Crunchy Roasted Granola

Buying cereal in Switzerland is nothing like back in the States. At home, cereal can be found on its own aisle! You could probably fit 10 Swiss aisles into one US cereal aisle!

My husband once told me that when he moved to the US, he kind of panicked whenever he made his way to the cereal aisle. He’d observe what locals were buying and quickly grab something and continue with his shopping. Considering many shoppers were parents buying their kids ultra, frosted, sugar-glazed cereal — he quickly opted for another method. As an American, I guess I’d never thought about the amount of choices being overwhelming.

Actually, when I moved to Switzerland, I practically couldn’t find the cereal aisle. Well, it wasn’t really an aisle, rather a small section of an aisle with probably no more than 10 – 15 choices of cereal. Crazy as it sounds, I suddenly spent more time, trying to figure out, which cereal to select. With only a few choices, I felt the need to read the ingredient list and nutritional information on every box, to do a price comparison to figure out the most economical choice. Well, this is Switzerland and I shortly realized, economical is not part of the vocabulary here. Things are pricey! I just couldn’t justify paying 7 dollars for a tiny bag of organic granola. In the end, I walked away from my few choices, deciding not buy anything at all.

This worked out well for me, because I discovered, making my own granola was just as good, if not better than store-bought granola. Best of all, it costs a fraction of the price. Here’s my recipe for crunchy granola. You can adapt it to your liking.

What you need (feel free to double the recipe if you’re cooking for more than 2 people).

  • 3 cups of oats (not the instant kind)
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts and/or seeds of your choice (I used pecan and sunflower)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of molasses, maple syrup or honey (I used molasses)
  • 1 cup of raisins or dried fruits/berries of choice. Add in some chocolate chips to if you’d like.

How you make it.

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C)
  2. Place oats in a large skillet and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Throw in your seeds/nuts and cook on low heat with oats for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour into a baking dish (9×13), sprinkle with cinnamon, throw in salt, mix well
  5. Add your sweetener (i.e. honey, molasses or syrup) and mix well.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, remove and allow to cook on a wire rack.
  7. Once  your mixture cools, stir in dried fruit/berries and refrigerate in an air tight container for as long as you’d like.

Play around with the recipe and make it with the things you love. This tastes great with milk, plain yogurt or by itself. I like to make a frozen yogurt parfait: blueberries, topped with plain yogurt, topped with granola – pop it in the freezer for a few hours and enjoy!

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Swiss Miss Apple Cake

The other night, my husband and I were invited to a delicious fondue dinner at our friends’ place. We were in charge of the dessert. I wanted to make something, seasonal, slightly sweet, melt-in-your-mouth moist and somewhat traditional. My husband suggested his family’s Apple Cake recipe. This recipe was handed down to him by a very special person, who  had a special talent of taking the most simple ingredients and making something amazing.

Once this cake goes into your oven, you instantly feel warm and cozy. If you enjoy the aroma of  tangy citrus and sweet apple wafting throughout your home, then this next recipe is for you. It’s ridiculously easy to make and looks beautiful!

This recipe was made using the metric system. I’ve included English measurements in parentheses.

What you need.

  • 270 grams flour (2 c flour)
  • 200 grams softened butter (1 c, 6 TBSP)
  • 270 grams sugar (1 & 1/3 c sugar)
  • 10 grams baking powder (2 tsp)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 apples (you won’t use two whole), peeled, cored, sliced in quarters (not too crunchy)

How you make it.

  1. Preheat oven to 355 F (180 C)
  2. Butter a cake pan (about 9 inch in diameter) and flour the bottom
  3. Mix dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt
  4. Mix butter and sugar together until creamy
  5. Mix in eggs
  6. Add dry ingredients to your batter and gently mix them in
  7. Finally add in your lemon zest and pour into prepared baking dish.
  8. Take 5 apple quarters (keep the rest for yourself and enjoy a lovely snack) and make little slits in them.  This helps them cook faster and makes for a pretty design.
  9. Place your apples core-side down, “peel” side-up in the cake batter, so that they are lying just above the surface.
  10. Bake for about 45 minutes. If it browns too rapidly simply cover loosely with aluminum foil. Use a toothpick to test whether it’s baked thoroughly.
  11. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Baked Turnip Casserole

I take part in a vegetable cooperative. Every week, I pick up a bag of seasonal vegetables and sometimes fruits assembled by  local farmers. This system has introduced a lot of veggies that I’ve never cooked before. It’s also reintroduced many vegetables that my Mom used to cook for me as a child that I for some reason no longer buy as an adult. Take turnips for instance, in southern cuisine, they’re pretty much a staple, used to make delicious dishes such as stewed turnips and turnip greens.

I’ve received a nice supply of turnips from my veggie coop. They are such a lovely and welcomed addition to my fridge! I enjoy tossing them in salads, as they add a nice crunch and tangy taste. They are a nice alternative to dishes one would traditionally make with potatoes. I like them raw, mashed and recently I discovered, I love them baked and slightly drenched in cream and Gruyère cheese. Well, anything cooked with cream and Gruyère can pretty much taste like a piece of heaven. Hope you enjoy this short, simple recipe:

 

What you need.

4 – 5 medium-sized turnips, thinly sliced

cream (enough to cover the bottom of your glass baking dish)

3/4 c of grated Gruyère

2 -3 cloves of minced garlic

couple of pinches of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

How you make it.

Preheat your oven to 350

Slice up your turnips and stack them in an oven-proof dish.

Mix up your milk, nutmeg and garlic and pour the mixture all over the turnips.

Season turnips and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake 15 minutes at 350, increase heat to 400 and bake 15 minutes further, or until tender and golden brown.

Enjoy with a nice colorful salad.

Split Pea Purée

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you’re off to a lovely start. Personally, I think this year will be  just wonderful! Especially since I lived to tell my survival story (i.e. Dec. 21, 2012). I’ve started the year with only a couple of resolutions, the fewer I have, the fewer I break! One of my resolutions is to consume more vegetables and fruits, especially in a liquified or blended form. If you follow my blog, you know this is an easy one for me, considering I’m fascinated by puréed food.

Here’s  a delicious purée I whipped up last year around the holidays. I can’t really call it a soup, because it’s so thick. I made this with Moroccan Country Bread. Delish! Feel free to abandon your spoon and shovel large amounts into your mouth with your bread.

One thing to note, this recipe takes about 1.5 hrs. It primarily involves waiting  reading a book, drooling over other bloggers recipes, learning the Gangnam style dance, etc., while the beans cook.

What you need.

Recipe adapted from M. Bittmann’s How to Cook Everything.

2 c green split peas

6 c of stock or water ( I used my special trash stock)

*2 potatoes (works as a thickening agent)

2 onions

salt, a little pepper and curry (to taste)

extra virgin olive oil

How you make it.

  1. 1. Sauté onion in oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until translucent in color.
  2. Pour in stock and peas, bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover partly, stirring occasionally.
  3. Peel and quarter your potatoes, add them to the pot about 30 minutes after the peas have cooked.
  4. Once peas and potatoes are soft (about 60 minutes total), purée with a blender, season.
  5. Serve with a warm bread or croûtons and enjoy!

If you don’t want a thick purée, consider using 1 or no potatoes.