I spoke at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston last night, and – because I finished late – went out to a nondescript restaurant that had a kitchen that, in theory at least, stayed open until 10. I could complain nonstop about this entire experience but that’s not the point; I’m going to complain about something else. I will say that the best part of the meal were some semi-fried Brussels sprouts, so I took the leftovers back to my hotel, where there’s a fridge.
I woke up early, as I do, and I ordered coffee and, because I was in the mood, “homemade granola.” Yes, I’m a sucker too: I had visions of my kind of granola, not especially sweet, nutty, maybe a little burnt, loads of nuts, oats, maybe some dried fruit, coconut, not much else. What I got was this:
Clumps of brown sugar – I swear, the stuff tasted like it was 60 percent sugar – binding oats and fragments of nuts. Homemade by whom? Our friends at Quaker no doubt.
Brussels sprouts to the rescue.
And they were still pretty good. But they were planned for lunch (there was some leftover kale), so now I need a lunch alternative. It will not be room service, I assure you.
Have you made granola? Try this: (recipe from How to Cook Everything.)
6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
2 cups mixed nuts and seeds: a combination of sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, etc.
1 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
1/2 to 1 cup honey or maple syrup, or to taste
1 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit
2. Remove the pan from the oven and add the raisins. Cool on a rack, stirring once in a while until the granola reaches room temperature. Transfer to a sealed container and store in the refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.
Peanut Butter Granola. Any nut butter or tahini will work nicely here; toss in some chocolate chips if you like very sweet granola: Add 1/2cup peanut butter and mix with the 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup until blended. Proceed with the recipe; stir the granola every few minutes while it’s baking to prevent the peanut butter from burning.
Spiced Granola. Add another teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon each ground anise and cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon each freshly grated nutmeg and ground cloves, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Ginger-Molasses Granola. Crumbled gingersnaps are a great addition to this: Substitute molasses for half of the sweetener and add a 1- to 2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated into the sweetener. Add 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger along with the raisins.