Everyone has a favourite granola recipe. Personally, I have tried many recipes, and love to try new ones for variety. Adapted from The Stop‘s cookbook Good Food For All, I was drawn to Joshna Maharaj‘s healthy granola recipe because it was filled with my favourite fixins – almonds, coconut, cranberries and date with less oil. It also used a lot of wheat germ and All Bran buds.
A few years ago, I used to eat All Bran buds all the time with yogurt. It was a quick satisfying snack or dessert. I once chatted with a surgeon who was a strong proponent of All Bran buds and psyllium (the main fiber source on All Bran buds). He was a colorectal surgeon and saw people with constipation and colorectal cancer. He was adamant that we could add All-Bran buds to ANYTHING – even pizza! While I am willing to try many thing, I am not THAT adventurous. However, adding All Bran buds to granola just makes sense for a healthy, filling breakfast.
A note about this granola: it is not incredibly sweet. It does not clump well. But it is tasty and best combined with some fresh fruit and yogurt as a lovely breakfast parfait.
People eat not only with their mouth, but also with their eyes. If something looks hideous, will it taste any good? Of course! I have faith in the power of the underdog, but I know that all our senses go into how food tastes. The perfect meal includes fresh, great-tasting ingredients cooked just slightly to let their colour and flavours shine through. This is coupled with the food perched in perfect balance, as the presentation and warm plate go a long way. And, obviously, the most important part of the meal is who you are sharing it with, with the fantastic flutter of your heart, while enjoying your quiet environment and quaint ambiance.
That is the perfect meal and I rarely go all out for the consumption of food. I try to master part 1 and 2, with fresh ingredients and cooking them nicely. Sometimes I utterly fail in the presentation department and oftentimes I eat in front of my computer by myself (fail, yet again). This brings me to this dish, which I swear is utterly unphotogenic but tastes great. I think scrambled eggs are hard to photograph on the best of days, but theses light and fluffy eggs are scrambled with allspice, which turns their typical golden yellow an unappealing brown. The rhubarb pierces through, though, as little red jewels. Topped with dried mint, this savoury dish is a feast for the tastebuds, but not a masterpiece for the eyes.
I am hoping the allure of soft rhubarb with the homeliness of allspice within fluffy eggs will entice you to try this lovely Jewish Syrian dish, courtesy of Aromas of Aleppo by Poopa Dweck. The photos are not likely to win me any new friends. :P Due to its savoury nature, I thought this was great as a vegetarian main, but the scrambled eggs has me screaming breakfast and brunch. Another fabulous cookbook, Olive Trees and Honey, explains this breakfast or lunch meal is typically served alone, with toast or rice, along with Syrian white cheese and apricot jam. Enjoy!
This is the last of my savoury rhubarb recipes (my others were tofu in a zesty rhubarb sauce, a lentil and rhubarb stew with Indian spices and a raw rhubarb, cucumber and mint salad) and I was incredibly surprised at rhubarb’s versatility. I can’t wait for next year’s crop to provide me with more inspiration. This is my submission to this month’s Breakfast Club featuring eggs.
While I love oatmeal for breakfast, granola with yogurt and fruit has usurped its position as my go-to breakfast lately. However, when I spotted rhubarb baked oatmeal at My Kitchen Addiction, I knew I had to try it. I had no clue what baked oatmeal was, but the rhubarb drew me in.
Baked oatmeal is an kind of like a big fluffy piece of creamy oatmeal and in this case, speckled with pieces of soft rhubarb, which brought it to the next level. At the same time, sweet and savory, this breakfast is perfect for the weekend, or for a brunch, where you can pop it into the oven and serve it easily. It is relatively healthy with oats, flax and applesauce is used to replace the fat. The sugar is needed to sweeten the rhubarb in the dish and it matches flawlessly. For me, the leftovers were perfect as I ate this as a quick breakfast for the remainder of the week. Enjoy!
I had been hearing great things about the olive oil granola originally posted by the New York Times, and also spotted on many other food blogs. People rave about homemade granola, and then there’s raving about granola! Olive oil granola has a fan club!
I love eating granola with Greek yogurt and fruit for breakfast, and I am constantly trying new granola recipes. Homemade granola is great because you can modify the flavours to suit your palate. Now that I have started to dabble in Middle Eastern cuisine, do you think this could be considered a Middle Eastern-inspired granola, with its added fixins? I love dried cranberries, coconut and almonds, which is why they were included in my previous granola recipes, but I rocked the boat to include Turkish dried apricots, Iranian green raisins and pistachios instead. It was delicious!
So what is so great about this olive oil granola? It achieves the perfect balance of salty and sweet. I usually don’t add so much salt to my granola, but the salty tang complemented the sweet aspects of the granola perfectly. I also loved the flavour and textural contrasts with the plump apricots and green raisins, with the soft yet crunchy pistachios, combined with the sweet maple syrup and coconut and it was all tempered with a salty kick.
Perfect with yogurt, but also great on its own as a bit-sized snack. Your test will be when you decide to stop munching on the addictive granola!
It is no secret that I love tea (in addition to visiting Penzeys when I went to the States, I came back laden with tea from Teavana). I only drink herbal and caffeine-free teas (er, tisanes) but I confess that I have one black tea in my collection. It is Earl Grey Cream. It brings Earl Grey with its hint of bergamot orange to the next level with vanilla and cream. It is also wonderful to incorporate into dishes while cooking and baking. I have used Earl Grey in delicious (and not as delicious) shortbread cookies and here it is paired elegantly with baked rhubarb.
Let me preface this by saying this baked rhubarb is stupendously good*. It helps that it has a lot of my favourite flavours mixing sweet and sour perfectly. The rhubarb and apple are baked until softened, but not mush. Pick an apple that holds its shape, like Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp (one of my my favourite apples!), Gala, Northern Spy, etc – unless you prefer apple sauce. The fruit is lightly sweetened and the flavours abound with citrus (lemon juice and orange zest) that complements the pool of Earl Grey sauce. Cardamom adds the finishing touch. Perfect! Bliss!
I originally served it warm from the oven over chilled vanilla yogurt, and I am sure it would be delicious over ice cream as described by Chez Danisse where I found the recipe. The next day, the sauce thickened slightly and was wonderful for breakfast with yogurt again, but also served over oatmeal. If you prefer more of a smoother sauce, zap it in the microwave for 2 minutes and it disintegrates into a thick sauce.
PS. Does anyone know where to get a good decaf Earl Grey Cream tea that ships to Canada? Bonus if in Toronto!
*It was so good that I called my mom past her bedtime (and past mine) to tell her how awesome it was. Thankfully I didn’t wake her up. It was also too late to share it with all of you, as I try not to photograph food without natural light. I knew I’d have to wait until the morning before I could snap some photos!
One of the things I loved about Turkish cuisine was that despite the typically bland names of the dishes, they would be exquisitely delicious. Eggplant in tomato sauce (patlican soslu)? It wasn’t boring at all! It probably only had a few simple ingredients, but it tickled my palate and make me want to eat more. Divine!
While not Turkish, this is one of those incredibly delicious and flavourful meals where simple ingredients make something special. But the name of the dish is completely lackluster and almost puts me to sleep. Eggs poached in tomato sauce? Um, yeah, no thanks…. I am so glad I tried it, though, because it is easy, healthy and delicious. Of course, the reason I tried it was based on its high praise from the Smitten Kitchen, who was inspired from the Martha Show.
I tinkered with Deb’s recipe a bit because I couldn’t find cans of tomato puree and simply chopped up canned whole tomatoes and added in a tablespoon of tomato paste to thicken it a bit. I originally served it as breakfast, and think it is a fabulous meal for brunch. It would also be appropriate for lunch or dinner with a side of vegetables. I certainly won’t complain if I eat this all day.
This is the finale of my muffin trifecta: Wild Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins (to add to Spiced Yogurt Muffins and Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes). A combination of all great ingredients, spurred by a few lonely bananas that made it to the black, yet super sweet stage on my kitchen counter. While this muffin was incredibly tasty and filled with healthy ingredients, I don’t think I will be making muffins again anytime soon…. so many muffins from one batch lasting me a week or two, I think I am all muffined out for a while.
Here is an interesting twist for breakfast: a bowlful of pearl (Israeli) couscous with coconut, almond and honey. I found it difficult to find Israeli couscous, but eventually found it at Loblaws in a Jewish neighbourhood. I am not really sure how it is related to the traditional, smaller couscous, but let me state this: it is NOT a grain. Many people erroneously believe couscous holds healthy properties, but it is merely pasta . Israeli couscous is a wheat-based pasta (with wholewheat/wholemeal varieties too), similar to orzo, and reminds me of tapioca pearls. They grow in to large plump balls of pasta-goodness.
Toasting Israeli couscous gives it a nice nutty taste, which is perfect when it is paired with coconut and almonds with a bit of sweetness from honey. I based the recipe from A Sweet Spoonful and while it doesn’t look like it feeds four, it does as it is quite heavy with the coconut milk. Like most breakfast dishes, it is best the day it is made.
Over the holidays, we typically eat a lot of indulgent foods. The desserts, cookies, cakes, chocolates and all that.. but also delicious breakfasts. Muffins are relatively easy to make and these are no exception. What use is breakfast if you spend all day making them? Ricotta tends to add a nice light texture to baked goods and these were delicious with a light lemon flavour. I found them a bit on the dry side and I wonder whether that was because I used light ricotta. The recipe was adapted from A Year in the Kitchen, who adapted them from Rosa’s Yummy Yums. A perfect muffin which contrasted and complemented our overindulgences this holiday season.
Can a coffeecake be served as part of breakfast or brunch? Sure! I love how, in theory, most of my dishes for breakfast or brunch also double as desserts. What a sweet breakfast! In actuality, I usually have a pretty standard breakfast of Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli with maybe a fruit thrown in on the side, and the baked goods get added to my lunch as dessert.
I liked the following pumpkin coffeecake from A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash by Lou Seibert Pappas. It wasn’t in-your-face pumpkin flavour, more mellow with a hint of spice, but there was an interesting texture with the cornmeal and nicely moist. The walnut topping added a nice crunch. I doubled the amount of fresh cranberries (to 2 cups) which was good, if not bursting with cranberry. Only 1 cup would have been piddly. I don’t think I have professed my love of fresh cranberries, yet… but I will.. with one of my many cranberry recipes in the draft folder.
Once I opened the can of pumpkin puree, I started to look for other ways of using pumpkin. I love the combination of cinnamon and pumpkin, so this was a natural muffin to make. I got a few cookbooks on squash from the public library and was drawn to this recipe. I found it in Pumpkin and Squash: Recipes from Canada’s Best Chefs by Elaine Elliot and Virginia Lee. The recipe was submitted by the now-closed Jakobstettel Inn in St. Jacob’s, Ontario (which still looks like a gorgeous place for a rural retreat and close to the wonderful St Jacob’s market), who promised moist, delicious muffins. The recipe was modified to include less sugar and less oil, and it was spot-on: a flavourful, unassuming moist muffin. I had to beg my mom not to eat too many before I could take a quick photo one morning. I actually have to give credit to my mom, who made the muffins for me as a surprise after a long day at work.
Lots of spices work well with squash (nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves) and I still have a few more recipes to share with the remainder of my pumpkin puree. In the meantime, go here to enter to win a slew of wonderful spices. Another giveaway can be found here. (more…)
Sometimes I love how picking up a new ingredient leads you into different culinary directions. I had lots of buttermilk left over after I made the fluffy blueberry buttermilk pancakes so I made the orange-cranberry scones and also this hearty apple cranberry loaf. It wasn’t long that I declared that I wasn’t a foodie hippie, but here I am a month later making cakes with ground almonds, buttermilk and ricotta with a minimal amount of flour (at least I didn’t go looking for muscovado sugar, and replaced it with brown sugar instead). And it was good. Moist, dense yet flavourful. The fresh cranberries were a wonderful addition. I liked the cake, and made a few modifications from the original at Sprouted Kitchen, but likely would not go through the fuss of buying such fancy ingredients a second time. This week, they all just perfectly came together at the same time.
I love when I discover new foods. It isn’t that I don’t know about cranberries because I love dried cranberries, but I must confess that I had never bought fresh cranberries before. I am not sure what took me so long, though, because they are delicious. They are a bit tart but cut the sweetness in whatever dish you are making. This is the first recipe with fresh cranberries that I will share. It is a nice, light scone recipe with orange and fresh cranberries. I liked how it used buttermilk instead of cream. It was adapted from Bon Appétit (November 1998) based on the comments from epicurious. My only further tinkering would be to chop the fresh cranberries in bigger chunks to get big bursts of tartness. Scones are best straight from the oven, but these were still good as leftovers, if they manage to last that long.
It wasn’t long ago that I claimed I wasn’t a foodie hippie but still enjoyed granola. I never thought to make my own granola, though. I had been gawking/saving/hoarding granola recipes for a while, and I finally took the plunge as I ogled through Out to Brunch, the cookbook brought to us by Mildred’s Temple Kitchen (which also had the wonderful recipe for the blueberry buttermilk pancakes). Let me tell you, it is so much better than any granola I have ever had. It is ridiculously easy to make (stir and bake!) and more healthy than the stuff in the stores. A quick trip to a bulk store made it so simple. Mix and match with your favourite ingredients. My adapted recipe follows. (more…)
Of all courses, brunch is my favourite. Possibly because I am too inpatient to make anything demanding for breakfast before my tummy rumbles.. or it could just be because it is routinely filled with fruit, eggs, cream, bacon, butter, you name it. It must be the latter… at least that is what they are teaching me at George Brown: butter is your friend. Something tells me it loves me a bit too much around the hips, though! Of course, everything is great in moderation. Pancakes are no exception.. especially when they are teamed with wild blueberries. This recipe is quite simple to make and the trick is not to overmix the batter. I found that using a whisk works great to help you get around the batter without allowing one to mix to the max. The result will be light, fluffy pancakes. I couldn’t believe the height of mine! The recipe is awesome because you add the fruit straight to the frying pancake. This great because it helps to rid of the problem of blue pancakes if your blueberries bleed, but you can also make a variety of fruit/chocolate pancakes at once. I also made a few with fresh cranberries dusted with sugar, and they were super tasty too.
The original recipe comes from Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, a restaurant in Toronto, that I have been dying to try (not only do they have a fabulous brunch but lunch and dinner also get rave reviews). The recipe was originally published in Out to Brunch by Donna Dooher and Claire Stubbs and was posted by the restaurant here. My adapted version follows.