Friday, October 21, 2011

Oatmeal Carrot Cake Bread

I tried this recipe at work today (for my **100 blog challenge) with some left over shredded carrots. I haven't cut into a loaf yet, but, the aroma is delightful. I found some pumpkin spice cream cheese at the store to try--I'm sure it'll be a tasty combination!
Oatmeal Carrot Cake Bread
     (Recipe from Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods)

1 cup Oats, Rolled, Quick Cooking
1/2 cup Milk
2 1/2 cups Unbleached White Flour
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 1/2 cups Shredded Carrots
1/2 cup Raisins
1 8oz. can Crushed Pineapple in Juice
4 Egg Whites or 2 Whole Eggs
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray bottom only of 9x5 loaf pan or grease lightly.

Combine oatmeal and milk and set aside

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Stir in carrots.

Combine the oat mixture with pineapple and it's juice, eggs, oil and vanilla. Mix well. Add to dry ingredients, mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 60-70 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean and crust is a golden brown. Cool 10 minutes, turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

Serve with cream cheese spread:

Beat together until smooth:
4 oz. reduced calorie Cream Cheese
2 teaspoons Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Saturday, October 1, 2011

100 day challenge on a recipe blog?

Sure, why not? As a writer, I can relate writing to cooking...and as a cook, I can relate cooking to writing. Actually, it's pretty easy.

Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg and butter. The end result of making hollandaise is to incorporate two things that really don't mix--the proverbial oil (or fat) and water.  Done over a water bath, melted butter is slowly added to a thick mixture of beaten egg yolks and lemon juice, while whipping furiously. Add the butter too quickly or whip too slowly, ah, you end up with a broken sauce. (Just let me add here, that there are numerous way to create a tasty hollandaise, this is simply my example for today. If you're interested. use your fave search engine and you'll find a wealth of recipes and techniques)

My sauce is broken--what does that mean? It means instead of being thick and creamy, your sauce is grainy looking. Liquid rises to the top. It looks---ugly.

So, my sauce is what? You can throw it away and start over, but that's time consuming and expensive. A simple fix is to find a clean bowl. Add a splash of warm water to it. Add a few tablespoons of your broken sauce and beat until the sauce is emulsified. Then add a little more. This is a slow process, but the end result is a fully emulsified, thick and creamy hollandaise.

I have a craving for eggs benedict now!

Okay, I have a lovely hollandaise. What does that have to do with writing? This is easy. How often do we put our characters into places, situations, relationships, where there is a meeting of oil and water? We slowly add more conflict, stirring the characters around in the mess until a solution comes together--then we do it again. (Don't you love to torture your characters?--You should!) Sometimes we have our conflicted characters, but they just don't come together--so we add a little something extra to the mix or put them in a new situation. Ta da! A saucy tale to delight our readers.

And then there's other ways of making hollandaise. Alton Brown uses cold butter...some folks use a blender. My thoughts...whatever works. Just bring on the hollandaise!

What? Now you want a recipe? Well... I guess this is a recipe blog after all.

This is Tyler Florence's recipe from Food Network. He uses a classic method.


4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
Pinch cayenne
Pinch salt


Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

Yummm. Asparagus. So, what's your favorite thing to put hollandaise on?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Slow Cooked Sweet & Sour Pork

Slow Cooked Sweet & Sour Pork

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds pork shoulder cut into large chunks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large onion peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large green pepper, cleaned and cut into large chunks
1 4oz. can mushroom pieces, drained
1 14.5 oz can reduced sodium tomato sauce
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
Cooked rice

Coat slow cooker with nonstick spray. (Or line with appropriate liner)

Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Saute 3 minutes on each side.

Add pork to slow cooker and layer in onion, green pepper and mushrooms.

In small bowl combine tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. Pour over pork and vegetables.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours. Serve with steamed rice.

Okay, that was the original recipe thanks to Family Circle Magazine. Here's what I did differently.

No green peppers. What can I say? I don't care for them.

I added only half the onions in the beginning, reserving the rest for later. I added a few drops of Louisianna Hot Sauce to the liquids.

Just before I started the rice cooker, I added the remaining onions, some sliced raw carrot and drained pineapple chunks. My cooker has a WARM setting, so I turned the control there. When the rice was done, the veggies and pineapple were warmed through, but still crunchy. I would suggest if you like green peppers, to add the majority at this later time to retain the crunch.

My household enjoyed this easy recipe--placing it into the 'we can have again' pile.