slowly, just remove the lid and fork the couscous a bit to lift it so it doesn’t get soggy.

Turning back the the sauce pan with the stems and garbanzo beans. I chopped the red chard leaves very fine and added them to the stems. I added 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and let everything cook until tender. As soon as the chard stems and leaves were tender, I added the couscous and stirred it all together. This made four large servings or eight small ones. The nice thing is that this is delicious hot or cold.

When I served it, I sprinkled feta on top to add a bit of richness, but it is delicious without the feta, too. Without the feta, it is a nice vegan main dish. The chard gives it an earthy depth that is offset by the heat of the diced tomatoes and chiles and the sweet cranberries. The couscous is light and airy while the chickpeas add substance. The feta adds a nice bit of salt and fat that make it more filling and satisfying.

Green Beans, Onions and Dried Cranberries

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Local green beans are in season, so I had to have some. I made two servings as a side dish, but since they were my supper entree, I ate both of them. I knew I had not blogged a recipe in some time because I am mostly cooking the recipes I have already blogged, so I decided to come up with something new. I think it was a great success.

First I heated about 1 tbsp of olive oil on low-medium (4 out of 9) and added 1/4 tsp of fennel seeds. I heated them until the room was filled with their aroma. Meanwhile, I diced one onion which I added to the olive oil as soon as the fennel was heated and flavorful. I added a bit of salt and pepper. While the onions sautéed, I snapped two cups of green beans. I added them to the onions and added a bit more salt and pepper. After they cooked about a minute or two, I added 2 TBSP of dried cranberries. I sautéed until the moment they just became tender, so they weren’t crunchy, but they were not even in the neighborhood of mushy.

The flavor profile was a wonderful balance of hearty and sweet – the beans forming the base with onions adding sweetness, dried cranberries adding tartness and the fennel seed blending all the flavors into something magical. I will definitely make this again.

I do apologize for the terrible photo, I didn’t actually look through the viewfinder – whoops!

Dried Cranberries, Apple & Radish Greens Salad

Dried Cranberries, Apple & Radish Greens

When I made that Red Chard & Potato Soup yesterday, I saved the stems to see if I could come up with something tasty to use them in. I made up a salad that is marinating overnight. If it does not show up on the blog next, then it failed, but I have high hopes. While I was working on that salad, I decided to clean the radishes I bought, cutting off the tops because they wilt and rot so quickly. As I cut off the tops, I nibbled on one and thought that cooked, it might just be delicious. So here’s I browsed around looking for recipes using radish greens. One sounded very intriguing, but I don’t like raisins and I don’t have any nuts or seeds, so I decided to try reworking it a bit to use what I do have.

First I put about 2 dozen dried cranberries in a small bowl and poured enough balsamic vinegar in so that they were about 2/3rds covered. I let them soak in the balsamic vinegar for most of the afternoon so they rehydrated a bit and were soft. Once they were softer, I made the salad.

When I was cleaning the radishes earlier, I washed the greens about 4 times. Veggies with lots of crinkly veins can be hard to get really clean. To clean the radishes, I put them in the plastic veggie bag from the grocery store, added cold water and twisted the bag top shut and then shook them in the water. Then I drained the water off and repeated again until they didn’t dirty the water.

I put the seeds from 2 cardamom pods (about a dozen seeds) in a dry pan with about 6 peppercorns and heated them until the popped and perfumed the air. Meanwhile I peeled a tart apple (Granny Smith) cutting it into pieces about 1/2 by 1 inch.

I added 2 tbsp of walnut oil to the pan and brought it up to a medium heat. I added the apple pieces and let them sauté for about 3 minutes. They browned slightly. Their texture was slightly softer than raw apples, but still toothsome. It is really important you don’t let them get mushy. As soon as they cooked, I removed them from the oil.

While the apples cooked, I chopped up the radish greens. I removed the stems and cut into thin ribbons of greens. After removing the apples, I turned the heat up a notch and tossed in the greens. I stirred them while they cooked for about 1 minute until tender and a rich dark green. I removed them from the pan straight into the salad bowl with the apples. I then spooned out the cranberries from the balsamic and tossed them in, mixing up the salad. With the pepper and cardamom, the salad needed no salt or pepper to finish it. I saved the balsamic to the side. I can use it to dress a lettuce salad or marinate some beef.

The balsamic from the cranberries and the oil from cooking provided plenty of dressing for the salad, so I did not add more vinegar or oil. It was perfectly dressed as is.

It was a super flavorful salad, the cardamom and apple were sweet and tart and that was doubled down by the balsamic and dried cranberries. The radish greens are slightly bitter, the apples are sweet and the cranberries slightly sour. Since bitter is balanced by sweet and by sour, they worked together perfectly. Now I wish I had bought more radishes. Made one salad entree or two side salads.

Aromatic Crispy Brussels Sprouts Salad

Aromatic Brussels Sprouts Salad

This salad is an explosion of flavor and texture. It takes a bit of preparation but if you can multi-task it takes about 25 minutes from start to finish and you end up with a salad that not only looks amazing, but is layered with so many flavors that it tastes like you spent hours on it.

First you need to roast the parsnips because they will be the last thing to finish cooking. Preheat your oven to 420° F and using a vegetable peeler, shave off about 1/4 cup of parsnip shavings. Put them in an oven-safe dish or pan and sprinkle with some olive oil, salt and paprika. Use your fingers and mix it together so they are coated and put them in the oven to roast – about 20 minutes or so. You will finish the rest of the salad by the time they are done. They will be nice and brown but not blackened and will be slightly crispy.

Put a sautee pan on the stove with 1 TBSP of olive oil on medium heat. Chop up about 1/4 cup of scallions and 2 cloves of garlic and toss in. Cook until the scallions begin to caramelize. While that’s cooking, clean and quarter 1 cup of brussels sprouts (about a dozen if they are small).

Put about 12 pistachios in a dry fry pan and toast lightly while you cook the scallions and brussels sprouts. Shake the pan to keep them from burning and remove from the heat as soon as they begin to brown.

When the scallions are caramelized, toss in 1 teaspoon of anise seed and 1/4 tsp of cardamom. Let it cook, toasting the seeds. The perfume will be pretty heady and give you an idea of how tasty this salad will be. Add the brussels sprouts and let cook until they begin to toast/brown.

Meanwhile, cut about 10/12 grapes in half. The pistachios should be done, so you can remove them and cut them in half or thirds.

By now the brussels sprouts are done. Remove from the heat and toss in the grapes and pistachios. Grate some fresh nutmeg on top. Put in a bowl and remove the parsnips crisps on sprinkle on top.

What flavors are there in this salad? Sweet grapes, tart cranberries, smoky paprika parsnip crisps, bright scallions, the umami of pistachios, the fresh earthy sprouts and the rich, heady perfume flavors of anise, nutmeg and cardamom. Then there are the textures, the soft grapes, the dry raisons, the al dente sprouts, the crunch nuts, the crispy parsnip. It’s a small banquet all in one.

Makes just one serving. But you might want to double because you may want seconds.

 

Salad with Cranberry Dressing

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For me, the Cranberry Salad Dressing is a way to use up some leftover cooked cranberries. I had cooked fresh cranberries in water with some lime-infused sugar, though you can make it with regular sugar and lemon juice or lime juice. Anyway, I had a few cups left over and while it’s nice with a pork chop or two, I still wanted to find some other use for it. I thought it might make an interesting salad dressing. So, I put 1 cup of the cooked cranberries in my Magic Bullet (you can use a blender or food processor) with about 1/4 of chopped red onion,  1/2 cup of olive oil and 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. I tossed in some salt and pepper and let it blend until it was smooth.

I made a salad of 3 leaves of  Romaine lettuce, 6 roasted almonds and a few dried cranberries with a bit of red onion and drizzled some dressing on top. It’s a great salad dressing. It has a  pleasant fruity tartness that works well with the oil and vinegar. I will definitely make this again and again. This made almost 3 cups of salad dressing, so I will be using it again and again.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Waldorf

Thanksgiving Waldorf Salad

This is not a traditional Waldorf salad, but using it as my inspiration, I made a delightful post-Thanksgiving turkey salad.

Chop up 1 apple (Gala) and 1 celery stalk. Chop 4 oz of turkey white meat. Add an ounce or so of dried cranberries and about 6 almonds, sliced in half and toasted. Mix together and dress with 1 TBSP of mayonnaise and the juice from half a fresh lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I think walnuts or pecans would have been meatier and better in the salad than the almonds, but it was still delicious. The dried cranberries add a tart sweetness that is even tastier than grapes.

Lemon Chicken & Zucchini Salad

Lemon Chicken & Zucchini Salad

This is not really a time-intensive recipe, but it does need to be planned ahead. I spent about 10 minutes preparing it last night and less than 10 minutes making it for today’s lunch.

Last night:

I sliced one zucchini on the thinnest setting of the mandoline, took the stacks of sliced zucchini and cut them into thirds giving me two inch long thin slices that I tossed in a bowl. I then sliced 1/2 onion on the same setting. I tossed about half the sliced onion in the bowl with the zucchini. Then I zested a lemon and put the zest in with it as well. I cut the lemon in half and squeezed half the lemon into the bowl. I added 1/2 tsp of cumin, some salt and pepper and put a lid on the bowl, shook it a bit to distribute and put it in the fridge.

I got out a baggie and squeeze the other half of the lemon juice in their. I put the other half the onions in as well. I added 2 tsp of olive oil and a raw chicken breast. I sealed it up and put it in the fridge. Whenever I walked by the fridge, I would open it up and give the chicken and the zucchini a little shake to keep it marinating on all sides.

Today:

I heated my skillet to med-high with 2 tsp of olive oil. I cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces of so and let them saute, turning once – about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, I chopped up some butter lettuce and put it in a bowl with the zucchini and tossed it all lightly. I added a small handful of almonds and dried cranberries. When the chicken was done, I tossed it in with salad and served immediately.

The lemony flavor infused the meat and the zucchini and the lemon acid made the zucchini as tender as if it had been cooked while keeping its fresh flavor. It was delicious and easy – even though it does require planning.