2.10.2013

from sowing to granola and tea?


and so it continued . . .

. . . I could decorate a small, white sack for a recently requested granola recipe and sampling; and then last, but not least, maybe I could fashion a “tea bag” instead of a “seed pocket” for my longtime, tea-loving, travel-happy friend . . .


Once, when I was commuting from our farm to our children’s school, I came upon a detour sign on the highway. I was in my usual rush, so the unanticipated delay was quite disconcerting. With no other choice available, we left the highway and continued our morning journey. At first I was tense, worried that the children would be late for school, and me, late for work; but my tension began to lessen as I became mesmerized by the wooded beauty of the county road we found ourselves upon- a rarely traveled track, ensconced by a dense canopy of trees and their low-hanging branches. That day I realized some detours could be quite lovely.


Such is the case with this recent diversion. I presume this latest flurry of activity is just the beginning of my annual spring awakening. Throughout my life, I’ve been inspired by this seasonal transition, at times crafting small bouquets from the array of daffodils that grew so profusely at the farm, or packaging a few freshly baked muffins in a beribboned paper sack. These gifts were always inspired by whatever my surroundings had to offer, whatever time I had to give.

Spring is coming; detours are inevitable, so I suppose I shall celebrate both.


P.S. In honor of detours and sharing, here is the granola recipe I mentioned. I found the basic recipe in a magazine a few years ago. Unfortunately, I cannot remember which magazine or what culinary artist provided it; however, it makes a granola that even some of my non-granola eating friends like. This recipe has been slightly altered from the original, but perhaps you will enjoy it or playfully create a tasty version of your own.

Granola

1 cup pure maple syrup
(not maple flavored)
½ cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
¾ tsp. kosher salt or sea salt
1 T. vanilla extract
4 cups old fashioned oats (not instant)
4 oz. (about 1 cup) walnut pieces
2 oz. (about ½ cup) raw unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 oz. (about ½ cup) raw unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
½ cup ground flaxseed meal
1 cup dried cranberries

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Combine maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until brown sugar is dissolved, then stir in vanilla. In a large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, flour, milk powder, and flaxseed meal. Pour warm syrup mixture over dry ingredients and mix well with a rubber spatual.



Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the moistened oats evenly between the sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, then stir with a metal spatula and switch sheets to opposite racks to ensure even cooking. Bake another 20 minutes, then stir and switch pans again. Continue baking until mixture has a fragrant, toasty aroma, about another 10 or less. Cool the granola in the pans, breaking up any unwielding clumps with a spatula. When completely cool, mix in dried cranberries. May be stored at room temperature in airtight container. Makes 11 to 12 cups.

Note: Other nuts can be substituted for walnuts, and other dried fruits can be substituted for cranberries. One favored combination includes pistachios, cranberries, and chocolate bits. 

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