Recipe: crunchy granola
[There really is a recipe buried at the bottom of the post, but first I'm going to yammer about my Seattle visit... because it's my blog and because I get to do whatever I want with it.]
You knew we were *this* close to moving to Washington (state), didn’t you? In 2004, Jeremy and I had a map of the country in front of us and we had narrowed it down to two places: Colorado and Washington. Obviously Colorado won, but it was a choice between awesome and amazing. We are incredibly happy with where we are now, but we have a bit of a love affair with Washington – especially Seattle. In fact, it’s becoming worse because of all the friends we have there. We almost have to sneak into the state for fear of hurting feelings. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a problem if we didn’t insist on time in the backcountry, but that’s a priority for both of us – time alone (together) in the wilderness.
the ferry to vashon
Our flight landed and we made a slow bumble beeline for the ferry to Vashon Island (is it me or is SEATAC really slow about… everything?). For me, Vashon is synonymous with Shauna and her dear family. They had invited us to their lovely island home for lunch and to make a pie for Mikey. It dawned on me that there is never enough time to spend with any of the people we care about, especially the ones far away. Life is a balance between those things we should do, those things we want to do, long term, short term, good, and bad. Everything had been go! go! go! up to this point. I stood in their living room watching Lucy play, listening to Shauna share the latest, thinking about our friend. It can be overwhelming how life is filled with both joy and sorrow – to such extremes and all at once. I closed my eyes and quietly choked back the emotions welling in my chest.
danny prepped fava beans for the pasta
lu took me outside to play before lunch
lovely lunch of salad, pasta (filled with vegetables), and homemade strawberry soda
If you follow my tweets, you’ll know that Jeremy was utterly delighted with the ferries (partly for special relativity teaching moments). This New Mexico boy is smitten with the ocean. When he sees it he gets all giddy and says, “The ocean!” and I’m all “Yeah, there it is.” I grew up on the water and I do love non-tropical coasts, but I don’t have the same feelings for the water the way I do for the mountains. Still, it’s wonderful how Jeremy becomes a little kid on or near the water. A little kid with an astrophysicist’s brain, that is. A good fraction of our outdoor conversations revolve around the laws of physics that dictate curious and interesting natural phenomena. I knew a woman in graduate school who once said that she felt learning how things form makes them less amazing to her. I feel the complete opposite. (I should add that my opinion of her plummeted after that comment.)
Back on the mainland, we gathered our food for our backpack. In summer, for trips shorter than four days we like to go no-cook which means no stove. That’s particularly handy when you are flying because airlines really get their panties in a wad over Whisperlite stoves and empty fuel canisters. It’s easier to leave them at home or borrow from a friend. One of my favorite things to bring are savory croissants (spinach & feta, ham & cheese, vegetable) from good bakeries. Shauna sent us to Bakery Nouveau near the ferry terminal in West Seattle. Highly recommended, people!
we also picked up some chocolate and almond croissants for brekkie
I took Jeremy to Delancey for dinner with Tea. It is considered a must visit and this was the only night we had available to dine there. Good food and great company – it’s these simple things that make my days.
heirloom tomato salad? hell yes!
pepperoni deliciousness (their red sauce pies are so bleeping good)
We got quick hugs and hellos with Molly and Brandon, and Brandi was so sweet to bring us around back to The Pantry to have a peek. Less than six months ago I saw the start of demolition and now it has transformed into a most beautiful space and place.
gardens gone gangbusters
molly teaching a class
The next three days were spent noodling about in the backcountry of Olympic National Park. A splendid jaunt and much needed calorie-burner for all of the noshing we had done (and would continue to do) in Seattle! One thing we learned when it comes to ferries… it helps to not be in a rush like the rude stressball from Illinois who cut us off in line but still didn’t make the boat. We took advantage of the downtime to dry out the tent and our (really smelly) socks.
peering over the ferry rail
We arrived in Seattle with enough time to clean up at our dear friends’ house and take them out for dinner at Staple and Fancy. The group opted for the four course family style supper which I know for a fact feeds twice as many people as you have at your table. Let’s see if I can remember… First course: bread, buttery green olives, crostini with smoked halibut, anchovies on boiled eggs, burrata with eggplant, pork terrine, fried oysters, salmon belly crudo with sea beans. We were feeling pretty full, but wait! There were three more courses! Second course: tagliatelle with arugula pesto and shaved tuna heart, cod brandade ravioli. Third course: whole branzino with fingerling potatoes and olives, roasted half chicken with slow roasted tomatoes and sweet peppers. Fourth course: cheesecake with fresh figs, chocolate and caramel pudding with truffle cookie. It was all very well done.
the menu that i never even read
fried oysters and aioli
tagliatelle in arugula pesto
branzino (european sea bass) and roasted half chicken
cheesecake with fresh figs
Someone had to roll me down the street, into the car, out of the car, and into bed. But by morning, Jeremy and I were ready for a nice stroll around Queen Anne to sample some Top Pot doughnuts, visit Macrina Bakery, and wander through Trader Joe’s (because we like to torture ourselves like that). I should mention that the weather during our entire trip was perfect: mostly sunny, cool, and not too humid for Seattle. We met up with Lara for lunch at Sitka & Spruce, a place I had wanted to take Jeremy ever since I dined there on my last visit in March. The food is something else… something exceptional. I highly recommend it. [View the whole photo set on the photo blog.]
albacore tuna with broad beans and muhammara
lamb belly with tomato, chantarelles, harissa, and a 6-minute egg
sitka & spruce is also a gorgeous space
That evening we attended a potluck that Dana so graciously offered to host as there were many people to see in Seattle (far too many to fit even in Dana’s wonderfully large and gorgeous home). I felt sheepish. I didn’t want a party for ME. I’m usually the one who throws the party (or helps throw a party) for someone else. I kept telling myself that it was for everyone else too. My non food blogging and food blogging worlds collided in an explosion of laughter, raunchy talk (that was most certainly the food blogger contingent), amazing food (my non blogging friends are great cooks too!), stories, and the three most well-behaved little boys this side of the Mississippi. It was a fun way to wrap up our trip.
dana preps heirloom tomatoes
marc’s string bean salad was all the rage
(left to right) jackie, becky, danika, and matt
spencer and graham demonstrating their disco prowess
So it’s about time I gave you a recipe as I’ve been delinquent for most of August. And it’s only fitting that in my discussion of Seattle and Boulder, I bring you crunchy granola. Get it?! Ha ha ha! Okay, if you don’t get it, I’m not explaining it. I love eating homemade granola, but never thought to make it myself. That’s the great thing about food bloggers – they (the ones I like) make EVERYTHING from scratch which means I really had no excuse for not making my own granola. The only decision to be made was what to put in it.
oats, almonds, coconut, pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
and some honey, sugar, and cinnamon
This is an easy recipe. Remember, we’re all about easy recipes this summer because anything beyond easy is going to make me cuss in this heat and with all of the busy I have going on. Quick is another bonus. This is sorta quick, but definitely easy.
pour in the honey
spread on baking sheet
Now, this does require turning on the oven, which I was only willing to do in the early morning. The recipe says the longer you bake the granola, the crunchier it gets. I say there comes a point when crunchy becomes burnt. Keep your eye on your granola if you flirt with that transition point because burnt granola sucks. The granola at the edges of the baking sheet burned, but the rest was good.
let cool on cooling rack
get your dried fruit together: cranberries, mulberries, and dried apples
pour into the granola and mix
The best part of making my own granola is that I get to put my favorite dried fruits, nuts, and seeds in – all organic too. I choose the crunchiness and there are absolutely no funky preservatives or junk in it either. Just think of the possibilities. Exciting stuff!!
it’s enough to make me love breakfast
from The New York Times
6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
2 cups mixed nuts and seeds (I used pumpkin seeds and chopped almonds)
1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut, optional
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 – 1 cup honey or maple syrup to taste
1 cup dried fruit (I used dried cranberries, chopped dried apples, and dried mulberries)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour the oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, cinnamon, salt, and sweetener in a mixing bowl and stir until combined. Place on a sheet pan in an even layer and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally every 10 minutes. It should brown evenly, but really watch it toward the end because mine got a tad burnt. The browner it gets (without burning) the crunchier it should be. Remove the granola from the oven and mix in the dried fruit. Cool on a baking rack until room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator indefinitely.