Monday, January 24, 2011

Baked Oatmeal with Fruit & Nuts

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

I start most days with oatmeal in some fashion: slow cooked (old fashioned only), muesli, or granola (the last 2 homemade, of course). Today I tried something new and it will now be added to my oatmeal menu: baked oatmeal.

This is simple to do: it's just milk, oatmeal and fruit baked for 30 minutes. It is thick and creamy and leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated in the microwave.

Heat in the microwave for 3 minutes:
3 1/2 c milk
1/2 c sweetener of choice such as brown sugar, honey or maple sypup

Lightly oil a casserole dish and to it add:
The milk and sugar mixture
1 1/2 c whole oats
Dash of salt
2 t vanilla
2 t cinnamon
1/2 c dried fruit such as raisins, cherries or cranberries
1/2 c chopped nuts such as walnuts, pecans or almonds
1 apple or pear, peeled and cored and cut into bite size pieces

Bake the mixture, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir and serve. The oatmeal will still have some liquid to it but that will be absorbed as it cools.  Really tasty!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Our German friends, the Clermonts, have introduced to us real spaetzle and we've come to love it. Thanks to a spaetzle press that they gave us for Christmas, I see lots of Clermont-style spaetzle in our future! My chicken paprikash will be perfect on spaetzle.

This is their recipe:

3 3/4 c flour
5 eggs
Dash of salt
Water as needed

Mix by hand with a wooden spoon in a large mixing  bowl the flour, eggs and salt with a little water. Add water slowly, so that it becomes a smooth, sticky dough. This dough should be beaten by hand for quite a while, until big air bubbles appear. The dough should be smooth, not too liquid and not too tough. Then let it rest for a while in the refrigerator, at least 1-2 hours. 

Heat a large pot with water. When it comes to a boil, place the spaetzle press on top of the pan, spoon in some of the dough and slide the press back and forth across the blade of the press. The dough will fall into the boiling water. Quickly, repeat this so that all of the dough is processed into the water within 1-2 minutes.

When the tiny spaetzle rise to the surface of the water, they are done. Pour into a colander. Return the spaetzle to the pot and toss with 1-2 T of olive oil.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Macaroni & Cheese

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Tonight, I announced that I was making a frittata for dinner but while on my nightly snowshoe, I had a craving for mac and cheese. When I announced that dinner was ready, Marty was quite surprised to find macaroni and cheese.

I created a version similar to that of Zingerman's Road House in Ann Arbor, voted one of the nation's best.  I have a couple of versions of mac and cheese that I like, one baked and one stove top. This is the stove top version--very creamy--and uses a seasoned cast iron skillet to finish off the pasta and cheese sauce. This one is hard to beat for taste and speed. You can have the sauce made while the macaroni cooks and it takes 4-5 minutes to blend them. Easy and tasty.

To a large pot of boiling water, add:
2 T salt
1 pound macaroni

Cook until al dente and drain the pasta.

While the macaroni is cooking, in a saucepan, saute:
1 small onion, chopped,
2 T butter
2 bay leaves

When the onions are soft, 3-4 minutes, remove the bay leaves and add:
1/4 c flour

Stir the flour into the butter for several minutes until the flour is golden.

Slowly add:
1 3/4 c milk

Stir until the mixture is creamy and begins to bubble.  Then add:
1/4 c sour cream

Stir until the sour cream is completely mixed in and it begins to bubble. Then add:
2 c grated cheddar--I used 1/2 yellow and 1/2 white cheddar
1 t dijon mustard
1 t salt
pepper to taste

Blend the sauce until all of the cheese is melted and simmer for 4-5 min.

In a cast iron skillet, heat 2 T olive oil until it just begins to smoke. Add the sauce and stir quickly. Then fold in the macaroni and stir for 3-4 minutes until all of the macaroni is coated with cheese sauce and the sauce pulls away from the side of the skillet. Serve hot.

With a salad and some hot bread, this is a perfect dinner on a cold winter night.