Granola makes me feel creative. A canvas of colors and textures spread out in front of me, waiting to be thoughtfully thrown together to create something new. So many possibilities, so many ways it can go.
I never really thought of myself as creative. In fact, I’m a little intimidated by creative people. You know the type – quiet and mysterious, or perhaps gregarious and quick-witted, maybe even pretentious and poorly dressed. Something about people with that creative air makes me feel like a turtle in a shell. My husband is a creative type (not the poorly dressed kind, I must add), and many of our friends are too, so I guess I’m attracted to them at the same time.
But I feel creative when I’m in the kitchen. Intuition guides me as I proportionately add spices and flavors to each dish, mixing and mashing and playing with cooking times. I rarely use recipes because I want the resulting dish to be mine–a part of me, created with love that can be shared with as many people who are willing. Maybe it’s similar to musicians who play their own songs, instead of covering a Beatles tune. Don’t get my wrong, I love the Beatles, and I do sometimes follow recipes, but there’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you create something beautiful – or delicious.
Which brings me to my next bit of news – thanks to you, my loyal readers, Local Lemons has been nominated for two Foodbuzz Awards – Best Recipe Blog and Best Green/Sustainable Blog. So exciting! I can’t believe I’m up against the likes of 101 Cookbooks, Simply Recipes, A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa, Farm to Table, Food Renegade and Nourished Kitchen.
And so I ask once again, to please vote for Local Lemons by clicking here. Tell your friends, your family and everyone on your contact list. Voting closes on October 29th, and they announce the winner on November 7th. Thanks so much, fingers crossed!
Sticky, Salty, Sweet, Homemade Granola
This granola is sticky like a bar, but you can eat it in pieces. Dried cranberries and figs are mixed with roasted walnuts, pecans, rolled oats, and a variety of seeds. They are held together with local honey, real maple syrup and brown sugar, and the whole thing is baked in a tart dish.
Fills one 9 inch tart dish, cook time: about 40 minutes
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 pumpkin seeds
1/2 flax seeds
1/2 sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried figs, roughly chopped
1/2 cup crispy brown rice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 brown sugar
1/2 cups of local honey
3 tablespoons organic maple syrup
Extra Virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400F. Place the oats, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds on a large baking sheet. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. Mix to combine. Roast for about 7 minutes, checking often to make sure nothing burns. Remove the tray and lower the heat to 325F.
Put the roasted ingredients in a large bowl. Add cranberries, figs, cinnamon and crispy brown rice. Stir to combine.
Heat up the honey, brown sugar and maple syrup in a small saucepan, on medium-low heat. Stir until all the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add the honey mixture to the bowl with the granola and stir until everything is coated with the honey.
Very lightly oil a tart dish with olive oil. Using a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Pour the granola until the dish, and press down firmly with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool before serving.
*If you want to cut granola into bars, store in the fridge. It stays together much better when cold.