"I think it's nice that there are all different kinds of lunches and breakfasts and dinners and snacks. I think eating is nice." – Albert from Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell C. Hoban
I love cold cereal. The crunch, the cool milk sliding down your throat, the sweet and saltiness of the grains in the bowl. As a kid, it was my favorite breakfast of champions (although my mother never bought Wheaties) from Cheerios, to the more sophisticated Raisin Bran to later health food store favorites. Cold cereal was the ‘go to’ meal when you just didn’t know what else to eat. Over the years, I switched to soy and then rice milk and although I no longer ate much of it, I still enjoyed a bowl once in a while. Granola had of course entered the mix, although most granolas were always too sweet or too gussied up with ingredients that to my mindset, didn’t belong in granola in the first place.
Belonging to the Park Slope Food Coop for 10 years, taught us a lot about granola. There were dozens, from the boxed types found in the cereal aisle, to the bulk section where at least 8-10 flavors were displayed. From Maple Almond to Rainforest Nut, there was a granola for every palate. And so, we bought granola – and ate with yogurt or applesauce or on it’s own.
In Israel, there’s a decent variety of granola but I wasn’t wowed by any one brand. Some are more muesli style, with lots of nuts and flakes, with some roasted element to the grain and others are more seriously toasted with just a bit of dried fruit. They are all, like in the US, expensive and recently I decided it was time to make our own. I am now a certified granola maker, with a bit of help from Deborah Madison‘s recipes in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. At the same time, our organic fruit and veg guy, Hachavah HaOrganit also decided to start making granola and mueseli too! His is good, very toasty with a serious crunch to the grains and nuts and a chew that takes time to become ‘one with the milk.’
Nutty Raisin Granola
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup of quinoa, rinsed well. (This works well and even the non-quinoa eaters, will eat it).
1-2 cup chopped nuts – I like sliced almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seed in combination.
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1-2 cup raisins and other dried fruit (chopped apricots, dates, and/or dried cranberries)
1/2 cup safflower or canola oil (I’ve also used grapeseed oil)
1/2-3/4 honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, apple juice concentrate.
Preheat the oven to 300. Toss the dry ingredients together except for the dried fruits. Whisk together the oil and syrup and combine with dry, tossing a few times to mix it through well. Spread onto a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake, stirring every 10 minutes until golden and toasted – about 30 minutes. Add the dried fruits and cool completely before storing in a tightly closed container.
Note: We often double this with great success and just eat it faster. You can cut the oil down and fiddle with the sweetener but you need something wet to help give it a satisfying crunch other than just toasting it.