Saturday, December 15, 2012

Home for Lunch

Finally, the nights are cooling down and the fog has rolled in. Each morning, the other side of the canyon disappears into a silvery damp, and the world appears to end beyond the front orchard: fruit trees yield to emptiness. It's beautiful.

But, even if the world is invisible, it is still there, and I have to enter it each day as I drive away from our warm cocoon and into a vat of teen hormones, humor, and horrors. Each day, I carry my lunch. More often than not, my lunch consists of fruit and cereal of some sort. This week, it will be persimmons from our miracle tree and this granola, spicy and warm. I'll be bringing home with me to the world.

Warming Granola
I adapted this recipe from Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain. Boyce's original recipe calls only for seeds, no nuts, and cayenne, not chipotle. The ginger juice is also my addition (though next time I make this, I'll add more of it), as are some tinkerings with proportions. I was originally drawn to this recipe by the addition of the sesame and poppy seeds, and both, when mixed here with the honey syrup remind me fleetingly of that addictive sesame brittle that comes in tiny, wrapped rectangles. What I also like about the way this recipe turned out is the nutty, hauntingly-smoky granola that feels like something other than granola. It has heft, as real food should.

For the dry mix, you will need:
4 cups oats
2 cups raw almonds
1/3 cup golden flax seeds
1/3 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle

For the syrup, you will need:
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ginger juice (squeeze fresh ginger through the garlic press--though I used 1 teaspoon this time, next time I will go for more)
3/4 stick (3 ounces) butter
1 teaspoon salt

Optional add in:
1 cup of dried fruit, raisins work well, candied ginger would be nice (but you probably wouldn't need a full cup), as would diced dried persimmons, pears, or apples.

To make the granola:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat liners.

Measure the dry mix into a large bowl and toss all of them together.

Measure the honey, brown sugar, ginger juice, butter, and salt into a sauce pan. Place the pan over medium flame and stir as soon as the ingredients melt into each other. Cook until the syrup comes to an even, assertive boil, about six minutes.

After the syrup has boiled, pour it over the dry mixture, stirring with a spatula to make sure that every flake is coated lightly with syrup. Scoop the mixture out onto the baking sheets; each sheet should have a layer just shy of one centimeter thick.

Place the sheets in the oven and bake for ten minutes. Remove the sheets from the oven and scrape the outer edges of the granola towards the center and the center out to the edges. Return the pans to the oven, switching the baking sheets so that what was on top is on bottom and vice versa. Repeat the baking and scraping a second and third time, for a total of 30 minutes.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the granola to cool thoroughly on the pans; cooling on the pans will allow the mixture to cool in clumps. Carefully place the clumps and loose pieces in jars, a hand full of clumps followed by a few of whatever optional add ins, layer after layer. Lid the jars and store somewhere cool and dry.

This recipe makes about ten cups of granola.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

What a unique granola. I like the idea of chipotle and ginger in it, so sophisticated. My husband has been nearly begging me to make him some granola, I might try this one for him.