Tag Archives: winter

Overnight Steel Cut Oats Method

5 Mar

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Steel-cut oats can take 20-30 minutes to cook, so I usually save them for the weekend or for a lazy morning when I have a lot of time.

Last night, though, I stumbled upon The Kitchn’s method for making creamy steel-cut oats overnight. Starting the oats the night before make them virtually instant the next morning! Just heat, eat, and run off to wherever you have to go.

I made enough for two servings, but you could certainly make a batch that will serve four. Steel-cut oats reheat well as leftovers.

I ran out of milk, so I added a hefty scoop of pumpkin puree and accompanying spices upon simmering my oats after their overnight stay. For serving, a drizzle of maple syrup, a small splash of cream, and a swoosh of sunflower seed butter. A perfect breakfast with black coffee on yet another COLD day in New York City.

Here is the basic method:

Overnight Steel-Cut Oats Method

method adapted from The Kitchn

makes 2 servings

Ingredients

1/2 teaspoon of butter or olive oil

1/2 cup steel-cut oats

1 1/2 cups water

small pinch of salt

For the next morning: 1/2 cup pumpkin puree + spices (1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 pinch each nutmeg, ginger, cloves) + 1 teaspoon vanilla + 2 tablespoons maple syrup + splash of cream + sunbutter

(you could also just add in 1/2 cup of milk in the morning instead of the above pumpkin accouterments)

Method

1. Start this the night before. You want to have steel-cut oatmeal. Measure out your oats. This quantity will make about 2 servings.

2. Heat about 1/2 teaspoon butter or olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Add the oats and fry them for about 3 minutes, or until they start smelling toasty.

3. Pour in the water and add the salt. Stir.

4. Bring to a rolling boil.

5. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Leave it on the stove, and go to bed!

6. The next morning, uncover the pan and bring the oatmeal back up to a simmer. If you would like creamier oatmeal, stir in the pumpkin puree and spices before reheating. Add a splash of vanilla.

When the oatmeal is warm, scoop out and enjoy with maple syrup, a splash of cream, and sunbutter!

Additional Notes:

• Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
• Re-heat leftovers in just the same way: warm up on the stove, or in a bowl in the microwave.

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Butternut Squash Bake + Kale Chips

11 Feb

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Last night, I had a spontaneous dinner with my new housemate and his girlfriend. We were cooking two separate dinners, and just decided to combine them and dine altogether at our little table.

I contributed this butternut squash bake and some kale chips and nice salami, and they contributed a hearty spinach salad, some cheese and bread, and cheap “wine” from our nearby corner store. They are from France and Switzerland, and had never eaten butternut squash or kale chips before, so it was fun to introduce them to some of my favorite vegetables.

I love that we don’t have wine glasses and that our cutlery and plates don’t all match. I’m all about not matching.

I’ll admit that most nights, I cook dinner and watch a television show while I eat. It was a nice change to sit at a table and schmooze with the people I share an apartment with.

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This is the kind of recipe where all I want to do is pick off the crispy cheesy topping. I was dining with company, though, so I had to restrain myself!

This squash bake was super simple, and you could use any variety of winter squash. The natural sweetness of the butternut squash and onion with a light cheesy mix keeps the dish healthy but still full of decadent flavors. You will need to reserve about an hour of time to complete the recipe, but most of it is hands-off as the squash bakes. I also made this earlier in the day and just reheated it when time came to eat dinner, so it is a good make-ahead.

Serve the squash bake with some sautéed greens or kale chips for a nice color contrast!

Butternut Squash Bake

adapted from Jackie Newgent’s 1,000 Low Calorie Recipes

makes 4-6 servings

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I had a very large squash so I had to use a bigger baking dish)

1 onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2/3 cup milk (I used 1% lowfat milk, you can also use soy or almond milk)

2 teaspoons cornstarch (or arrowroot)

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

pinch of cayenne or old bay

1/3 cup grated fontina or white cheddar

1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I made my own with some old sourdough; bake in the oven until toasted and blend to fine crumbs)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese or Asiago

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine the cut squash and onion in a baking dish (Newgent recommends a 2-qt dish, but I used a 3-qt pyrex because I ended up with a lot of squash). Drizzle and toss with the olive oil. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the squash is tender all the way through.

Meanwhile, whisk together the milk and cornstarch. Whisk in the egg, salt, pepper, and spice. Set aside.

Stir the squash-onion mixture. Sprinkle with the fontina/cheddar cheese and evenly pour in the milk mixture. Sprinkle the top with the breadcrumbs, Parmesan/Asiago cheese, and an extra pinch of cayenne/old bay. Roast until the squash is tender the cheese coating is crisp and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Let stand for 10 minutes to complete the cooking process, and serve.

Approximate nutrition facts per 1 cup serving: 240 calories, 12g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 65mg cholesterol, 530mg sodium, 27g total carbohydrate, 6g dietary fiber, 8g sugars, 9g protein

Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale, stemmed and torn into pieces (or enough to fit a baking sheet)

1-2 tsp. olive oil

salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lay the kale on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until it is crisped but still greenish. Be careful not to overdo it or you will get burnt pieces.

Morning Glory Steel-Cut Oats

13 Jan

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Over the last year, I have really grown an appreciation for a morning bowl of oats. Maybe because New York City (vs. my old stomping grounds in California) has real seasons, so I crave something hot in the morning during the inescapable winter chill. Even during the beating heat of summer, I ate cold “overnight oats” or “muesli” for breakfast.

Rolled and steel-cut oats my go-to choices, but I have also enjoy a porridge made from farina, millet, amaranth, or barley. When I have an early morning shift at the bakery, I sometimes take along a packet of instant oats for breakfast, but I only buy the original or plain versions where the ingredient list only says “rolled oats” and not much more. No need for those extra fake ingredients when I can simply add my own sweeteners and toppings to plain instant oats.

I used to heat rolled oats in the microwave, which is totally acceptable and tasty, but when I can take the extra few minutes, I now prefer to cook my oats on the stove. I use a mix of milk and water to cook the oats because I like how creamy they get from the milk.

I saw that Cookie and Kate posted these Morning Glory Oats the other day, using coconut milk for some of the cooking liquid. I recently made Split Pea Soup that used only 1/2 cup of coconut milk, and I have been trying to find ways to use up the leftover milk. Perfect.

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I modified her recipe, which is a modification of the original recipe from Megan Gordon’s new cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings. This recipe uses steel-cut oats, but you could also make this with rolled oats, quick oats, or another breakfast grain.

Shredded carrot strands and wintry spices make this hot, creamy breakfast feel like dessert. Orange zest adds zing, and a swirl of yogurt at the end cools the oats and adds to the healthy decadence (omit the yogurt and use nuts or nut butter if you want this recipe to remain vegan).

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Morning Glory Steel-Cut Oats

adapted from Cookie and Kate, originally from Megan Gordon‘s Whole Grain Mornings
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots (from 1 large carrot)
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground ginger
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest (from slightly less than 1 orange)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 or more tablespoons maple syrup (or honey or agave nectar or brown sugar)
  • yogurt, for serving
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Stir in the oats, carrots, dried fruit, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Bring the mixture back to boil, then decrease the heat to low and partially cover the pot.
  2. Cook the porridge, stirring only occasionally, until it begins to thicken and the oats are soft yet chewy. Check for doneness after 25 minutes* of cooking (it might need a few more minutes of cooking).
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest and vanilla. Add maple syrup (or other sweetener), to taste. Cover and let the oatmeal rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve the oatmeal with a swirl of plain yogurt.

*Rolled or quick oats will cook much faster than steel-cut, anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes.

Anyway Icebox Cake

25 Dec

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Who knew whipped cream and cookies could become cake and frosting overnight?! The cookies soften as the whipped cream works it’s magic. Amazing.

This is now my secret-weapon-cake for when I’m short on time (aka I have a party to attend immediately after a big final).

You could mix in some jam between the layers, or some pudding, or Nutella or peanut butter. I just kept it simple with cookies and cream. Ginger cookies felt right for the season.

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This would be a great summer cake, too, because there is no need to turn on the oven. *Imagine* Berries with shortbread and whipped cream, or peaches with a drizzle of bourbon-caramel and cream. très bon!

Anyway Icebox Cake

Wafer cookies (I used Anna’s ginger thins), about 40 wafers, or 1.5 5.25-oz packages

Heavy cream, about 2 cups

Powdered sugar, about 1-2 tablespoons

Vanilla (Citrus Zest would be nice, too!), about 1 teaspoon

With an electric mixer or a whisk, beat the cream until it begins to thicken and the whisk leaves a trail. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until the cream is thick, nearly doubling in volume, and forms medium-firm peaks.

On a flat plate, arrange 5 cookies side by side in a circle, and place 1 cookie in the center.

Spread with about 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making about 7 layers of cookies. You can choose to end with a layer of cream or end with a layer of cookies. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, the cookies will have softened, acting like regular cake. So easy. So good.

Oatmeal “Protein Pancake”

22 Dec

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I made a mini batch of (black pepper) ice cream last week that required three egg yolks. But what was I to do with the leftover whites?

Pondering my options, I remembered my friend Amy making this peculiar “protein pancake” for herself in college. I finally decided to investigate.

This is not your typical pancake. There’s no flour; just oats, egg whites, baking powder, and spices. Add some mashed banana (or any other kind of fruit) to the “batter” for a little more body.

I made this twice for breakfast last week. The first time (see the picture below), I did not put any fruit in the batter and cooked it in a tiny dash of coconut oil.

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My first attempt came out a bit pale and dry, but after lubing it up with a hefty amount of maple syrup and sunflower seed butter, I was very happy.

My second attempt…

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…came out just right. I added half of a banana, mashed, to the batter and sautéed it in butter (I used just shy of 1/8 of a teaspoon, so not that much at all). The edges were golden, and the fruit gave the pancake a little more oomph.

This oatmeal “pancake” is full of protein, whole grains, fruit, fiber, and healthy fat. A great way to use up leftover egg whites, but really just a great way to kick off the day.

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Prepare the batter the night before to save time and soften your rolled oats. Or, prepare the batter first thing in the morning, set the water to boil for coffee and get yourself dressed. When you come back, the batter will be ready to cook.

Note that you can change the ratio of ingredients. If you want a smaller portion, use 1/4 cup oats and 1/4 cup egg whites. Or you can go bigger and use 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 cup egg whites. After making the pancake once or twice, you will easily get a feel for portions and you can be looser with the measurements.

Oatmeal “Pancake”

adapted from Kath Eats and Carrots ‘n’ Cake

serves 1

Ingredients

1/3 cup oats, rolled** or quick

1 large or extra-large egg, or 1/3 cup egg whites (from about 1-2 eggs)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

cinnamon, to taste

optional: 1/2 mashed banana, or 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree, or orange zest

optional: 1 teaspoon chia seeds (helps to thicken)

Directions:

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes or so. **If using rolled oats, you can mix together the night before so the oats soften.

Spread a touch of butter or oil onto a heated skillet, and pour the batter in while shaping it into a large disc “pancake.” When you can shake it around in the pan, it’s time to flip. ++You can also do two mini pancakes instead of one large one. Cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Once cooked through, top with syrup, nut/seed butter, jam, yogurt, or fruit…endless possibilities.

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Oatmeal Protein Pancake, prepared the night before. In the morning, just pop the pancakes in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, place them back into the to-go container, add toppings and fruit, and run out the door! Yum.

Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

24 Jul

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Every few weeks, I gather my pennies and buy a nice piece of meat from my happy farmer’s market vendors. I like the challenge of picking out a random cut and learning to cook it with love. If I am going to spend the money on a well-raised meat product, I want to cook it up special.

I recently picked up some stew beef (before that was lamb merguez sausages for a spicy pasta dish. woah!). For a week, the stew beef sat in the freezer as I threw around ideas on what to make with it. My farmer’s market vendor mentioned beef carnitas, which sounded like a nice way to ring in the summer–a meal of beef carnitas, charred tortillas, avocados galore, and summer tomatoes.

But somehow I got hooked on the idea of a simmering beef stew. Yes, a simmering beef stew, in the middle of July. I guess I like to torture myself (see: last year’s carrot cake with cream cheese frosting). On the other hand, all of the food magazines (and fashion, too!) are prepping for their winter issues in the middle of summer, so I am simply blending in with the crowd on that front.

After flipping through recipes and asking trusted cooks well versed in meat, beef bourguignon was the answer. But alas, I don’t have a Dutch oven. My roommate, however, has a slow cooker, and it was high time I thought to use it.

To help me get in the mood, I watched this video all the way through at least twice, maybe more (oh hush!).

This recipe is involved. But having the slow cooker do most of the actual cooking helps out a ton. I divided the cooking process into 2 days. Day 1 was my slow cooking of the beef. On day 2, I re-heated the beef in the slow cooker and added in sautéed mushrooms and pearl onions, and some more red wine!

I served my beef bourguignon with lightly buttered egg noodles and a rustic romaine salad with some slivered almonds. And some bread on the side, with olive oil and salt for dipping and sprinkling.

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Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

serves 6, adapted from the infamous Julia Child, and an Epicurious Slow-Cook recipe

**I used less meat than Julia recommends. Why? Because meat can get expensive, and using less of it is better for me, you, the animals, and the environment. 1 1/2 pounds of meat can stretch to feed a lot of people when it is bulked up with delicious buttery vegetables and red wine sauce. A little meat + a lot of veg=my idea of a great meal.

For the Slow-Cooked Beef: 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 lbs stew beef, cut into rustic cubes

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced

1 medium onion, sliced

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves minced garlic

1 bay leaf

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup red wine (I used a beaujolais wine)

salt and pepper, to taste

For the Braised Pearl Onions:

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

18-24 pearl onions, peeled (I used frozen ones and defrosted them before cooking)

1/2 cup of chicken broth or red wine

For the Sautéed Mushrooms:

2 tablespoons of butter

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 lb of mushrooms

Directions: 

Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the stew beef and sauté until browned on all sides. Place the browned beef in the slow cooker pot.

In the same pan, add a dash more oil and sauté the onion and carrot for about 5 minutes. Add the flour, tomato paste, garlic, and bay leaf and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the broth and wine and stir. Pour this mixture into the slow cooker pot with the beef. Cover and cook on low setting for 7-8 hours.

Once the meat is tender, pour the contents of the slow cooker pot into a sieve set over a saucepan. Return the contents back to the slow cooker pot.

**At this point, you can let the beef mixture and the sauce cool and set it in the refrigerator overnight. If you are eating right away, continue with the rest of the recipe.

Skim the fat, if any, off of the top of the sauce. Slowly heat the sauce until it thickens slightly. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Follow the directions for the pearl onions and mushrooms. Once they are sautéed and ready, add them to the slow cooker meat mixture with the reduced sauce and cook on low for 1-2 hours.

Finishing touches may include a cup or so more of red wine, salt and pepper, more garlic….

Serve over buttered egg noodles.

For the Pearl Onions: 

Heat the butter and oil in a skillet. Once bubbling, add the peeled onions and sauté for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they will brown as evenly as possible. You cannot expect to brown them uniformly.

Pour in the 1/2 cup of broth or wine. Simmer slowly for about 15 minutes.

For the Mushrooms:

Place a skillet over high heat with butter and oil. As soon as you see the butter foam subsiding, indicating the pan is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4-5 minutes. During the sauté the mushrooms will first absorb the fat. In 2-3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface, and the mushrooms will begin to brown. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.

Rigatoni Bolognese (with ground turkey)

24 Feb

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This was my first time making bolognese at home, and dang, it made me realize that it is high time to start expanding my horizons in the kitchen. Bolognese is just too easy and too good not to have made before.

Bolognese is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. As the sauce simmers on the stove, the strong notes of red wine and tomato complement the already savory-delicious smell of meat. The ultimate meal for these dog days of winter…

I chose to follow Jackie Newgent’s recipe, which uses ground turkey instead of the traditional ground beef. She also adds in some green tea and orange juice to replace some of the traditionally heavier bolognese ingredients like cream. These help build a more complex flavor without weighing the sauce down.

Jackie Newgent is a classically trained chef, registered dietitian, cookbook author, and media personality. Her latest book is full of quick, healthy recipes that “focus on filling ingredients with a contemporary edge.” I have had the pleasure of meeting Jackie in person and corresponding with her through email and social media. She is the nicest person, who truly understands the meaning of good food.

I purchased my ground turkey from Di Paola Turkey Farm. They have a stand at the Columbia farmer’s market (in NYC) every Sunday. I also threw in some mushrooms that I had on-hand from Madura Farms (based in Orange County, NY). Mushrooms go great with tomatoes and meat. I won’t go into detail here, but it involves glutamates and nucleotides…check out this interview with the editors of the newest Cooks Illustrated Cookbook to learn more…

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Rigatoni Bolognese (with ground turkey)

recipe adapted from 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes by Jackie Newgent, RD

**This made a LOT of sauce; but it was great for leftovers for the next few days…probably got about 8 servings worth??  

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 pound ground turkey

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

3 garlics cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 jar marina sauce or 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup unsweetened green tea (or water)

Add ons: fresh parsley, chopped + Parmesan + black pepper

1. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook, stirring until fully cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the turkey to a plate.

2. Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the onion, mushrooms, 1 tablespoon of the wine, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and saute until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and dried oregano and continue cooking for 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the remaining wine, scrape up any browned bits in the pan, and cook while stirring for 1 minute.

3. Return the turkey to the skillet and add the marinara, orange juice, green tea, and remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt.

4. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 25 minutes. While the bolognese simmers, get your rigatoni boiling.

5. Once your pasta is done cooking, spoon some bolognese over the noodles, adding fresh chopped parsley and some Parmesan cheese.