chocolate pecan cookie granola recipe |

Chocolate cranberry pecan cookie granola.

The thing about blogs is that once a post moves off the homepage, you’re not so likely to find it again. Sure, blogs are searchable. But there’s that old adage: Out of sight, out of mind. Heck, even I have trouble keeping track of the recipes I’ve posted here.

So when I was browsing through some very long-ago posts and found this amazing recipe for cookie granola, I had to re-post it so you’ll see it again. It’s THAT good.

My friend and fellow food blogger Alison of Two of a Kind Cooks sort of invented this granola-cookie mashup (she calls it cranola), and was on a kick making different variations. If you’ve spent any time around here, you know that I’m a bit obsessed with granola (see my various granola recipes here, here and here). So Alison and I tossed this recipe back and forth in a kind of recipe tennis.

Seriously, you really have to make a batch … soon!

pecan cranberry chocolate cookie granola recipe

makes about 4 cups

½ cup chopped pecans, divided
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup coconut oil, room temperature
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose (or white whole-wheat) flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2½ cups old-fashioned oats
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a food processor, pulse ¼ cup pecans and the sugar until coarsely ground. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), beat the coconut oil and pecan/sugar mixture on high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined. Add the oats and remaining pecans and stir; when the mixture gets stiff, use your hands to continue mixing until the oats and pecans are evenly incorporated into the dough. Use your hands to squish irregular chunks of dough onto the baking sheet; if you have any mixture that doesn't want to clump together, just add that to the baking sheet (it'll be delicious on yogurt). Bake the cranola for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and stir gently. Bake for another 10 minutes, remove from the oven and stir gently. Bake for an additional 5–10 minutes until the clumps are dry. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and scatter the cranberries over the hot cranola. Let cool for 15 minutes and then scatter the chocolate chips over the cranola. Let cool completely before stirring (or the chocolate chips will melt).
Store the cranola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, if it lasts that long.
365cincy-fall-food-fest_9-21_Artboard 4

Celebrate fall, food, Cincinnati.

You know what? I’m ready. For fall, that is. (Sort of.) I’ve said my goodbyes to summer corn. I’ve put my shorts away. I’ve bid adieu to 80°. I think I’m OK with the shift in seasons.

This will help me get over the end of summer: Findlay Market’s annual Fall Food Festival on Sunday, October 11th. Fall produce and flowers, craft beer and seasonal cocktails? I’m in. (There’s plenty of fun for the kiddos, too.) I’ll be there, demonstrating a fall riff on one of my favorite recipes from The Findlay Market Cookbook: a terrific orzo salad with seasonal vegetables (we’ll be substituting fall squash and kale for summer tomatoes and cucumber).

Come join us!

homemade roasted red pepper hummus recipe |

Perfectly smooth, practically no-fat red pepper hummus.

I’ve been going through homemade hummus like it’s my job lately, dipping pita chips, crackers, fresh vegetables (and yes, even my finger) in it. A few slices of cucumber, carrot and red pepper with a tablespoon or two of homemade hummus is my go-to afternoon snack.

But a couple of weeks ago, I learned a tip for making hummus that totally changed the game. As we worked together to prep for my class at the Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield, sous chef Ellen Mueller told me this: peel the chickpeas. A chef who taught a class on Middle Eastern cooking insisted that they peel chickpeas for hummus; at first, she was bugged by the extra work, but the results were fantastic. The creamiest, smoothest hummus she’d ever had.

So, do this. Peel the chickpeas. It took me less than 10 minutes to peel 2 cans of chickpeas. It’s kind of fun, actually: You squeeze a chickpea between your fingertips, and it just pops right out of its skin. And when you see the pile of tough skins in the sink, you’ll totally get why this task makes a difference.

Even better, this homemade red pepper hummus recipe is very low in fat, as it uses just a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil instead of tahini for a ton of sesame flavor with just a bit of oil. The Greek yogurt adds tart flavor smooth texture without any fat at all. You can skip the red pepper, if you want old-school plain hummus, or add more garlic or roasted tomatoes or any kind of herb you like. Give it a try: I’m pretty sure you won’t go back to the $5 tub of store-bought hummus again.

low-fat roasted red pepper hummus recipe

makes about 2 1/2 cups

2 cans chickpeas
1 red bell pepper
1 large clove garlic
1 (7-oz.) container nonfat plain Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat broiler. Halve the bell pepper and remove seeds and stem; press with your hand to flatten. Place the pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until it's completely charred, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with the foil and let steam for 10 minutes. Peel and cut into large pieces.

Drain the chickpeas into a colander, rinse with warm water and peel them by squeezing each chickpea between your fingers to pop the bean out of the skin. Discard skins. In a food processor with the metal blade, combine the peeled chickpeas, roasted red pepper, garlic, yogurt, lemon juice and sesame oil. Process to a smooth and creamy puree, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

recipe for summer corn and tomato pie

Sharing a summer favorite: tomato and corn pie.

I made this again (again!) last night, with end-of-season corn and still-in-season-for-a-few-weeks-yet ripe, red tomatoes. Tomato and corn pie — my version, with a super-easy no-roll olive oil-cornmeal crust — is a summer favorite around here. As we say goodbye to summer, I wanted to repost the recipe!

summer corn and tomato pie recipe

(serves 6)

for the no-roll pie crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cold milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or canola or grapeseed oil)
1/4 cup olive oil

for the corn-tomato filling:
3 ears corn, kernels removed
2 large tomatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375°. In a 9-inch pie plate, whisk together flour, cornmeal and salt. Combine milk and oils, and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork to combine, then use your fingers to work the mixture together until large clumps form and no loose flour remains. Use your fingers to press the crust into place, beginning with the sides and finishing with the bottom; make sure there are no holes or cracks. Bake the pie shell for 10 minutes, until it's set and no longer shiny; remove from oven and let cool.

Increase oven temperature to 400°. Scatter 1/3 cup of the grated cheddar in the bottom of the pie shell, lay 1/2 of the tomato slices on top of the cheese, then scatter 1/2 of corn kernels over the tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and 1/2 of the thyme. Repeat with another layer of cheese and vegetables, ending with cheese on top. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cream; pour this mixture gently over the vegetables.

Transfer the pie to the preheated oven (lay a sheet of aluminum foil on the rack to catch any drips), and bake until the top is brown and the filling is bubbly, 45-50 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes to set the filling before serving.

Bryn at Jungle Jim Cooking School

Upcoming cooking class: Pesto!

Join me on Tuesday, September 22, for a fun class at The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield — we’ll be exploring pesto and talking about its cousins (including romesco, chermoula, pistou and more variations).

You may know pesto as the traditional blend of basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. This simple idea – herb, nut, cheese – extends to all kinds of ingredients. Explore pesto and other versatile variations to complement any recipe – from pasta salad to grilled meats. We’ll also talk about making and storing big batches of pesto.

  • Bruschetta with Goat Cheese-Tomato Pesto Spread
  • Caprese Salad with Basil Pesto and Fresh Ricotta — learn to make homemade ricotta!
  • Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Cherry Tomatoes and Parsley-Walnut Pesto
  • Grilled Hanger Steak with Romesco
  • Strawberry Fool with Amaretti

Sign up for the class here. See you there!


fresh tomato salad with goat cheese and warm bacon dressing recipe |

BGT salad: bacon, goat cheese and tomato.

This perfect summer tomato salad recipe is inspired by a recent trip to La Soupe to grab a bite for lunch. I had a simple tomato salad with bits of crispy bacon and goat cheese. I got to thinking … what if you used bacon drippings instead of olive oil to make a sort of vinaigrette for fresh tomatoes?

Um, YEAH! Pouring a dressing of warm bacon drippings and balsamic over a pile of perfectly ripe tomatoes coats the tomatoes with flavor and coaxes them into releasing their juices. You can skip the arugula base if you’d like, and just dive into a big bowl of tomatoey-bacony goodness. Goat cheese is delicious here, but you could certainly swap in fresh mozzarella or Feta.

bacon, goat cheese and tomato salad recipe

(serves 2)

1 very large (or 2 medium) ripe heirloom tomato
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Handful baby arugula
1 ounce fresh goat cheese
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Cut the tomato into large chunks and transfer to a bowl; sprinkle well with coarse sea salt. In a small skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings; add the balsamic vinegar to the remaining drippings in the pan. Cook over medium-low heat about 1 minute, until the mixture is hot and syrupy. Pour the hot balsamic-bacon mixture over the tomatoes and stir gently to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes so tomatoes release their juices. Scatter a big handful of baby arugula on a serving platter; top with tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese and bacon. Season well with salt and pepper; serve immediately.

homemade tomato sauce recipe

Classic tomato sauce for canning or freezing.

At the Ohio Ecological Food & Farming Association conference last spring, I attended a session on home canning and food preserving. The speaker shared a simple three-step technique for making tomato sauce, and it struck me as a truly genius recipe for homemade tomato sauce.

Here’s the deal: First, puree whole tomatoes in a blender. Second, run the puree through a food mill to extract the peels and seeds. Third, let this sit overnight to separate some of the liquid before cooking it into sauce.

If you’ve made homemade tomato sauce before, whether you can it in jars or freeze it to enjoy during winter, you know that it’s kind of a pain in the neck. A rewarding one, to be sure — it’s extremely satisfying to see those jars full of deliciousness at the end of the process. Peeling tomatoes is a pain, even if you use a speedier technique like blanching them to slip off their skins. You end up with a lot of waste, because it’s hard to extract every last bit of tomato flesh from those skins. And because the raw tomato mixture is so liquid, it takes a longer time to reduce it to sauce consistency.

This method beats those problems: Pureeing then milling the tomatoes yields every last bit of pulp. (From about 3/4 bushel of tomatoes, I ended up with just 4 cups of seeds/skins.) It’s much easier to mill tomato puree than whole raw tomatoes. Letting the tomato puree sit overnight allows some of the clear tomato broth to settle out so you can skim it off. (Reserve this tomato broth — it’s great for mixing Bloody Marys, cooking rice or making soup.) That step means you start with a more concentrated puree that requires less cooking time to reduce to sauce.

What follows is not so much a recipe for homemade tomato sauce, but more of a technique. Adapt it for a larger or smaller quantity of tomatoes. Tinker with the seasonings as you like. (I’m going to try another batch of homemade tomato sauce with yellow tomatoes and spices, based on this recipe for Spiced Sun Gold Tomato Sauce).

One last tip: Buy “canners” or “uglies” — blemished, overripe or bruised tomatoes — at your farmers’ market. At my market, canners were $1 per pound; I made 7 pints of sauce for $6.

classic Italian tomato sauce

(makes 6–7 pint jars)

You can begin with any quantity of tomatoes and adjust the seasonings as you go. Wash and quarter about 1 bushel ripe red tomatoes. Working in batches, puree the tomatoes in a blender. Transfer the puree to a food mill and, working over a very large bowl, process to remove seeds and skins. When you've processed all the tomatoes, re-process the seeds and skins to extract the maximum amount of pulp. Cover the bowl(s) and refrigerate overnight. From 1 bushel of tomatoes, you may have about 28 cups of liquid.

The next day, skim off all the pulp and some of the juice, leaving about 4 cups of clear liquid behind. (Transfer this tomato broth to a container and freeze for later use.) In a large pot (or 2 medium ones), heat the tomato puree over high heat until boiling; reduce heat and simmer (the mixture should bubble gently) until thickened and reduced by about 1/3, about 90 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon sugar (or to taste), 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or to taste) and 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb blend (or to taste).

Meanwhile, heat a generous glug of olive oil in a large skillet. Add 1 large onion, minced, and 1 head garlic, minced; season with a generous pinch of salt. Sauté until the vegetables are very soft and translucent but not brown, about 8 minutes. Stir the mixture into the tomato sauce. Continue cooking for 20 minutes blend flavors. Taste and adjust seasonings.

At this point, you can either cool the sauce to portion into freezer-safe jars or bags for freezing, or ladle it into pint or quart jars and process according to instructions at


Fantastic local food fundraiser.

If you’ve been following along here, you know my love for Findlay Market. It’s truly a gem of Cincinnati, a hub where people who grow, produce, raise, sell, buy and love local food come together. Findlay Market is about more than simply transactions, it’s about connections and community.

I’ve been involved in Findlay Market in different ways for many years (including, um, that cookbook I wrote). So you bet I’ll be there for the market’s signature annual fundraising event, Eat Local for the Globe.


It’s such a fun time, a great value (c’mon: where else in town can you enjoy creations by folks like Stephen Williams, Julie Francis, Todd Hudson, Jean-Robert de Cavel, Molly Wellmann and Todd Kelly for $75?) — and a great cause.

Plus, I’ll be there signing cookbooks! Join us, won’t you? Mark Thursday, September 10 on your calendar and get yer tickets now.

tomato salad dressing made in the sunshine |

Fresh tomato salad dressing.

You know how perfectly ripe summer tomatoes taste like sunshine? Well, this super easy salad dressing tastes like sunshine times two.

That’s because those perfectly ripe summer tomatoes, chopped and mixed with garlic and herbs, spend some quality time — again — in the sun. That’s right: You simply mix the ingredients for this fresh tomato salad dressing recipe in a big jar and let it sit in the sunshine for a few hours. Delicious, right?

Even better: this easy tomato dressing is super versatile. Use it on salad, for sure. (During my recent tomato-themed class at the Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s, we served this over grilled romaine with shaved Parmesan — AMAZING!) But also on pasta salad. On grilled fish or chicken. As a dip for pita chips or topping for crusty bread.

Make this tomato dressing recipe while those red beauties are perfectly sun-ripened and the afternoons are long and warm. There’ll never be a better time!

sunny day tomato salad dressing

2 large perfectly ripe, right-out-of-the-garden summer tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 clove garlic, smashed with a pinch of salt to make a paste
2 Tbsp. (packed) chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
pinch of sugar
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine everything together in a lidded glass jar or bottle; season to taste with salt and pepper. Cap the container and place it in a sunny spot [like, I dunno, in your kitchen herb garden?] for 4 or 5 hours. Dressing can be refrigerated, but be sure to serve it at room temperature.

18 best recipes to make this summer.

We’re in prime summer produce season here in the Midwest, when tomatoes are still going strong, sweet corn has a few weeks left, squashes are abundant. I love this time of year, as summer yields to fall and it seems we have the best of both. In that spirit, I give you 18 best summer recipes that you absolutely must make while all this great food is available. Don’t wait: The offerings at your farmers’ market will change before you know it!