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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Walnut Oat Pie Crust

In the quest to find a gluten free, all-purpose pie crust, Andrea and I are going to try making this pie crust recipe and see how it turns out! Today's pie will be a maple pie, which should pair nicely with the oats and nuts. We're going to try out the recipe with walnuts in the crust today.

Walnut Oat Pie Crust
prep: 20 minutes
total time: 35 minutes
servings: 8
special equiment: food processor, 9- or 10-inch pie plate
oven: 350 degrees

1-1/3 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant) 
1 cup walnuts
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar 
1/4 teaspoon salt

Spread the oats in a round cake pan. Spread the walnuts in another round cake pan. Bake the walnuts until they smell toasty and are beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Bake the oats until they begin to brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Watch both the oats and the walnuts carefully; they go from brown to burned quite quickly.

After removing the walnuts from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes. Then, while the oats are still toasting, coarsely chop them. There’s no need for fineness as they’re going into the food processor.

When the oats are done, remove them from the oven. Transfer both the toasted oats and chopped toasted walnuts to a food processor. Add the sugar and salt and drizzle in the melted butter.

Process until the oats and walnuts are finely ground and the mixture is cohesive. Happily for us, this stage will be obvious — all the ingredients will be moist and stick together.

Remove the mixture from the food processor and press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9- or 10-inch pie plate (not deep dish) that’s at least 1-1/4 inches deep, or a similar tart pan.

Bake at 350 degrees until it’s just barely beginning to brown, 14 minutes. Remove from the over and set it on a rack to cool. Use with your favorite prebaked-crust pie or tart recipes.

Variation: Use pecans instead of walnuts.
Vegan Variation: Use coconut oil instead of butter

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quinoa Breakfast Pudding

Quinoa is becoming a familiar staple in the cupboards of many of my family and friends. Until recently, many people had never heard of this healthy, tasty little seed. Quinoa can be used in place of rice or couscous, and provides a complete protein. Quinoa has more protein than any other "grain" and is very versatile. Most people think of quinoa for lunch or dinner, but you can also make it into a breakfast pudding, and eat it instead of oatmeal or cereal. Below is a great quinoa breakfast pudding recipe I've made a few times now. You can make up a batch and then just re-heat a serving each morning. I've also added a cut up banana to the top, and that's tasty, too!

Quinoa Breakfast Pudding

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup vanilla almond milk (or any other type of milk)
½ cup raisins or cranberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt to taste
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (increase to 3 tsps if using plain almond milk)
2 organic apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup real maple syrup

Place quinoa in a sieve and rinse thoroughly (unless your quinoa is pre-rinsed, then you can skip this step). Allow to drain and then place quinoa in a medium saucepan with water and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pan with lid, lower heat, and allow to simmer until all water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Mix in milk, fruit, lemon juice, vanilla, syrup and salt. Cover pan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes longer. Serve warm. This makes about 5 servings.