Tag Archives: dried fruits and nuts

bulgur and tomato salad

Here is a simple, quick salad that can be eaten warm or cold. This salad straddles the seasons, using the last of the ripe tomatoes before the fall sets in completely and some of the first sweet fall carrots. Bulgur or cracked wheat is perfect for a quick supper because it only needs to be rehydrated with some boiling water. In addition to eating it plain, I stuffed this mixture inside of swiss chard leaves and baked it for 20 minutes under a blanket of smoked mozzarella. As always, you can easily swap out or omit whatever the vegetables, cheese, or herbs, but I like to always include the golden raisins and a couple of handfuls of freshly chopped parsley and basil.

Bulgur and Tomato Salad

adapted from Passionate Vegetarian

1 cup of dried bulgur

2 cup boiling water

1 large sweet onion, diced fine

3-4 small carrots, diced fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 chile pepper, minced

3 tomatoes, diced and peeled, if you chose

1 lemon

herbs: big handful of parsley or basil. Other good choices (in smaller amounts) include mint or oregano

1/2 cup golden raisins or currants

cheese of your choice. I used a light grating of smoked mozzarella, but crumbled feta would be very tasty. Or use diced avocado for vegans.

 

Rehydrate the bulgur by pouring the boiling water over the dry bulgur. Cover and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a saute pan over medium high with a bit of olive oil and start to saute the onion and carrot. When soft, add the garlic and chile pepper and saute for another minute. Add the diced tomatoes and cook until the juices start to bubble. Pull off the heat and add the zest and juice from the lemon. Stir in the herbs and raisins or currants. Let the mixture cool for a bit and then add the cheese or avocado, if using. Season to taste and enjoy.

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Filed under from the pantry, grains, quick, tomato, vegetables

apricot fig bread

Oh no! It has started to rain here. And from what I have been told, will not stop until sometime next June. In defense, may I suggest some fresh apricot fig bread and a mug of hot tea? I have made this bread a few times and, as with most quick breads, it is best the first day. This bread is easy to throw together with whatever dried fruit you have on hand, but I really liked the combination of dried figs and apricots. It is whole grain, potentially vegan, and not too sweet.

Apricot Fig Bread

adapted from fannetastic food

2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour or spelt flour

1/3-1/2 cup cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, or sucanant

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cardamom

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup applesauce (I have used a combination of applesauce and yogurt before and it has turned out fine)

1 large mashed banana (or 1/2 cup yogurt)

1 egg or flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with three tbsp water, set aside to thicken)

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 cup dried mission figs, chopped (I have used prunes instead and it is also delicious)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder and soda, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the applesauce, mashed banana, and flax egg or real egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold until everything is just combined. Fold in the dried fruit, and pour into a greased and floured pan. I used a 8″x 8″ pan, but you can also use a loaf pan or make muffins. Sprinkle on a bit of coarse sugar and rolled oats to make it look pretty. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. For the 8″x 8″ pan, it was about 30 minutes; a loaf pan will take 45-50 minutes.

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fig newtons

fig newtons are my favorite store bought cookie, especially for fueling long hikes and bike rides.  when i saw this recipe for homemade fig newtons, i (almost) immediately went out and purchased dried figs.  i wanted to use mission figs, but my small hometown grocery store only had the dried green calimyrna figs.  i also did not buy enough figs in my excitement and wound up using a mixture of 1/2 figs, 1/4 dates, and 1/4 prunes.  this worked out well because the dates naturally sweetened up the fruit filling and the prunes helped smooth out the mixture.

these are even better (as expected) than store bought.  i bake some cookies a bit crispier and liked the contrast between the soft filling and crunchier exterior.  and, with whole wheat flour, most definitely fits into your new year’s resolutions.

whole wheat fig newtons

adapted from eat live run who adapted it from the healdsburg downtown creamery (where you should definitely stop by for a snack if you are there)

cookie dough:

2.5 c whole wheat flour (i used the white whole wheat flour from king arthur)

3 oz butter, soft

1/2 c packed dark brown sugar

1 tbsp cream or milk

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp salt

filling:

1 cup dried figs, stems removed

1/2 cup dried dates, pit removed (i used medjool dates)

1/2 cup dried prunes

enough water to cover

1 tbsp dark brown sugar

for the dough:

cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  add the cream, then eggs one by one.  in another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, salt.  add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  combine until a soft dough forms and lightly knead it together with your hands until a ball forms.  wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for a least 1.5 hours.  the whole wheat flour seems to make the dough easier to roll out.

meanwhile, make the filling.  place the dried fruit in a small saucepan and cover with just enough water and add the sugar.  bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or when everything is soft.  pour into a blender and puree until smooth.  let cool.

preheat the oven to 350.  when the dough is chilled, divide in half, flour the board, and roll each half into a large rectangle.  spread half of the filling and fold the edges towards the middle, slightly over lapping the long edges together over the middle.  cut into individual cookies.  transfer these to the baking sheet, brush with egg wash and dust with sugar.  bake for 15 or so minutes or until golden brown.

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chewy granola bars

in an effort to save some money, i have started to make my own granola bars and larabars.  i have experimented with granola bars a lot and have several distinct types that i like to eat.

crunchy-  like those nature valley granola bars.

chewy/sticky- more like power bars or clif bars.

chewy/soft- these!  these are almost like granola bar cookies or if you have had the house made whole foods granola bars.

i baked these last night and ate one (two actual) very large bar for breakfast crumbled over some (homemade) yogurt and chopped apples.  very tasty and made the morning at work go by a little faster.

chewy granola bars

adapted from smitten kitchen

these are very, very adaptable.  change out the spices, leave out the spices, mix up the fruits and nuts, add a bit of cocoa powder, use different sweeteners, etc.

2 cup quick oats (i just pulsed some regular rolled oats in the blender until they were chopped up)

a bit less than 1/4 c turbinado sugar (you can always add more, but i prefer things less sweet and may even leave it out completely next time and just increase the liquid sweetener)

1/3 cup oat bran

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

2-3 cups of dried fruits and nuts of your choice (i used pretty much any and all of the dried fruit i had: golden raisins, dark raisins, cranberries, chopped prunes, chopped almonds.  if you think about it more than i did, i am sure you could come up with some tasty combinations.  i am thinking that my next batch might have chopped dates, candied ginger, sesame seeds and coconut.)

1/3 cup nut butter of your choice (i used almond butter)

1 tsp vanilla

4-5 tbsp coconut oil or butter

1/4 cup or more maple syrup (you can use agave or honey also)

1 tbsp(ish) water

preheat your oven to 350.  line a 8″x8″x2″ pan with parchment or foil to make a sling and grease.  mix together oats, sugar, bran, salt. spices, and fruits/nuts mixture.  in a small saucepan over low heat, melt the coconut oil or butter and add the nut butter, maple syrup, and water and stir until well combined.  take off the heat and stir in the vanilla.  pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well.  press this evenly into the prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes.  cool in the pan for 10 minutes and lift the granola bars out of the pan using the sling and let them cool completely on a rack.  these cut much more evenly when they are completely cooled or even cold.  cut into bars and store in an airtight container.

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