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Entries in oats (3)

Monday
Sep132010

Fig Nut Bars

Fig Nut Bars

Date bars are one of my all time favorite treats.  Some of you may remember when I posted my grandmother’s date nut bar recipe.  If not, have a look.  I’d do anything, or drop whatever I was doing to have some of those when I was a kid.  Come to think of it, I still would--but now I’m the one that makes them. 

So I still have a huge amount of dried figs hanging around, and although eating them straight from the bag is one of the best ways to enjoy them, I felt like I needed to do something else with them.  Yep, you can see where I’m going with this.  Fig Nut Bars!  They adapted beautifully to the date bar recipe, and are insanely good! 

I have yet to find a date nut bar (or fig, for that matter) recipe that can stand up to my grandmother’s recipe.  And trust me when I say this--I’ve tried a lot.  If someone’s got them on the menu, I’m trying them.  I’m always disappointed.  They’re usually hard (maybe they sit around too long?), very dry, too sweet--whatever--just gross.  These bars won’t disappoint.  They’re tender, not overly sweet, slightly salty in the crust, and perfect.  Yes, I’ll go as far as to say these are perfect!  I had to play around with the filling a bit to adapt it to the figs, but I made it work.  For you guys.  Oh, the things I do for this blog. Haha!

Fig  Nut Bars

Fig Nut Bars

makes one 9x13 pan

For the Figgy Filling:
1 lb dried Black Mission figs, stems removed and chopped (I used kitchen shears)
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup water
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

For the Crust:
1 3/4 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1  tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Make the filling: Boil dates, sugar, and water until thick, about 5-10
minutes. 
Note:  You want the final fig mixture to be thick, not leaky--and spreadable, because you have to layer it over the bottom crust.   Also, I chopped the figs into quarters.  They didn't break down as much as I'd hoped, so before stirring the vanilla and pecans in, I ran the fig mixture through the food processor, just enough to break them up--you still want a few chunks in there.

Add 1 TBSP butter, the vanilla, and the walnuts, and set the filling aside to cool a bit.

Prepare the crust: Combine all dry ingredients with the melted butter.  Firmly press half of the mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9 pan.

Carefully spread the filling evenly over the bottom crust, to within about a half inch of the edges--a rubber spatula works great for this.  Sprinkle remaining crust over the filling, and again, press firmly--but be gentle at the same time.  Press just enough to give it a good hold on the filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, and I'm serious when I say this, no longer than 25 minutes!  As long as your oven is running at the correct temperature, that's all the time these need.  Cut into squares when cool, and store in an airtight container.

  • Note:  I always get impatient and cut a little corner out to try while they’re still warm. That’s ok!  But it’s so important that you let the bars cool before you cut them, or they’ll probably fall apart.  You need to let that bottom crust cool and set up.

Fig Nut Bars

Friday
Jul032009

Italian Un-Meatballs

 

I know, right? But I didn't know what else to call these. They're "meatballs," but technically--not meat. So there you go, hehe.

Most of you know that lately, we've been trying to eat healthier. It's not a diet, but a lifestyle change. We originally planned on 6 days a week of raw and vegetarian (and if we were really feeling wild, vegan!), and one cheat day a week with some type of meat involved.

It's a few weeks later, and where are we now? Seven days a week of raw and vegetarian, and no meat! And even though I think of it fondly occasionally (and how weird is that?! hehe!), I don't miss it. I'm 100% serious when I tell you that. I'm not missing the meat. If I'm really jonesing for a burger, there are some great meat-free ones in the stores. Seriously--they do taste great!

We've been doing some reading, and here's the tricky part. My husband now wants to, and has pretty much gone vegan. I KNOW! I was more surprised than anyone. I'm almost there, really, except for eggs and cheese. I'm attached to them more than I was to meat, which blows my mind--I thought it would be the other way around. I can live with out milk, too--and have been since we started this journey. But eggs, on sunday morning? With cheese? Sigh. That's the tough part.

So if any of you vegans out there have good alternatives to breakfast (or favorite cookbooks!), please let me know! Because vegetarian books are full of egg recipes, hehe.

These un-meatballs were a result of a craving I'd had for weeks for spaghetti and meatballs. I was able to track down a recipe and method here at VeganDad. He has a a ton of great recipes, and this one was my answer. I used his genius method, but changed the seasonings to match my standby meatball recipe. Then after a simmer in the same sauce recipe that I always use, these were ready. They held up great to simmering for a couple of hours. A couple of them broke up, but I can live with that. This was a great way to satisfy my craving!

My other craving? Chicken noodle soup. Anyone have a killer magical vegan recipe that'll make me feel like I'm eating real chicken soup? I'll love you forever!

These are vegetarian, and not vegan--because there's parmesan cheese in them, and in the sauce.

Un-Meatballs
adapted from VeganDad

2 (8 oz) pkgs of Tempeh, simmered for 10 minutes, cooled and grated
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 tsp dried oregano
4 TB Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 smallish onion, grated
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 cup water

In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients. Form into balls--about the size of a walnut.
Heat a pan over medium heat, and add some oil to heat.
Sauté them until brown all over, then simmer in your favorite sauce for an hour or so.
Put them in the sauce to simmer, but don't go wildly stirring right away--just take a spoon and dunk them under the sauce.
Let them set up for at least 1/2 hour before you stir.
Serve over pasta, or in a bun with provolone for a great un-meatball sandwich.

Grated Tempeh...

An army of un-meatballs...

Brown them all over before you simmer in sauce...

Done. Now go eat!

 

Saturday
Mar222008

Date Bars


Actually, Date Nut Bars. This is my grandmother's recipe, and as far back as I can remember, her and my mom always made these. Every holiday, and if we were lucky--just because. When I was old enough, I wanted to help, too. Eventually, my mom decided she was sick of baking (can you even believe that?! hehe), and the job became mine. Yay! I was more than happy to take over.

I still love making these, and they bring back such memories. You know, I thought I'd talk a little about my mom today. She passed away a little over a year ago, and I just realized...it's still too hard for me to do it. Maybe in a few more years, when the pain isn't like a punch in the stomach. I miss her terribly, and just typing this little bit about her has made me all teary.

But sorry to bring you down! Let's talk about the date bars. They are perfect. I really mean that. I don't know, are date bars like brownies or chocolate chip cookies? Does everyone have their own favorite way to have date bars? These are the only ones I've ever had, so I'm not sure. I do like variety, but I don't ever mess with these. Ever.

Except this time. I lied...I did mess with them. I cut the sugar in the filling to a generous half cup, instead of the usual three quarters. For the crust, I used half white flour and half white whole wheat flour. We couldn't tell the difference. In fact, my 12 (almost 13. Dear God, help us, hehe) year old came in the kitchen to have one. She tasted and went on and on about how great they were. It was THEN that I told her they were half whole wheat flour. She stopped, thought about it, shrugged, took a second one and left the room. Ha! Another convert. ;) My husband, who loves when I use whole wheat flour, was thrilled, and said these were the best batch I'd ever made. I love that man.

These are extremely simple to make. But you have to do two things. You have to be sure to press the bottom crust firmly, but not *too* firmly, in the into the pan. And after you put the filling over and add the top crust, again, press sort of firmly, but not too firmly. Make sense? Use your judgement. You obviously don't want a bunch of loose crumbs tossed in the pan, but you don't want to squish it down to a fraction of an inch, either. You with me? Good. Next, bake it for 25 minutes. Not a minute more! I'm serious on this one--no tweaking here. As long as your oven is running at a fairly normal temp (make sure your 350 isn't actually heating to something like 390), 25 minutes is all these need. Oh, and you should let them cool as much as you can before you cut them. I know, it's too hard to wait for stuff to cool, and I hardly ever do. So I'll look away while you cut a square to try. ;) Oh, that was three things, wasn't it?

Finally, the recipe!

Date Nut Bars

Crust:

1 3/4 cups oatmeal

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

 

Date Filling:

1 lb chopped dates

3/4 cup sugar (you can cut this amount to 1/2 cup)

1 cup water

1 Tbs butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts

 

Make the filling:

Boil dates, sugar, and water until thick, about 5-10 minutes.

Add 1 Tbs butter, the vanilla, and the walnuts.

Set aside to cool a bit.

Prepare the crust: Combine all dry ingredients with the melted butter.

Firmly press half of the mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9 pan.

Cover with filling mixture.

 

Look at that datey, nutty goodness!

 

 

Top with remaining half of crust mixture. Press lightly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Really, I mean it--no longer than that!

Cut into squares when cool, and store in an airtight container.

 

To print this recipe, click here!

 

 

 

I'm sure my mom would approve. :)