Friday, October 28, 2011

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Bars

apologies for not getting anything posted for a few weeks...i have writers block.  still cooking up a storm with tons of recipes and photos, but i just can't seem to get a post out.  so pardon me if the next few post are a bit short on words...sometimes i like those posts best.  who needs to here all the blah blah blah.



the original recipe can be found at Cooking Light.  great reviews, but i knew i could make it even lighter by what i had gathered from the other bakers.  i substituted the sour cream with non fat greek yogurt and sub'd the white sugar with Splenda.
one thing i would say is don't weigh out your flour...measure it out in a cup.

2 friends already asked for the recipe and i have made them a second time using figs, cardamom, toasted pistachios and lemon zest (might be posting about it).  this second batch i weighed out the flour and they came out a little too moist for my liking, but it DID lend itself to the fig bars.  they turned out like a glorified middle eastern flavored fig newton...DELICIOUS !

try different filling and spices...check the original at Cooking Light and read the reviews.  my friend made the original recipe and said they were great...i just lightened them up a little.  oh, and i added more lemon zest.  enjoy.


for the crust...
1 cup white while wheat flour
1 cup oats...i used old fashioned
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (do not substitute)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp butter, melted
3 Tbsp fresh orange juice
cooking spray

for the filling...
1 1/3 cup dried cranberries (6oz.)
3/4 cup non fat greek yogurt
1st time i used 1/4 sugar and 1/4 splenda, but you might try 1/2 cup all splenda
2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp grated orange rind
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

preheat oven to 325 F degrees
to prepare the crust, combine flour and the next five ingredients, through cinnamon, into medium bowl.  stir well with whisk until combined.  drizzle melted butter and orange juice over flour mixture, stirring until moistened...mixture should be crumbly.  RESERVE 3/4 CUP OF CRUST MIXTURE.  press remaining mixture into the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

to prepare filling...combine cranberries, yogurt, splenda and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well to combine.  spread cranberry mixture over prepared crust and sprinkle remaining oat crust mixture evenly over filling.  i made sure it was crumbly looking by pressing some of it between my fingers and then gave it a little over all pat down to secure the crumble...
i hate it when you take a bite of a good crumble and it all ends up in your lap !

bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until the edged are golden.  cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

when cut into 16 squares the nutrients are approx...
(nutrition for 1/4 cup sug. and 1/4 cup splenda recipe)
107 calories, 18. carbs, 3.3 fat, 2.1 protein

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mean Green Collard Terrine


i love terrines...i think they can be a work of art.

just about anything can be made into a terrine.  usually you find the good ones in specialty stores or just see them out for special occasions, but once you have made one yourself, i'm sure you'll enjoy a nice beautiful terrine more often.  sometimes i'll have one in the fridge to nosh on through the week.  a little slice can turn an uneventful weekday into at least something a little know what i'm talking about...add a little fancy into your diet and everything looks better.

 first, start with an idea of which type you or cold, meat or veggie, egg base or aspic...
one of my first terrines was a Pate de Campagne (found here)...for my meat loving friends i suggest you try this one...DELICIOUS!
but...for the veggie lovers the green terrine was a hit..(i DID slip that little layer if ham in).  as i look back i think i bit off a little more than i could chew with this "veggie terrine idea"...i had this visual of a fabulous layered  terrine one day so i went out and bought loads of greens, came home to realize the idea would be a little more effort than expected.  being the perfectionist that i think i am,  i had the bright idea that if i blanched and shocked EACH LEAF it might retain the beautiful green color rather than that semi grey color collards can get when cooked...out came the pots and the bowls and the ice and the paper towels.  after washing each leaf i have to touch and coddle each leaf again?! and my "bright ideas"
this was definitely a hands on, made with love terrine...more like a work of art rather than a simple dish of collard greens.



there really isn't much of a recipe...more like instructions of how to.
if you really have some questions about this terrine please leave a comment and i'll help out.  otherwise here is my attempt at writing out the recipe for this particular terrine...every terrine will come out different and mid way through the building you might want to add a different layer.  i happen to have some sliced ham in the fridge so i slipped a few slices in.  i recommend something with a little more flavor...maybe a little prosciutto or black forest ham.  i find that you need to slightly over season terrines because they just soak it up...choose your ingredients wisely and definitely season as you go along.

2 bunches of collard greens...washed very well, tough middle stalk removed
7 - 10 large asparagus
1 bunch of haricots verts
sliced meat of your choice...prosciutto would be nice
1 - 2 cups good stock made from pig's trotters or chicken feet...something that will be very gelatinous

make your stock...i always keep some rich hearty stock in my fridge.  it has to be made from trotters or tails or chicken feet..(something that creates a gelatinous broth when chilled). not only will this give the terrine some good "glue", but it will have more flavor than using a gelatin or aspic base.
blanch and shock each vegetable separately...this will keep the nice deep green color.
if using a collard layer...keep your greens flat for easier layering and nicer presentation.
next i lined the glass loaf dish with a layer of collard leaves.  let them hang over the sides as you build the inside of the terrine.
now you just start layering...make thick enough layers so you can tell what it is, but just do whatever you want with the vegetables you have chosen.  i happen to have some ham in the fridge so i threw a layer of that in...i think it should have been something else, but it worked.

once you're done with the inside, pour a little broth over the top.  then take the over-hanging leaves and cover the top.  lightly press down to compact everything...there might be some over-spill of broth, so be ready for that...
cut a piece of parchment to cover the top and then cover with foil.
bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes
IMPORTANT NOTE...i used a bain marie,so the outside wouldn't get browned.
preheat your oven and your bain marie vessel of choice.  make sure your water is hot going into the bath.
NOTE...the timing depends on how much you have packed in there, how much liquid, how done you like your veggies and so on and so on...i think mine was 30-40 minutes.  i looked for little bubbles boiling on the sides of the glass dish and took it out.
let this cool to room temp and refrigerate.

to remove you'll need to run a flat thin blade around the edges...or dunk in some hot water to loosen.

slice and serve at room temp or slightly warmed as a side.  i bet a nice poached egg would really be delicious with this and some crumble prosciutto over top

thanks for making it to the end and, again...please leave a comment with any questions

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