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Flour Girl: Rediscovering granola

I recently returned from a vacation in Big Sur, Calif. In my opinion, there are few more gorgeous places in the world. The fierce, rocky coast meets with crashing waves and the ever-changing light makes for endless beauty.

We stayed at a place halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco called Treebones Resort, although the term "resort" is a bit of a misnomer. There is a central lodge and the accommodations are provided in surrounding yurts. Yurts are semi-permanent round structures more commonly associated with Mongolian nomadic life. Each one comes fully equipped with running water, a bed and a gas fireplace. My kind of camping; very civilized.

One of the highlights of our stay was the food, much of it grown in the resort's organic garden. The morning granola became my motivation to get an early start. It seemed super-simple, ingredient-wise. But I was not able to confirm my guesses because the recipe is closely held.

The granola's biggest appeal for me was its soft peanut butter clusters. And it had no actual nuts, no raisins, no hard little bits that fight you before that first cup of coffee.

Until I get past my jet lag and can experiment a little bit further to reconstruct the Big Sur granola from memory, I offer you a granola recipe from Washington cookbook author Lisa Yockelson that ran in the Food section more than 20 years ago. While it is a different beast from what I had in California (I will work on it for next week and update you with my findings and, hopefully, a recipe), it is packed with flavor and was very popular with readers.

-- Leigh Lambert

Coconut-Almond Granola
Makes about 6 1/4 cup

Unsweetened flaked coconut and miller's bran (unprocessed wheat bran) are available at health food markets and at some Whole Foods Markets.

6 tablespoons safflower oil
6 tablespoons honey
4 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup miller's bran (see headnote)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 1/4 cups chopped almonds
1 1/4 cups unsweetened flaked coconut (see headnote)

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Lightly grease a jellyroll pan (measuring approximately 15 by 10 by 1 inch).

Heat the oil and honey in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring just until the honey dissolves.

Combine the oats, wheat germ, miller's bran, sesame seeds and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Pour over the warm oil-honey mixture and toss to coat evenly.
Spread out the oat mixture on the prepared pan. Bake (middle rack) for about 50 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool completely.

Use your fingertips to crumble the granola into chunks and flakes; stir in the flaked coconut. Transfer to a jar or tin, close tightly and store at room temperature.

Per 1/2-cup serving: 277 calories, 6 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 175 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 9 g sugar

By Leigh Lambert  |  January 7, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl  | Tags: breakfast, flour girl, leigh lambert  
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