Grains – Mixed Greens Blog Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest Thu, 14 Sep 2017 22:20:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Gluten-Free Bread Winner Wed, 07 Jan 2015 21:30:05 +0000 gluten-free seed bread

I’m not gluten intolerant but when I came across a recipe for a “Life-Changing Bread”, I’ll have to say that I was intrigued. I had my doubts that any one food can change your life, but this bread has come pretty close to doing just that. It would probably be more accurate to say that it’s become part of my life in that Charlie and I eat it for lunch practically everyday and I’ve started baking a loaf once a week or so. It contains some of the same ingredients as my homemade granola and I’ve found making them at the same time saves me effort. I guess that’s part of what it’s all about. Cooking at home instead of buying processed food takes some effort, there’s no way around that, but the benefits are great and besides, this bread is very low on the effort scale and very high on the healthy scale.  While I haven’t found a way to incorporate local ingredients (you can substitute hazelnuts for the almonds) into the recipe, you can put any number of local treats on top. I’ve had lots requests from friends for the recipe, I thought it was time to share it with you.

Gluten-free seed bread

I have to give full credit for this life-changing bread recipe to Sarah Britton at My New Roots, one of my favorite healthy eating blogs. I highly recommend checking out her post on this bread especially if you have questions about making substitutions or want to know more about the benefits of psyllium seed husks. I can tell you right now that psyllium seed husks are the ingredient that makes it possible to leave out the flour in this bread. It absorbs the water and binds all the other ingredients together. I’ve used Sarah’s recipe but changed it slightly to suit my needs.

gluten-free seed bread

 Life-Changing Bread Recipe

Ingredients: 1 cup sunflower seeds/ 1/2 cup whole flax seeds, I prefer golden flax/ 1/2 cup chopped almonds/ 1 1/2 cups rolled oats/ 2T chia seeds/ 4T psyllium seed husks/ 1t fine grain sea salt/ 1T maple syrup/ 3T unsalted melted butter, plus a little extra to butter your pan/ 1 1/2 cups water.

Ingredients for gluten-free bread

Directions: Butter a loaf pan (the original recipe uses a silicon loaf pan, so skip the butter if you have one)/ Put all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix well/ Meanwhile in a small saucepan, melt the butter, remove from the heat, add the maple syrup and water/ Add the wet ingredients together with the dry and mix well/ Put into your loaf pan and smooth the top with the back of spoon/ Let it sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or even overnight (I’ve tried all three with good success).

Uncooked Gluten-free Bread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees/ Place loaf pan on middle rack and bake for 20 minutes/ Remove loaf pan from oven and turn it upside-down on a baking rack/ Return to the oven (on top of the rack) and bake for 35 minutes longer to cook the underside/ Cool bread completely before slicing. It smells amazing so this is the hardest part.

seedbread1 of 1 (1)

I keep mine in a sealed container in the fridge and slice it off as I need it. One loaf lasts about a week for the two of us. Charlie takes a couple of slices to work slathered with butter, of course. I prefer it toasted but since it can crumble, I like to stick it under the broiler until it’s brown and toasty. The lone tablespoon of maple syrup and the nature sweetness of the nuts and seeds makes it plenty sweet for me but if you’re so inclined, I’m certain it would be delicious with homemade jam. I always tend toward the savory side so here’s my new favorite lunch — toasted bread with butter and lots of chopped herbs straight from the garden. Another favorite is butter, sliced farmers market radishes and a bit of sea salt.

Chopped Herbs on Gluten-free Bread

If you’re in the mood to make some changes in your life, trying something new, even bread, is a great place to start. I can feel my life is changing already.








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Festive Farro Salad Fit For A Feast Fri, 05 Dec 2014 22:17:25 +0000

The vibrancy of a Christmas tree inspired this festive farro salad. Farro – we love you, but you’re not exactly dazzling – and kale, a deliciously textured grain and a winter green, each a vehicle for almost anything, in this case dried fruit and a citrus dressing.  With dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, candied hazelnuts, a dressing made with the juice of Clementines, pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top, farro (or faro) is getting its groove on. Kale underneath, shredded and lightly dressed. Think of a subdued Christmas tree, the colors neutralized, but the flavor rich and feast-worthy.

** Speaking of farro, with roots in Italian cuisine, another ‘original’ Italian will be in town next week, Top Chef “Fan Favorite”, Fabio Vivani. He’ll talk about his own cooking, his recipes and his new cookbook, FABIO’S AMERICAN HOME KITCHEN: More Than 124 Recipes With an Italian Accent, Monday the 8th, 2:00 p.m. at the University Book Store. I saw Fabio cook – and perform – on top chef a time or two. Talk about vibrant, and he can cook! I browsed through the cookbook today and what sets it apart, in a good way, is that it’s full of classics like buttermilk fried chicken, shrimp and grits, crab cakes, and plenty of pasta, all with an Italian twist. I’ll post a favorite or two before too long.

Farro Salad with Citrus & Dried Fruit Recipe

Emmer Farro is an ancient grain, originally grown and used abundantly in Italy. Still is for that matter.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 C farro/ 7 C water or broth/1 t salt/ 1/4 C each dried cranberries or cherries, apricots, currants, chopped figs – any combination or all or some of these/1/2 C coarsely chopped plain or candied hazelnuts/ For the dressing: the juice of 2 Clementines (about 4 T), 2 T finely chopped shallot, 2 T red wine vinegar, 3 T olive or Hazelnut oil, 1 t honey. This dressing will not fully emulsify.

Directions: While Emmer Farro is cooking combine and mix ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl/ Cook farro in 7 C of water or broth: bring to boil, salt, turn to simmer and cover/ Cook 50 – 60 minutes or until farro is tender, but with a little bite/ Drain thoroughly and pour immediately into bowl with citrus dressing/ Mix and let cool a bit/ /Stir in dried fruit, larger pieces chopped coarsely/ Refrigerate/ Before serving, sprinkle toasted or candied hazelnuts on top along with a few extra cranberries or cherries/ Can be served at room temperature on a bed of coarsely chopped kale that has been lightly dressed in a little more of the citrus dressing. If you have a Pomegranate cut it open and sprinkle a handful of seeds over the top. Zing.

More than just a pretty face, it has depth and breadth of character, it tastes really good, and it’s not a cookie.

It’s also good local food, the farro, the hazelnuts and dried fruits. Forgive the Clementine for its non-local intrusion, but California citrus isn’t so bad. This salad will safely sit at room temperature for hours.

Bluebird Grains Farm is our local producer of farro and its related products. Check out their site for more information about the ancient grain and more recipes. Many grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest carry Bluebird Farms farro.

More Farro recipes: Farro & Fresh Herbs, Farro & Wild Mushroom Cakes, Wild Mushroom & Farro Soup,



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A Little of This, A Little of That – Late Summer Pasta Salad Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:00:01 +0000 Orzo roasted vegetable salad

One of the many great joys of writing a blog with my dear friend Sally is having access to her recipes. I don’t know about you but I feel a little funny after a dinner party asking my host for the recipe to EVERYTHING we ate. Surely that would not be considered good manners so luckily I can just consult our blog.  While Sally is coming up with delicious meals all the time and adding new recipes to the blog, just a couple of weeks ago I was reminded of her Roasted Summer Vegetables, a recipe I’ve made many times, each time a different variation.

Our summer crops are beginning to slow down but after I harvested a basketful, I had enough for a pan of roasted vegetables — this time added to orzo for a late summer pasta salad.

late summer tomatoes  haricots vert green beans

I decided to roast my veggies — cherry tomatoes, little zucchinis, a red pepper, a bulb of fennel, some sweet red onion for just a short time (unlike the original recipe) to serve with the cold pasta. First I tossed them in a large bowl with olive oil, salt & pepper.

Late summer vegetables

Don’t wash the bowl and you can use it later to mix and serve your pasta salad. Spread the veggies in one layer on a shallow baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Summer vegetables ready for roasting

Once cooked, pull the pan out and right away splash them with balsamic vinegar. In my opinion this is the genius in Sally’s recipe. The vinegar mixes with the juices from the vegetables — especially the tomatoes — to make a delicious and intensely flavored glaze. While the veggies were roasting, I cooked some orzo, just like I would any pasta in lots of salted water for about 7 minutes, drained it, rinsed it with cold water, drained it again, then put it in my already oiled bowl.

Roasted Summer Vegetables

The roasted vegetables alone make a delicious side dish with almost anything. A few weeks ago I served them over a bowl of polenta and while that was fabulous, today I needed a dish I could easily transport and eat straight from the cooler. I tossed the vegetables with the cooked and cooled orzo, added chopped kalamata olives, my favorite crumbled goat’s milk feta cheese, chopped parsley and a couple of raw tomatoes from the garden. Season with salt and pepper and you’re done. It’s a great way to use your last few garden veggies and have plenty to go around.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad

The light is changing quickly. Late summer is a time to get grounded before fall begins…..


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Tabbouleh & Grilled Salmon, Summertime on a Plate Sun, 03 Aug 2014 22:00:14 +0000 Tabbouleh from the middle east meets salmon from the PNW and it’s a summer romance that tastes delicious.



This is the moment for herbs. In warm, dry conditions, they flourish. Actually, it’s false to characterize herbs as having a moment, or even a season – many will last well into fall and some far beyond that. I guess any time is a good time to make tabbouleh (or, tabouli), but especially now, summertime. Whether from the farmers market or in the backyard, Tabbouleh is about herbs, lots of them. We underestimate their nutritional value, especially parsley. It’s vigorous, reseeds itself, is hardy through most winters, and nutritionally-speaking, kicks butt.

Grilled Salmon with Fennel Recipe


Directions: Local salmon from Loki Fish. If you have fennel growing in the backyard or in the neighborhood  (fennel runs amok and you might find it anywhere) cook salmon directly on the grill for the top side, and then flip it over onto a bed of fennel to finish, imparting a subtle herbal essence, just a hint of anise and wonderful with fish. Serve the salmon (or prawns or halibut) right on top of the tabbouleh with lightly grilled pita bread on the side.

Tabbouleh Recipe


Ingredients & Directions: Makes 6 servings. Bring 2 cups plus 2 T water to a boil and turn off heat/ Immediately stir in 1 C bulgar, 1 t salt, cover and let stand for about 30 minutes (the best deal on bulgar is probably at PCC where you can buy it in bulk – enough for this salad, less than a dollar)/ After 25-30 minutes, drain any excess water, stir bulgar and set aside to cool slightly.

While the bulgar steams prepare dressing, chop herbs and vegetables: 1 – 2 C parsley, 1/4 C mint, 1/4 C fresh dill, 2 scallions/ Add other veggies that are in season – cucumber, tomato, carrots, red pepper/ Toss together and add the bulgar after it’s cooled a bit/ Salt & pepper to taste.

Dressing: 1/3 C lemon juice, 4 T olive oil, 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely/ Dressing is intended to be lemony – adjust with more or less oil to suit your own taste/ Whisk together, pour most of dressing over the tabbouleh, taste and add more as needed – bulgar absorbs a lot of dressing. Chill the salad or serve at room temperature. Can be made hours in advance – best served the same day that it’s dressed.


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Mixed Greens Mornings Mon, 05 May 2014 01:01:34 +0000 The a.m. food vibe. My own morning habits have gone from merely convenient and tasty to just a little bit obsessive. Smoothies are the norm six or seven mornings a week and I feel a little off if I miss a day. Toast with jam or honey, same thing. Coffee, mornings only, though there are occasional midnight espresso exceptions with a gang of friends trying to be carefree with their caffeine. Friend Poppy’s into granola most days, and nearly every Saturday a fried egg with fresh greens from the farmer’s market. We savor our a.m. habits because they taste and feel good, comfort us, and they accommodate our schedules.

homemade latte
Morning rituals become embedded and, if we’re lucky, move from merely convenient to comforting meditations, beyond just a kick start. Making coffee from scratch, for example. I smell it, feel the steam, notice the iridescent bubbling in the filter, close my eyes and feel grateful for a new day and that I’m here, feeling pretty good. Also grateful that the coffee’s about ready. That first cup – for some it’s tea – a little steamed milk, toast, self indulgent I know, my morning ritual.
Here are a few a.m. recipes from Mixed Greens that are delicious wake up calls for leisurely or fast-paced mornings. Either way, take a moment to smell the coffee and taste your delicious new day.

Smooothie Recipes

Blueberry Smoothie Recipe blueberry-smoothie

Kale Smoothie Recipe            Kale Smoothie

Basic Fruit Smoothie              sour cherry smoothie


Granola Recipes

 Call Me Granola                       Granola6 of 6

Great Granola, No Gluten       Granola

Homemade Cereal                   homemade cereal


Egg Recipes

Overly Easy Eggs                        Fried Egg with Cheese
Spanish Frittata                          Spanish omelet

Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce  baked eggs in tomato sauce

Baked Eggs & Chard                  Baked Eggs on a Bed of Swiss Chard

Make A Lotta Stratta                 Sausage strata

Salmon, Egg & Potato Gratin   Salmon, Egg & Potato Gratin

Search eggs on our home page and discover more.


 Breakfast Goodies

Toast & Peach Jam                     toast-jam-1

Blueberry Buttermilk Hotcakeshealthier hotcakes

 Raw Apple Cake                            raw apple cake

Irish Soda Bread                             Irish soda bread

Frittatas, granola, smoothies, eggs . . . they all invite creativity and spontaneity, depending on what you have around and what your taste buds crave. Last night, last minute, we made a giant frittata with what was in the fridge: a few bits of pancetta, leek, potato, brassica florets from the garden, all  sautéed together in plenty of olive oil. Add a few eggs with some milk or cream, season, cook for just a moment on the burner, sprinkle the top with Parmesan. Pop into 375 oven for just 4 or 5 minutes, maybe less. Embellish with whatever, grated cheese, sour cream, avocado, chives.  Voilà, breakfast for dinner.

Switch these recipes around as needed to fit your own ingredients and culinary ideas. Say good morning to yourself.


Get Your Green On: Freekeh Mon, 17 Mar 2014 00:00:20 +0000 Freekeh

I know, I know. St. Patrick’s Day is supposed to be about corned beef and Irish soda bread but today I’m writing about a different kind of green — green wheat, better known as freekeh. It’s a Middle Eastern ancient grain that’s harvested green, then sun-dried and roasted giving it a distinctive nutty flavor, very worthy of trying, if you can find it. Ever since Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks have become so popular (Plenty and Jerusalem) I’ve been looking for freekeh and finally found a small package on the bottom shelf at Whole Foods. If it’s rise in popularity is anything like quinoa, it should become more readily available, especially because it’s loaded with fiber and nutrients and is excellent for those on a low glycemic diet.


You can use just about any whole grain recipe with freekeh. I was looking for an excuse to chop up all the fresh chives and sorrel that have been popping up in my garden, thanks to last week’s glorious sunshine, so I went for a grain salad.

Chopped Herbs

I added a shredded chicken breast and a creamy lemony dressing and came up with the perfect mid-week, mid-season dinner, inspired by this recipe from Bon Appetit – originally from this restaurant in Portland.

Freekeh Salad with Chicken and Herbs

Freekeh Salad with Chicken and Fresh Herbs

Salad Ingredients: 1 cup freekeh/ 1 large chicken breast, poached or roasted and shredded/ Lots of chopped fresh herbs – I used chives, sorrel and parsley/ Salt & pepper.

Directions: Bring about 3 cups salted water to boil in medium saucepan/ Add freekeh, turn down to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, until al dente/ Drain and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.

Cooked Freekeh

Once cool, combine with chicken and herbs in large bowl/ Toss with dressing and garnish with more fresh chives, season with salt & pepper.

Dressing Ingredients: 1 small garlic clove, minced/ 2 T finely grated parmesan cheese/ 2 T fresh lemon juice/ 1/2 cup heavy cream/ 4 T olive oil/ Salt & pepper.

Dressing Directions: Whisk garlic, parmesan and lemon juice together in a small bowl/ Gradually whisk in olive oil, then cream/ Season with salt & pepper.

Freekeh Salad with Chicken & Herbs

Don’t freekeh out! I’ll still be cooking a corned beef on Monday March 17, but this is for those of you interested in a different shade of green.

Robust Quinoa Salad, Jackpot! Mon, 13 Jan 2014 02:11:27 +0000 When you say you’re just having salad for dinner it could be this: quinoa with roasted squash, leeks and pumpkin seeds, parsley and cilantro, Mimosa dressing. Enough by itself, but you could add anything else that sounds good, like grilled Portobella mushrooms, lentils, a piece of fish or chicken, or chopped kale beneath the warm quinoa. Don’t even mention healthy, but it so is. And delicious.

quinoa & squash salad 2

This was dinner the other night, along with a piece of grilled salmon, and then lunches the next day. Two recipes found weeks apart at, (quinoa & asparagus salad, and  butternut squash ribbons with arugula, inspired this salad which finally came together the other night. So nice to be in the company of Gourmet at dinnertime.

Quinoa Salad Recipe (with Mimosa Dressing)

quinoa & squash salad 3

Ingredients for quinoa salad: 1 1/4 C quinoa, 2 1/2 C water, 1 t salt/ 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and sliced into thin ribbons/ 1 medium leek, cleaned and trimmed, sliced vertically into thin 3 or 4 inch lengths/ Olive oil, salt & pepper/ 1/3 C pumpkin seeds, roasted/ 1/2 C each of chopped cilantro and parsley.

quinoa 1

Directions: Rinse quinoa, allow to drain thoroughly, place in boiling salted water and simmer with lid on for 15 – 20 minutes, until tender/ Remove from heat and let sit with lid on for 5 more minutes/ Spoon and spread quinoa onto a cookie sheet/ Let it cool and dry out a bit, then put quinoa in a large bowl/ While quinoa is cooking, place squash ribbons and leeks on one or two cookie sheets, drizzle with 2 – 3 T olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss and spread evenly across the pan/ Roast at 425 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes/ When tender, remove from oven and let cool/ My squash ribbons sort of fell apart at this point. Perhaps I should have cooked them a little less, but it didn’t matter/ In a small, ovenproof pan, heat 1 t olive oil, add 1/3 C pumpkin seeds and a pinch of salt/ Place in the 425 degree oven, along with the squash, for just 6 or 7 minutes/ Remove from the oven when they begin to pop and turn lightly golden/ When cool, add most of the pumpkin seeds to quinoa/ Chop cilantro and parsley, add to bowl of quinoa.

quinoa squash ribbons

Mimosa Dressing Recipe

Ingredients & Directions: 2 hard-boiled and finely chopped eggs, 3 T lemon juice, 1 finely chopped clove of garlic, 1/3 – 1/2 C olive oil, 1 T maple syrup/Drizzle olive oil into juice and garlic while whisking steadily/When slightly thickened add maple syrup and mix/Add finely chopped eggs, pinches of salt & pepper and whisk again/ Taste and add more or less of any ingredient.

Add most of the chopped herbs, half the pumpkin seeds, and about half of the dressing to the quinoa. Stir together and put on a large plate or in a bowl. Place roasted squash and leeks on top with the remaining chopped herbs, pumpkin seeds and another healthy drizzle of dressing. Fresh pepper.

Serve warm or at room temp. Enjoy.

quinoa 2

Stuffed! Roasted Sweet Peppers & Quinoa Mon, 21 Oct 2013 00:09:37 +0000 Company dinner the other night and I got to thinking that, along with a hug, a guest’s next best welcome might be the delicious aromas of whatever’s cooking, and knowing that it’s especially for them. Buttermilk-marinated chicken roasting in the oven alongside a pan of carrots with garlic, cumin and orange. Roasted peppers, cooked earlier, just needed reheating.

Quinoa stuffed roasted peppers

Sweet peppers. Char, peel, and stuff them with almost anything at all – in this case quinoa. Five ingredients: sweet peppers, quinoa, garlic, cheese and parsley.

Quinoa Stuffed Roasted Peppers Recipe

stuffed peppers

From NY Times, October 2013 – several roasted pepper recipes. I’d like to try them all!  Serves 4.

Ingredients: 4 medium-size red or yellow bell peppers/ 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil/ 2 garlic cloves, minced/ 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley/ *1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa/ 2 ounces Manchego cheese or Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup)/ Salt and freshly ground pepper/ 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce optional.

*Cooking quinoa: Rinse thoroughly. Combine 1 cup quinoa and 1/2 teaspoon salt with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain excess liquid, cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Directions: Roast the peppers over a flame, under a broiler or on a grill until uniformly charred. Place in a plastic bag or a tightly covered bowl and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove all of the charred skin, rinse briefly and pat dry.

Carefully cut away the stem from the peppers. Cut a slit down the side of each pepper, from the stem end to the bottom. Gently open out and remove the seeds and membranes; tip out the juice. Try to keep the peppers in one piece. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the parsley and quinoa and mix together until the quinoa is coated with oil. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a baking dish large enough to accommodate all of the peppers. One at a time, lay a pepper in the baking dish and fill with the quinoa mixture. Gently open the pepper, mounding the filling onto one half, and folding the other half back over the filling, overlapping the edges slightly. Sprinkle with a little extra Parmesan.  Cover with foil or a lid and bake the peppers for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, reheat the tomato sauce.

Prepared peppers may be made one day ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.

If using tomato sauce, ladle it onto serving plates or a platter and top with the stuffed peppers.

Salty hot fudge sauce and ice cream for dessert, a sliced apple. Dark and cool outside, cozy and delicious in the house, the gifts of autumn.

chocolate sauce 3   winter leaves

Call Me Granola Mon, 04 Mar 2013 01:00:58 +0000 Granola6 of 6

According to the Urban Dictionary  I easily fit into the description of someone granola — “people who are environmentally aware (flower child, tree-hugger) open-minded, left-winged, socially aware, concerned about wasting resources, usually only buy fair-trade goods and refrain from buying from large corporations, dresses like a hippy, eats natural foods, is usually liberal, but in all other ways is a typical middle class white person.” Or how about ” a middle age/late age white man or woman that values natural things. A granola person can usually found in nature.” Sounds about right.

Rolled Oats

My first introduction to granola was in 1969 in the form of muesli – a packaged raw rolled oat and dried fruit cereal developed by Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner. By 1972, granola cereal was packaged and sold by several of the major food corporations and after that we all know what happened. It morphed from a healthy breakfast cereal to one that was loaded with sugar – although no one seemed to notice until the 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act. Call me granola but I’m suspicious of any cereal that comes in a box, especially when one of the first ingredients on the list is some form of sugar. By now, we all know that the best way to know what’s in the food you eat is to make it yourself.

I have to admit that I’ve been somewhat motivated by money as well. Even in bulk, granola isn’t the cheap food I consumed in large quantities in college. Convinced that I could do better by buying bulk ingredients, I kept close tabs on the price. I already had the walnuts, which are by far the most expensive ingredient. Not counting the nuts, pound for pound, my homemade was almost exactly the same price as bulk (that has nuts in it). If you add in the cost of nuts, you’re talking more in the range of one of the packaged artisan-made that seem to be popping up all over the place. So much so that there was an article last week in the NY Times about granola as a new high-end growth industry.

Bowl of Granola

Despite the price, I still think homemade is the way to go. Seeds are generally much less expensive than nuts so if cost is a concern, that could be a good way to go. I’m not willing to compromise on using organic ingredients but I might be able to find less expensive sources. Like many granola folks you may have been making your own for years and don’t need a recipe but rather than just leaving everything in the oven and potentially burning some of these precious ingredients while under-cooking others, I used a variation on Sarah Britton’s recipe from one of my favorite natural foods blogs, My New Roots.

Homemade Granola Recipe

Ingredients: 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)/ 1 cup raw walnuts, chopped/ 1.5 cups flaked coconut/ 1 cup pumpkin seeds/ 3/4 cup raisins/ 1/3 cup maple syrup ( or honey, agave)/ 4 T unsalted butter (or coconut oil, ghee)/ 1/4 t sea salt.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350/ In a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt butter and whisk in maple syrup/ In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients except the raisins/ Pour maple syrup and butter mixture over dry ingredients and mix well to coat/ Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and stir/ Put back in the oven but remove and stir every 5 minutes or so until golden brown ( approx. 25-30 minutes total), adding the raisins for the final 5 or 10 minutes.

Uncooked Granola   Toasted Granola

It may sound like a lot of work to pull it out every 5 minutes but really it’s only 4 or 5 times and it’s a great way to work with ingredients that brown at different rates. Personally, I don’t like raisins hard so I add them at the end. If you like the oats more toasted, you could coat only those with the butter/maple syrup cook them for the first ten minutes or so and then add the nuts, seeds and coconut. And speaking of adding ingredients, it’s up to you — add whatever you like and let go of the rest. You know, like a true granola.

Granola5 of 6

If you prefer to go sugar and gluten-free, try Sally’s Great Granola, No Gluten recipe. And if you eat cereal but granola isn’t your thing, this Homemade Breakfast Cereal has become wildly popular among some of our more nutritionally conscious readers.




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Polenta Polenta Mon, 25 Feb 2013 02:02:49 +0000 Like with rice, beans and pasta, when you make polenta you’re part of a universal culinary network. Each has its distinctive character and flavor and each has a vast culinary repertoire. Polenta, ancient peasant food, was necessary for survival long before we decided to relish and make it important again. We know this stuff, it’s in our genes.

Pesto Polenta

Pesto Polenta

Maybe you can’t get beyond the polenta is mush is grits mindset. Well yes, grits it is, hallelujah. Polenta cooked properly is soft and luxurious comfort food. Silky even. Gluten free, an egg’s worth of protein in a serving, potassium and vitamin C. Polenta’s pretty good stuff on its own. But make a pot of polenta and embellish it. Like refrigerator soup, use what you have on hand that’s appealing, garnish the polenta and call it a meal as with sautéd sweet peppers and sausage, or with roasted garbanzos and leeks – each described below.

There’s soft polenta and hard polenta. One basic recipe gives you both options, and then get creative. Think about flavors and foods that appeal, decide if it fits with polenta and give it a try.

From The Seasons of the Italian Kitchen Cookbook:

Like grits, polenta is inexpensive and rib-sticking. Like pasta and risotto, it’s a culinary chameleon. You can serve polenta plain, with butter and salt and pepper, white, and yellow. You can grill it and serve it with sausages or with game birds. You can melt sharp cheese on it. You can stir meats or vegetables or cheeses into it. And although it’s made from corn, which often flattens a glass of wine, polenta gets along with wines just fine.

Polenta is one of the oldest foods known to man. The conquering legions of the Roman Empire subsisted on pulmentum, a sort of porridge made from various grains, which they learned about from the Etruscans. Polenta as we know it today, is made from cornmeal, has been a staple of Italian peasant cooking ever since corn was introduced from the New World to the Old. In Italy, the techniques and utensils for making polenta are decreed by ancient custom and observed with reverence bordering on superstition.


Basic Polenta Recipe

From The Seasons of the Italian Kitchen Cookbook. For 4 servings.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 t salt/ 4 C water (I’ve used chicken stock too)/ 1 1/2 C cornmeal, fine, medium or coarse. Fine cornmeal cooks up faster and smoother.

Directions: Use a broad bottomed pan for faster cooking/ Dissolve the salt in the water/ Add cornmeal gradually, whisking or stirring vigorously as you do so/ On medium heat, stir more or less continuously until liquid comes to a simmer and begins to thicken/ Turn heat to low and, using a large spoon, continue to cook and give a thorough stir every minute or so/ Polenta will continue to thicken and eventually begin to stick to itself, rather than to the pot/ 15 – 25 minutes for cooking depending on size of pot and type of cornmeal.

Begin to taste the polenta after fifteen minutes or so of cooking. Some people prefer it with a little cornmeal bite, others not. Cook for a longer or shorter time according to your own preference. Medium ground cornmeal took about 20 minutes. Alton Brown’s recipe for polenta calls for getting it going on the stove top, putting a lid on and finishing it in the oven. Check it out.

For soft polenta, pour into serving dishes or a platter and eat immediately. Add butter if you like, grated cheese, whatever suits your fancy.

For grilled polenta, pour mixture, without having added any additional liquid, onto a flat plate or marble that has been lightly moistened with cold water. Flatten and smooth with a spatula dipped in water and then allow to cool completely. Cut into desired shapes and grill in butter or olive oil, a few minutes on each side until lightly golden. Serve on its own or with any variety of stews, sauces, roasted vegetables . . . with roasted garbanzos and leeks. Recipe below.grilled polenta

Polenta with Sausage & Pepper Recipe

Pesto Polenta with Peppers & Sausage

Pesto Polenta with Peppers & Sausage

Make a batch of polenta. While it’s cooking sauté a sliced onion and red pepper sprinkled with fresh or dried basil and/or oregano. In another pan cook some Italian sausage. When sausage is done and sliced, place together with onion/sweet pepper mixture. Serve on soft, just cooked polenta with maybe a spoonful of tomato sauce and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Grilled Polenta with Roasted Garbanzos & Leeks Recipe

grilled polenta

Grilled polenta with roasted garbanzos and leeks.

Grilled polenta with roasted garbanzos and leeks.

Prepare grilled polenta as described above.

Ingredients & Directions for roasting: Drain garbanzo beans and put in a bowl, toss with plenty of olive oil (2 – 3 tablespoons for 2 cup of beans), 1 – 2 t cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Clean and then slice 2 medium or 3 small leeks lengthwise, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. On a parchment lined roasting pan spread beans and leeks evenly, roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove leeks sooner if they become golden brown.

Roasted garbanzos and leeks.

Roasted garbanzos and leeks.

Dressing: 1 finely chopped clove of garlic, 2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice, 4 T olive oil, 1 t cumin, 1 t lemon zest, salt & pepper to taste/ Whisk together and reserve/ Drizzle 3 Tablespoons on garbanzos and leeks immediately after removing from oven/ Add 1 tablespoon of dressing to yogurt/sour cream mixture/ Drizzle remaining dressing over beans and plolenta when serving.

Sauce: In a small bowl stir to soften 1/2 C plain yogurt and/or sour cream. Stir in 1 T of the lemony dressing. Reserve and use to garnish, to ‘sauce’ the beans and polenta when serving.

Maybe the idea of roasted garbanzos doesn’t appeal. The idea here is to find accompaniment for  grilled or soft polenta that sounds delicious to you. Could be grated cheese is enough.

Some other ideas to get you going: Doesn’t hurt to stir in a big chunk of butter at the end, or some half and half, not too much. Polenta is a perfect vessel for dried wild mushrooms. Rehydrate, chop and add to polenta while it’s cooking. Sauté shallots, mushrooms, any finely chopped ingredient you like and then add the water, salt and cornmeal and proceed from there. Stir in pesto (as shown above) and/or grated cheese, dark greens after the cooking, but while polenta is still piping hot. Stir in a bunch of chopped, fresh herbs as polenta begins to cool. Serve a fried egg and chives along side polenta.

More Mixed Greens polenta recipes: Big Corn, Little Corn,   Polenta Cake


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