Category Archives: grains

breakfast quinoa porridge with coconut milk and toasted almonds

Due to an injury to my hand, I’ll be light on words this week (I’ll save that story for another time).

I’ve been, periodically, making a batch of quinoa at the beginning of the week, storing it in the fridge, and pulling it out during the week to toss in stir-fry or toast for salads.  Lately, however, the ingenius idea to put a breakfast spin on it has been popping up on the internet and I jumped on it.

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Pancake Tuesday

Happy Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day.

I thought I’d share a past post for my all time favorite oatmeal pancake recipe.  Strawberries aren’t in season right now, so I’ll be changing it up a little for dinner tonight.  Our daughter leaves tomorrow for a class trip to Quebec City where she’ll be traveling without us for the first time ever (and turning 16 during the trip-can’t believe it!).

I think this calls for chocolate chips!

oatmeal pancakes

more pancakesEnjoy!

sauteed kale with walnuts and farro

What have I learned by working on a farm this year?

Sure…I can eyeball two pounds of zucchini and have developed an affinity for eating sweet corn straight off the cob (no cooking required!), but I have also grown to like kale.

Notice how I said like-definitely not love-for it’s a relationship still in the discovery phase.

A favorite way to enjoy the bounty each week has been to chop, then saute or roast everything in a pan with some olive oil, sea salt and garlic.  Sometimes I will add other seasonings in toward the end…perhaps a little fish sauce and miso. Other times Herbs de Provence and toasted pine nuts.  Sometimes a bit of leftover chicken or fish will be added to the mixture.

Each week’s layer of flavors varies depending on the offering.  One week it might be eggplant, various squash, onions, and green peppers.  The next week it could be zucchini, tomatoes, kale, and mushrooms.  The vegetable mix is then eaten over cooked brown rice, pasta or other grain.

If you have a favorite kale dish, I’d love for you to share it.  After all, one can only eat so many kale chips!

sauteed kale with walnuts and farro

1/2 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves torn

1 cup cooked farro or other grain, such as rice

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

zest of one lemon

1/3 cup freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the sea salt and the kale.  Cook until kale starts to wilt, about 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic, walnuts, lemon juice and zest.  Toss the combine and continue to heat about another minute.  Remove from heat.  Serve over cooked farro and top with Parmesan Cheese.

sugar snap peas with red quinoa

The county farmer’s market season is in full swing and I have visited three times since it first opened.  Weekly constants include lettuce, radishes, a loaf of locally baked bread, and deliciously sweet sugar snap peas.

The sign in front of the peas boasts “You can’t believe how sweet these are.  Try one!”

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oatmeal pancakes with roasted strawberries

I had been in a bit of a breakfast rut when strawberry season came into full swing  in the mid-Atlantic region.  Due to the mild winter (I’m guessing), the berries were ready to pick around the middle of May and, boy….were they ready!

My oldest daughter and I gathered our supplies in preparation for a morning of serious strawberry picking and canning.  When I first started writing “Fiercely Fresh”, I posted about this process and what has become an annual tradition dating back to my childhood.  Preferring the taste of cooked jam over the freezer method, a long afternoon is set aside for hulling, stirring, and ladling hot preserves into freshly scrubbed Mason jars.

We set about picking berries on a humid, overcast day.  The berries were plentiful and in little less than an hour, we picked over 50 pounds before heading back home.  36 jars of jam were made and I froze two cookie sheets of berries for future enjoyment.  Of course, this happened…Back to breakfast…

Slow roasting strawberries gives them an indescribably rich flavor.  It takes a little time, but it’s a put-it-in-the-oven-and-forget-about-it sort of effort.  Plan to make them the day before you want to eat them with pancakes.  Use the leftover roasted strawberries (if you have any!) on top of homemade vanilla ice cream.

This pancake recipe is the best combination I’ve tasted of a nutty, grain-based pancake while still being extremely light and fluffy.

oatmeal pancakes with roasted strawberries

for the roasted strawberries:

2 pints (about 4 cups) strawberries, cleaned and hulled

4 Tbsp raw sugar

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Transfer to a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place in oven and roast for 4 hours.  Stir gently and occasionally to prevent from burning during the roasting process.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Store in refrigerator.

oatmeal pancakes:

1 cup oats (do not use steel cut)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp sucanate

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup nonfat buttermilk (use purchased buttermilk.  Don’t use homemade.  I’ve tried-it doesn’t work!)

2 Tbsp butter, melted

1 large egg

Pulse oats a food processor a few times until slightly ground.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk to incorporate dry ingredients.

Combine buttermilk, butter, and egg in a small bowl.  Add to flour mixture, stirring until just moist.  This batter is thicker than most other pancake recipes.

Heat a griddle over medium heat.  If using a cast iron griddle, you will need to melt butter to prevent your pancakes from sticking.  Make certain your griddle is sizzling hot before adding batter.  Spoon a scant 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake onto the griddle.  Turn pancakes over when tops are covered with bubbles.  Cook until bottoms are lightly browned.  Top each serving with roasted strawberries and, if desired, lemon maple yogurt.

lemon maple yogurt:  Combine 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt with 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup.

French Boules


When making the above declaration,  one must pound their chest with two fists like this.

Imagine tearing a hunk of this warm bread-crusty on the outside, chew on the inside-and having it with a bowl of hot soup or homemade preserves.

When the November issue of Cooking Light promised that I could make wonderful, crusty french bread with my stand mixer, I was skeptical,  but intrigued.  After all, I hadn’t baked bread in  15+ years and even then I used a bread machine.  I knew that crazy-looking, squiggly attachment that came with my mixer was a dough hook, but I put away thinking “someday…”

Until now.

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simple granola

I had some awful store-bought granola this past week.  I don’t want to name names ( hint:  sadly, it’s named after a book of the Bible).  It was so devoid of flavor that I doubted I was actually ingesting an edible substance.  How can something supposedly rich in whole grains be so tasteless?  I’m really not picky when it comes to granola-I like most textures and natural flavors, just not too sweet.

Keep a container of bulk oats in the pantry and it will be convenient to whip up a batch of this anytime.  The problem with this recipe is that it is so good, it doesn’t last very long (hence  the necessity to occasionally purchase granola at the store).  Sitting in a large container on the counter top, my husband will grab a handful whenever he walks by and, before you know it, it disappears.  Most times I double or even triple this recipe.

What starts as a base recipe for granola, evolves into something different every time I make it, depending on what I have on hand.  No safflower oil?  Use olive or vegetable oil (you may have to adjust the baking time as some oils will cause the granola to cook quicker).  Add cinnamon, allspice, or ground ginger to give it a different flavor.  No walnuts or sunflower seeds?  I’ve used almonds, hazelnuts,  toasted pumpkin seeds, or a combination of whatever nuts I have on hand.  Adding dried fruit after baking enhances the granola, or you can leave it plain.

Did I mention how wonderful your house will smell while it’s baking?

simple granola

2 C. rolled oats (not quick cooking)

1/2 C. unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 C. shelled, unsalted sunflower seeds

1/2 C. nuts – pecans, walnuts, peanuts or almonds

1/2 C. honey or pure maple syrup

1/4 C. ground flax

1/3 C. safflower oil

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper (use  two cookie sheets, if necessary).  Spread granola in a thin layer on cookie sheet and bake approximately 30-40 minutes.  Turn granola after 20 minutes of baking to prevent burning and check for doneness.  It should be lightly crispy.  Allow to cool before placing in an airtight container.  Add dried fruit (I had golden raisins on hand, so that’s what I added this time).  In the past, I’ve added freeze-dried blueberries, dried currants, and chopped dried apples.