Thursday, May 31, 2012

Colorful Salad with Golden Beets

Hangry Foodasaurus, May 2012

I am all about plating my food and making it look presentable.  Presentation is so important to me that even if I cut up apple slices with peanut butter for myself I can't help but arranging the slices in a radiating pattern with a dollop of peanut butter in the center.  I think things just taste better when you take them time to arrange them artfully.  Plus, it makes you more excited to eat it because it seems more special.

This simple and delicious salad is perfect for a light lunch or to go along with dinner.  It is particularly colorful (I love the purple/yellow combo) and even though it only has 5 ingredients it's packed with flavor.  You can have this a few days in a row if you plan ahead in advance.  It takes about one hour to roast the beets and 20 minutes to roast the onions, so take that into account.  What I like to do is roast beets and onions after dinner (or along with dinner) one night so they are ready for the next day.

You'll need:

1 bunch of organic golden beets (with stems)
1 large organic red onion
Organic mixed salad greens, arugula or baby spinach
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Parmesan or Goat cheese
Salad dressing of your choice (I will give my staple dressing below)

Remove tops and bottom root with a sharp knife.  Scrub beets thoroughly.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap each individual beet in foil.  Roast on 400 degrees F for about 50 minutes or until a fork can poke through with ease.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes more before peeling and slicing.

(save the tops in a bag in your fridge and for later use--sauteed beet greens are mild and tasty.  I used mine in my quiche recipe)

Peel and slice red onion, place on a roasting sheet with sides and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper--notice the pattern ;)  Roast about 20 minutes on 400, or until the onions start to carmelize, but not burn. Use a spatula to turn them about halfway through.  Remove from pan and put in a bowl to cool.

Toss pepitas onto a baking sheet and toast them until they are fragrant (keep checking because they burn quickly)!  I use the toaster oven but you can do this in an oven as well along with your onions and beets.  Remove from heat, toss and cool on baking sheet.

Hangry Foodasaurus Go-To Dressing:
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3-4 teaspoons of Cider or White vinegar
salt and pepper
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil into mix and stir vigorously until everything blends together into a golden yellow dressing.  Add more/less to taste of any of the ingredients.

If you aren't making the salad the same day, refrigerate the beets, onions and store seeds in an airtight container once cooled.

If you ARE making the salad, go ahead and plate up your washed greens, top with beet slices in a circular pattern, and display onions across the center.  Sprinkle with desired amount of goat cheese or Parmesan cheese and pepitas.  Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!  Serve with multigrain bread and some protein item of your choice.

Makes about 4 servings

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hearty Daily Granola

I honestly can't believe it's taken me this long to post one of my staple foods in the house:  granola!  I know, I know, being the "Earth People" that we are (term coined by my mother-in-law), it comes as no surprise that we eat granola every single morning with our breakfast.  And sometimes for a snack!

This winning recipe is the best because it's easy, fast and makes a large volume.  I've adapted it from a Bed & Breakfast on the San Juan Islands (off the coast of Washington State).  I haven't purposely omitted their name, I just forget!  If anyone knows the name of the B & B, please remind me and I'll give them credit!!  It's a gorgeous and rare escape only a quick ferry ride from Seattle.  In 2008, my wonderful friends Tessa and Dave were married there and part of her wedding favor for guests was this very granola!  She gave me the recipe because I loved it so much and we've been making it religiously ever since.

Hangry Foodasaurus, 2012

Here's what you need:

o   7 cups oats  (regular or steel cut or a mixture)
o   ½ cup brown sugar (you can always use a little less)
o   ½ cup olive oil (I used ¼ cup EVOO and ¼ cup coconut oil)
o   ½ tsp sea salt
Hangry Foodasaurus, 2012
o   ½ cup each of:
o   almonds
o   pecans (I omitted pecans, doubled up on other seeds/nuts)
o   walnuts
o   cashews
o   pepitas
o   sesame seeds (I omitted)
o   flax meal (I used whole flax seeds or sometimes omit altogether)
o   millet
o   oat bran
o   coconut
o   sunflower seeds
-¾ cup honey  (you can substitute maple syrup or a blend of both)
-1 T vanilla extract (I sometimes use almond extract)
-2 tsp cinnamon

You can also spruce it up by adding your favorite dried fruits or other grains!!  I tend to get the raw, unsalted and preferably organic versions of all the nuts and seeds.  Roasted nuts work too, but stick with the unsalted.

Mix everything together in a very large bowl.  Leave some clumps remaining.  Spread onto 2 large-sized flat baking sheets with sides.  Bake at 300 degrees F for 30 minutes.  I always put the racks towards the center and switch places with the two sheets on the shelves halfway through—stir at this point.  Allow to cool on baking sheets (it will continue to cook), stirring frequently until completely cooled.  Store in airtight containers in the fridge.  

Tip:  Once refrigerated it is trickier to break apart, so I always leave out the container that we're currently using and rotate through the refrigerated ones.  

Even though there's a ton, it goes quickly around our house, so I like to stock up for at least 2 batches worth when I go to the grocery store.  My favorite thing to do is top Greek yogurt with this granola and berries, mangoes or other fruit.  Also, amazing on its own with unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or your milk of choice).

Happy Crunching!