Thursday, June 1, 2017

Spicy Tropical Peanut Butter Granola

I conceived this granola as a way to use up an oversupply of The Heat is On, which is peanut butter made with hot peppers. The warm spices and lime blend really well with the hot pepper in the peanut butter.

I do not recommend using more of the spicy PB than 1/4 cup. It packs a punch. I like things to be spicy and it's just right for me. You might want to start with less spicy PB or even just use regular PB with a pinch of red pepper if you're not a big fan of heat. Try it with yogurt!

Wet Ingredients
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup, golden syrup, or light corn syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup spicy peanut butter (2 Tbsp for less spicy granola)
1/4 cup regular creamy peanut butter (6 Tbsp for less spicy granola)
zest and juice from one lime

Dry Ingredients
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1/2 cup chopped dried/candied tropical fruit (I used a mix of papaya, pineapple, sultana raisins, and ginger)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Melt the sweeteners and peanut butter in a large microwave safe dish or in a large pot on the stove over low heat, stirring often to mix them together. When melted, take off heat and stir in lime zest and juice.

Stir oats, peanuts, coconut, spices, crisp rice, and dried fruit into the melted syrup and peanut butter mixture. Mix until thoroughly blended and spread on prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 250 until browned to taste, 30-45 minutes. Stir the granola and rotate the cookie sheets every 15 minutes to ensure that it doesn't burn.

If you have unsalted macadamia nuts or pecans, they would be a good substitute for half of the peanuts.

Other dried fruits to try include kiwi, mango, or possibly even candied citrus rind.

Banana chips could be used to replace the coconut shreds.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Great Northern Brownies

I like this version of bean-based brownies better than the black bean versions out there. Great Northern beans are very subtle and less noticeable than black beans or chick peas. Even cannellini beans have a stronger flavor.

These brownies are a bit cake-like, almost like a breakfast quick bread, but have a slightly fudgy texture. I used a little less cocoa powder than usual which gives them a light fruity cocoa flavor that blends well with the molasses and spices. You can use more and omit the spices if you want them to be more assertively chocolate.

Wet Ingredients
1 Can Great Northern Beans, rinsed very well and drained (1.75 cups cooked from dried and drained)
2 Eggs
1/4 Cup Molasses (this is a minimum amount, you might start with a bit more to make them sweeter first time around)
1/2 Cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt (or use vanilla flavored sweetened yogurt to make them sweeter instead of more molasses above)
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted (or butter)
1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter above)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Dry Ingredients
1/2 cup Flour (I used oat flour, but white flour would work too)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon (ceylon if you can get it)
1/4 nutmeg
pinch cloves or allspice

Heat oven to 350 and grease an 8*8 cake pan or similar size.

Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of a large food processor. Puree them until very smooth.

Meanwhile sift and whisk together the dry ingredients. Add them to the wet ingredients with the processor off, using a spatula to incorporate them to avoid a powdery mess. Process until smooth.

Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Green Soup

This is a recipe that highlights flexibility and resourcefulness. It's also simple, comforting, and delicious with cheese and crackers, similar to tomato soup.

I usually make green soup in tandem with poached chicken, using the broth from the chicken for the soup.

If you don't have broth, just make it with seasoned water and it'll come out fine. If you don't have potatoes, use lentils, chick peas or white beans to thicken it up.


4-5 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
1 - 2 bay leaves (optional)
1 tsp thyme

1 cup chopped celery
2-3 cubed potatoes, or 1 can lentils, or white beans (1.5 - 2 cups cooked beans)
1.5-2 lbs various chopped fresh or frozen greens and herbs (parsley, escarole, romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc)
Lemon zest and juice from one lemon, or 1/4 diced preserved lemon
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
Dash of nutmeg (optional)
Tsp of white pepper (optional)
Hot pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
Salt to taste (less salt if using preserved lemon - they are very salty)
Lots of black pepper
Olive oil and/or Romano cheese to serve (optional)

In a large pot heat the broth/water on high until boiling and add the potatoes or beans, celery, lemon zest, herbs and spices. Lower the heat to medium and cook until tender (or heated through for the already cooked beans).

Add the greens and lemon juice (or optional white wine) and lower the temperature to a low simmer for about 5 minutes. It might take longer for tougher greens like kale. yet less time for baby spinach. The greens should be just wilted.

Once the greens are wilted, remove from the heat, remove the bay leaves, and (carefully) use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Season to taste with nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. 

Serve hot in bowls with a drizzle of nice grassy olive oil and a generous sprinkling of Romano cheese. Pesto is also good with this soup. I have been known to drink it straight out of mason jars like a smoothie in a pinch. It is even good at room temp or just slightly warm.

This soup keeps in the fridge for about a week if using vegetarian broth, freeze leftovers within 4 or 5 days if using chicken broth.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Xocolatl Fried Plantain Pfannkuchen


For Fried Plantain Filling
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large black ripe plantain
Splash of rum (white, dark, or spiced)
Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne to taste

For Xocolatl Pfannkuchen
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (used special dark cocoa powder)
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional) 
2 tbsp vanilla sugar  (or normal sugar, brown sugar, or even molasses)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
dash cloves
dash cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup black coffee
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Extra coconut oil, if necessary, to grease the pan
Powdered sugar and cinnamon for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On the stovetop, heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Dice the plantain by peeling it, cutting it into thirds, cutting each third into quarter spears lengthwise and then dicing the spears into 1/4 inch chunks. When the oil is hot, toss the plantains in the pan, coating them evenly with the oil, and let them caramelize for a couple minutes. Once they have turned a golden yellow, add a splash of rum to deglaze the pan and stir the plantains around a bit while it boils off. Turn the heat to low and let the plantains cook down.

Meanwhile, whisk flour, cocoa, chocolate chips, sugar, spices, and salt in a bowl. Whisk in the yogurt, coffee, eggs, and extract until smooth. Add more coffee if the batter is too thick. It should be pourable like pancake batter.

Remove the skillet with the plantains from the heat, adding another tbsp of coconut oil if the pan looks dried out. Dust the plantains with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. Pour the Xocolatl batter into the skillet over the fried plantains, distributing it evenly around the pan.

Put the skillet in the oven and bake 20 - 30 minutes or until the pfannkuchen puffs up and is set in the middle.

Once out of the oven, pfannkuchen will collapse as it cools. Run a knife around the edge, carefully lift it with a large spatula, and turn it out onto a plate for serving. Dust with cinnamon and powdered sugar, cut it into wedges or squares, and serve at room temperature.

You could also replace the vanilla with orange liquor/juice and zest or use bananas in place of the plantain.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Banana Nut Granola


2 large ripe bananas
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 cups oats
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (or shelled sunflower seeds)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl. I use a bent fork, but you could use a potato masher. Stir in the coconut oil, molasses, and vanilla. Add the rest of the ingredients on top of the mashed bananas and stir them all together until thoroughly coated and clumping together. Use your hands to squeeze into clumps if you want.

Spread the granola evenly onto two trays. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, then take the sheets out and stir the granola up a bit to make sure it browns evenly. Turn the oven down to 300 and put the sheets back in to bake for another 10 - 15 minutes, or until toasted to your liking. I like mine a little underbaked. The granola will crisp up as it cools.

It should make about 6 cups, which equates to a dozen half cup servings. Each serving has 215 calories, 12 grams of fat, 5 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, and 22 grams total carbs.

It costs about $4 to make the entire batch, using bob's red mill coconut, with the coconut oil, oats, and walnuts coming from Aldi.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Schokoladen-Pfannkuchen (German Chocolate Pancake)

My mom's signature dish, from the cookbook that came with her Oster Kitchen Center some 30+ years ago, is Apple Pfannkuchen.

I don't claim to make mom's original recipe. I've never been able to pull it off anyway. However, I am notorious for adjusting and "messing with" original recipes, so I made a chocolate version instead.


For Pfannkuchen
3/4 cup milk (almond milk works too)
3 eggs
1/3 cup oat flour (or all purpose flour)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla/almond extract (or 1 splash of amaretto, which is what I used)

2 tbsp butter (for pie plate)

For Topping

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
shot of amaretto

Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put milk, eggs, flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and extract into a bowl. I use my immersion blender to blend it into a smooth batter. Or you can skip the bowl and put it all in a regular blender and use the highest speed to get a smooth batter.

Place the butter in a pie plate, then put that in the oven for a minute until it melts. Watch it closely so that it doesn't burn. Once the butter has melted, using oven mitts, take the pie plate out and carefully pour in the batter. Place the pie plate back in the oven and bake 20 - 30 minutes or until the pfannkuchen puffs up and is set in the middle.

While the pancake is baking, place berries and liquor (or you can use a shot of water, 1/2 tsp vanilla and sugar to taste) in a pot on the stove and heat on medium until the berries break down a bit and thicken into a sauce.

Once out of the oven, pfannkuchen will collapse as it cools. Serve warm, with the topping, and whipped cream.

Or wait until it cools and slice it like a pie into eighths. Spread the slices with peanut butter, and cinnamon or chocolate chips, then roll each one up like a crescent roll.

You could also replace the vanilla with orange liquor/juice and zest. Then spread it with marmalade, or Cannoli dip, instead of raspberry sauce.

Guten Appetit!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dried Mushrooms - Dehydrated Dish #4

Sometimes a recipe for stock or soup will call for dried mushrooms. Drying your own is much cheaper than buying them that way at the store. I used 1lb white button mushrooms. Unless you are a mushroom aficionado and can tell the difference, fungus is fungus and these will give a dish that richly earthy flavor.

The method:

Brush any dirt off the mushrooms, but I don't wash them. Cut them in half. Place them cut side down on a cutting board and slice them vertically into 4 or 5 slices. Arrange the slices on dehydrator trays, using inserts for smaller pieces if necessary. They should not overlap, but they can be crowded since they shrink a lot. I dry these out at a medium temp for the first 12 hours to keep them from molding since they tend to start out damp. I lower the temp as they dry out. It takes at least 24 hours until they are thoroughly dry.

They can be stored in airtight containers in a dry dark place for a month or two. I also grind them into powder and use it in place of bullion powder when making soup broth.