Part XXIX: Whole
I feel like there’s a lot of cooking-blog cliches that get beaten to death, and most of the alleged beatings go on in the introduction. Things like:
– This cake is SOOOOO chocolatey, good thing it’s marginally healthy so I can eat EIGHT OF THEM.
– Spring is in the air! Let’s make [insert seasonally appropriate soup/salad here]
– People that know me know I LOVE granola.
Ok. That last one. That last one really gets to me, on one of those really small, I have an itch on my back and I can’t scratch it and I’m on a 5 hour plane ride (exhale) levels.
Look. If I know you, you don’t have to tell me you love granola. I know you love it. You probably talk about it all the damn time, judging by those giant capital letters. You probably see dried apples and oats in a mason jar and go all Christmas morning on anyone within a 50-feet radius. (That’s me. I’m that guy.)
If I don’t know you, then just tell me you love granola. I don’t need to know that I’m not part of your special little friend-group that knows you SO intimately that they know your favorite kind of cereal. Congratulations, you figured out Sarah likes Oreo O’s, guess you can date her now. Shut the hell up.
So let’s keep it simple.
I freaking love granola. It’s awesome. You can put damn near anything in it, and it still maintains its awesomeness. It’s easy to make, and it’s nearly always delicious. There. No beating around the bush, no exclusive clubs. Just flavor.
Specifically, Pomegranate-Gingerbread Granola flavor.
Here’s what you need:
– 3 cups rolled oats
– 1 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
– 1 cup hulled sunflower seeds
– 1 cup shredded coconut
– 1 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
– 3/4 cup maple syrup
– 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
– some salt
– 1 cup pomegranate Craisins
– 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon ground ginger
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Here’s what you do:
Ok, I’m not gonna screw around here and pretend this is a super-exciting, 5-course, 40 minutes a day with Rachel freaking Ray kind of recipe. It isn’t. It’s pretty much just mixing everything in a bowl and shoving it in the oven. But I’m gonna go through all the steps anyway, because
A: There’s some weird ingredients in there and you’re probably gonna want to know why,
B: It’s a cooking blog and it’s gonna look pretty terrible without an actual recipe, and
C: It’s really, really freaking good.
Also my girlfriend took all those pictures so I’m gonna damn well make you look at them. Otherwise I’m just describing oats and then playing a song afterwards. Not much of a blog now is it? No. No it isn’t.
Preheat your oven to 300.
Like I said before, pretty much all your ingredients (except for the Craisins, those are later) go in right away. And like I also said, I have all those pretty pictures to use. So, get a big bowl handy, and add:
Pumpkin seeds (they’re called pepitas sometimes, but whatever brainless clod you run into at the nearest Whole Foods should be competent enough to figure out that pumpkins come from seeds and you want those seeds).
Sunflower seeds (forgot to buy those, so no picture this time).
Coconut (the original recipe called for unsweetened coconut chips, I used sweetened shredded coconut and it came out just fine. Just get some kind of coconut in pieces, don’t complicate the damn thing).
Olive oil. Now I know, you read that in the ingredients list and thought it was a typo, or I was drunk, or something. It’s there on purpose, and it has nothing to do with the olive flavor (which you won’t even taste regardless). Adding the olive oil allows it to mix all up with the sugars in the brown sugar and syrup and smooth the whole thing out. When you take it out of the oven, instead of being all lumpy and chunky like normal granola, you get a kind of half-granola half-brittle hybrid, like this:
Once you break it up (and you’re gonna do this WAY more than regular brittle, obviously. Because that’s how fitting things in a bowl works) it’ll have the perfect amount of crunch.
Last, all the spices and seasonings: salt, cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg.
Once your bowl’s full, mix it all together and pour it onto a baking sheet. Make sure it’s smooth and flat, because that’s how you get the nice texture I was talking about up there.
Stick it in the oven 15 minutes and stir.
After another 15 minutes, add the Craisins and stir again.
Take the granola out after another 15 minutes (that’s 45 minutes total, math fans) and let it cool.
Normally with granola you want to break it up while its still in the baking sheet, but because this one’s different you’re gonna want to take a different approach. Break it up into large pieces instead, and put all those pieces in a large tupperware or some such container. Once you do that you can just go to hell on it with a big wooden spoon, and it should break up nice and easy.
Once you’ve done that…EAT. Preferably over some Greek yogurt. That stuff’s gold.
Of course, crunchy granola deserves a crunchy beat. Here’s Count Bass D with No.3 Pencil:
Like I said: I don’t like cliches, and I don’t like people making me dance a damn jig just to figure out what they like. You like something? Say it. Say it from the high heavens, and don’t make it complicated. Granola’s awesome, I like it a whole lot. Done deal. See you next time.
I based the recipe on this slightly more boring one: