Simple Pleasures

Christine arrived at my apartment carrying a 2-3 lb bag of rolled oats, a jar of coconut oil, and a package of almonds. Plunking them down on the table she announced, “We’re making granola.” Christine is one of those friends who is game for anything. Helping someone move? She’ll pitch in, and bring a bag of trail mix to keep everyone’s energy up. Need to spend the day trying to decide which clothes to keep and which go to good will? Christine will lend her discerning eye to the cause. She’ll probably also have wine handy for when the piles of clothes become too overwhelming. She is the friend who makes everything fun and rarely demands anything in return.
So when Christine says we’re making granola, I’m only too happy to oblige. Besides, I love granola, and for me, the simpler the better--save the vanilla clusters, puffed corn, or yogurt coated cranberries for someone who cares. I like my granola with some dried fruit for tang, a few nuts, sunflower seeds for texture, and a hint of bitter sweetness that comes from sesame--Anything fancier than that starts to feel like dessert.

The two of us started going through my cabinets and pulled out currants, pecans, honey, and after consulting the two recipes she brought with her, a bottle of toasted sesame oil. Using a large mixing bowl, we tossed everything together, stirring well to make sure that the honey and oils coated all the dry ingredients. Next we dumped the raw granola onto a baking sheet and spread it out evenly. We put the dish in the oven, and for the next hour sat in the kitchen, getting up every 10-15 minutes to stir the granola so that it cooked evenly. When it came out of the oven the granola was a golden brown. It was crunchy with a mellow sweetness punctuated with bits of dried fruit and nuts. Simplicity at its best.

5 Cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 Cup raw sunflower seeds
1 Cup raw almonds, or combination of nuts
1 Cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 Tbs. vanilla
1/4 Cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 Cup honey
1 Cup dried fruit (I like apricots, currants and cherries)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Heat the two oils, vanilla, and honey over medium flame until coconut oil has melted. Add the warm liquids into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring until evenly incorporated. Spread the mixture evenly onto two baking sheets, place into oven, and bake up to an hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.


An Hour In the Kitchen said...

Christine is the best (as you are too)!

sean said...

I am generally a fan of sweeter granola -- the more chocolate chips, miniature marshmallows, and fun-size Snickers the better, but I would like to try this.