Monday, April 07, 2008

Granola, slang for Liberal- ha

For the past year, really 6 months, I have been eating oats in the morning. I attempt to eat it daily but haven’t surpassed the once a week threshold. When oats are cooked with water or milk they look gooey, taste bland and have a pretty crappy after taste. Sometimes it’s so painful I close my eyes and pinch my nose and finish the bowl at work (forcefully). It’s a ritual; I am sure coworkers wonder if I am making myself eat dirt. Even though bad looks and taste are generally grounds for strike out in my book, I won’t eliminate oats because they have an abundance of nutrients and offer health benefits for the body.

After reading Molly’s post about homemade granola, I wanted to make a batch for our household. Granola is the basic all-encompassing health food that can be eaten in place of morning cereal or afternoon snack. It consists mostly of oats, dried fruits and nuts. Oats come in multiple forms: groats, rolled and instant. For people short on time, instant suffice but I personally prefer rolled oats, also known as old fashioned oats. Granola is almost always made with rolled oats. When I read homemade, I quickly jumped on the band wagon.

I searched high and low for a good recipe and found one I liked. Most recipes called for either sunflower seeds, shredded coconut or both. I never have sunflower seeds in my pantry so decided against adding those. I wanted to add coconut but didn't because the husband threatened to not eat the granola if it had coconut. And that's when I almost hit him with a wooden spoon. I used the Slashfood recipe as a guide, cut their recipe in half and combined ideas from various sources to make my own. Don’t be surprised.

Granola (Adapted mostly from Slashfood)

1 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/8 cup sesame seeds
1/8 cup toasted wheat germ
1 tbsp Flax seed
1/4 cup dried fruit, I used dates
1/8 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup honey

Heat oven to 300F degrees. Toast almonds in a heavy sheet pan for 6 minutes. In a large bowl, mix the oats, sesame seeds, wheat germ, and flax seeds. Add toasted almonds. If you have a 1/8 measuring cup, use it to measure oil-I didn’t so I used a 1/4 cup and poured oil until it was half full. It’s important to add oil first because it keeps honey from sticking to the cup. Measure honey and add to the bowl with oats (twice if you’re using a 1/8 cup). Mix everything well enough so the oats and grains have a coating of oil and honey. Pour the mixture in a heavy sheet pan. Bake for 30 minutes with a wooden spoon. Stir everything half way through the cooking process. When finished baking, add dates (or dried fruit of your liking) and combine. It is important to stir gently when it’s warm to avoid breaking the mixture and large clumps.

So you ask, why isn’t there a picture of this fabulous granola? There isn’t a picture because I did not stir half way through the baking as clearly stated in the recipe. And if that wasn't enough I read the temperature 300F as 400F. damn those numbers screwing with my head. When turning on the oven, I cranked up the heat to 400F so when it was done we had few burnt pieces. Fortunately it wasn’t all burnt so I rescued everything else. This goes back to my earlier point about being a professional baker. Not happening.

Regardless of my own stupidity, the granola was scrumptious the next morning. It wasn’t too sweet and just a little scorched. Even with a slight burnt taste, we finished it in a week. This weekend I’ll make another (bigger) batch with the oven on at 300F.

I must say I am happy to have found a recipe that will replace my disturbing oat-eating morning routine. I am a permanent convert.


liz said...

mmmmm... your granola recipe sounds delicious!

my friend who is jamaican makes a really yummy oatmeal which she says is the jamaican way of doing it. you use quick oats and instead of water or milk, you use condensed milk (probably some regular milk too). you also add lots of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. it tastes like dessert.

valereee said...

I eat oatmeal almost every day, too! I eat a stoneground product, and I have to say it doesn't taste like the oatmeal I grew up eating. If you can't fnd stoneground, try pinhead oats -- much yummier than the stuff you find in the cardboard tube! And that aftertaste is probably...well, rolled and stoneground oats go rancid fast. :( I keep my stoneground oatmeal in the freezer.

liberal foodie said...

liz your friend's recipe sounds really good, especially with the addition of vanilla. thanks!

val where do you get stoneground or pinhead oats. Thanks for the tip on both of those.

Amber said...

You know what is weird, my husband can not stand coconut either. I got some generic store bought granola to see if he could tell the difference. I thought it was great, but he detected some coconut. Sure enough, after checking the ingredients he was correct.

I eat instant oatmeal everyday two. Sometimes two packs! I love the squishy texture.

Mallika said...

Funny that I almost choked on my water based oat porridge breakfast. Ha ha. Sounds lovely, the granola and you've given me some pretty idiot-proof instructions.

liberal foodie said...

cin twin, maybe it's a man thing? He doesn't like anything with coconut- thai curries that have coconut milk, coconut macaroons have recently passed for okay. The only thing he'll eat is coconut cake.

I think for me, it's the gooey texture that makes me feel like I am eating baby food. and it's bland so that makes it taste like food for the sick. probably bad analogies but I can't get over the taste and texture. thankfully I've found a recipe for granola.

Mallika, Glad that I can entertain you with my stories. I have to write idiot proof recipes for myself, otherwise I repeat my mistakes.