Carmelita Bars

This recipe comes from The Model Bakery Cookbook which I bought for their english muffin recipe. Lo and behold, the book is chock full of wonderful recipes. I downloaded the kindle edition of this book and look forward to cooking through it! This picture is not as great as it could be because I forgot to add the sugar to the crust! They are messy but I am still taking them to share with my volunteer group. The caramel was easy to make-you need a super clean pan so the sugar doesn’t seize up so I washed the pan and rinsed it with a little vinegar before making the caramel.

Carmelita bars


2 c. sugar

1/2 c. water

2 t. light corn syrup

1 c. heavy cream


3 c. old fashioned rolled oats

1 2/3 c. unbleached all p flour

3/4 c. packed light brown sugar

1/2 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

3/4 c. unsalted butter, melted

2 T. water

1 c. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

1 c. chopped walnuts

Make the caramel first by stirring the sugar, water and corn syrup together in a large saucepan over high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Boil, without stirring, occasionally rotating the pan by the handle and swirling the syrup, washing down any sugar crystal that form on the sides of the pan with a natural bristle brush, dipped in cold water. Cook 3-5 minutes until the syrup is smoking and the color of copper. Reduce heat to low and carefully add the cream, stirring until the caramel is smooth. Remove from heat and cool until tepid and thickened, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour (and line with parchment) an oblong13″by 9″ baking pan. Whisk the oats, flours, brown sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large  bowl. Stir in the melted butter and water until mixture is moistened. Remove 1/4 of mixture to a bowl for topping. Press remainder firmly into baking pan. Bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Remove and spread the caramel over the crust. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and walnuts over the caramel. Crumble the reserved oat mixture over the top. Bake for 15 minutes until topping is barely golden brown. Remove and cool completely. Run a knife around the outside edge and cut the bars into pieces. I like my bars small so I got about 36 out of this pan. Store in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 days.



Blueberry Muffins

This is a tried and true recipe from the Joy of Cooking that never disappoints. It comes together very quickly and makes 12 delicious muffins. You can adjust the sugar as you like it. Sometimes I sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top before baking.

Blueberry muffins

2 c. all purpose flour

1 T baking powder

1/2 t. salt

(1/4 t. grated or ground nutmeg)

1 1/2 cups blueberries (toss with a little of the above mixture to keep from sinking)

2 large eggs

1 c. milk or cream

1/3-2/3 c. sugar or light brown sugar depending on how sweet berries are and you like it

2-4 oz. of butter, melted (I used 4 oz.)

1 t. vanilla

grated zest of lemon or orange

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a standard muffin pan or line with muffin papers.

Combine flour with baking powder, salt and nutmeg, if using.

In a mixer or large bowl, whisk eggs, milk or cream, sugar, melted butter and vanilla. Add flour mixture. Do not over mix, batter will not be smooth. Fold in the blueberries. Divide among 12 muffin tins and bake for 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from pan.

Ina’s Szechuan Dressing for noodle salad

This is a wonderful dressing to make for a pasta salad or as a sauce for vegetables-hot or cold or even for a lettuce salad. I made the szechuan noodles with chicken and broccoli with last night’s leftover roasted chicken. The dressing comes together quickly once you have gotten out all of the ingredients! This is enough dressing and more for one pound of pasta.

Szechuan dressing

6 garlic cloves

1/4 c. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1/2 c. vegetable oil

1/2 c. tahini

1/2 c. peanut butter, smooth

1/2 c. good soy sauce

1/4 c. dry sherry

1/4 c. sherry vinegar

1/4 c. honey

1/2 t. Asian hot chili oil

1/8 t. cayenne pepper

Chop garlic and ginger in food processor. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.


Inspiration Super Bowls

I have been in a cooking funk lately until I bought this February issue of Real Simple magazine because of the allure of the cover. There is a fabulous article on one bowl meals (called Super bowls) that are a mix of greens, grains, vegetables and anything else you desire. I made the lemony carrots, smoked paprika fennel, roasted cauliflower, and roasted beets recipes from the article-all are delicious especially the carrots and the fennel. I am excited to try endless combinations, adding chicken or tuna or roasted salmon. The magazine article has lots of great ideas and combinations and dressings!

Cooked veg for super bowl

My first attempt was with leftover grilled chicken, beets, fennel, carrots and cauliflower from the article and mixed greens of bibb, endive and raddichio and cooked leftover quinoa. I made the mustard vinaigrette in the article and it was delicious!

Super bowl