This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs we are celebrating spring cleaning by having a Pantry Raid, using up any excess items we have sitting around our pantries in a Mark Bittman recipe. I consider my freezer to be an extension of my pantry as I store many of my flours, nuts and dried fruits there so that they stay fresh in the warmer weather. Since I have an excess of nuts (my Mom likens me to a squirrel, storing them for winter), I thought Bittman's Anything Goes Granola would be a great way to use them up. I also had a large amount of rolled oats, dried fruits and shredded coconut on hand, and plenty of spices so this truly was a pantry raid appropriate dish.
The granola is from "Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating" which is not a Bittman cookbook but rather his plan for eating in way that is good for health, weight and the planet. The book makes sense and advises eating whole foods, veggie-based meals and limiting the amount of meat consumed. (Bittman personally eats vegetarian for breakfast and lunch and enjoys meat in moderation for dinner--which helped him loose 35 pounds and improved his blood levels). The book has 75 simple recipes, which in true Bittman style allow for lots of adaptation. (It's a great book and I recommend it if you have an interest in whole food, healthy eating and cooking)
The recipe can be found in the book on pages 168-169 or a version of it can be found at the New York Times site, here. My specific ingredients/adaptations are in red below.
Bittman says, "Granola is a versatile snack and breakfast food. Unfortunately most packaged stuff is usually too sweet, more like candy than cereal. Though some of the smaller production brands are nice, it remains worth making and customizing your own. Usually granola has a high proportion of rolled oats, but you can add different rolled grains like wheat, rye or kamut. Play with the flavor by tossing different nuts and seeds into the mix, adding a teaspoon of vanilla or ground spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, or nutmeg (alone or in combination), or using any chopped dried fruit--dates, cranberries, cherries, blueberries, apricots, pineapple, crystallized ginger, or banana chips."
Anything Goes Granola
"Food Matters" by Mark Bittman
(Makes about 9 cups)
5 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant) or other rolled grains
3 cups mixed nuts and seeds, (I used a mix of chopped walnuts, pecans, mac nuts, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, & flax seeds)
1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or other spices to taste (I used 1 tsp each of cinnamon and cardamom, and 1/2 tsp each of ground ginger & orange zest)
1/2 to 1 cup honey or maple syrup, or to taste (I used a mixture of both & about 3/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla, optional
1 to 1 1/2 cups raisins or other chopped dried fruit (I used a mix of 1 1/2 cups of dried pineapple, papaya & cranberries)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts and seeds, coconut, cinnamon, sweetener and vanilla if using; sprinkle with a little salt. Toss well to thoroughly distribute ingredients. Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or a little longer, stirring occasionally. The granola should brown evenly; the browner it gets without burning, the crunchier it will be.
Remove pan from oven and add raisins or other dried fruit. Cool on a rack, stirring now and then until the granola reaches room temperature. Put in a sealed container and store in refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.
Notes/Results: Yum! Every time I make granola, I wonder why I ever buy it--it is just so good when you make it yourself. This is a good base recipe, although I am glad I added more spices than the recipe called for as it was perfect with the three teaspoons, I don't think one teaspoon would have been near enough. I liked the mix of honey and pure maple syrup which along with the spices, vanilla and salt gave a lot of layers of flavor. I love the pre-chopped no-sulfite. low-sugar dried pineapple and papaya I buy from my local co-op and the mixture of fruit was great--the cranberries added some nice tartness. The recipe makes a lot of granola which keeps well and is great topping yogurt, or eaten with milk (or almond milk as in the photo above), or just grabbed by the handful to snack on. (Bittman also has a recipe for Fruit and Cereal Bites in the book that you can use it in). You also can reduce the amount you make, or like me, make it all and give some away--it makes a great hostess gift. A keeper recipe and one to play around with different fruit, nut, seed and spice combinations.
You can check out how the other IHCC participants cleaned out their pantries and find out what they made by going to the IHCC site here.
I am happy to announce the winner of my recent giveaway who will receive their own copy of "The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook" by Amy Riolo. I wish I could give each of you this fabulous book. Since we kick it old school here, I wrote down the names of everyone who left a comment about why they wanted to win, tweeted the giveaway, or was a follower or started following Kahakai Kitchen (one entry slip for each of those actions and comments), and then I randomly drew out one name.
And the winner is:
It is Kristen from Whatcha Eatin'? Congratulations Kristen! If you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your shipping address, I will get the book out to you this week. Thanks to everyone who entered.