Saturday, March 31, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Distinguish between different varieties of maple syrup by looking at their grades. Unlike in school, however, these grades have nothing to do with quality - they correspond to the color and flavor of the syrup. It's usually easier to find Grade A light and medium amber syrups, but keep an eye out for the darker, thicker, richer varieties, like my personal favorite, Grade B.
If you can, visit your local farmer's market (find one here) and ask for a taste of each one - that's how I learned about the different flavors (thank you to the Burlington, VT farmers market!) Here's an easy guide to Maple Syrup Grades (information from the Huffington Post).
Grade A Light Amber (Fancy): light flavor, light color, thin consistency.
Grade A Medium Amber: stronger and darker than Grade A, but still light flavor and thin consistency.
Grade A Dark Amber: rich flavor, deep golden color, thick consistency. Very rich.
Grade B: Strong maple flavor, thick consistency. If you love maple syrup, you'll love pouring this on your pancakes, and adding it baked goods.
Maple Syrup Kissed Roasted Vegetables
(serves 3 as a main course)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into spears or chopped
1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced into spears or chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced into spears or chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Your favorite cooked rice or whole grain (like wild rice, quinoa, or whole wheat couscous)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, toss the vegetables with olive oil and a few shakes of salt and pepper to coat. Place in a foil-lined baking sheet or tinfoil pan and bake for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, pour the maple syrup over the veggies and mix to coat. Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes until the vegetables are tender and have started to brown. Add chopped pecans and cook for 3 more minutes until lightly toasted. Serve over a mix of grains and dried cranberries.
Note: I love the fruity, nutty flavor of Lundberg's wild blend rice. It's a beautiful, aromatic mix of wild rice and brown rice, and takes about an hour to cook on the stove. Start it before you begin to prep for this recipe, and they'll be done at the same time. Check out your local grocer for Lundberg's rice, or order it online if you'd like to try.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Tulips and Flight Suits
inspired by a blog post on Hopelessly Techie
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degree. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
2. Sift together the two flours, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until well blended.
4. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted flour mixture until just blended.
5. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop rounded balls of cookie dough onto the greased cookie sheets, about 3 inches apart.
6. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Skip the high-fat creamy bottled dressings or raw eggs, and get the same tangy flavor you love in Caesar salads with a vinegarette-based dressing. This salad is robust enough to serve on its own, but it can be paired with soup or a side of whole wheat pasta for a heartier meal.
Shortcuts: Halve prep time (but lose some of the texture and flavor of fresh) by using a pre-washed package of Caesar Salad lettuce mix, rotisserie chicken, and 1 tsp of bottled minced garlic.
You can find anchovy paste with the tomato paste in your supermarket. Try it, even if you don't like anchovies - it adds a distinctly "caesar" flavor to the dressing, but it's not fishy.
Eggless Chicken Caesar Salad (adapted from Cooking Light, November 2011)
(serves 3 as a main course)
1/2 a french bread baguette, cut into small squares
olive oil spray (optional)
2 (8-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
6 cups (3 hearts) chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups (1/2 head) of radicchio lettuce
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for nine minutes, or until lightly toasted.
3. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Grill on a panini grill/foreman for about 10 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, heat a grill pan over high heat. Coat the pan with olive oil spray, and cook the chicken for 3 1/2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from the pan, let stand 5 minutes, and slice.
4. Whisk together 1/4 teaspoon pepper, vinegar, and next four ingredients (through anchovy paste) in a large bowl. Add romaine and radicchio to bowl and toss to coat. Plate the lettuce mixture and top each serving with chicken, handful of croutons, and sprinkling of cheese. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of each serving.