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Friday, June 1, 2012

DIY Granola


I just returned from a long Memorial Day holiday, cooking for and teaching at the wonderful Yoga Suhkavakti Summer Bliss retreat.  I had some memorable meals in New York and New Jersey, including locally caught fish and seafood and the inevitable couple of only-in-NYC slices, the most memorable of which was at Artichoke Pizza.  My fermentation workshops were a hit in the Big Apple and I was delighted to find a lot of interest in making your own kombucha, kraut, yogurt, cortido and the like.    
A popular item on the retreat menu, aside from the Raw Chocolate Truffles, was homemade granola.  The day before the retreat started, I made about 4 gallons and every last spoonful was gone by the end of the long weekend.  I learned the finer points of granola making from my pal Vanessa Barrington and her helpful template in DIY Delicious.   Making your own is great because it’s quite easy and you are in complete control of the ingredients, including the critical fat and sweetener.  I always add a large dose of cinnamon to sweet, high-carb dishes such as this, because this spice has a blood sugar moderating effect.  I like to use a much higher ratio of nuts and seeds to grains than most commercial cereals, making for a breakfast richer in protein and easier on blood sugar. The ingredients are chosen specifically to nourish the heart, the organ that Chinese medicine teaches is most important to strengthen in summertime.  Oats, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, and culinary spices have all been shown to provide beneficial fiber, fatty acids and phytonutrients which can help prevent cardiovascular disease.  You can make it gluten-free by seeking out gluten-free rolled oats, available at Trader Joe's and elsewhere.

Summer Bliss Granola
Makes about 2 quarts

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts

½ cup pumpkin seeds

½ cup sliced almonds
1 cup large coconut flakes

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 tsp each nutmeg and ginger powder
Dash sea salt

1/3 cup maple syrup

½ cup coconut oil
½ teaspoon each almond and vanilla extract

1 cup golden raisins

½ cup goji berries (chopped dried apricots are a good substitution if these are hard to find)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a small saucepan, melt together the maple syrup and coconut oil over low heat.  When liquid, remove from heat and stir in the almond and vanilla extracts.  Add to the dry ingredients and toss to combine.   Spread evenly on cookie sheets about 1” thick.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown, stirring once or twice.  Remove from oven and let cool. Return to the large bowl and add the raisins and goji berries, stirring to combine.  Store tightly sealed and serve with milk, yogurt, buttermilk, etc. and fresh fruit. 

NOTE: Granola is no doubt both a nutrient- and calorie-dense food.   My favorite way to lighten it up is to make muesli instead, omitting the coconut oil and maple syrup and the baking step.  I prepare it Swiss style, by mixing it with a grated apple, a squeeze of lemon and enough whole milk yogurt to moisten it, allowing the cereal to soften and slightly ferment overnight to be enjoyed for breakfast.  Ground flax seed makes a great addition to this. 

UPCOMING CLASSES AND EVENTS:

Introduction to Oriental Medicine: Are you curious about Chinese medicine?  Join me in an 8 week course which explores the 5 branches of Chinese medicine, including acupuncture/pressure, herbs, qi gong, massage and , of course, nutrition.  8 Tuesday evenings starting June 5th, 7-9pm, in Berkeley, $85.  Follow this link for more info and to register. 

Reading and Signing for Real Food All Year : Join me at Omnivore Books in San Francisco on Thursday, June 7 from 6-7pm, click here for details.  Free.

Fermentation 101: Vegetable and Dairy Fermentation
Sunday June 17th, 9:30 a.m-12:30 p.m.
Location: Sticky Art Lab, 1682 University Ave (at McGee), Berkeley
Cost: $35
Click here to register.
Learn to make creme fraiche, cultured butter, and yogurt, how to use whey to inoculate other ferments such as mustard and salsa, and understand the basics of culturing vegetables in brine, with or without inoculation.


Seasonal Nutrition in Chinese Medicine: Lecture/Demo
How can the knowledge of seasonality learned from Traditional Chinese Medicine inform our choices today about what to eat and when? How do the teachings of TCM compare to the understanding of nutrition gleaned from indigenous diets in other parts of the world?
Sunday, June 17 3-5pm  $25
Three Stone Hearth Community Kitchen 1581 University Avenue, Berkeley
Visit the TSH site to learn more.






1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Hi Nishanga! This is jen from AIMC.
Im making granola today! :)