Thursday, October 4, 2012

Finally, Granola

Once upon a time, I worked in an office. It wasn't in an office building, mind you. It was on the top floor of a library, but it was still an office. It had three desks, no working printer anad no windows. Mostly I worked there alone. But occasionally, I would be joined by my colleague, with whom I would discuss geeky matters (the everlasting argument- 10 or 11? I'm an eleven girl myself),  or my boss, the only native Israeli I know who is obsessed with American football.  It was a friend of my boss,  popping his head in to say hi on a day when we were both there, who gave me the moniker. "Hey," he said "it's Tiki, the granola girl". It was then that I realized that at that moment I was indeed pouring granola into a cup of yogurt and that indeed, for the past week I had eaten granola and yogurt every single day. I lived up to my name.
But somewhere along the road, I stopped eating granola. I started working from home. I could eat any number of things for breakfast: toast with butter and honey; a fried egg; oatmeal. I needn't limit myself to things that were small and easily transportable. Plus, bought granola was getting expensive. And I was bored. So yogurt and granola fell on the wayside.  Then, about a month ago, a friend of mine messaged me on Facebook. She said, "let's make granola". Thinking of my nickname, I said, "ok".
I started perusing the great wide interwebs for ideas. One recipe in particular caught my eye. It was from one of my favorite food blogs, Not Derby Pie. There were two things that specifically grabbed my attention in Rivka's recipe. One was the tahini (or techina as we call it around here), the other was the candied ginger- two foods I unequivocally love. I figured it was a good place to start my forays into homemade granola.
Rivka says the granola will stay in an airtight container for a month. My first half-batch lasted two days. I ate it for breakfast-straight, without yogurt- and then again for snack and then again for lunch. I drew the line at dinner. So yes, the granola theoretically could stay for a month, but I dare you to try. You will not stop eating it.

Granola with Tahini and Honey
Adapted from Not Derby Pie
I made some changes to the recipe, of course, because I seem to be incapable of not tinkering. First off, Rivka's recipe calls for maple syrup. I used honey. Honey and tehini, if you have not tried the combination before is one of the world's most perfect things.  It is also quintessentially Israeli and given that I live in Israel I felt that I couldn't not use it in my granola.  In another change, I left out the seeds. Because, seeds.  Also, this: I don't really measure the nuts and dried fruit, nor do I stick to the ones listed when I make the granola. I add whatever I have about-raisins, dried cherries, apricots, dates, almonds, walnuts, etc- in whatever quantities look right to me. The batch pictured above had walnut, apricot, candied citrus peel and of course, candied ginger. Other batches have had other things. I'll give Rivka's amounts, but feel free to riff.

2 1/2 cups whole oats
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup tahini
1 tablespoon neutral oil (optional)
1 1/3 cups sliced of your nut (or nuts) of choice (almonds, walnuts, pecans etc)
2/3 cups dried fruit (dried cherries go quite nicely)
2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves

1.Put on some Florence and the Machine. You cannot make granola without Florence. Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Go into the bathroom to check on the state of your clogged sink. It is still clogged. Sigh in despair.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the tahini, honey, oil, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Manage to get honey all over the counter. Sigh. In a large bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients. Pour the honey-tehini mixture over the oats and mix with a fork until the oats start clumping and are slightly damp.

3. Spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Your house will begin to smell fantastic. So much so, that you will be eating a browned-butter chocolate chip cookie and think, I wish I was eating granola. Remove from oven, give it stir and bake for 10 minutes more. When it is cool and crisp transfer to an airtight container.

The granola will last, tightly sealed, for a month. (Ha!)

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