Whole Grains

Paul's Honey Oat Bread

It is election weekend here in Haiti, which means comfort food is definitely in order. While elections anywhere can cause unease, unrest, and extreme emotions, in a country with few peaceful democratic precedents, a mood of wary watchfulness prevails. Back from travels and faced with an empty cupboard and blaring radio, I opted for one of my favorite comfort foods -- fresh baked Honey Oat Bread. This bread is easy to make, and the results are sublime. If you haven't made bread before, this a great place to start. Honey Oat Bread is fantastic as a sandwich base, as french toast, made into bread pudding, dolloped with fresh guava jam, or my personal favorite, smothered with honey and butter.

Paul's Honey Oat Bread

Easy Guava Jam Bars

November means fall back home; the smell of mulled cider, pumpkin picking, and trick-or-treating. Feeling nostalgic for the tastes and colors of fall, while sweating in the 90s here in Haiti, we created a Caribbean-fall dessert, Easy Guava Jam Bars. These easy to make, and addictive bars combine the warm spices of cinnamon and allspice with the tropical sweetness of fresh guava jam. It is a stunning match of tart bright guava enveloped in a warmly spiced buttery crumble.

Easy Guava Jam Bars

Chewy Coconut Honey Granola

Madeline's grandparents from Indiana arrived for a visit this week. It was lovely support to have in the midst of our coordination and response to Hurricane Mathew. With grandparents here to watch Madeline in the early morning hours, we made a big batch of Chewy Coconut Honey Granola to feed the early risers. This Chewy Coconut Honey Granola is our favorite here in Haiti. It is dead simple to make, and a fantastic balance between sweet and salty with a satisfying chew.

Chewy Coconut Honey Granola

Homemade Bagels

Food cravings can come at inopportune times...such as Rebecca's craving for fresh-from-the-oven bagels while living 1,500 miles from a New York deli in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Homemade bagels are a rewarding DIY project with easy to find ingredients that will yield bagels more delicious and toothsome than you can buy at your local deli (assuming you have one). A great Saturday project to keep you cozy in the winter months (or even toastier in the tropics), invite your friends over for a homemade bagel brunch with a smorgasbord of creamy toppings. 

Homemade Bagels

Apple Walnut Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze

Thanks for following along with our new adventures! We recently moved from Pittsburgh to Haiti where we are starting a 5 year volunteer assignment with a non-profit relief and development organization. We will be in transition for the next few months as we complete our in-country orientation, language study, spend time living with host families in both the countryside and capital... and lest we forget, have our first baby somewhere in there as well! Please bear with us as we will not have ready access to internet or a kitchen throughout this time. We will continue to share new recipes that we've prepared in advance, and updates on our new life in Haiti as often as we are able.

As much as we love the tropical fruits and Caribbean flavors of our new home in Haiti, we are nostalgic for the apple and spice combination, so classic to this time of year in North America. We love this old-fashioned Apple Walnut Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze, pungent with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ginger, glazed with a salty caramel.

Apple Walnut Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze

Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone needs a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. This is mine. This Oat Chocolate Chip Cookie combines the luscious butteriness of the classic grandma-style cookie with the chewy texture and nutty flavor of oats and the rich warmth of extra vanilla. While Rebecca (and the health department) may not approve, I'll also share that this dough is almost as good raw, as it is baked!  Our recipe is relatively light on chocolate chips, but feel free to amp up the chocolate if you prefer. Treat yourself!

Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Summer Harvest Pizza

One summer in high school, my sister and I discovered the brilliance of white pizza with fresh summer veggies. The simple contrast of creamy sauce and peak of season vegetables is a dynamic combination. The local favorite at the farm-stand near our house featured sweetcorn and mozzarella. I had this summery veggie pizza in mind as I layered fresh August tomatoes, peppers, corn, and red cabbage on creamy basil studded ricotta and gooey mozzarella, topped with leaves of sweet basil. Heaven. 

For another great vegetarian main, check out our grilled spelt flatbread with tapenade and tomatoes.

Summer Harvest Pizza

Wild Rice & Quinoa Salad with Mushrooms & Asparagus

I opened the fridge after a long weekend of travel, and found slim pickings aside from some local asparagus and mushrooms.  At this point, feeling too tired to grocery shop, I needed to get creative. Raiding our pantry for grains, I made this impromptu spring wild rice and quinoa salad with sautéed asparagus and mushrooms. I added thyme, citrus, and almonds to round out this light and vibrant dinner, and felt ready to take on the week.

Wild Rice & Quinoa Salad with Mushrooms & Asparagus

Teriyaki Steak Soba Noodles with Mushrooms

We started making Teriyaki Steak Soba Noodles with Mushrooms in the colder months, searing off steak and mushrooms in a cast iron skillet, and tossing them with soba noodles in a rich homemade teriyaki sauce. Now that spring is here, we are getting local spring mushrooms in our CSA box and have been cranking up the grill for this deeply flavored dish. A dark, homemade teriyaki sauce serves as both quick marinade and robust sauce for healthy buckwheat soba noodles. We eat a lot of soba noodles here at the Hungry Hounds...check out our Carrot Soba Noodles With Ginger And Kale and Zucchini Soba Noodles With Grilled Vegetables

Teriyaki Steak Soba Noodles with Mushrooms

Barley Risotto with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Risotto is an elevated dish with rustic origins, and is thought to originate from the rice growing regions of northern Italy. While risotto is often associated with fine dining and classic technique, it does not have to be an intimidating dish. The basic idea behind risotto is slowly simmering and stirring a grain in broth to release its creamy texture. While risottos often call for arborio or other specialty rices, the technique can be used with many different grains. Barley Risotto with Brussels Sprouts is a comforting winter dish, rich with nutty flavor from both the barley and roasted brussels sprouts.

Barley Risotto with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Hearty Quinoa & Chickpea Salad

Paul and I work at the same hospital, and often get to eat our lunches together. This also means that we both share equally in the misery that is a bad lunch day. A few weeks ago, one memorably mediocre lunch involved a leftover potato soup, which turned a nasty viscous texture when reheated. Disgusted, we foraged in our desks and put together a 'desk picnic' of stale pretzels and pastel mints, that tasted faintly of the ‘spring grass’ candle they were sitting beside in my desk drawer. Shuddering at the thought of that big batch of potato soup waiting at home as future lunches, I went on a lunch-making-blitz. My goal was a flavorful and colorful mix of filling grains, beans, vegetables, herbs, nuts and cheese that would energize us throughout the day. I started experimenting and prepping big bunches of grains, beans, veggies and vinaigrettes on the weekends for ready-made lunches for the week. This recipe for Hearty Quinoa and Chickpea Salad is a delicious variation that we have been happily eating all week.

Hearty Quinoa & Chickpea Salad

Lavash Crackers

With holiday parties and family gatherings, snack foods pretty much become their own seasonal food group this time of year. As an avid snacker, this naturally delights me.  Somewhere between a flatbread and a cracker, Lavash is a snacking dream. Originating in the Caucasus, this quick, unleavened dough has both chew and crunch, a fantastic cracker to eat plain, or to use as a vehicle for all other manner of dips and spreads. We particularly love Lavash Crackers with beet horseradish hummus.

Lavash Crackers

Carrot Soba Noodles with Ginger and Kale

Today we are sharing a gluten free and vegetarian main that we absolutely love. Omit the fried egg, and you've got yourselves a vegan classic. Exclusionary food labels aside, this a lovely, simple, seasonal dish that is ready in 15 minutes. The trick to a great soba noodle dish is going big on flavor, so we heaped on the pungent tastes of garlic, ginger, and soy. Seasonal variants of soba noodles with a pungent vinaigrette and veggie noodles is a frequent favorite in our household. Our summer version of this dish includes zucchini noodles and grilled squash.

Carrot Soba Noodles with Ginger and Kale

Chocolate Maple Granola with Quinoa and Cranberries

This week I took a stand against the breakfast industrial complex. Sunday for breakfast, I thought I’d go carnivorous, and ate a plate heaped high with Amish summer sausage. In honor of meatless Monday, I thought I’d swing vegetarian, and polished off a bowl of leftover garlicky lentil salad with goat cheese. Tuesday at 6am, I started to worry that I might not be getting my daily serving of fruits and vegetables, and munched away on snow peas, carrots, and bell peppers while I was getting ready for work. Don’t worry, I also ate string cheese for protein! This morning I was out of time and thinking that I might want to dip towards the sweet side, unfortunately things got a bit sticky when I tried to juggle spoonful’s of Nutella while driving. Paul, no stranger to my breakfast rebellions, calmly continued eating his grape nuts. Now that I’ve gotten that all out of system, I am ready for a spiffed-up breakfast classic. So when I got home from work today, I made a big batch of Chocolate Maple Granola with Quinoa and Cranberries. This chocolaty, crunchy granola is somewhere between breakfast and dessert, a good place to be in my mind, and with the combination of nuts, oats, and quinoa, provides a complete protein rich meal that keeps me energized through the whole day.

Chocolate Maple Granola with Quinoa and Cranberries

The Reuben

I have been on a quest for the perfect Reuben sandwich for 3 years, ever since tasting the amazing version at Lucky's Cafe in Cleveland. The basic elements of the Reuben may seem pedestrian: rye bread, corned beef, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, and cheese. However, each element, when done right brings complex flavors and loads of unctuous umami. This Reuben is the product of my DIY quest: built from scratch from sourdough rye through home cured corned beef and everything in between. If you want to go whole-hog DIY, follow the links in the ingredients section back to the recipes to make your own scratch made versions. Any element you make from scratch is going to make a big difference in your final product. This Oktoberfest, celebrate with an old classic, done right.  

The Reuben

Grilled Spelt Flatbread with Tapenade & Tomato

Check out our Grilled Spelt Flatbread with Tapenade & Tomato featured in Pittsburgh Magazine this week! We just love Brazen Kitchen's Leah Lizarondo and her irreverent take on seasonal vegetarian cooking. 

This tender and chewy flatbread uses local spelt to up the nutty whole grain flavor. We are addicted to this no-knead spelt flatbread, and find it has a taste and texture reminiscent of Indian naan and whole wheat pita. On a warm summers evening, we like to throw this easy flatbread on the grill, spread generously with briny tapenade, and top with juicy ripe tomatoes. This spunky tapenade, packed with garlic, tarragon, and green olives, pairs beautifully with the sweetness of August tomatoes. For us, this dish epitomizes summer: fresh produce, bright flavors, and smoky char.    

Grilled Spelt Flatbread with Tapenade & Tomato

Zucchini Soba Noodles with Grilled Vegetables

I hate leftovers. To me, there is nothing worse than a soggy day-old salad or a mealy reheated potato. Ok, fine, maybe not ALL leftovers are terrible. In fact, Paul and I eat them almost everyday as frozen workday lunches. Out of necessity, I've created a number of go-to dishes that are not only delicious the first time around, but real leftover wins. Soba noodles, a buckwheat pasta (often gluten free), have a number of things going for them in the leftover department: they cook in 4 minutes, have a great nutty taste, are good for you, and they freeze like champions.  

Zucchini Soba Noodles with Grilled Vegetables is one of our summer staples. This lightning-fast vegetarian main helpfully works through some of our zucchini back-log, by incorporating zucchini ribbons with unusual vinaigrette of mustard, soy sauce and lemon juice.  Add some grilled summer squash and red onions  and this dish is done in 10 minutes. 

Zucchini Soba Noodles with Grilled Vegetables

Blue Corn Blueberry Griddle Cakes with Lime Butter

These Blue Corn Blueberry Griddle Cakes with Lime Butter are a fresh and flavorful take on a breakfast classic and a healthy way to use the ripe blueberries bursting from farm stands and fields. These Griddle Cakes are bursting with blueberry flavor and the subtle earthy sweetness of blue corn. Using a high quality fresh blue cornmeal (we prefer Bob's Red Mill) and a light overnight sourdough technique brings out a gentle nutty sweet corn flavor and a surprisingly crunchy (not gritty) texture. A perfect accompaniment to Blue Corn Blueberry Griddle Cakes is a fresh whipped Lime Butter. The Lime Butter, which is also delicious in its own right, accents the fresh blueberry flavor to take these Blue Corn Blueberry Griddle Cakes to the next level. 

Blue Corn Blueberry Griddle Cakes with Lime Butter

Tomato, Feta, and Garden Herb Toasts

With the first tomatoes and herbs of the season coming in, it is time to celebrate summer! Nothing highlights fresh-from-the-vine juicy tomatoes and backyard herbs like like Tomato, Feta, and Garden Herb Toasts. Brushed in olive oil, the bread is grilled for a warm smokey base.  Basil and feta tossed tomatoes provide a vibrant topping to the an herbed creme fraiche spread. Tomato, Feta, and Garden Herb Toasts taste like summer, and are quick and easy to put together. We used a goat cheese feta from our CSA, an exquisite local find! This dish works beautifully as both an appetizer or a main.

Tomato, Feta, and Garden Herb Toasts

Strawberry Citrus Shortcakes

We often get a hankering for these Strawberry Citrus Shortcakes after a long day of house projects. These rustic shortcakes have a lightly sweetened biscuit-like crumb, enlivened by citrus, with a craggy sugar top and subtle crunch of cornmeal.  I made these Strawberry Citrus Shortcakes for weeknight guests with our first of the season local strawberries from our CSA.  A beautiful way to showcase these delicate berries. 

Strawberry Citrus Shortcakes

Spring Buckwheat Grouts Salad

With spring slowly turning towards summer, farmer's markets and CSA's across the country are filling up with a riot of unique seasonal produce. Spring Buckwheat Grouts Salad is a fresh and easy way to feature whatever is local and in season. Freely swap out the vegetables, herbs, and garnish to fit what looks best at your market. Using buckwheat gives a hearty, nutty, and gluten-free base on which to build a delicious salad. Follow the link over to Bob's Red Mill where we wrote a guest post this week: Spring Buckwheat Salad at Bob's Red Mill.

Spring Buckwheat Grouts Salad

Strawberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal

Mornings around our house typically involve a lot of bleary-eyed animal wrangling with infrequent interludes of serene calm involving both breakfast and the news.  Last week, Paul upped the ante when he started classes for his second Masters degree, this one in Public Health.  Between full time work, a 2 hour commute each day and now evening classes, we needed a new weekday breakfast strategy.  Enter Strawberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal in jars. In this smartly conceived dish, Strawberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal is cleverly baked up in small canning jars, which, when cooled, can be lidded and refrigerated for up to a week for later reheating.  This is a winner breakfast that we warm-up in the morning with a dash of milk, perfect for eating on the go.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with baked oatmeal, it is somewhere between a less sweet fruit crisp and porridge (oatmeal) and thanks to being chock full of whole grains and nuts, it makes for a substantial breakfast.  We found the addition of strawberry and rhubarb at the bottom of the jar to be a good incentive to keep digging into our baked oatmeal.  Warmly spiced with cinnamon and orange, Strawberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal is a filling, healthy, and make-ahead way to tackle morning meals for busy week-days.  

Strawberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal

Buckwheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Buckwheat Buttermilk Pancakes are a healthy, delicious, and easy weekend breakfast with warm malty flavors not usually found in your run of the mill pancakes. The whole buckwheat flour gives these pancakes a rich brown flecked color and hearty nuttiness which pairs beautifully with tangy buttermilk and caramelly maple syrup and molasses. The result is a perfect pancake texture, dark earthy flavor,  and enough nutritional goodness to make you feel good about slathering your Buckwheat Buttermilk Pancakes with butter and maple syrup. This recipe is adapted from King Arthur Four's wonderful Whole Grain Baking.

Buckwheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Black Rice Pudding with Coconut & Lemongrass

Black Rice Pudding with Coconut & Lemongrass grew out of our friend Marcia's request for a creative way to highlight the unique flavor and earthy purple hue of black forbidden rice. During my time in Cambodia as a college student, I lived with an outstanding cook who taught me to coax flavor from a limited set of ingredients, often only herbs and rice.  This dessert marries the nutty sweetness of black forbidden rice with lemongrass's distinctive bright and herby citrus flavor.  Using only coconut milk and egg yolks in the subtly sweet sauce allows the dish to be gluten free and dairy free, two special requests of our friend Marcia. In this case, keeping dairy and thickeners out of the picture allows for a purer flavor and lighter texture. We used fresh mango and toasted coconut as a garnish to contrast with the creamy purple pudding.  

Black Rice Pudding with Coconut & Lemongrass