Baked Oatmeal with Blackberries and Ginger

 Because you can bake and reheat as needed, baked oatmeal is a great optional for a satisfying weekday breakfast. If the weather ever cooperates, this is the ideal way to jump start a busy fall day.

 

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2 1/2 cups Dinner at Eight Signature 9-grain breakfast cereal

1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup candied ginger, diced
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus more for top
big pinch ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 large bananas
1 1/2 cups blackberries, or other fruit

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8” square baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the 9-grain cereal, sugar, ginger, baking powder, spices, and salt.

In a small bowl whisk together the milk, egg, and butter.

Slice the bananas into the prepared baking dish so that they cover the bottom. Cover bananas with a third of the berries. Spoon in the oat mixture, and then pour in the milk mixture. Press the remaining berries into the oats, and sprinkle top with cinnamon.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling vigorously and the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Slice up and serve with a sprinkle of fresh berries.

Heirloom Beans: Preserving History

If meat ever moves out of the center of the plate, heirloom beans are ready to fill the void. Economical, nutritious and often oh so pretty, heirloom beans today take center stage in vegetarian cuisine and are widely used as side dishes and garnishes on menus around the country.

Heirloom beans are nutritious, but not necessarily more nutritious than non-heirloom ones; Both are fiber- and protein-rich. The nutritional value depends on the type of bean. Even though heirloom beans cost two to three times more than everyday beans, they still are significantly less expensive than putting meat, poultry or fish on the table.

Cultivated around the globe for centuries, heirloom beans grow as nature created them, untouched by modern Imagetechnology or horticultural tampering. They come in thousands of varieties and are used dried and fresh in many of the world’s cuisines. They’re especially popular throughout the Mediterranean region, but are also used in Asian and other international cuisines and in regional American dishes.

It’s important to preserve these heirloom vegetables, once they are gone, they’re gone forever. 

Newcomers to the world of heirloom beans often look for perfectly formed straight beans. Heirloom beans are not always like that. They can be curled or misshapen and still be perfectly good. When customers learn their history and that they are special, they realize that the rest of our food and ingredients must be special, too.

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Cooking dried beans

  • For optimum results when cooking dried beans, follow these tips.  Whenever possible, soak beans covered overnight at room temperature or in the cooler.
  • „Do not soak in boiling water. A slow penetration of water protects the beans’ skin.
  • „ If you can’t soak beans overnight, add beans to boiling water, turn off heat and let stand 1 hour.
  • „ Always discard soaking liquid and cook beans in fresh water.
  • „ Avoid excess water, which can leach out color and cause colors to run together.
  • „ Cook until desired tenderness. Time will vary by type of bean.
  • „ Cook beans until slightly tender before adding salt, tomatoes, sugar or acids of any kind, which harden the seed coat and make it nonpermeable.

Cinnamon Streusel Muffins with Quinoa

 

For the quinoa:
3 c. water
1 1/2 c. quinoa

For the muffins:
2 c. dark brown sugar, tightly packed
1 c. grapeseed oil (You may substitute canola oil, vegetable oil, or any other light, flavorless oil.)
2 large eggs
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk, whole
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, ground

For the streusel topping:
2 c. dark brown sugar, tightly packed
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 c. all-purpose flour

To prepare the quinoa, bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until tender and translucent, approximately 10-15 minutes. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool. ImageMeanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° and prepare the muffin batter by sifting the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream the oil and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs, beating until just incorporated. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk and beating just until a smooth, uniform batter forms. Fold in the cooled quinoa. (Please note:  the instructions listed above will yield approximately 5 cups of cooked quinoa – you only need 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa for these muffins. You can store the remaining 3 1/2 cups cooked quinoa in an airtight container for future use.)

Line 24 standard-sized muffin cavities with paper liners and fill each lined cavity approximately 3/4 full with the prepared batter. Drop the filled muffin tins firmly onto a hard surface to release any air bubbles in the batter. Set the batter-filled tins aside.

Prepare the streusel topping by combining the sugar, flour and softened butter in a large bowl. Using your fingers, mash and mix the ingredients into a rough crumble. Generously top the muffin batter in each cavity with several tablespoons of streusel. Bake the muffins for 23-26 minutes or until the streusel topping is slightly crisp and golden.

YIELD:  24 muffins

Green Chili Polenta with Black Beans

ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Mexican stye cheese, finely grated

 

  • 1 7-ounce can whole green chilies, drained
  • 1 can cooked, black beans, drained
  • 1 cup drained canned corn
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack/Cheddar mix cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 8 x 8 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Mix first 5 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook until polenta is tender and thickens, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese and green chilis.

Pour half of polenta into prepared dish. Cover with  half of corn and black beans. Sprinkle with half of cilantro and 1 cup Jack cheese. Spread a thin layer of prepared or homemade salsa on top.  Spoon remaining polenta over. Cover with remaining chilies, corn, cilantro and cheese. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.) Bake until polenta puffs and cheese begins to brown.Top with remaining salsa

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The Whole Truth about Whole Grains

THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT WHOLE GRAINS

It’s amazing to think that something as simple as a whole grain can pack so much energy and vitality. Sure, they may look innocent enough from the outside, but the real magic lies within. Which leads us to one of the most common questions we get asked, ‘What’s the difference between a whole grain and a processed grain?’ To put it simply, a processed grain is missing some of its most nutritious parts, whereas a whole grain contains all of its nutritional health benefits.

Here’s how it works.
The edible part of every whole grain is known as the kernel and is made up of three major parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm. Processed grains lack the bran and germ, which are removed during the milling process. The remaining endosperm is what creates a flour’s smooth texture and longer shelf life. Without the bran and germ, the flour is void of the dietary fiber, iron, and B vitamins.

Whole grains, on the other hand, include all three parts of the kernel and provide the body with nutrients like fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and antioxidants. Now that you know the difference, it’s easy to see why I only use whole grains.

Lemony Quinoa

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
sea salt to taste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
DIRECTIONS:
1. Toast the pine nuts briefly in a dry skillet over medium heat. This will take about 5 minutes, and stir constantly as they will burn easily. Set aside to cool.
2. In a saucepan, combine the quinoa, water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then fluff with a fork.
3. Transfer the quinoa to a serving bowl and stir in the pine nuts, lemon juice, celery, onion, cayenne pepper, cumin and parsley. Adjust salt and pepper if needed before serving.