July 23, 2009

Homemade Cereal--Why Not?

Have you ever stopped to think about your cereal?

If you're like me, it's something you eat every day. Yet, do you think about what impacts cereal has environmentally or financially?

Cereal is really quite a basic thing when you think about it. Grains. Dried fruit. But then consider what we pay for that cereal.

Doris Janzen Longacre in the More-with-Less cookbook originally got me thinking about this when she said, "Instead of buying rolled oats at thirty cents a pound, we use puffed, colored, sweetened, vitamin-enriched, foil-and-cardboard-packaged dry cereal at $1.12 a pound."

The funny part is that for a very long time, it never even occurred to me to make my own cereal. Cereal is something you buy. Well, no more.

Now I make granola on a regular basis. It's fantastic. It's easy, inexpensive and 100 percent customizable to my taste (and what's in my pantry).

Crunchy Granola
from More-with-Less by Doris Janzen Longacre
Preheat oven to 325.

Combine in a large bowl:
1 c shredded coconut (unsweetened)
4 c rolled oats
1 c sunflower seed
1 c wheat germ
1/4 c to 1/2 c sesame seed
1 c chopped peanuts, walnuts or almonds

Bring to a boil:
1 c honey or brown sugar
1/2 c oil (if using brown sugar, increase oil to 3/4 c.)
1 T cinnamon

Take the liquid mixture off the heat at the first sign of a boil. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread on 2 greased baking sheets. Bake about 30 minutes, stirring often (three to four times). Watch closely toward the end to avoid burning. Allow to cool undisturbed, then break into chunks. If you'd like, add raisins or other dried fruit. Store in sealed container.

Note: Honey gives you a more chunky granola. The granola pictured has brown sugar.

Good luck making your own cereal!

July 13, 2009

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

This is from a cookbook that I recently discovered, Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop. He's one of the guys on America's Test Kitchen. This book gives an overview of each vegetable--describing how to choose them, store them, prepare them and more. Of course it also includes recipes, like this wonderful side (or first course, if you're fancy like that).

Roasted beets, goat cheese and toasted walnuts have a flavor affinity like none other.

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese
Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop

4 medium beets, plus greens (can substitute chard if needed for the greens)
2 medium shallots, sliced thin
2 t balsamic vinegar
2 t red wine vinegar
1/2 c walnuts, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
1/2 c goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat to 400. Wash and trim the beets. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast in oven until fork glides through easily, about 1 hour or so. While the beets are roasting, wash and dry the greens. Heat 1 T oil over medium heat and saute the shallots until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the greens and saute until wilted and tender, about 2 minutes. Season with S+P and cool to room temperature.

Whisk the vinegars, remaining oil and S+P in small bowl.

When beets are tender, remove from the oven, open the foil and cool slightly. Use paper towels to hold the beets. Rub them gently to remove the skin. Slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Top the greens with the beets. Drizzle with dressing. Garnish with walnuts and cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

*As you can see, I skipped using the beet greens (or any greens), but I know it would be delicious.

CSA Box #3

Wow! It's been a busy week. We've been busy trying to eat all this food:

Curly Parsley
Fresh Garlic
Fresh Yellow Onion
Green Beans
Savoy Cabbage
Romaine Lettuce
Yellow Summer Squash

The box always comes with a newsletter that shares storage and preparation tips. They also share how things are going on the farm. Sadly, there's been no rain in the last two weeks and none is in the forecast. That could be trouble for the fall harvest. According to the newsletter, "Veggies like fall carrots, beets, radishes and turnips need that shot of water to germinate in these hot temperatures. We'll see what mother nature has in store."

Yes we will!
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