Homemade Granola

June 29, 2008

When getting ready to go away for more than a couple days I usually make a batch of granola to take with me. It is a staple for camping and is great for long car rides when you need something nutritious and quick. 

The following is the recipe I use. I often double or quadruple it so I have lots. It is quite versatile and can be changed to anyone’s tastes. It can be enjoyed as is or with milk for breakfast. It’s also delicious on yogurt. Enjoy!

Granola

2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup raw nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, etc)

½ cup raisins, craisins or goji berries

½ cup honey

1T canola oil

½ tsp. cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil 13″ x 9″ baking pan. Spread oatmeal, nuts and raisins in pan. In a small saucepan bring to a boil the honey, oil, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over oatmeal combination and stir until evenly distributed. Bake for 30 minutes; stirring every 10 minutes. Pour granola onto wax paper to cool and store in glass jar or plastic bag.

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A fun night for me includes cooking dinner, preferably with a good glass of wine and some friends or family. Going out to eat gets more difficult as I get older.  If I’m going to pay someone else to make my dinner, it had better be as good as, or better than, what I can make at home, otherwise what’s the point? Fortunately I have friends and family who feel the same way.

 

In walk the Wild Women.  I’m not sure who came up with the name but it started because the first time many of us met (most of us only knew my sister) was on a rustic weekend where we learned how to dogsled. By rustic I mean outhouses in January in Northern Minnesota, woodstove heat in our cabin that we had to get up in the middle of the night to add more wood to and no running water or telephones or TV… you get the point. There was electricity but it was solar and had to be conserved. There is more to this story but maybe another time.

 

We didn’t know then how much we all enjoyed cooking. It was on a second trip that this became more evident. This one was cross-country skiing, also in Northern Minnesota. Only this time we stayed in a beautiful two-story fully furnished cabin. Here part of the weekend was planned to cook food together and we had some wonderful meals.

 

We’ve done a few things since then; small bike trips, a hot air balloon attempt – we never had decent enough weather to go before the owner died; making our pre-paid tickets void- and a few potluck and restaurant get togethers. But a few months ago we decided it would be fun to get together once a month and cook dinner together.

 

I have come to appreciate and anticipate these nights. We all tend to be a bit adventurous and don’t mind trying new things. And of course we all love to cook – and eat.

 

Following is the recipe for the decadent chocolate dessert we had on that cross-country skiing weekend. It still gets mentioned from time to time. It is quite rich but we have an ongoing argument about the term “too rich.” You be the judge.

 

 

Warm Chocolate Soufflés with Bittersweet Sauce

 

This recipe is from the cookbook “Linda McCartney On Tour”

 

Serves 6

 

1 cup superfine sugar, plus 6 teaspoons

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces

pinch of sea salt

4 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 medium organic egg whites

Confectioners’ sugar to decorate

Bittersweet Sauce (see below)

 

Lightly butter six individual soufflé dishes and sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar into each one. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the chocolate, a pinch of salt, the cocoa powder, and 3 Tablespoons of the sugar. Mix until smooth, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow it to cool slightly.

Whisk the egg whites until they become stiff, then whisk in the cup of sugar until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. Stir 2-3 Tablespoons of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the rest.

Spoon the chocolate mixture into the soufflé dishes, filling each about two-thirds full. Place the dishes on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15- 20 minutes, until the soufflés have puffed up and set lightly.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm or cold.

 

 

Bittersweet Sauce

(I made the sauce a bit thicker than what this makes)

 

½ cup strong black coffee

3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

¾ cup unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces

½ cup warmed light dairy or soy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Gently heat the coffee in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat before adding the confectioners’ sugar and continue to heat until it bubbles.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then stir in the cream and vanilla extract.

 

(I broke open the souffle and put the sauce inside. It would also work to put on a plate and place the souffle on top of the sauce)

 

I love cookbooks! Any time I am in a bookstore you know where to find me. I love to look at the pictures, I use them for cooking new things and I even read them in bed. I read them from cover to cover, always looking for new little tidbits of information or perhaps a new technique or ingredient. 

 

One of my latest purchases has been absolutely wonderful and I highly recommend it. It is Mollie Katzen’s, “The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without.” I have yet to try a recipe that wasn’t delicious. The recipes are alphabetical by vegetable which makes it easy to find a recipe for whatever you have on hand or is in season. Some recipes are quite simple, such as the Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Others although not difficult do take some time, like the Green Beans Amandine, which have wonderful leek “chips” that take a while to make but are well worth it.

 

I’ve been asked for several recipes of things I’ve made from this book. These recipes have also pursuaded some friends and family that they now “need” this cookbook.

 

And I am happy to note that I’ve discovered someone else who also reads cookbooks in bed.