Chef Dina

Now available for Bay Area full service catering in conjunction with "A Fork Full of Earth" organic catering, intimate dinner parties and weekly meal preparation.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Granola; cranberry-orange-pecan and fresh almond milk

OK, here it is, my coveted granola recipe. Since I will be going into labor any day now, I thought you all should have it, considering life as I know it may be over for a while (and in the event anyone wants to drop some off at my house).

This recipe is the bomb. Seriously, the best granola-evah.  It's crunchy, sweet, packed with nuts and does not taste like stale cardboard (as store bought granolas commonly do).  It is a little time consuming, considering you have to zest and juice fresh oranges for the best results, but it is worth it. You can also try using dried orange peel or just omitting it all together if you just don't care (I never do).

For ease of zesting, get yourself a microplane for $14.95.  I love my microplane. I use it to grate fresh hard cheeses, and it also makes garlic paste a snap...just rub the whole clove over the grates right into your dish.  You can get one anywhere- Sur la Table, Target, BB&B...they make a host of other products for your grating and zesting pleasures as well, if you are a tool junkie. I just have this one.

This recipe is adapted from Myra Goodman's book Food to Live By; the Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook.  I love that book, stumbled upon it at a Goodwill for like $ purchase.

This recipe makes a lot, which you will be happy you did.  It lasts a long time and you will eat it well before that time is up.  Feel free to cut it in half.  Here goes:

9c Old fashioned oats (NOT quick cooking oats)
1c sliced almonds
1c raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2c coarsely chopped pecans

combine oats and nuts in a very large bowl.

3/4c packed brown sugar
1c canola oil
1c REAL maple syrup
zest of 5 large oranges

In a 4c wet measure, combine all ingredients and stir to break up any lumps in the brown sugar. juice the oranges you just zested and add that juice to the mix.  Stir well into oat and nut mixture.

Line two half-sheet pans (13"x18"x1") with parchment and spread mixture evenly on both sheets. This size sheet pan is a commercial pan, and you may not have that size.  If you only have regular, smaller size,  you may have to bake in multiple batches, or just cut the recipe in half.  This recipe fits perfectly on 2 13"x18" pans, which you can order on line or get at a restaurant supply store. Looks like BB&B might have one too...but I haven't seen the larger size at Sur La Table.  I love having these pans in my home, they fill up the whole (standard) oven rack so you aren't wasting any space. A 1" deep pan also helps, that lip around the edge keeps the granola from going on the floor when you stir it around.

Bake at 375, rotating and stirring often until golden and dryish throughout, about 20-30 min depending on your oven.  Cool completely and stir in 1-2 cups dried cranberries, craisins, or cherries (depending on your preference) before storing.

Almond Milk
I usually make a qt of it to go along with hubby can't drink milk...
This is so easy and so much healthier than the store bought stuff.

1/2 cup raw almonds
4-5 pitted dates
pinch of salt
dash vanilla
4 cups water

Combine almonds, dates, vanilla and salt with 1c water and blend on high for 2 minutes or so, until really broken down (Vitamix blender is the best, fyi...totally worth the $500.00. I have the one that fits under cabinets so I can keep it on my countertop).  Add remaining 3c water and blend on low to combine.  I don't bother straining it. If you let the foam settle, this stores perfectly in a qt size glass Strauss milk bottle (Norcal peeps). Make sure you store it in a something with a cover so you can shake it well before each serving. It will only last the week, as fresh almonds can sour quickly. Just smell it once it has been 4-5 days, you can tell.

OK, enjoy!  And if you don't want to go through all the hassle, can still order it from me for $12/lb!

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