Monday, July 5, 2010

An ode to granola, and the places I've been

You know what they say.

Time flies when you're having fun.

I have indeed, been having fun and keeping busy. Really busy. I have photographic evidence to prove it!

While taking a break from testing out tasty treats to write about I:

Grew a garden
Visited San Francisco
Went on a picnic and enjoyed time with friends
Turned 21.

And made a really good batch of granola.
Maybe the best I've ever made before.
I've got to fill you in on this, because it was just so good. When I received the June issue of Bon Appetit in the mail, the first thing that caught my eye was a recipe for granola. It was a good issue, filled with all sorts of summer BBQ ideas, fruity desserts, and refreshing cocktails. And yet. Homemade granola caught my eye.
You've got to understand though. I really like granola.

I'm not generally one to brag, but last year I ate a bowl of granola every single day. And I'm not going to lie, on some days, multiple bowls of granola were consumed. To say I love granola is an understatement. I adore it. The stuff is just so addicting. It's good with milk, yogurt, fruit, or plain, right out of the box. You can imagine that such a relationship with granola can get expensive, so I quickly looked into making my own. You can find recipes for homemade granola absolutely everywhere. There are so many to choose from, but few, I've found, that proved to be worth keeping. I found one recipe in which (to be safe) I halved the baking time, and STILL ended up with burnt granola. It is a pretty sad experience to toss five cups worth of could-be-awesome granola into the garbage. But listen everyone, I found a keeper! It's simple, versatile and works out every single time. I made a batch and it was gone in the matter of a couple days. I may, or may not have, eaten it for breakfast, lunch, and after dinner snack. Whatever...

Now that I am 21, I am working on pacing myself when it comes to granola. This recipe is making it pretty difficult, however, because I constantly have a batch on hand in the house. Ready to eat whenever, however.
Oh well. Such is life.
We live and we learn.

Everyday Granola
Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2010

I highly recommend going with some good-quality dried fruit in this recipe. Try something out of the ordinary. I used dried blueberries, but dried raspberries and cherries would be equally delicious.

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut*
3 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup assorted dried fruit

Preheat oven to 300 F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Stir honey and oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture; toss. Spread on prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden, stirring every 10 minutes, about 40 minutes. Place sheet on rack. Stir granola; cool. Mix in fruit. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight.

* Available at speciality food stores and natural food stores.