Road Food- The Energy Bar For A Queen

Well, whaddyaknow, but I am back on the road again. Took a 2500 mile road trip (solo) last weekend down to Southern Florida and back, this weekend I am flying out to Dallas for my Fiancee’s induction into the Women’s Softball Hall of Fame (YES! she IS amazing!!!), and the weekend after that I drive another 1500 mile loop out to Indianapolis.

I will say that road food has improved in some ways in recent years. It’s now possible to get fresh fruit cut and prepared, salad, and non fried meals on the go. It really is wonderful to see these offerings, and even better to see that people are opting for them.

Yet even with these better options, I do my best to take along a snack bag that I can ice down and bring some of my own things. Not only is it cheaper and removes any mystery, it also saves time. I carry fruit and low fat mozzarella sticks, sometimes yogurt in containers and- of course- these bars.

There are a lot of power bar recipes out there these days- I am certainly not reinventing the wheel here, but I will admit that I like mine the best. First off they are not overly sweet, which I find is a real problem for these bars. Yes, they are meant for energy, but pure honey, agave or syrups are just too much for me. I feel like that starts leading these treats into the direction of candies and I’m not really keen on that.

I use dates as my base. It’s a great option- high in fiber, iron and not overly sweet. Personally I am not a date fan on their own, but when combined with the other ingredients, you can’t tell they’re in there.

So this is one of those recipes that you have some latitude. I will provide you with my recipe, but feel free to tweak to your hearts content.

Here are my combinations:

Date/Oats/Peanut Butter and Dried Cherries
Date/Oat/Cocoa Nib/Coconut

I store mine in the fridge in small grab and go bags. They’re great post work out, or just to keep in your bag when you’ve got one of those long days ahead of you.

One note: Though they are healthy and full of nutritious ingredients, they ARE calorie dense- so in the words on Bonquiqui “Don’t go CRAY-ZAY”

The Method is the same for all- place all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz to even consistency. If your mixture is a little dry, add a teaspoon of water one at a time until you get a sticky clay feel. You want to avoid mushiness, but too dry and they crumble. Err to the moister side of things.

Date Oat Peanut Butter and Dried Cherries:

2 C pitted dates
3T fresh ground peanut butter
1c instant oats
1 fist-full of dried cherries
Pinch of salt

Date Oat Pistachio Cinnamon

2c pitted dates
1c instant oats
1c shelled unsalted pistachios
1t ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

Date Oat Coca Nib Coconut

2c pitted dates
1c instant oats
.5c cocoa nibs
1c shredded unsweetened coconut

After you’ve made your doughs you can either pat them into a square pan then cut into bars, or pinch and roll into balls. I obviously rolled the CocoNib balls in more coconut- but you can also roll them in finely chopped nuts, or nothing at all.

They store for a real long time in the fridge- if you can get them to last that long.

Roasted Salmon Rosettes with Pistachio Cruda

Because it’s the simple little touches that can make all the difference. Tucking salmon into pretty little rosettes looks fiddly, but is really quite simple, and for so little effort, how lovely.

Cold Salmon is sliced into long thin strips and the rolled and tucked into little bundles. You could pin with a toothpick if you desire, but I find that they hold together just fine on their own.

I oiled them with a light olive oil and gave each rosette a healthy grind of pepper and splash of salt-Simplicity at it’s grandest.
The sauce is a sort of herby “cruda”, fresh chopped herbs tossed with lemon zest and pistachios. The result is a bright light sauce with a little crunch. Serve this sauce on top of just about any fish (including lobster or shrimp) or even a grilled lamb chop or chicken. It also takes to the addition of a chili or two, if you like that bit of bite.
The rosettes are also delightful served at room temp, making this a lovely presentation for a buffet or brunch party- a tray of pretty pink blossoms.
Salmon Rosettes with Pistachio Cruda
serves 6-8 depending on size of rosettes
(sauce adapted from Gourmet March 2005)
2# fresh Salmon filet, from mid section
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves and stems, chopped
4T chopped fresh mint
1 small clove garlic
.5 c shelled unsalted pistachios
1 lemon, zested and juiced
.5 c fruity olive oil
S & P
If your fish monger hasn’t done it for you, remove the skin from the salmon.
With a thin bladed knife, cut .25″ (or thinner) strips of salmon. The colder the salmon the easier this will be. Consider popping the fish into the freezer for a few minutes if it helps.
Starting at one end of a salmon strip, fold it over to make the center “bud”. If you can’t do this- let it go, it’s just a nice added touch.  Then wrap the strips of salmon around the center, overlapping the way rose petal do. I used 2 per rosette, but you can improvise here to make your flowers look good.
Place on oiled baking pan and sprinkle with a light olive oil, a healthy grind of black pepper and a sprinkling of salt. Roast in a 350˚ oven for ~ 12 mins
Rough chop the parsley and mint and place into a medium sized bowl.
Rough chop the pistachios and toss in on top of herbs.
Smash and finely mince garlic and add into bowl, along with lemon zest and juice. Stir in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
It’s best to make the salsa a little in advance to allow the zest and garlic to infuse into the oil. I’ve made this as far ahead as a day and it was divine.