Monday, August 24, 2009

- Time to Cook: Garrison Trail Granola

One of the advantages of not finding a job right away is having time to get creative in the kitchen. Goaded by the disappearance of my favorite granola from Ukrops in the months leading up to our departure from Williamsburg, and my lack of success at finding an acceptable substitute in Texas, I decided to try making my own. Two batches later, I'm ready to release Granola: The Recipe (version 1.0)

Ingredients are key, especially the olive oil. Okay, I know you're shaking your head. Olive oil in granola? But trust me on this ... or at least trust the New York Times, source of the recipe inspiration. And if you do indeed trust me then you must use the best Spanish olive oil, which you can get from La Tienda in Williamsburg (yes, they do ship to Texas).

Likewise, the other ingredients should be as free from processing as they can be. If you read the Omnivore's Dilemma (as I just did), you'll understand why.   So here's the recipe. I'm sure it will change, but for now I can promise it will go well with yogurt and fruit (fresh or dried) for breakfast, or with vanilla Haagen Dazs drizzled with olive oil and sea salt for dessert.

Garrison Trail Granola (revised 4/29/2012)

1 lb. or so of rolled oats (or an 18 ounce box of Quaker Oats, not the quick cooking kind though)
1/2 raw pumpkin seeds (be sure all seeds and nuts are raw and unsalted)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup cashews, chopped coarsely 
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped coarsely  
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (not shredded if possible)
2/3 cup maple syrup (100% pure, preferably Grade B)
1/3 cup olive oil 
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey)

Combine the first four ingredients in a very large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the maple syrup and olive oil, then microwave on high for 1 minute. Whisk the salt and vanilla into the warm syrup and oil, then pour over the dry ingredients. Mix well and spread into two large cookie sheets with sides.

Bake at 225 for two hours (or more). Turn the granola every 20-30 minutes so that it toasts evenly. Let it cool and store in air-tight containers.

- The View from Wimberley

Today marks one month since Don and I arrived in Wimberley, Texas.  The boxes are (mostly) unpacked, the pictures are (mostly) hung, and reality is starting to sink in ... we're here to stay for awhile.

It's hot and dry in a record-setting, not-since-the-1950s sorta way.  There have been more than 60 days of triple-digit heat this summer ... fortunately we've only been here for half of them.  Besides, the air is dry and the wind is usually blowing, which helps.  We've also learned that getting things done in the morning before the heat of the day is a pretty good idea.

In my favorite picture so far, this roadrunner made an appearance on one of the backroads a few miles from our house. 

Update: In 2010 we moved just outside Wimberley to a five-acre homestead in Summer Mountain Ranch. We still love roadrunners, but now we just have to drive through the neighborhood to see them. Life is good.