Over the past four days I've tried making homemade granola, yogurt and sun dried tomatoes.
First, the granola is fabulous!
Considering how expensive healthy granola is to buy - it is well worth it, and even healthier than what you can find at Whole Foods. I got the recipe from a book I purchased at Anthropologie (my favorite store of all time -- weakness, weakness) last year called Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson. She also has a recipe journal at www.101cookbooks.com . She is pretty hardcore -- cooking with flours most of us have never heard of like amaranth flour, barley flour and mesquite flour. A big part of her philosophy is cooking with foods that will give you the most nutrition. In this day and age so many things are hyper processed. We have gotten so far from our food that to transport it long distances and increase the amount of time it can sit and to make things taste "good" on the cheap by adding junk, they (the food manufacturers including unconscious commercial farmers) "sold" us away from simple, quality foods closest to it's original form and nutritional value as possible. Anyway, enough editorializing. Granola is actually very easy to make!
Here it is:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. (changed from 300 for a chewier, stickier consistency)
4 Cups Oats
3/4 C unsalted raw sunflower seeds
1 C nuts of your choice chopped slightly (I used slivered almonds and walnuts)
1 1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
I also added about 1/3 C cold milled flax seed (flax seed needs to be broken down slightly to digest it and get any nutrition out of it) because I never seem to get around to eating it like I should.
Grated zest of 2 oranges
3/4 C raw honey
1/4 C coconut oil
1 1/2 C assorted unsulfured dried fruit (I used blueberries, cherries and raisins)
Put everything but dried fruit, honey and coconut oil into a large bowl and toss. Heat honey and coconut oil over low eat -whisk together, pour over dry ingredients and toss until everything is coated. Spread granola onto two large cookie sheets and put into a 250 degree oven for 1 hour - stirring every 10 minutes - until golden. After taking it out of the oven, toss the dried fruit into the granola. (I found if you cook the fruit in the oven it gets TOOoooo chewy and hard.) Cool completely then put into air tight containers. Store at room temperature. That's it. I even got Ripley to eat it! Wow! Think of all of the vitamins I sneaked into him! To try and encourage you to purchase her fabulous book, let me tantalize you with her Otsu recipe. It's the soba noodle dish with tofu, sesame seeds and ginger-sesame dressing that you often see at the Whole Foods deli. Good for you and incredible. Ripley didn't like the look of it at first, but when "encouraged" with the promise of more tofu (yes, picky eater Ripley LOVES tofu. go figure) he tried a bite of the pasta, then asked for more. Hard head.
OK, now the yogurt. I got the instructions off a blog I check out from time to time called The Real Food Revolution. Sounds good doesn't it? She has simple instructions and insists that yogurt is just not that hard to make. Hey! I make bread and a great pie, I can handle this! Well, for some reason my yogurt didn't set. I'm trying again. I've had many a bread failures -- I won't give up on yogurt yet! Check out her blog and How to Make Yogurt.
The sun dried tomato project. I don't know, but I think in general it's too humid to sun dry tomatoes here in New England. Granted it's been a cooler week in the high 70's -- maybe next week in the 80's would have been better. I read online that it should take 3 days to dry -- bringing them inside at night. (They are set on drying racks, on screens, covered with cheese cloth to prevent bug visitors.) Anyway, some are looking great -- there are a few that have mold. Anyway, I've ordered a food dehumidifier.
I would be taking pictures of all of this, but I left the bloomin' charger at our little beach bungalow. Apologies. Take my word for it, the granola looks fabulous packed away in several large mason jars, and the tomatoes that have dried properly look tasty. (not so much the moldy ones).