Goat Cheese Spread with Herb Oil

Adapted from Giada's book. This makes a killer dip for parties or potlucks, and it is amazingly easy!

Chop herbs in a food processor:
1/4 C parsley
1/4 C mint
1/4 C basil
1/4 tea salt
(I didn't have any basil but it still was great)

Turn on food processor and add 1/4 C olive oil in a stream to emulsify. Then pour out herb oil into a container.

Stick in food processor and whir until creamy:
8 0z goat cheese (Trader Joe's has some good prices)
1/4 C cream or half and half

Spread the goat cheese on a serving plate, then drizzle herb oil over the top. You can add sliced tomatoes or toasted walnut pieces for garnish.

Chocolate Brioche

This was killer bread. I like it even better than cinnamon rolls! It makes a great gift or for a potluck/party. The dough mixes up really fast, most of the time comes from shaping, rising and baking the loaves. Adapted from this book on Artisan Breads.

Brioche Dough

Mix in a large bowl:
3/4 C (1.5 sticks) butter, melted
3/4 C warm water
1/4 C honey
3/4 tea yeast
3/4 tea salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Mix in without kneading until combined:
3.75 C unbleached all purpose flour (or combine regular flour with 1 C whole wheat bread flour. Whatever you do, don't use "pastry" flour, it doesn't have enough gluten for breadmaking)

Don't add additional flour, the dough will be "wet" compared to traditional bread dough. This is ok.

Cover and let rise for 2 hours at room temp. Chill in refrigerator.

Chocolate filling
Melt in pyrex cup in the microwave, about 60 seconds:
1 C chocolate chips or diced bittersweet chocolate
2 TB butter

Add and mix until spreadable:
2 TB honey or corn syrup
1/3 C cocoa powder
1 tea vanilla extract

Cut prepared, chilled dough (above) in half into two balls. Roll out each on floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Spread chocolate mixture in a uniformly thin layer. Roll up dough into a loaf shape.

Grease a loaf pan or other pan and drop the dough into the pan.

Cover and let bread rest 1 hour 40 minutes.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Wait until bread is cooled to slice, otherwise the chocolate oozes out all over the knife.


Gramma's Grainola

This is the grainola my gramma always makes for us. Gramma always calls it "grainola" but you could say "granola". Each batch is slightly different from the next but always delicious and better than any store bought cereal.

If you buy the ingredients in bulk at Winco it is pretty cheap compared to the packaged breakfast cereals. This is a "clean out the pantry" recipe because you can use up any grains and nuts you have around (just make sure they're not rancid!)

This recipe makes quite a bit of grainola, you can double-- you'll just need a huge mixing bowl and multiple rimmed cookie sheets.

Delicious with rice/almond milk by itself, or with banana slices and blueberries. Or sprinkle over greek yogurt as a parfait.

Grainola Recipe:
Mix in large bowl the dry ingredients:
5 C old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 C flax meal or wheat germ or oat bran
1/4 C millet
2 C unsweetened coconut (I like mixing shredded coconut and flake coconut)
1 C raw sunflower seeds
1/2 - 1 C sesame seeds
1 C pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 C chopped nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashew etc.)

Stir over low heat until dissolved, but not boiling:
3/4 C water
3/4 C brown sugar or approx 9 medjool dates (approx 3/4 C), pitted and blended with the water
3/4 C vegetable oil or coconut oil
1/2 C honey (or agave or maple syrup for vegans)
1 TB molasses1/2 - 3/4 tea salt
1.5 tea cinnamon

Pull off heat and stir in 2 tea vanilla extract (or grind up whole vanilla beans). Optional add a few drops of almond extract. Stir.

Pour over dry mixture in batches, stirring in between. Spread into rimmed baking sheets and bake at 280-300 degrees F, checking and stirring every 30 minutes until the grainola reaches the desired crunchiness.

Make sure it is totally dry before storing (or you could develop mold!!). I leave the pans in the oven (while off) for a few days to finish drying out before pouring into a plastic or glass container

Makes great travel food and gifts.