Friday, December 12, 2008

Crunchy Granola

According to an email from foodieblogroll today, the widget is on my blog, but I'll be darned if I can see it, lol. I went over to their site and sure enough, found my blog listed with the others. Right now I don't understand, but I'm sure not going to complain, and am going to get in touch with Sherrie( and ask her to help me...Sherrie, I saw your comment, so thank you, I appreciate you. A LOT!!!

Yesterday I kinda went crazy in the kitchen, but since it was chilly, grey, very, very rainy(which was wonderful and we still need lots more rain), it was a perfect day to do that. I made a batch of homemade granola, another tofu eggnog cheesecake, and then for dinner, a pot of Cauliflower/Potato Soup. There's enough soup left for dinner(do you say dinner or supper, btw? I used to say supper, but now it's dinner...don't know why.)tonight, plus enough to freeze for another time, a time when I won't want to cook.

The granola is from "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian," by Mark Bittman, one of the books on my wish list. So, without further ado, here's his recipe:

Crunchy Granola

6C rolled oats(not instant or quick-cooking)
2C mixed nuts and seeds, like sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, and sesame seeds
1C shredded coconut 1tsp.ground cinnamon, or to taste Dash salt
1/2 to 1C honey or maple syrup, or to taste
1C.raisins or chopped dried fruit.

1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
2. Put a 9X13-inch roasting pan over medium-low heat(put the pan over 2 burners if it's convenient). Add the oats and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to change color and become fragrant, 3-5 minutes.
3. Add the nuts and seeds and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the coconut and cook, stirring for 2 minutes more. Add the cinnamon, salt, and sweetener, stir, and put in the oven. Bakde for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice.
4. Add the dried fruit, stir,cool on a rack, continuing to stir once in a while until the granola reaches room temperature. Transfer to a sealed container and store in the refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.

A couple of his variations: use 1/2C coconut milk with 1/4 or more honey; add 2 Tbs. vanilla extract to the sweeteners. Omit the coconut if you like.

So, there's the recipe, and here's how I ended up making it. I didn't have any shredded coconut, so I added the 1/2C coconut milk to the honey, for a total of 1C. I also added the two Tbs. vanilla...I love vanilla. I used cashews for the nuts, they were all I had, and I used two snack-size boxes of raisins, as that was all I had, also. My 9X13 pan turned out to be too flimsy to heat over the burners, even on very low heat, and started to scorch the oats, so they didn't really get toasted the way they should've been. Next time I will use a heavy skillet. I will also leave the granola in the oven longer than 20 minutes, as it didn't come out dry and crispy, just sort of damp and chewy. But, it's still good, and since I had everything already here, it didn't cost me anything, and I have a lot of cereal now. Oh, I will also buy some shredded coconut when I make this again, and then will only use the honey for the sweetener.

As for the soup, I didn't use a recipe, just cooked it by gosh and by gorry, lol. I finely diced one large carrot, half a good-sized onion, and one large stalk of celery. While these cooked gently in about two tbs. of evoo and margarine, I peeled and diced three medium potatoes, and added those to the mix, along with a good tsp. of minced garlic. Then I added a 16-oz. bag of frozen cauliflower, and a 32-oz.carton of low-sodium vegetable broth, let it come to a boil, and simmered it until everything was very soft, about 30 minutes. When the veggies were all soft, I used my immersion blender to puree it, and there ya are: soup. Thick, good, nice and hot, and perfect for a rainy, chilly evening.

Another thing I've prepared this week is Cashew Butter. As much as I love peanut butter, it hates me with a passion, so when I get the urge for a PB&J, I make cashew butter. It's really easy, too. All I do is dump a can of cashew pieces into my blender, and start off with about 4Tbs. of vegetable oil, in this case, I used safflower. I use the pulse button for a few turns, to chop the nuts, and then change to blend. The hardest part about this is having to continuously scrape down the sides of the blender, as the blender will reach a point where it's just spinning, all the nuts and oil have been slung onto the sides. So, that's the time to start adding more oil, a tbs. at a time, until it reaches the consistency you'd like. Mine was very crunchy, as I like it that way. And I enjoyed several cashew butter and strawberry jam sammiches!!! CB&J's, lol.

Until next time, Happy Eating!

1 comment:

Sherrie said...

That sounds good to me !!!! And I have never heard of Cashew Butter. Way to go JB !

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