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The mention of granola often brings visions of health. All those oats tumbled together with nuts, seeds, sometimes honey and often some dried fruits -- how could it be anything but health food, right? It's worth a closer look. When you mix up your own granola, you know exactly what is in it as far as sugar, salt and fat. When you purchase commercially produced granola, it's a good idea to check out the nutritional information on the package before you take it home and make it a daily meal.
As a child, I remember going out to the chicken coop with my grandma when I visited her and my grandpa at their Indiana farm. We'd walk through an area of the farmyard reserved for rambunctious geese as they honked wildly and flapped their strong wings around my legs. My grandma would protect me as she hurried me along toward the old wooden chicken coop.
"What's for supper tonight?" It's a question my husband frequently poses to me during an afternoon phone call from his office. Occasionally, the answer he hears on his end of the phone is, "I'm not really sure." The other day I suggested we eat the leftover Moroccan Chickpea and Sweet Potato Tagine that I'd packed into the refrigerator.
My dad's sister made the best kolacky in the world. That's what I've always thought. I never did have the opportunity to watch my Aunt Elinor make the fist-size, eat-out-of-hand coffee cakes, but when we had dinner at her house, I couldn't help waiting with anticipation for the minute my aunt would walk into the dining room carrying a large plate of her homemade kolacky. Each chubby round of sweet yeast dough was as light as a fluffy marshmallow in my hand.
A friend of mine sent me an email not long ago to tell me she received a tagine for Christmas. She wondered what to do with her new clay cooking vessel that combines a low-rimmed, round, shallow base with a high conical top. Tagine (tuh-zheen). It's a term that refers to the visually seductive cooking vessel as well as an aromatic North African stew, cooked in the clay pot. The good news is that you don't need a tagine to prepare tagine. A heavy covered pot will work, although the design of a tagine pot has both practical and aesthetic functions.
On stage recently, speaking before a crowd of 350 food lovers and writers at a literary seminar exploring food in literature, Ruth Reichl said, "Love comes through the palate." An author and former restaurant critic, Reichl was most recently the last editor of the late, great Gourmet magazine.
Lights twinkling under a night sky the color of a Spanish black olive, brick pathways winding through lush tropical foliage and the soothing sound of fluttering palm fronds set the stage for a champagne reception on the opening night of the 29th annual Key West Literary Seminar. Jennifer Cornell, chef and owner of Small Chef at Large Classic Catering in Key West, strolled through the Tropical Gardens of the Audubon House with an air of tranquility, as though she had just come from a relaxing massage at one of the Key West spas. Quite the contrary.
The kitchen counter exploded with color. Bowls of all sizes filled with green slices of spicy hot jalapenos, black beans, bright yellow-orange shreds of cheese, grass green cilantro, homemade salsa mixed of red, green and white and sour cream the color of coconut ice cream. Chunks of grilled chicken and blackened shrimp filled out the array of ingredients. A pot of steaming tortilla soup was situated beside a casserole of cooked brown rice.
Frigid temperatures, deep snow and icy roads lead to soup and bread season in my kitchen. When I have a choice, I tend to stay tucked inside rather than bundle up, head out in my car and brave the winter elements. More time indoors means I can have a pot of soup simmering on the stove and yeast dough rising in a large bowl all wrapped up in a flour sack dishtowel. I know there are some who say there's no good reason to make homemade bread. Working with yeast dough is just too much fuss. It takes too much time. And I would disagree.
It's funny that I always seem to think of my dad when I make bean soup. It's not because he was an expert with the soup pot. Far from it. My dad spent very little time in the kitchen cooking. But, on rare occasions when he was forced to make a meal (every mom gets sick once in a while), he'd pull a can of Campbell's bean with bacon soup off the shelf. Looking very out of place at the stove, my dad would plop the cylinder-shaped bean mixture into a pot, stir in some water and heat it up.