Simple Granola

If you’re like my partner, you like granola but would rather not have all the sugar.  No problem!  Granola is super easy to make, and you can add as much – or as little – sugar as you like…or honey or molasses or rice syrup or agave or whatever your sweetener of choice (or lack thereof) might be.  Granola is also flexible, so you can change the fruit or the nuts in the mix with impunity as well.  It really all depends on your personal taste.  So here’s my recipe for Ty’s Simple Granola. Make it your own in whatever way you like!

Ingredients:
4.5 cups rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
1.5 cups sliced, toasted almonds (or nut of choice)
1.5 cups raw sunflower seeds (or seed of choice – hemp seeds are great too)
1 Tbs. Manuka honey (Trader Joe’s brand) (or sweetener of choice)
1/2 cup (minus 1 Tablespoon, so 7 Tbs.) sunflower seed oil (or oil of choice)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (I use bourbon vanilla from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia – Chinese Cinnamon, NOT korintje)
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 2-finger pinch of salt
3/4 – 1 cup dried cranberries (or fruit of choice)
brown sugar to taste (optional) (I use two 2-finger pinches)

To make:
1.Mix the oats, nuts and seeds together in a large bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, blend the oil, honey* and vanilla.  You may find this easiest to do with a stick blender or mixer, as manuka doesn’t really blend well with oil.  If you prefer a dry or granulated sugar, like turbinado or brown sugar, make a syrup by melting it in a little water on the stove, first.

* If you do not want to sweeten your granola at all, just blend 1 cup of sunflower oil and the vanilla extract for this step.  You can pretty much do that with a whisk.

3. Poor the oil mixture over the oats, nuts and seeds, and toss to coat everything.  Sprinkle the nutmeg, cinnamon and salt over the mixture and toss well again.

4. Line a large rectangular baking dish or baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture out across it in an even layer.  Your layer should be 1/2 – 1″ deep.  If it’s too thick, use a second baking dish or sheet.  Shallow is better than deep.

5. Bake at 300 degrees for an hour, tossing every 15 minutes to give everything a chance to dry.

6. After an hour, remove from the oven, add the cranberries or whatever fruit you chose and toss it all together.  If you would like to add a pinch or two of brown sugar, now’s the time to do that, too.  Let cool and then store in a one gallon Ziploc bag in the refrigerator.

Enjoy as you would store-bought granola.  Only, you know, without all the sugar. ūüôā

granola - copyright the simple stove 2016 - all rights reserved

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May 15, 2016 at 11:51 pm 10 comments

Gluten-free & Vegan B√©chamel (White Gravy)

Contrary to what gourmet (and Southern)¬†chefs everywhere seem to think, you can make a vegan B√©chamel that tastes just as good as the kind with milk, and if you didn’t tell a diner it was vegan, I doubt s/he’d know the difference (though a chef probably would). ¬†You can also¬†make it gluten-free and just as delicious, though definitely not with the same flavor. ¬†Oat flour has a slightly stronger and rather distinctive flavor, unlike wheat flour, which seems to just become part of anything you add it to. ¬†I like oat flour as a good substitute for wheat though, so I try it in everything, and B√©chamel is no exception to the oat-for-wheat substitute rule, I’m happy to say.

B√©chamel sauce is a basic white¬†sauce which serves as the starting point for a lot of other sauces (like cheese sauce, gravy, mustard sauce, and cream sauce). ¬† It is also the “white gravy” under which¬†Southerners drown biscuits and country-fried steak. ¬†I have never liked it all that much, but while I can make a¬†cheese sauce¬†without B√©chamel (hello, ricotta), I wanted to try to make a macaroni, broccoli cheese casserole with a creamier sauce, and my friend Jennifer was nice enough to¬†give me a lesson in the art of¬†B√©chamel. ¬†I then came home and made my casserole, and I’m happy to tell you that not only is it easy to make, my vegan¬†B√©chamel came out just as deliciously as Jennifer’s dairy-wheat version does. ¬†If you want to make this the old-fashioned, full-dairy way, just use 2% milk and butter instead of almond milk and Earth Balance. ¬†And if you don’t care about gluten, use whole wheat flour instead of oat.

A note about the ingredients for this recipe:
I prefer 365 brand almond milk, as it is a much creamier product than any other brand of almond milk I’ve tried. ¬†It’s the Whole Foods store brand, and at $2.29 a carton, it’s also cheaper than most other brands. ¬†I also prefer soy-free Earth Balance as my butter substitute of choice. ¬†It’s very close to real butter in flavor and has no soy or soy flavor. ¬†I strongly¬†recommend you stick to 365 and soy-free Earth Balance for this recipe.

Ingredients:
1.5 cups 365 brand unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 bay leaf
4.5 Tbs. soy-free Earth Balance buttery spread
1/3 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
a 1-finger pinch or dash of nutmeg

To make:
1. ¬†Put¬†the almond milk and bay leaf in a sauce pan and heat over low to medium-low heat. ¬†Do not allow it to boil. ¬†You just want it to be hot when you add it to the roux (butter & flour). ¬†A skin will form on the top. ¬†That’s perfect and will help catch the bay leaf when you pour it into the roux.

2. While the milk is heating, melt the butter in a separate sauce pan over low heat.  Do not allow it to scorch, burn or brown.

3. When the butter has melted, whisk in the oat flour and heat for 3-4 minutes, whisking/stirring constantly.  Do not allow it to brown.  If it starts to brown, reduce heat.

4. Pour your hot milk into the roux, straining out the bay leaf (unless you want to leave it in; I do).  Whisk it into the roux.

5. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Continue to heat the sauce over low heat, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 2-3 minutes.  Take care not to let it brown.

Tada! ¬†You have made¬†B√©chamel. ¬†You are now finished, unless you’d like to add cheese to it. ¬†1-1.5 cups of shredded cheddar or asiago will turn this into a delightful cheese sauce at this time. ¬†Or you can add some dijon, dry sherry¬†and tarragon for a delicious mustard sauce. ¬†Or just pour it as-is over homemade biscuits and country-fried steak. ¬†At this point, the world is your oyster. ¬†Enjoy!

April 24, 2015 at 6:34 am Leave a comment

Crostini

Crostini are sort of like croutons in the shape of slices of bread. ¬†Believed to have originated in the Middle Ages, crostini are really crunchy, pretty oily (at least the delicious ones), and excellent dipped in stew, munched with salad, or spread with¬†roul√©¬†or goat cheese. ¬†They are also really easy to make. ¬†All you need is some stale bread and olive oil. ¬†Seriously. ¬†A baguette is best, but the loaf can be any size/shape. ¬†Just realize that your crostini are going to be slices of that bread, so larger slices can get cumbersome. ¬†You can use any kind of bread you like, but denser bread seems best. ¬†I would use French, sour dough, sperlonga, rye, or ciabatta. ¬†You could probably use sliced bread if you want, but you really want to start with slightly thicker than 1/2″ thick slices, and most commercially sliced bread isn’t that thick. ¬†You also want to use bread which is a little stale (obviously mold-free), because stale bread has a lower moisture content, so toasting is easier/faster, and because stale bread is a little more sturdy than new bread. ¬†If you would like garlicky bread, either press the garlic into your olive oil or cut some cloves in half and then rub them over the surface of each slice of bread. ¬†The first method will yield more garlicky flavor, but if you don’t want pieces of garlic on your crostini, go for the rubbing down method. ¬†You can also use these as a base for bruschetta if you only oil them on the top side and bake them for about 10 minutes.

Ingredients:
Stale, but not dry, unsliced bread
extra virgin olive oil
Italian spices (or whatever you prefer)
salt & pepper
garlic, pressed (optional)

To make:
Preheat the oven to 375.
Slice the bread into 1/2″ or slightly thicker slices.
If you don’t have an oil mister, pour some olive oil into a ramekin or bowl. ¬†You don’t need much.
Use a mortar & pestle to grind up about a teaspoon of Italian spices.
Spread the bread slices out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.

Mist the bread slices or use a basting brush to lightly coat both sides of each slice of bread with olive oil.

Sprinkle the herbs over the slices on both sides.

Salt and pepper both sides of the slices.

Slide into the oven and bake for 10 minutes on each side (bake 10, turn the slices over and bake another 10) for really crunchy crostini or for 15 minutes total, turning at the 10 minute mark  (bake 10, turn over, bake 5) if you would like your crostini a little chewy.

Mangiare!

 

March 6, 2015 at 12:45 am Leave a comment

White Bean Soup

The potatoes in this soup thicken the broth to¬†make it a¬†stew-like and hearty soup ideal for winter. ¬†As always, you can make this with dried beans, but frankly, I don’t think it tastes that much better, and it adds hours to prep/cooking time, so I just use canned. ¬†The difference in cost and taste just doesn’t compensate for the lack of convenience in using dry. ¬†You can also make this in a slow-cooker/Crockpot, but you’ll need to work out cook times and temps for yourself, as I don’t use mine much and can’t advise you.

Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, pressed
5 green onions, chopped
2 russet potatoes, diced
4-5 stalks celery, chopped
16 oz. mushroom caps, diced
2-3 med. carrots, chopped
4 c. vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. italian seasoning herbs (dried)
a healthy pinch of dried whole sage
1 bay leaf
1.5 tsp. salt
3-15 oz. cans great northern or cannellini beans
1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained (optional)
chopped parsley (optional garnish)
grated parmesan (optional garnish)

To make:
1. Saute the onions over medium heat until they’re translucent.

2. Add the garlic and saute another minute.

3. Add the potatoes and celery and saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the mushrooms and saute 10 minutes.

5. Add the carrots and remainder of ingredients.  Cook until the potatoes are done, approximately 20-25 minutes.

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese.

Serves: 4-5

January 26, 2015 at 10:38 pm Leave a comment

“Moroccan” Lentil Soup

I call this soup Moroccan because it makes use of a lot of flavors and seasoning common to Moroccan cooking. ¬†But I’m pretty sure the addition of wild rice would cause the head of any Moroccan who came across this to explode…that and the fact that I’m not Moroccan and don’t make a habit out of cooking Moroccan dishes, so what the hell do I know, but I hope anyone who does make a habit out of it wouldn’t be put off¬†by my effort. ¬†This is a pretty hearty soup, great for cold days or kicking back in the lodge after a fun day on the slopes.

Ingredients:
2 cups dried brown lentils
1 cup wild rice
6-8 cups water
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. cumin
1.5 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/4 tsp. powdered sage
6-8 cups of water
2-4 Tbs. real extra virgin olive oil
red onion, minced (a slice about 1/4 to 1/2″ thick, depending on how much you dig onions)
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
4 stalks celery, diced
8 oz. mushrooms, diced
2 medium carrots or 2 handfuls baby carrots, sliced or diced to about 1/4″
1 – 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
2 pats vegan chicken bouillon (enough to make 4 c. broth)
2 pats vegetable bouillon (enough to make 4 c. broth)
large pinch of salt (.5-1 tsp.)
fresh ground black pepper
fresh curly leaf parsley, optional
grated parmesan, optional

To make:
Check through the lentils and rice to pull out anything that shouldn’t be in them. ¬†Rinse both well. ¬†Put them in a large, 5-6 qt. chef’s pan (or heavy stock pot; don’t use something thin for heating water) with 6-8 cups of water. ¬†Add the cumin, paprika, garam masala, coriander and oregano. ¬†Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 40-45 minutes. While that is cooking, chop the rest of your ingredients except the bouillon, carrots and garlic.

In a second chef’s¬†pan:
With about 15 minutes to go on the rice & lentils, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions* and saute for 3-5 minutes, until translucent and beginning to brown.  (Brown, not blacken; nobody likes a burned onion Рif your onions start to blacken, turn your heat down.)

Add the garlic and saute another 30-60 seconds.

Add the celery and mushrooms.  Stir well and saute while you mince up the bouillon pats.

Add the bouillon and stir well.  Chop the carrots.

Add the carrots and stir well.  Saute while you open the tomatoes.  Add the entire can to the sauce pan.**  Toss in your pinch of salt.  Stir well and bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to low or medium-low and simmer until your lentils and wild rice are done.

When the wild rice is cooked through (it takes longer than the lentils), if you have much liquid left, ladle out a cup or two.  Keep it to the side in case you decide you want to thin the soup back out.  Add the vegetable mixture and stir to combine.  Cook a few more minutes together, then ladle into bowls and top with fresh ground pepper, a little grated parmesan, and a hefty, 4-finger grab of chopped fresh parsley.  Serve with a nice crusty bread warm from the oven and enjoy!

*Make sure you mince the hell out of the onions. ¬†I’m talking fine brunoise those babies. ¬†You want them small because they’re there to flavor everything else, not for you to bite into and go, “Oh, an onion.”
** The reason for cooking the vegetables separate from the lentils is that the acid in the juice from the tomatoes will cause the skin of the lentils to toughen and¬†will add about an hour (or more) to your cook time. ¬†Seriously, it’s misery, don’t do it.

Serves 4-6

January 20, 2015 at 12:26 am 2 comments

2014 was…slow

I got my WordPress Yearly Review, and boy, was I absent in 2014. ¬†I worked a LOT last year, so I really didn’t have a lot of time for blogging, but two posts? ¬†Really??? ¬†Not awesome. ¬†So I resolve to post more this year. ¬†I’ll try to write at least one post a week. ¬†They won’t all be recipes, probably, but I will strive to make them useful information.

So, Happy New Year, happy eating, and I’ll see you in the kitchen. ūüôā

January 4, 2015 at 5:10 pm Leave a comment

Gluten-free Apple Crepes

Crepes are e-vil. ¬†They are the fru-it of the de-vil. ¬†But if you want a gluten-free, almost-vegan (you can leave the mascarpone out if you want it to be vegan and use a sweetened cream-like vegan spread of your choice instead)¬†crepe recipe which is also delicious, here’s one for you. ¬†Just don’t blame me if attempting it makes you want to cry. ¬†Or throw things. ¬†Or both.

As a side note, you can also make these with Arrowhead Mills buckwheat pancake batter mix by following the directions on the package and then adding more water to thin it (1/4 cup more if you’re using 1/2 cup of mix), but buckwheat has a pretty heavy texture. ¬†I like the oat flour better, but the buckwheat held together slightly better. ¬†I followed step 5b when I used the pancake batter mix, and was less frustrated than I was using oat flour and step 5a. I can’t remember if the buckwheat pancake batter mix has wheat in it or not, so it might not be gluten-free. ¬†You’ll need to read the ingredients. ¬†Or try the gluten-free pancake batter mix of your choosing. ¬†Just remember to thin it out. ¬†Pancake batter is far too thick for making crepes. ¬† You want the batter to run freely across the bottom of the skillet, but still be thick enough to stay in pancake/crepe form. ¬† Better to start too thick and gradually thin till you get it right.

Ingredients:
1 c. oat flour
1 c. + 2 Tbs. almond milk (unsweetened or sweetened, your choice; I use unsweetened)
3 Tbs. Earth Balance spread or coconut oil (your choice), melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. powdered stevia
approx. 1 Tbs. agave syrup (I don’t actually measure it, I just give it a good squeeze; sorry.)
a tiny, 1-finger pinch of salt (or 2)

Filling ingredients:
sweet mascarpone cheese, about 2 Tbs.
1 Granny Smith apple
1/2 – 1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. earth balance spread or butter
1/4 c. water

 

To make:
1.  Dice the apple and put it, the cinnamon, sugar, Earth Balance and water in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until the apples are soft, like apple pie filling.  If you need to add a little more water as it cooks, go for it.  But at the end, you want the apples to be sitting in a thicker sauce, like pie filling.  Set aside.

2.  Blend the flour, cinnamon, cream of tartar, stevia, vanilla. salt and almond milk by hand until smooth.  Stir in the melted spread or coconut oil and agave syrup.  Put in the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes.

3.¬†Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. ¬†Add a tiny bit of oil to the skillet and use a brush to lightly coat the skillet with oil. ¬†You do not want excess oil in the skillet, you just don’t want your crepe to stick. ¬†(If your poured batter suddenly has a lot of little bubble-holes so that it looks like baby swiss cheese, your pan has too much oil in it.) ¬†Do not skip this step even if you have a non-stick skillet.

4. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour about 1/2 a cup of batter into the bottom, tipping the pan to allow the batter to swirl around and lightly coat the bottom of the pan.

So far, so good, right? ¬†This has all been really easy. ¬†Crepes are a cinch, you think. ¬†I thought that, too. ¬†Poor, misguided soul. ¬†Here’s where the evil starts.

5a. Put the pan back on the heat and slide it back and forth continually, until the entire crepe¬†slides freely around the pan, at which point, you may gently lift it out with a spatula, flip it over and cook the other side for a similar amount of time. ¬†While this sounds easy, it’s not. ¬†The crepe will want to break apart long before it slides around as a whole. ¬†Good luck with that. ¬†I got nothing for you.

Alternatively, you may add some more water to the batter to thin it (about 2-4 Tbs.) and in lieu of Step 5a, you can…
5b. Put the pan back on the heat and let it sit there until the top side of the crepe looks dry, at which point you very gently slide your spatula around the edge to loosen it, then even more gently work your spatula under the entire crepe, and slide it gently out of the pan, onto your counter or a plate or a sheet of wax paper and let it cool while you cook another.  I vote for the wax paper.

6. Once you’ve cooked all your crepes, spread a thin layer of mascarpone cheese on the top side of each crepe and spoon some of your apple mixture in a line down the center of each, and then roll each one up like a sweet little burrito and enjoy. ¬†They’re very rich and delicious, so you won’t want¬†much; just two is pretty satisfying.

I think this recipe makes 4-6 crepes. ¬†I end up throwing most of them away because I can’t make a crepe to save my life, so I can’t know for sure. ¬†Good luck with that. ¬†Really.

 

August 26, 2014 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

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