Maple Oat Scone

Maple Oat Scone

So, more renewed focus on whole grains in this house, but this time because of recent talk about diabetes, both in our family and in our culture. A bit of a downer. But, fantastically, there are so many great recipes out there that have pioneered modern baking with a more wholesome bent, and I’m making my own tweaks and turns to some favorites, and they are turning out great. I don’t think this is going to be much of a headache at all. Next project: to see if I can get the elementary school to stop handing out so much sugar . . . I’m aware this will be traveling down the path of most unpopular mom, but I think it’s worth a shot. In the meantime, my kids did not balk at all at this terrific scone that’s a little bit sweet and light. I’ve slightly changed this recipe from The New Best Recipe, by ATK.

Maple Oat Scones

1 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1/4 c. whole milk
1/4 c. sour cream or cream
1 egg
3/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour or spelt flour (or just use all-purpose if you want)
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. table salt
10 T. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 c. additional dried fruit or nut, if desired (apricots, raisins, currants, pecans)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread the oats on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven for about 7-9 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, but reserve 2 T. for rolling the dough out (if doing). Increase oven to 450 degrees. [If you’re in a time crunch, don’t worry about this. It makes the flavor of the oats nuttier, but it’s not necessary.]

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Whisk milk, sour cream, egg, and maple syrup together in a measuring cup.

4. Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. [Or do this step by hand using a pastry blender, or even your fingers!]

5. Transfer the flour mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the cooled oats. Then, with a spatula, fold in 3/4 of the liquid ingredients. Gently the dough by hand until everything comes together, adding more liquid as needed to not have any dry bits at the bottom of the bowl.

6. Dust the work surface with a tablespoon of the reserved oats. Add the dough. Then dust the top with the remaining one tablespoon of oats. Pat into a 7-inch circle about one inch thick. Using a bench scraper cut dough into eight wedges. Set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Or, use a tablespoon scoop, and simply scoop the scones onto the sheet, flattening a bit for a wider shape.

6.  Bake for about 12-14 minutes. Let cool, and if desired, make a simple glaze of 3 T. maple and 1/3 c. powdered sugar to drizzle over the top.

Rustic Plum Cake

Rustic Plum CakeI’m surprised that my kids don’t just love eating plums. I love them, and I remember loving them when I was little, too. But, my kids don’t. So, I yesterday many, many Italian plums from a big basket I bought at the farmer’s market that were starting to wrinkle, and the only solution, of course, was to make them into a cake. This recipe I’m just a fan of–of course, the almond meal and almond extract make it delightful, and I love the color that the plums seep into the cake. Incidentally, I have also used non-Italian plums in this recipe. I adapted it (just a little!) from the 2009 America’s Test Kitchen Annual. 

Rustic Plum Cake

2 T. red currant jelly or seedless raspberry (I used a Cherry, Raspberry, Rhubarb jam)
1 lb prune plums halved and pitted (about 10-12)
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. almond meal (which you can now buy at Costco! Hooray!)
3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
6 T. butter, softened
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. almond extract

Melt jelly in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until just loosened and bubbling. Add the plums face down and cook until they shed juices and thick syrup is formed (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool while assembling the cake.

Grease and flour a 9″ springform pan. Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix almond meal and sugar until combined (in a food processor or by hand). Add flour, salt and baking powder and pulse or whisk to combine. Add the butter, and mix until batter resembles coarse sand (I usually do this by hand, also!). Finally add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and process until the mixture comes together, but the batter will be thick.

Spread the batter in a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Arrange the plum halves skin side down on the surface of the batter.

Bake until cake is golden brown and wooden skewer comes out clean, about 40-50 min. Allow cake to cool in pan on wire rack for 30 min. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Beef & Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

Beef and Broccoli
I always come to my blog thinking I have already posted this recipe, only to find that I never have, and that surprises me. So, tonight’s the night. This recipe is one of my favorite dinners. It’s the first one that comes to mind when I have broccoli on hand, and my husband and I always surprise ourselves by how much broccoli we can eat when we make it! I also have tried cheaper cuts of beef, but getting the flank steak makes all the difference–it just works perfectly. This makes one of the most perfect weeknight dinners we know. The recipe comes from The Best International Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

Beef & Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

1 T. rice cooking wine or dry sherry
2 T. low-sodium chicken broth
5 T. oyster sauce
2 T. light brown sugar
1 t. toasted sesame oil
1 t. cornstarch

2 t. soy sauce
2 t. Chinese rice cooking wine or dry sherry
1 1/2 lbs. flank steak, cut into 2-inch-wide strips with the grain, then sliced across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices
6 medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 T.)
1 t. peanut oil or vegetable oil, plus extra for cooking
1 1/4 lbs. broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into matchsticks
1/3 c. water
3 medium scallions, sliced 1/2-inch thick on diagonal, optional

In a liquid measure or small bowl, combine rice wine vinegar, chicken broth, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch for the sauce. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine beef, soy sauce, and the 2 t. rice wine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.

In another small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon peanut oil. Set aside.

Heat 1-2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot and rippling. Add half of beef to skillet and break up clumps; cook, without stirring, for 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned around edges and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Don’t overcook the meat – cook until just barely cooked through so the meat stays tender. Transfer beef to a medium bowl and cover with a lid and tin foil. Heat another 1-2 teaspoons peanut oil in the skillet and repeat with remaining beef.

Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to now-empty skillet; heat until rippling and hot. Add broccoli and cook 30 seconds; add water, cover pan, and lower heat to medium. Steam broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove the lid, add the bell pepper and continue to cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.

Push the broccoli to the sides of the skillet and add the garlic/ginger mixture. Cook, mashing the mixture with a spoon, until fragrant, about 15-30 seconds. Stir the mixture into the vegetables. Add the beef back to skillet and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with scallions, and serve.

Baja Fish Taco

Now onto some great spring and summer recipes! I love this one–we had it several times last year, and I never got around to posting it, but it’s already become a classic at our home. It comes from
The Best Grilling Recipes–A Cook’s Country publication. There’s never enough fish in our family for this dinner! 

Baja Fish Taco

For Cabbage:
½ medium head green cabbage, shredded
5 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 scallions, sliced thin
2 T. cider vinegar
1 T. vegetable oil

For Dressing:
¾ c. mayonnaise
1-3 t. minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 T. fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced

For Fish:
2 t. chili powder
½ t. ground coriander
¼ t. ground cumin
4 6-oz. mahi-mahi fillets, about 1 inch thick
12 6-inch corn tortillas

1. Toss the cabbage, forth cup of the cilantro, scallions, vinegar, 1 teaspoon of the oil and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl and set aside for serving. In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise, remaining tablespoon of cilantro, chipotles, lime juice, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Set aside for serving.

2. Combine the chili powder, coriander, cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, and forth teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels, rub them with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, then rub them with the spice mixture. Lay the fish on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and refrigerate the fish until the grill is ready.

3. Preheat the grill. Clean and oil the cooking grate. Lay the fish on the grill perpendicular to the bars of the cooking grate. Cook, covered if using gas, until the fish is opaque and flakes apart when gently prodded, 10-14 minutes. Gently flip halfway through cooking, using two spatulas. Transfer cooked fish to a platter, tent loosely and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

4. Working in batches, place a few tortillas on the grill and cook until warm, about 10 seconds per side. As they are done, wrap them in a kitchen towel or a large piece of foil.

5. Cut each fillet into three pieces. Smear each warm tortilla with some mayonnaise mixture. Top with cabbage salad and a piece of fish. Serve.