What have you been up to in the kitchen?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Great Granola Disaster

The aptly named food writer, Mark Bittman, swept me off my feet with his recipe for no-knead bread, so of course I couldn’t wait to try his recipe for granola. Never mind that no one in my family likes granola. If Mark Bittman said it was good, I wanted to try it.

In his recipe, Mark lists honey or maple syrup as sweeteners, although he prefers to use maple syrup. I would, too, but at the time of my experiment only honey and brown sugar resided in my pantry. He also said to use any combination of nuts and seeds, such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, sesame seeds, or sunflower seeds. Well, I had loads of sunflower seeds -- salted ones at that -- so that’s what I used.

The granola I produced, all eight cups of it, turned out salty, sunflowery, and slightly burned. Trying to avoid a total loss, I made about ten dozen granola cookies, which I thought were pretty good, but they haven’t been moving too quickly. Usually, cookies last about 30 minutes at our house, and something tells me that we’ll still be looking at granola cookies 30 days from now.

Crunchy Granola
Makes 8 cups

6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups mixed nuts & seeds, unsalted: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pecans, almonds, cashews, walnuts
1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut, optional
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash salt
1/2 to 1 cup maple syrup or honey
1 cup riasins or dried fruit, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine oats, nuts and seeds, coconut, cinnamon, salt and sweetener. Place on a sheet pan and put in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture should brown evenly; the browner it gets without burning, the crunchier the granola will be.

Remove pan from oven and add raisins or dried fruit. Cool on a rack, stirring once in a while until granola reaches room temp. Transfer to a sealed container and store in refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely, especially if no one eats it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


While making a spicy Thai Tuna salad last night...

(1 can tuna, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice, 2 chopped green onions, 1 teaspoon minced fresh chili pepper, 1 small chopped shallot, chopped fresh cilantro, 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger, mix well, serve with crackers, or wrap in lettuce)

...I managed to rub my eyes with fingers saturated in serrano chili pepper oils. Good news: I didn't go blind. Bad news: my eyeballs were on fire for a few hours. Next time, gloves. Or get someone else to chop the peppers.