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Granola6

Jenny’s Nutty Granola with fresh blueberries, Spoon Size Shredded Wheat and Hudson Valley Fresh milk.

I’m crazy about the tastiness, texture and nutrition of good granola, and while there are many on the market, most are too sweet for my taste. So for several years now, I’ve been making my own version, full of the nuts that I adore and lots of other components that bring flavor, protein, vitamins and minerals to the party.

Now if I don’t have it every day, I feel cheated. And I’m decidedly not one of those, “I’ll have the usual” types. I love variety and love to mix things up, on the table and otherwise. But I can never have this stuff too often, so when I run out I have to make more ASAP. Fortunately, I currently have a gig in a natural foods store where it’s convenient and not too expensive for me to buy most of the ingredients in bulk.
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While it may look like a lot of items on the list, my granola is uncomplicated to make, and contains three groups of items. The first assortment is the oats, nuts and seeds tossed together in a bowl.

 

 

 

 

Then the mixture is drizzled with bit of sweetness, healthy fat and flavorings, tossed and toasted in the oven.

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The first two groups of ingredients after a bit of baking.

After the lot is redolent with the aromas of toasted nuts, vanilla and heady cinnamon wafting into the air, you just fold in the remaining ingredients, cool and store. Don’t forget to taste test!

This is not a clumpy granola but lovely sprinkled on cereal, yogurt or plain. I put it on my cereal every morning (usually Spoon Size Shredded Wheat or Heritage Flakes), and top with berries and milk. So good!

Give it a shot, and feel free to customize it according to your granola-y preferences, perhaps all of one nut instead of three kinds (2 cups), or maybe sub your faves like hazelnuts or macadamias. You can use less coconut oil, or more maple syrup or another sweetener that you like better. You can skip any seeds you don’t love, or maybe use dried cherries or blueberries instead of the cranberries. Make it your own (and make it often)!

I welcome questions and comments and would love to hear from you!

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Jenny’s Nutty Granola

Jenny’s Nutty Granola

Makes 16 1/2-cup servings
Group 1

3 cups oats

2/3 cup pecans, chopped coarsely

2/3 cup walnuts, chopped coarsely

2/3 cup almonds, chopped coarsely

1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds

¼ cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds

¼ cup wheat germ

 

Group 2

¼ cup water

¼ cup virgin coconut oil (melted if solid)

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Group 3

2/3 cup diced dried apples

2/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup dried date pieces

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup chia seeds

¼ cup ground flax meal

 

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  2. Mix together first group of ingredients. Mix together second group and pour over oat mixture. Toss to mix, then spread in foil-lined 10 x 15 pan.
  3. Bake for 22 minutes, then stir and bake another 15 minutes, stir and bake 5-10 minutes more or until golden. Toss together last group of ingredients and mix in. Let cool and store in airtight container.
A 1/4 cup serving contains about 170 calories, 5.5g protein, 37 mg sodium and 7.5g sugars.

 

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Favulous favas

I found some beautiful fava beans at work the other day (Mother Earth’s Storehouse Poughkeepsie NY store).  

Like giant green beans without, but with treasures within, they are irresistible. Had to take some home.  

 A bit labor intensive but entirely worth the trouble for a tiny treat for one. These seven giant pods yielded only a few fat white-coated beans nestled in soft down…wish I could minimize myself and sleep in one…  

  

 After a quick blanching, I …  

 … squeezed out the beans …  

 … Then sautéed shallot in olive oil, threw in the favas, tossed a few minutes with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then turned off the heat and stirred in slivers of mint, a splash more olive oil, a dash of white wine vinegar … then topped it all with microplaned fluffs of Parmigiano … sublime.  

  

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For many years I’ve been doing cooking demos in the Harvest Kitchen at the NYS Sheep and Wool Fest, the challenge being to offer something with lamb meat or sheep cheese. As a big fan of both, that’s no hardship, and I’ve presented a variety of tasty recipes over the years. This year join me in a celebration of the luscious Spanish sheep cheese Manchego and taste samples of Mini Popovers with Manchego and Roasted Shallots and Kale Salad with Apple and Manchego. My demos are at 11 am and 3:30 pm Sunday in Building E.

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Join me for opening day of the Dutchess County Fair! I’ll be doing cooking demonstrations in the Harvest Kitchen in Bldg E at 11 am and 3:30 pm on Tuesday, Aug. 19.

On the menu are….surprise….cephalopods! Come learn about other things to do with these tasty critters besides fried calamari, and taste some classic dishes from Thailand and Sicily. I’d love to see you there!

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I’m excited to be launching a brand new blog about the senses-pleasing, beautiful food in and around Rhinebeck, NY, where I live. It’s called The Rhinebeck Gourmandizer, a name I chose in hope that some of the mystique of trendy Rhinebeck will rub off on it, and the “izer” at the end honors the recently closed 200-year-old weekly local newspaper The Gazette Advertiser. I hope for it to be an up-to-date resource for residents or visitors seeking information on where to fill their bellies happily! Check it out at http://www.rbkgourmand.wordpress.com

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Odd request

I don’t get a lot of mail via my website jenniferbrizzi.com, but I got a kick out of this one. Where does it hint on my website that I might sell Mr. Cox a jar of pickled lamb’s tongues? Or anything other than my professional services?
I do love them, though. Haven’t had any in a long while. They’re the kind of thing that grosses people out, touching that Bambi spot on the heart as we picture all those baby lambs running around mute, unable to say “Baaa.” So I guess they’re not a hot seller. But they are a great combination of meaty tang and silky and delicate tongue meat. Good luck, Mr. Cox.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 12:45 P
From:
To: jenniferbrizzi@yahoo.com
name = Tom Cox
Comment = Do you sell pickeled lambs tounge if so how are they packed.are they in jars and what price Thanks Tom Cox

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I love epicurious.com, refer to it all the time for work or just making dinner. But it has never made me laugh so hard before. Look at this recipe for boiling water, but what’s funny is what you read when you click on “reviews”—789 of them.

And no, I didn’t read them all–I have a life–but I’d love to have time to.

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The other night I did a cooking demo for eight people at Jessica Bard’s Kitchen-Class at Warren Cutlery here in Rhinebeck. I’ve done demos onstage in front of big audiences, and to people milling around at a farmers market, but teaching a small group like this was a first. I had lots of fun hamming it up and spouting off and cooking up a storm, all at once. I got there late (poor organization), forgot to start things in time, had trouble with the induction cooktop, all kinds of mini-crises, but I just had a great time and hope I get to do it again.Spatchcocking a poor helpless game hen.

I made a southern-inspired dinner with Crispy “Smothered” Cornish Game Hens with Mushroom Gravy over Baked Grits (southern polenta!), New-fangled Collard Greens (the fiddleheads I promised were not to be found anywhere), Hoppin’ John Salad, Bourbon Pecan Pie with Julep Whipped Cream, and Strawberry Ice Tea.

On the right is yours truly mercilessly spatchcocking a poor helpless game hen. The photo below is my pie, photographed beautifully by Jessica Bard.

Bourbon Pecan Pie with Julep Whipped Cream. Photo by Jessica Bard.

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I got scooped by The New York Times this week. Monday I sent Ulster Publishing a column about kids cooking, which included a round-up of favorite kids’ cookbooks. They’ll probably run it next Thursday–they’ve been needing a long lead time lately. Then on Wednesday I bought a copy of the Times, which I do once every couple of months or so, just to sort of see what’s going on in the food world. And lo and behold, they had a cover story on kids cookbooks, including the general trendiness of kids cooking.

Now to stroke my ego, my husband says the big food folk follow me around and see what I’m writing about so they can do it too. “Look, Saveur just did avocados–they’re following you!”–that sort of thing. But I don’t know how the old NYT can see something I did that didn’t even see print yet! Rolando says, “They’re hacking into your computer somehow, saying ‘Let’s see what Jenny B.’s up to.'” Pretty cute.

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And Ma, if you’re listening, those grits were a huge hit.

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Holy calamari!

Scientists Examine Giant Squid

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After the flood

JoAnn Clevenger has owned Upperline restaurant in New Orleans for 25 years, serving classic New Orleans “food with an adventure.” At the IACP conference in New Orleans last week, as part of a moving panel discussion moderated by Pableaux Johnson, the warm and elegant Ms. Clevenger spoke with great emotion on not being able to return to her beloved restaurant for a scary three weeks after Hurricane Katrina blew through town. She talked about the intense relief of seeing that her restaurant had sustained no flood damage and the horror of the putrid smells that wafted out of an establishment that had had no electricity for refrigeration all that time. Once they were able to clean up and reopen it was really hard to get what they needed to operate the restaurant well and safely, that many of the staff were no longer in town and most of the ones who had stayed were without homes, facing continuing difficulties in getting to work. One young man dutifully traveled three hours each way to get to his job at Upperline.

On my last night in town I dined on luscious raw oysters and huge heads-on “barbecue” shrimp at the French Market Cafe on Decatur Street in the French Quarter, an area that was not as affected by the storm and flooding as other parts of the city. But the quiet bartender who served me my dinner with some Abita Amber ale to wash it down told me that he had lost his home and had to relocate to Atlanta for 5 1/2 months. He was lucky, he said, though, because many residents of New Orleans had no cars and couldn’t afford to leave. “But at least something good came out of all the misery,” he told me, “The seafood has been incredibly good since the storm: the oysters, the shrimp, it’s all exceptional now.” He explained that all that water had somehow cleaned out the ecosystem so the seafood could sort of start from scratch. A T-shirt seller in a nearby store was looking at the bright side, too. Recently he bought a house that had flooded severely, for a song, and was now renovating it to live in. “It’s not all bad,” he said.

Everywhere we conventioneers seemed to go local residents thanked us profusely for coming and stimulating the economy of the still-hurting city. Service was warm and gracious; locals recognized you if you returned to an eatery or to the conference ballroom for a meal, open to talking about their personal experiences after Katrina. They seemed devastated, still down, working two or three jobs to get by, yet optimistic, trying to find the good in what had happened, hoping for the best for the future. Reba, a server in the hotel, remembered me at breakfast and told me that because she is the mother of young children she works only 12-hour shifts, 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. but that some of her co-workers at the hotel were working 24-hour-shifts.

I felt like I needed for my knowledge of Katrina to extend beyond my late-night walk down Bourbon Street with a fellow conference goer named Katrina. The day before I arrived there had been a $55 four-hour tour of the most devastated areas. It would have been tough to see but surely worthwhile. I couldn’t schedule it in, so the closest I got to evidence was when a cab driver pointed out the waterline on a building. Next time …

For excellent overviews of how Katrina has affected the lives of the people of New Orleans, I recommend two books that I read right before my trip, 1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina by Chris Rose and Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table by Sara Roahen, the first emotionally intense and the second more food-focused, both beautifully written.

Also, my new conference pal Judith Klinger writes nicely about her take on New Orleans in her blog AromaCucina.com.

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