August 2011

Chewy Granola Bars

Friday, Aug 26 2011 Cooking!

On the eve of my first vacation in quite some time—a long-anticipated coastal backpacking anniversary trip—I became fixated with the idea of creating my own snacks for the trip, specifically in the form of homemade, chewy, pecan-filled granola bars. Regardless of the more essential items on my to-do-list of packing, planning, and shopping, my need begin to border on obsession. It’s partly because working up to a vacation is extra taxing, and when my head is buried in the computer for far too long, my most essential outlet to maintain sanity is time playing in the kitchen. As a restorative practice, nothing comes close. (The only downside is that the more stress I have to work out, the more dishes I make.)

After exploring several chewy granola bar recipes, I understood the basics: the more liquids the more chewy the bar, the more stuff inside the more flavor, and that nearly anything sweet, crunchy, or chewy goes. I assembled my oats and what my palate considers the most reliable main players—roasted pecans, shredded coconut and dried cherries. Any combination of dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or even chocolate would do.

Since we were going to be hiking and packing all our food with us for our several day trip, granola bars were the ultimate dense and nutritious bring along food. It’s true that food tastes better while camping, and these were extraordinary—it’s easy to proclaim them the best granola bars I’ve ever had. Truth be told, I don’t even like most granola bars. Chewy, sweet, nutty—these little nuggets were undeniably closer to delicious treat than merely life sustaining food. Since long summer days require trips to the beach, river and mountains, packing easy to travel snacks are essential—so we can stay out there as long as possible without needing to reach the surface for a while. Read More »

Mid-Summer Recipe Round-up

Friday, Aug 5 2011 Cooking!

Thus far on La Kitchenette, Jen and I have featured our own custom or modified recipes. However, neither of us spend all of our cooking hours reinventing the wheel. On the contrary, our daily repertoire owes a huge debt to cookbook authors, chefs and culinary bloggers who have developed recipes that need no little or modification. Below are two of my favorites of the summer. Enjoy!

Socca piled with diced potato, poached egg, pan-fried sole, sweet onion and fresh herbs.

SOCCA

The landscape of the Gluten-Free diet is, perhaps, most notably characterized for its lack of bread products. Sure, there are GF bread options, but store-bought tends expensive and often dry, while homemade requires a sizable time commitment and specialized flours arsenal. Both of these have their time and place. But, when the carb cravings fire up, my standard go-to is socca.

Socca is a French flat bread, virtuous for its simplicity, informality and hearty flavor. My friend Teresa first introduced it to me via the recipe below. This one works impeccably as-is. Sometimes I have added crushed garlic or fresh herbs (esp rosemary and thyme) and I have occasionally substituted fava-chickpea flour for a nice change of pace.

Socca pairs beautifully with nearly any savory meal. My favorite is for breakfast, piled with diced potatoes, poached egg, a few greens and fresh herbs. I have also served it with lentil salad, soup, fish, and braised greens.

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