oats n' notes

Food & lifestyle from the the granola factory bakery

Category Archives: dinner party

Burrata with Heirloom Tomatoes and Toasted Bread

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Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 ball of burrata
  • 1-2 heirloom tomaotes, 4 oz. each
  • 1/4 cup of capers, rinsed.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Finishing Quality Olive Oil
  • Fresh Basil
  • 1 loaf of rosemary-olive oil ciabatta
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

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Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice tomatoes, lengthwise in 1/3″ thickness. In a meausuring glass, combine garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil and microwave for 45 seconds. Let it sit for at least five minutes for the flavors to blend.

Arrange sliced tomatoes on a serving plate. Meanwhile, brush the bread with the olive oil and garlic mixture and toast in oven for 5-10 minutes. After toasted, add the bread to the plate, along with the burrata in a small serving bowl. Drizzle the remaining olive oil and garlic mixture over the tomatoes. Add the capers a few drops of balsamic vinegar, basil, parmesan and crushed maldon sea salt. Serve at room temperature.

Granola Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons

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IMG_2793TESTED, TRIED AND TRUE                     by Dea Castrejon

If there was such a thing for dessert to “dress to impress,” Granola Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons would win.  This recipe is so consistent!  It is simple, full-flavored, and so delicious, not to mention, the finished treat looks beautiful!

As I brainstormed ideas for the uses of our granola, I knew that this recipe would be a perfect choice.  The slightly salty and savory distinction of our Organic Honey Pecan granola would be a palatable companion to the sweet coconut and rich chocolate coating.  As you will see in the pictures below, I decided to experiment in two ways; in one batch, the granola is added right into the coconut mixture…this is what I like to call my “brindle macaroon” (can you tell I am a dog lover?!).  In the other batch, I decided to dip the macaroon in granola immediately after it had been coated in chocolate.  I regarded this version as the “dippin’ dotted macaroon.”

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Brindle mixture (left) and Dippin’ Dotted mixture (right)

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“Brindle Macaroon”

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“Dippin’ Dotted Macaroon”

Both variations turned out great, and in my opinion they actually enhanced the visual appeal of this already fancy looking  treat.

Granola & Coconut Macaroons

2/3 cup coconut milk

1 egg white (If you find yourself eggless, just nix this ingredient.  I have done this multiple times before and my macaroons still form just fine!)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1 cup Granola Factory’s Organic Honey Pecan

Chocolate dipping sauce:

1 bag (about 12 ounces) of chocolate chips

dash of milk

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Begin by preheating oven to 325º F and put down parchment paper on 2 baking sheets.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, egg white, vanilla extract and salt.  Fold in the coconut until all of your ingredients are combined.  If you choose to do my so-called “brindle macaroon” version, mix in the granola at this time, as well. You are ready to start forming these macaroons!

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With your hands, grab a small bunch of the mixture (about 3 tablespoons) and form it into a tepee shape right onto the parchment paper.  If you find that your hands are getting messy and sticky, simply wash your hands with water and get back to shaping!

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Bake macaroons for 30-40 minutes or until the tips and bottoms of the cookies are golden brown.  Let cool for 15-20 minutes.

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Now, let’s get the chocolate sauce going.  Fill the bottom of a pot with 1/2-1 inch of water and bring to a simmer.  Pour the bag of chocolate chips into a smaller heatproof glass bowl.  Set over the simmering pot of water.  This is where I will add a dash of milk (1,2,3, or even 4 tablespoons) to help smooth out the chocolate.  Once the dipping sauce is smooth and possesses a honey like consistency (thick but still pourable), remove from the heat.

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Next, line a clean kitchen surface with two sheets of wax paper (we will be setting the dipped macaroons on here shortly).  Holding the macaroon by the tip, gently dip it into the chocolate.  Let any excess sauce drip off before placing it onto the sheet of wax paper.  Repeat for the remaining cookies.

If you plan on dipping the macaroons in granola (“dippin’ dotted” version), set up another small bowl full of granola next to the chocolate.  As mentioned above, first dip the macaroon into the chocolate and let any excess drip off.  From here, immediately dip the macaroon into the bowl of granola.  Place on the wax paper and repeat.

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Enjoy!  I hope you find these macaroons as delightful as I do!

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*Recipe adapted from the Brown eyed Baker

Crostini with Crumbled Bacon Granola Topping

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TAPAS CON FIONA

by Dea Castrejon

We had the pleasure of cooking tapas with a new friend of ours from Madrid, Spain. Fiona Redondo, one of my husband’s coworkers, is temporarily living here in Bethlehem for a six-month work stint.  During this time, we have been fortunate enough to meet up on a few occasions, where we have learned more about her, as well as the Spanish culture.

On our most recent visit, Fiona explained that “tapas en Madrid” is a very popular practice among the public on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, especially in the summertime. For anyone who is unfamiliar, tapas are appetizers, snacks or small plates of food in Spanish cuisine. These “tiny meals” are usually enjoyed with a company of friends over some sort of beer or wine. Fiona also explained that the serpentine streets of Madrid are heavily spotted with tapas bars, each known for certain specialties, and all are invariably packed with people for this weekly tradition.

So in honor of our wonderful new friend, and of course the utility of granola, we will be uniting a little bit of Spain with the taste of The Granola Factory.

Fiona and I put together a beautiful tapas plate: crunchy toast with fresh mozzarella, arugula, sliced peaches, and a crumbled, crispy mixture of bacon and honey pecan granola. The final touch to our plate was a drizzle of honey balsamic vinegar reduction. This is easily one of the prettiest pieces I have ever made, and I can attest, the taste matches the eye-appeal!

I am so excited to share this recipe with you!

Crunchy Toast with Crumbled Granola Topping

*Makes 24 crunchy toasts

1 sourdough baguette

7 pieces of bacon

1 cup Organic Honey Pecan Granola

1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese

2 cups arugula

1 or 2 peaches, sliced

1 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoon of honey

Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Place the bacon on a foil lined baking sheet and cook for 8 minutes. Drain any grease, flip the bacon, and cook for another 8 minutes, or until crunchy. Set on stovetop to cool. Once cool, chop up bacon into small pieces (like “bacon bits”), and mix in with a bowl of granola. Set aside until you assemble your tapas.

While bacon is still cooking, you can gather and prepare the rest of your tapas ingredients. Slice peaches and fresh mozzarella. Set aside. Next, grab a small frying pan to start the honey balsamic reduction. Turn stovetop to medium high heat and pour in balsamic vinegar. Let this bubble up a little bit, stirring the vinegar every so often. As the vinegar starts to thicken (about 5-7 minutes), add honey. Not only does this help thicken the reduction more quickly, but the sweeter taste will certainly complement this dish.

Line another baking sheet with foil and cut baguette into ½ inch slices. Lay out the pieces of bread on the sheet and place in oven. Because the oven is sitting at such a high temperature, these pieces of bread will only take a couple of minutes to become crunchy (about 3-5).

Remove bread slices from oven and immediately start to assemble. Start with a piece of crunchy toast. Add a slice of mozzarella, a couple of arugula leaves, and a slice of peach. Top toast with a spoonful of the granola bacon mixture, and to end, drizzle about ½ tablespoon of reduction on each crunchy toast. Plate two pieces for each tapas dish. How pretty is that!

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IMG_2126 Apparently, the rule in Madrid is that you order one tapas and move on, but after tasting these bad boys, I think we will take another round of vino and tapas!

Enjoy! Or, as they would say in Madrid, “¡Buen provecho!”

Jicama, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad topped with Granola and Whipped Mascarpone

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SWANKY SUMMER SALAD

by Dea Castrejon 

Have you ever been thoroughly blown away by a new dish ordered at a restaurant?  As a foodie family, we are always trying new restaurants, waiting for those one-of-a-kind dishes to “wow” us.

Well, one of my favorite restaurant dish discoveries, to date, has been the Opaque Salad at the Pecan Grill in Lubbock, Texas.  This salad is so simple, so elegant, and it is constructed flawlessly!  Per the menu’s description: “Texas pink grapefruit, asian pear and avocado salad, constructed with whipped pecan praline mascarpone.”  Gosh, I love this salad, and it is so pretty!

Typically, when I find my favorite fares, I want to recreate them, so I can enjoy them whenever I want.  Not to toot my own horn, but I think my recreated recipe stands on par with the Opaque Salad served at the Pecan Grill.

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Opaque Salad…the Granola Factory way

*Makes 1 salad

1 asian pear (substitute 1/2 jicama in the summertime), peeled and cubed

1/2 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons mascarpone

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced

2 tablespoons Granola Factory Organic Honey Pecan

Okay, this is pretty straightforward.

Step One: peel fruit skin off of asian pear or jicama (jicama is used below).  Cut into sugar-cube like squares.  Set aside.

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Step Two: repeat process with grapefruit.  Peel skin completely off.  Remove grapefruit from inner casing and section off into small pieces.

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Step Three: Cut avocado in half. Thinly slice, and when ready to serve, use a spoon to carefully scoop out the slices.

Step Four: pour balsamic vinegar in a small frying pan and turn on stovetop to  medium/high heat.  Stir often until vinegar thickens (5-7 minutes).  Turn on low, and get ready to serve.

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Step Five: Plate your dish.  I like putting the asian pear in the middle, sided by the avocado and grapefruit.  Top with a dollop of mascarpone, drizzle with balsamic reduction, and sprinkle with organic honey pecan granola. Enjoy!

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This salad has become a staple in my household.  With only 6 ingredients,  this recipe is fresh, vibrant, and enticing.  These three fruits blend ideally: creamy notes of avocado, juicy bursts of grapefruit, and the slightly sweet and crisp texture of the asian pear/jicama.  On top of this (literally), the creamy, rich mascarpone, couples with the sweet zing of balsamic reduction, while the roasted pecans and speckled granola flakes enhances the all around complex flavor of this delightfully refreshing salad.  Ditch the oven on hot summer days, and enjoy this salad that is sure to please!

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Chocolate Mousse topped with Fresh Whipped Cream & Native Berry Granola

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COCKTAIL PARTY…GRANOLA FACTORY STYLE!

by Dea Castrejon

My husband and I love to entertain family and friends for dinner.  But, because I am sort of a perfectionist, and I want to make sure dishes turn out how they are supposed to, I frequently end up cooking the parts of the meal that I am responsible for ahead of time…as in days or weeks ahead of time.

One of my lingering ideas for our next dinner party is to have a “cocktail” theme.  Cocktail attire, cocktail drinks, cocktail foods, and of course, dessert cocktails!  Doesn’t that sound fun??

One of the most important things I have learned from hosting dinner parties of some sort, is that you must choose your food dishes wisely.  This may be obvious to most people, but for me, it is essential that you enjoy the night you are hosting.  And, in order to do so, I need to choose courses or dishes that I can either make ahead of time or that require very little prep work.

On account of our 30 ways for granola, I thought it would be fun to experiment with a dark chocolate mousse martini, topped with whipped cream, and finished off with a garnish of our Native Berry Granola.

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Granola Spiked Mousse Martinis

*makes 8 servings

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup almond milk (or other milk on hand)

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

topping: 1 cup GF Native Berry variety

Homemade Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup granulated sugar (to taste)

Simmer a 1/2 inch of water in a deep set pot.  Pour chocolate chips into a  glass heat-resistant bowl, and set it in the pot.  As the chocolate begins to melt, you may add a little bit of milk to help stir and smooth out the melting chocolate chunks.  Stir frequently until melted.  Remove from the pot and set aside.

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Using a hand mixer, whip cream until soft peaks form (about 1-2 minutes).

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cream

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soft peaks of whipped cream

Add 1/2 of the chocolate mixture to the whipped cream and use a spatula to mix in.  Pour the remainder of the chocolate into the cream and fold in completely.

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first chocolate fold in

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remaining chocolate fold in

Cover the top of the bowl, and let rest refrigerated for at least an hour.

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While the mousse is settling, let’s whip some cream.  Pour cream in a mixing bowl.  Mix on a medium speed until cream thickens.  Add sugar to desired sweetness, and whip until stiff peaks form.  Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

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Grab your martini glasses.  Fill glass 3/4 full with your dark chocolate mousse.  Add a dollop of whipped cream.  Generously sprinkle the native berry granola on top of the dessert.  You are ready to serve.

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Success!  After a test run of this recipe, I am sold!  The velvety texture of the rich chocolate mousse coupled with the light, fluffy, and slightly sweet whipped cream…amazing!  But, the unique cinnamon and spice essence of the granola and plump dried blueberries and cranberries lends the perfect twist to this cocktail.  And one of the best parts of this recipe is that I can do it ahead of time!

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Enjoy responsibly!

Seafood Paella

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Serves 8-10

When it comes to outdoor summer cooking, burgers, ribs and bbq come to mind. But our personal favorite meal to cook outdoors is paella. Though paella can be cooked any time of year on a stove, the smokiness that comes from cooking over a wood-burning fire will enhance the flavor of the overall dish.  So light the fire pit, grab the paella pan, and invite your friends for a great outdoor meal that everyone will remember.

 

Paella is a dish that originated in Valencia, Spain. Named after the giant pan that it is cooked in, Paella recipes come with many forms and ingredient combinations, but our paella calls for a few essential ingredients.

Medium grain rice, such as bomba or callaspara rice, has the right texture for paella and soaks up all of the flavors of the dish. Saffron threads give the paella a yellow color and distinct flavor that can’t come from any substitute. Spanish chorizo will give the paella a spicy and smoky taste. Hot seafood stock, preferably homemade, is the best liquid base to cook the rice. A licorice-flavored liqueur, such as Pernod, will enhance the seafood flavor of the paella.

The Fire

We recommend building the fire pit with a mix of hard wood and wood-charcoal briquettes. This will give a nice smokiness and consistent heat for the large paella pan. Build the fire and allow it to burn down to hot coals. While the fire burns, prep your ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups Rice (bomba or callaspara rice preferred)
  • 2 lobsters, halved (ask your fishmonger to do this)
  • 1-2 lbs. medium wild shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb. fresh calamari, cleaned and cut into rings
  • 1-2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 lb. Spanish Chorizo, cut into ½ inch thick rounds
  • 7 cups hot seafood stock (homemade stock preferred)
  • ½ cup licorice-flavored liqueur (Pernod is preferred)
  • 3 bell peppers cut into strips
  • 2 cups thawed petite peas
  • 2 cups chopped leaks
  • 2 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs. Smoked Parika
  • 2 tsp. Saffron threads
  • 2 lemons cut into wedges
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt to taste

Making the Paella

  1. After paella pan has become hot over the fire, drizzle the olive oil and begin sautéing your sofrito. The sofrito is the base of aromatic ingredients that is sautéed in olive oil. For our paella, the sofrito is composed of chopped leeks, garlic, and chorizo. Add these ingredients to the olive oil, one by one, layering the flavors.
  2. Once your sofrito is sautéed and fragrant, add the chicken and calamari to the pan and sauté for three to four minutes. Next add your smoked paprika and toss ingredients once more. Then, add your rice and toss until ingredients are combined.
  3. Once the rice has been combined, add hot seafood stock, one cup at a time, and stir as you go. After the stock is added, mix the saffron threads into your paella.
  4. Now that the stock and saffron is mixed in, restrain the urge to stir your paella until the liquid has boiled down and the rice has cooked. Not stirring your paella will allow a toasted, flavorful crust known as the soccarat to form on the bottom of the pan.
  5. After the liquid has boiled down, add your Pernod and stir the Paella to incorporate the liqueur. Next, add your bell peppers, shrimp, lobster and petite peas. We recommend covering the pan with tin foil and allowing the heat to cook your final seafood ingredients.
  6. Once the shrimp is cooked and the lobster has turned red, sprinkle the paella with fresh parsley. Serve paella with lemon wedges, and be sure to scrape some of the soccarat on the bottom of the pan onto each plate. Enjoy!

Recipe By Calvin Virgilio