Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Treats to perk up the Co-workers

Sorry about the delay in posting the Wednesday Treat Day item - we will start with that first tonight.

These Cappuccino Caramel Oat Bars are kind of like an oat-y blondie. The bars have a sticky chew to them with crunchy pecans scattered throughout. They are sweet, but not sickenly so - the deep flavor from the brown sugar is tamed a bit by the butter. Once the sticky base is pressed in the pan, a thin layer of homemade caramel sauce is slathered on top. I used the recipe from the Caramel Apple Bars (which we will have to make again this apple season) we made last year, but for ease, you can always use the sundae-type syrup from the store. You save some of the dough from the base layer to place small dollops all over the syrup. These pieces bake into each other which makes peaks and valleys for something special at the end. Be careful to not over-bake these - the center should be just barely firm when they are done, you don't want these to be too hard.

After they have cooled, a sweet espresso glaze made from milk, espresso powder and confectioners' sugar is drizzled on top. The rough top from the dollops of dough help catch this glaze and add just the right finishing touch. The bars are not intensely coffee flavored, but you can definitely taste it. I cut these into 20 rectangles and then cut each in half to make modest-sized triangles.

I was going to buy one of the funky colored cauliflowers for tonight's side, but opted to go with the regular snow white as it was on sale. Roasted Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce brings an easy twist to typical roasted cauliflower, which I already happen to love. After a toss in olive oil, the florets are baked until lightly golden and fork-tender. A thin mixture made from garlic, sesame seed paste (tahini), water and lemon juice compliments the cauliflower with a tangy-rich sauce. Tahini to me kind of tastes like peanut butter, but with a more grown-up taste - for lack of a better phrase. Jeff started off a little slow eating this one, but we both ended up really liking the change of flavors to a basic roasted vegetable.

When we walked into Common Market on Sunday, we were so happy when we scored a couple Honeycrisp apples. I love the crisp fresh flavor these apples have - we have not had any since we lived in MN a few years ago! Since Jeff asked to have dinner pretty light as he went a little cake-heavy last night, I knew the perfect apple to use in tonight's main dish of an incredibly easy Apple-Walnut Salad with Maple Vinaigrette. I used one Honeycrisp and used another favorite variety of apples called Gingergold. These are both bred to resist turning brown after you cut them, which is another reason to use them in salads. Baby greens and thin slices of the apples are mixed in a sweet vinaigrette made from cider vinegar, pure maple syrup, walnut oil and grainy Dijon. Toasted walnuts are scattered on top to compliment the nutty oil in the dressing and to add another dimension of crunchy texture to the salad.


  1. You were able to find baby greens? I can't get them right now because of the spinach/e coli issue. Did you go to a farmer's market for them? All three recipes look so good. Once I can get baby greens again, I'll try that salad!

  2. All recipes look delicious, especially the oat bar! I love oatmeal and the cappuccino flavor in these is intriguing... together with the chewy center, sounds really yummy!

  3. Next time we get the Devil Flower (Cauliflower) I'll have to try that recipe :)

  4. Hi Joe! I can't wait to give the apple-walnut salad a try - I think a couple freshly picked apples will have to be reserved for this very cause!

  5. I was surprised to see the cauliflower recipe win the grand prize in the VT contest. Do you think it was THAT good? I like tahini but it just didn't really strike me as prize winning recipe.

  6. Cyndi - No problem finding baby salad greens here that don't have spinach!

    Ana - I liked the combination, different and tasty.

    Wheresmymind - Hope you do!

    Gilly - I liked the fresh crisp apples in the salad, especially in thin strips.

    Jen - We really liked it, contest winning worthy? That is debatable.