There are many reasons to celebrate this Saturday: it's the weekend, it's St. Patrick's Day, and it's the beginning of spring. Dust off those baskets, those blankets, and those sunglasses -- and grab a few beers. You deserve a long, leisurely picnic out in the sun; an afternoon nap is optional, but recommended.
Probably not the sort of flapjacks you have in mind, these are what all granola bars aspire to be. Chewy, crispy and rich with butter, these oatmeal squares (or wedges, like ours) are made with golden syrup (the British answer to maple syrup, only milder), rolled oats, and a variety of seeds (pumpkin, sesame and sunflower). - Amanda & Merrill
Serves 9-20 depending on greediness
1 cup butter
2/3 cups sugar
heaped 1/3 cups golden syrup
4 1/4 cups 1 minute oats
1 heaping tablespoon flour
1 pinch salt
2 handfuls pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
scant 1/4 cups sesame seeds
1. Heat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas 4. If you have a fan or convection oven reduce the temperature and cooking time but ideally turn the fan off. Line a 20 x 30 cm baking tin with greaseproof paper (parchment paper)
2. In a large pan, heat together the butter, sugar and golden syrup over a gentle heat, stirring until the butter has melted. Tip in the flour, oats, salt and seeds and stir to combine.
3. Tip your pan and spread evenly without pressing down too hard. Bake in the oven for roughly 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden (they will be slightly darker at the edges). Cut them, whilst still in the pan, straight from the oven and then leave to cool and set in the pan.
This is my favorite quick bread recipe of all: an Irish brown soda bread that my mother has made for years. Now, this is not the slightly sweet, raisin-studded bread you may be expecting. This soda bread is more rustic and hearty, and totally savory. It's made with a combination of white and whole wheat flour and oats, and toasted wheat germ gives the loaf a wonderful nutty depth. Buttermilk keeps the bread from being dry. I like thick slices of it smeared with lots of salted butter. - Merrill
Pomegranate molasses is something that wouldn't have occurred to us to slather on a baked ham, but it turns out it's genius. It's sweet but also tart -- a great partner for spicy Dijon and black pepper -- and highlights the smoky porkiness of the ham rather than overpowering it. - Amanda & Merrill
This is the kind of adult walnut confection that should be served at your favorite cocktail bar. Don't be afraid to up the sage by half or reduce the sugar a little depending on your taste. Either way, you'll be munching on these til kingdom come. Highly addictive. - Amanda & Merrill
For me, the fresh, bold flavors in the salad are the reason for its success, and I found that grilling the potatoes can distract from this. But by all means use the grill if you'd like -- just blanch the potatoes first, and then finish them on skewers on the grill for a few minutes. - Merrill
This salad is ideal for making ahead for company (or tomorrow's lunch) and has been a mainstay on the menu at Northern Spy Food Co. in Manhattan's East Village since they opened in 2009. The kabocha is traded out with the seasons for things like fresh apricots, kohlrabi, or patty pan squash -- slices of apple or persimmon are also good when you don't feel like waiting for the squash to roast. - Kristen
It turns out that our friend Melissa Clark has just the recipe for such proper rum balls in her terrific new book In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite. What makes Melissa's rum balls peerless is that she uses Nabisco chocolate wafers, and a little honey to sweeten the "dough." - Amanda