Sunday, August 23, 2009

Six-Mile Granola

Making one's own homemade granola.... requires very little actually. I have no idea why I've never made it before, but I will definitely be making it again, and very soon.

This recipe was named for the family vacation home of the featured family in Martha Stewart’s living July 2007. You may know the type of family if you read the magazine. If you don’t then let me explain it to you, it’s one of those families, you know those families, that owns really great vacation property in really great locations, like on clear glass lakes, with a backdrop of mountains and woods, with a cute cabin on a 320-acre estate, which to me contradicts the term cabin. Cabin/estate… doesn’t really flow…. that has been handed down through the generations (although on closer read it turns out it has been sold in shares to other families as well, so I guess it’s more like a time-share, takes out some of the nostalgia).

This family gets up at O’Dark thirty and makes homemade granola before sending their ridiculously cute kids with ridiculously cute names like Hazel and Denim (true story) out to fishing a canoe with grandpa, while the parents take a lazy nap on a blanket while one of their relatives paints the surround scenery (really? come on now), then they all eat a delicious meal at a huge table that looks like it’s about to fall apart but probably cost five thousand dollars from a very trendy store in New York that was carried to Montana on horseback, with horses that are being led by blind nuns, wearing very trendy habits. Anyway, after dinner they all converge on a giant fire pit on the pebble beach (this is no lie) where everyone laughs and eats gourmet S’mores and sips hot chocolate from boutique cups while wrapped in warm sweaters and moccasins that just happens to be produced by cousin so and sos organic clothing line. You know the kind of family and events and property that make you feel like maybe you’ve been slacking a little in the life department? I want a five thousand dollar nun carried table! I think I may have gotten off track. What were we talking about? Oh yes granola. Ridiculousness aside, I have to say that this particular family does make a mean granola before flouncing about in their trendy lives. It is very tasty so maybe I should leave my small diatribe for the moment and actually give you the recipe and the story that goes with making it, a little more realistic than the above scenario I might add. Let’s be honest, if that were my life, I would probably fall out of the canoe, spill the paint on the blanket and the sleeping relative, and then burn down the table with a flaming gourmet S’more.

Let us begin at the beginning… because where else would you start? What is the first thing you should when you make a recipe? Anyone? Yes, very enthusiastic person in the back? Correct you should READ THE ENTIRE recipe. I know this. Most people know this, but yet… it doesn’t always happen. Even when you have read the recipe ten times as my OCD personality requires. So now you find yourself standing in front of the stove with ingredients, throwing them in the pot with abandon and stirring all the gooey, melting, goodness and you get to the end where it says pop the granola in the oven and cook for 1 ½ hours, what? Wait, where did that line come from? Was that there before? Oh and it also says cool after cooking before adding dried fruit and storing. How long is THAT going to take? Man, well that sucks! Too late it’s already in the oven. Besides I did make a special trip to the co-op which translates into $100 worth of ingredients when you could get them at the grocery store for like $20, but you feel a whole lot better about yourself for supporting your local store and farmers, sorry where was I? That should have been the name of this blog! Okay so it’s late and I’m sleepy and I am waiting for my granola to cool which happened quickly, thank you universe.

Now You might think that this was bad timing, and under normal circumstances you would be right, but what I haven’t mentioned yet was that Kylie (my teenager) was kind enough to trek to the co-op with me, photograph some of the ingredients, hand me ingredients, read me the recipe as I added stuff just to be safe, in case the first ten times through I missed something…. like say the cooking time… which she missed too by the way, and generally hang around with me and make me laugh for the full two hours. I must say that anything that gets your teenager to spend one of her last free nights with you instead of friends with less than a week before University starts… well…. that may just have to be a Mom’s new favorite dish, and maybe life without a scenery painting, organic company owning cousin (honestly I’d have to torment those people if they were my family) isn’t so bad after all.

Six-Mile GranolaAdapted from Martha Stewart Living July 2007

Makes about 12 cups (I halved the recipe for my batch)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup light-brown sugar
½ cup brown-rice syrup or honey (I used honey because I’m guessing Nebraska has never heard of brown-rice syrup)
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
4 ½ cups rolled oats
½ cup wheat germ
½ cup bran
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw almonds
1 ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup dried cherries
2/3 cup golden raisins


Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sugar, and cook until melted. (I don't really know what constitutes melted sugar... I assume it is when it looks like this...)

Stir in brown-rice syrup or honey, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and water. Add remaining ingredients, except dried fruits, and toss. Arrange in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets (or one if you’ve halved the recipe…duh). Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and dry, about 1 ½ hours. Let cool on sheets. Transfer to a bowl and add dried fruits. Granola can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Serve over plain Greek yogurt, drizzle with local, organic honey, and fresh berries. Any yogurt will work but Greek is a little more sour than regular yogurt and really makes a huge difference in flavor.

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