Doesn’t everything look pretty in a Mason jar?
We don’t have many clear containers in our house, actually. Rob has oodles of beer glasses, but they all have logos on them! Hmmpht… Anyways, as I was saying, things all look better in Mason jars…
I don’t make granola that often, but recently became intrigued by granolas made with pureed fruits instead of gobs of sugar. Rob has willingly become my granola guinea pig. It is all for the better good of granola, right?
This was definitely not your typical granola. Not very sweet and not over-the-top chocolatey, either. The sweetness from the dried cherries and coconut hit your palate one by one as you savour the granola. Its prowess was born once it was paired with creamy yogurt and sweet bananas. I heard horror stories about soy yogurt, but it isn’t so bad!
I used millet again for a nice crunch along with toasted almonds. In this parfait, I tried to separate the granola from the yogurt but it does become a bit messy. It doesn’t travel as nicely as the Salad in a Jar, unfortunately. Oh well, make it fresh and then savour it on a relaxing weekend.
Mango shrikhand is an Indian dessert, popular in Gurjarat (incidentally where mangoes are grown). Cool, strained yogurt is mixed with cardamom, saffron, sugar and (in this version) pistachios as well. It is topped with the sinfully juicy mango slices with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios. The Alphonso mangoes, utterly sweet, really shine in this dish.
This recipe is adapted from Closet Cooking, and is really, really good. I know it is important to have the proper consistency of yogurt, which is why people recommend to drain it in a cheesecloth overnight, but I used Greek-style yogurt instead. It was thinned with the additional ingredients. Definitely taste as you go, adjusting the sweetness based on your ingredients.
Alphonso mangoes are arguably the sweetest mango you can find. They are imported from India, and only recently, in 2007, did the United States lift their 18-year import ban. The recent volcanic eruption in Iceland caused a glut of Alphonso mangoes at the Gerrard India Bazaar in Toronto but I found some at the Cash and Carry over the weekend. They are definitely worth the extra price as they are just bursting with juice. Every time I cut one, I did it over my dish to catch all the runaway juices, and then proceed to lick my fingers clean as to not miss any of the sweet mango goodness.
Here is a lovely easy and simple carrot soup with a bit of pizazz from cumin to give you a Moroccan flavour. Since returning from a trip to Turkey, I have been craving Turkish food which melds Greek, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine all into itself. As I investigate a few of the Turkish cookbooks out there, help yourself to a bowl of this delicious carrot soup. It was adapted from the original recipe in April 2010′s issue of Bon Appétit but also spotted here and here. Don’t skip the yogurt as it makes it nice and creamy. I didn’t roast the cumin, but I am sure it would add another dimension of flavour, as the carrots work well with the lemon and allspice.
I had wanted to make a citrus salad for a while. I only recently discovered how wonderful navel and Cara Cara oranges taste. You see, I never liked oranges. Clementines, yes. I like orange juice and the orange flavour, but some oranges are just no fun. I just guess I never met the right one. That is until a friend shared a Cara Cara orange with me. Navels and Cara Caras are sweet and light. Granted, I still have to pick a time to get my nails pulpy from peeling the orange, but at least now I enjoy what is inside. So which citrus salad to make? Spoiled by so many choices, I eventually settled on making a citrus salad with Iranian green raisins, pistachios and a cinnamon yogurt dressing adapted from Green Kitchen Stories. It had a Middle Eastern feel to it and featured a sweet yogurt dressing, which I absolutely adored in a previous chickpea and spinach salad. It was a snap to put together and tasted great.
A friend claimed this wasn’t really cooking! Well, technically, no, but it is still a dish to devour! Enjoy all the benefits of citrus with the chewy raisins, crunchy pistachios (next time I will definitely chop them, or smash them with a fry pan into chunks), refreshing mint and the sweet but spicy cinnamon yogurt dressing. I used my China Cassia cinnamon which elevated the heat for my virgin spice palate. Enjoy!
Sometimes healthy recipes may not appeal to everyone. They may not be filling, not flavourful, not satisfying, yada yada. I recently discovered The Mayo Clinic Williams-Sonoma Cookbook which is filled with healthy recipes that highlight using fruits and vegetables while not overloading on salt and fats. So far the recipes have turned out well, and this is the first one I am going to share. However, I felt that this one needed some tinkering to give it that extra oomph.
First of all, this is a simple dish of stuffed red peppers with a bulgur filling. I loved the sweetness from the red peppers as they were roasted with the filling. However, there was a lot of filling, so you need more peppers than the recipe called for.. unless, I just happened to use small peppers. Otherwise, the filling was good but not incredibly flavourful. I added in extra ingredients to soup up the flavour – some chili powder, fresh basil and oregano. Now we’re talking. Sometimes I skimp on the garnishes, but I felt that the yogurt and seeds definitely added a textural contrast to the dish that lifted it to the next level.
Sometimes salads wow you; sometimes they are more subtle. This is one of those subtle salads, with a myriad of flavours, but none overpower or overwhelm this dish. You slowly contemplate each ingredient and then realize that this is pure genius, pure bliss. This is a hearty meal in guise of a salad, which is my favourite way of having lunch. This salad has a bed of baby spinach, overlayed with cumin-scented mint-flavoured chickpeas that roll around aimlessly as you dive in. But my favourite aspect of the salad is the orange dressing with yogurt, honey and the juice and zest from a navel orange. The sweet dressing mixes with the peppery cumin and offsets nicely with the refreshing mint. Enjoy!!
This recipe was adapted from Ellie Krieger’s show at The Food Network.
This will be the beginning of my muffin mania. I have a love/hate relationship with muffins, as it can take a while to munch through a whole batch of muffins and sometimes I wonder how healthy they really are. So I went on a search for a healthier muffin. I found these Spiced Yogurt Muffins, which I adapted from the Novemeber 2008 issue of Food & Wine (and also posted here, here and here).
These spiced yogurt muffins were incredible straight from the oven. They were moist, light and fluffy with delicious spices infused into the batter. I recently won fresh and whole Penzey spices from Aimee at Sugared Ellipses and found it made a real difference, especially when the main star of the muffin are the spices.
The muffins were a bit sticky to the muffin wrapper while they were warm from the oven (nothing a spoon can’t fix), but the next day they fell apart more easily. Muffins are best kept at room temperature for a few days, else frozen after they were made. Putting them in the refrigerator makes them dry.
With only 140 calories (and 3 g fat) per muffin, I think they also qualify as healthy (unlike Starbuck’s Sunrise muffin that is almost 600 calories each!).