Cooking From Memory ~ A Recipe Journal

World’s Fair Granola

Posted in Breakfast & Brunch by Paul Gauche on February 26, 2010

You know how in a lot of families there are ways of describing favorite things? When something is ‘awesome’, ‘sweet’, ‘unbelievable’ or even the ‘bee’s knees’–that’s a vote of confidence and an affirmation as in… “Hey Jake, your drum work is just rad!” or “Gauche, you’re just the bee’s knees!’ or “The special effects in Avatar were way cool!”  In my family, when something was really, really “Over the top!” we attached the phrase “World’s Fair” to it as a tip of the hat to the national expositions that took place in many countries around the world. When I would ask my mom, “Are you making the World’s Fair cheesecake?”  we both knew that it was a favorite, took a lot of time and attention,  and, well, frankly, was worthy of international attention.

I call this World’s Fair Granola for those reasons. There are a million granola recipes out there, and this is just one more. But I think you’ll agree that it’s really a good one in a million. Whenever I head out of town to the Boundary Waters, a camping trip or on a writing break, I ask my sweet bride to “make a batch of World’s Fair Granola.”  It travels well and there’s a ton of yummy stuff in it.  Taste and see for yourself.


Ingredients ~

  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 sticks margarine (don’t use butter)
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds rolled oats
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup whole or shopped walnuts
  • 2 cups Grape Nuts Cereal
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • ½ cup flax seed
  • 1 pound shredded coconut
  • Various dried fruits, raisins, craisins, etc.

Method ~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the oil and margarine in a large roasting pan. Add the molasses, vanilla, brown sugar and salt and combine well. Cool slightly, then add remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly. Bake in the oven for a total of 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Granola should be golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool, then add raisins or craisins, or any other dried fruits you like. Store in an air tight jar or zip lock bags.


Roasted Acorn Squash

Posted in Appetizers & Hors d'œuvres,Vegetables by Paul Gauche on February 13, 2010


  • 2 Acorn Squash
  • 3-4 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, diced
  • olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground Cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon All Spice
  •  ¼ teaspoon Cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds. Cut the two squash halves into several sections following the ribs and place into a large bowl. Toss with the brown sugar, butter, olive oil and spices and salt.

Bake 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes—or… 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Classic Beef Stroganoff

Posted in Beef by Paul Gauche on February 11, 2010

With winter having arrived on New Year’s Day, it seemed like a good call for some comfort food. This is pretty much from Betty’s (Crocker) kitchen and from there into my own mom’s kitchen and, of course, into my kitchen. We shared this meal with a friend recently. The first words out of her mouth were, “Whoa! This is better than my dad’s beef stroganoff…” Everyone’s got a favorite Beef Stroganoff recipe, but what really makes this is the rich beef flavor from the consommé and the ketchup. A little worcestershire, some Tabasco or even cayenne and this is absolutely going to go airborne. Enjoy!

Ingredients ~

  • 1 pound beef tenderloin or Sirloin steak, about ½ inch thick
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 packages mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 – 10.5 ounce can condensed beef broth, or consommé
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 to 4 cups hot cooked egg noodles

Method ~

Cut the meat across the grain into ½ inch thick strips about 1 ½ inches long and set aside.

Heat the butter and oil in a large sauté pan. Add the mushrooms and the onion and cook, stirring frequently until the mushrooms have released their liquid and the chopped onion is tender. Remove from the sauté pan.

In the same sauté pan, brown and cook the meat until light brown. Reserving 1/3 cup of the beef broth, stir in remaining broth, the ketchup, garlic and salt. Cover; simmer 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend the reserved beef broth and flour. When the meat has simmered for 15 minutes, stir into meat mixture. Add the mushrooms and the onion. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Reduce heat. Gently stir in the sour cream. Heat and serve.

Serve over egg noodles.

Feisty Green Beans

Posted in Appetizers & Hors d'œuvres,Vegetables by Paul Gauche on February 7, 2010

Use a white wine that you’d want to drink after opening. And for those of you looking to speed things up, you don’t need to slice the green beans, but the extra work is worth the effort.

Ingredients ~

  • 1 pound green beans, cut into half inch segments
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • ½ teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • scant ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup / 120 ml crème fraîche or sour cream
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup / one handful of finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method ~

Cook the green beans in a pot of well-salted boiling water for about a minute, just long enough that they lose their raw edge. Drain and immediately immerce in ice-cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.

In a small bowl cover the raisins with scalding hot water for five minutes, drain and set aside.

Heat your largest skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil, garlic, onion, and bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions and garlic start to brown just a bit. Add the wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated. Carefully remove the bay leaves. Stir in the paprika, cumin, coriander, curry powder, salt, crushed red pepper flakes. Stir in the tofu and raisins and cook until heated through, a minute or so. Add the butter and green beans and stir until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the crème fraîche, then most of the almonds and most of the cilantro. Taste and add more salt and some pepper if you like. Serve topped with any remaining almonds and cilantro.

Serves 4 to 6.

Inspired by a recipe in Anna Getty’s Anna Getty’s Easy Green