Friday, August 21, 2015

oatmeal for dinner?

Have you ever heard of oat groats? No - no one has heard of oat groats. I hadn't either until we were given some and they kept staring at me from the pantry. Well - Martha Stewart has heard of them (of course). This is a spin on her recipe and it is topped with an Italian tofu. Amazing. Time to move oatmeal type dishes to dinner! The recipe below serves 4.
For the oat groats:
1 cup oat groats
2 carrots
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
half head or bushel of kale
3-4 tablespoons EVOO
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/3 shredded Parmesan cheese
For the tofu:
1 package tofu, drained/pressed well
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
big squeeze of lemon 
2 cloves garlic, minced
zest from half a lemon
To prepare tofu, whisk all ingredients together (except tofu). Slice tofu and place in a shallow dish, cover with marinade for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 25 minutes. If you like a little more color or crisp on your tofu (we do), I crank up the heat to 400 degrees (after 25 minutes) and move to the tofu to the top rack. Give it about 5 or so minutes then remove.
While tofu bakes, prepare oat groats. In a Dutch oven, add 2 tablespoons EVOO and saute the chopped onion until translucent, add garlic and chopped carrot. Saute vegetables for about 5 more minutes, then add oat groats, toast lightly, add stock. Bring to a slight boil, then put a lid on the pot and lower the heat. Cook for about 25 minutes. 
 In the last few minutes of the oat groat cooking, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large saute pan. Saute torn kale, add in 2 cloves garlic. Saute until just tender and add to Dutch oven - incorporate. Remove from heat and mix in Parmesan cheese - season with S&P.
Assemble hot oat groats and vegetables with tofu slices on top. 

From the Whole Grains Council, a groat is another name for a grain kernel. Whole oat groats are the result of simply harvesting oats, cleaning them, and removing their inedible hulls. You can most often find these in health food stores. They take the longest to cook.
Below is chart to help you distinguish the best grains for you!

Friday, August 7, 2015

knock-off recipe: cheesy cauliflower

Over 4th of July, Vance and I went to Chattanooga for the weekend. We are doing a Southern tour this summer and have hit Atlanta, Chattanooga and Knoxville - next up, Birmingham!
In Chattanooga, we had a great brunch at Tupelo Honey. I took myself to lunch at the Knoxville location this past Saturday (while Vance slaved away at a conference).
We had delicious salt-roasted beets with pistachio & goat cheese. Actually, Vance wanted french toast and I can't seem to get enough beets these days - so I inhaled this dish.
I had a fantastic cauliflower dish too - mashed with cheddar. Gave that a spin last night at home (and had leftovers this morning with an egg and tomato atop - yum!)
1 head of cauliflower
1/4 cup milk 
4 ounces white cheddar, shredded
S&P to taste
Steam cauliflower florets until tender (about 8 minutes). Pierce with a fork - when soft, drain. In a food processor, place cauliflower and milk. Pulse a few times, season with salt and pepper. Pulse until the cauliflower is a mashed potato-like consistency. Remove to a bowl and incorporate shredded cheese - serve (devour) immediately.
This is dish is a like a cross between mashed potatoes & cheese grits, but MUCH healthier. Enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2015


Vance and I had a great happy hour hosted by Cantina Laredo in the Gulch. The head chef and bar manager shared some fantastic bar bites and cocktails. Great way to start the week! They serve half price dishes and drink specials during their weekday happy hour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. - yes - that is pretty much the whole day!
watermelon & coconut mojitos

coconut, watermelon-mint and black & blueberry mojitos
artichoke & spinach nachos
ahi tuna tacos
Thanks Cantina Laredo - we will be back soon!