Sunday, May 21, 2017

ChezCindy: My New Favorite Granola

Honey & Coconut Granola

Every so often I tweak my basic granola recipe and end up with a new favorite.  Nothing dramatic, but it brings a new flavor profile.  I most often use a combination of brown sugar and maple syrup as the sweetener.  This time I used local honey.  I also used coconut oil in place of olive oil.  If you are familiar with coconut oil, it has a consistency that changes based on room temperature.  If the room temperature is above 76 degrees, the oil will turn to a liquid.  Below that temperature, the oil is hard and solid.  These changes resulted in my granola remaining in planks or shards of granola as opposed to crumbly bits.  So, think of a crisp granola bar, however not as dense.  I loved it. 

Listed below is my new favorite granola.  The tweaks you can make are with including the type of seeds or no seeds; not a fan of coconut - leave it out; have a particular type of nut you enjoy or an allergy to nuts - swap it out.  Another option is to include dried fruit or not.  The combinations are wide and varied for you to create your new favorite.

Honey & Coconut Granola
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw walnuts pieces
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, seeds, walnuts, coconut, brown sugar and salt.  Stir to combine.  In a small pan, melt the coconut oil; stir in the honey to combine.   Pour the honey oil over the oat mixture.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the honey oil to completely coat the oat mixture.  Divide the raw granola between the 2 prepared baking sheets, spreading into an even layer.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring twice during this baking time.  Continue baking for 15-20 additional minutes until the granola is golden brown and toasted.  If you want the granola to remain in planks or shards, do not stir again during this remaining baking time.  Remove the trays from the oven and allow the granola to cool completely without stirring.  This is where the magic takes place resulting in the solid layer of granola.  Once cool, break or cut into large pieces.  Store in glass containers.  The granola will keep at room temperature for up to a month. 

Note - If you would like to add dried fruit, add in at the time of the second stirring.  Continue baking as directed.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

ChezCindy: Brown Butter Trout with Almonds

Classic Trout Amandine Beurre Noir

Trout is an easy fish to work with if you are new to cooking fish.  Preparing it in a skillet with a simple butter and lemon sauce lends towards its mild flavor.  When you buy the fillets from the fish market, they should be boneless with the skin on.  Once you sauté the fillet, the cooked skin is easily removed and discarded, leaving you with a beautiful golden brown fillet.  Feel free to use the fancy French name or more simply, brown butter trout with almonds.  Enjoy.    

Brown Butter Trout with Almonds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
4 trout fillets, 5-7 oz each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons paprika
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a shallow bowl or container, combine the flour and the paprika; stir to combine.  Season the trout fillets with salt and pepper.  Dredge the fillets in the flour to coat lightly.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil.  When the butter begins to foam, the pan is ready to add the floured trout fillets.  Shake off any excess flour and place in the skillet skin-side up.  Sauté for 3 minutes on this side.  Using a long, narrow spatula, carefully turn the fillets and continue cooking skin-side down for 2 minutes.  Flip the fillets over so they are once again skin-side up.  Using tongs, carefully pinch the skin from one end of the fillet and pull back.  The skin should remove freely, leaving a skinless fillet.  Using the spatula, remove each fillet from the pan, one at a time, placing skin-side down onto the serving plate.  Cover with foil to keep warm. 
Lower the heat on the sauté pan to medium, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combining with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.  When the butter begins to foam, add the almonds cooking for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.  Add the lemon juice and a pinch of kosher salt.  Swirl the sauce in the pan to combine.  Spoon the sauce over each trout fillet; garnish with parsley and serve.