“E.A.T. Granola”

E.A.T. (easy-as-that)

This is the beginning of a series of “how-tos” for foods that, made at home, are tastier & healthier than any store-bought version regardless of price.  I am calling this series “E.A.T.” which means “easy-as-that”…which is how I feel each time I whip up a batch of, among many other delectables, my most divine Granola.  E.A.T.s are for lazy Sunday afternoons, Saturday morning ramblings in the kitchen or any time when it is simply more pleasing to “create” than go shopping.

There will be other subjects in this series such as creamy homemade Ricotta, aromatic & flavored Sugars, fabulous & simple Syrups and savory herbed butters. Over the next few months I will share these easy-as-that recipes, but remember these are all my personal favorite flavor profiles so you might have to adjust recipes to suit your own palate and that is what e.a.t. is all about!

#1. E.A.T. GRANOLA

Ingredients:

2 cups whole almonds

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 cup dried cherries

1 cup walnut pieces

1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup molasses or sorghum

1 1/2 Tbsp orange marmalade

1 1/2 Tbsp fig spread

2 Tbsp water

1 to 2 tsp sea or kosher salt

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. In a large bowl mix together all of the dry ingredients.

2. In a microwave safe container combine the molasses, marmalade, fig spread & water. Heat until hot, but not bubbly & stir well to mix.

3. Pour molasses mixture over dry ingredients in bowl and toss to coat. Make sure all dry ingredients are well coated.

4. Spread mixture out on a rimmed sheet pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until mixture turns a deep golden brown & caramelized.

6.  Turn oven off & allow granola to completely cool in oven. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt or kosher salt.

7.Spoon this perfectly crunchy granola in glass jars with tight-fitting lids.

Divine granola is perfect sprinkled over yogurt & fresh fruit, added to a morning muffin mix or eaten as a healthy low-sugar snack.

It’s as easy-as-that!

Take a Holiday Break / Persimmon Walnut Tea Bread

No, these are not some new fangled Christmas ornament!  They are “Hachiya Persimmons” &  although they are certainly pretty enough to be Holiday ornaments, I have another plan for them.

“A Simple Persimmon Walnut Tea Bread for when you need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Holidays”

When I was a young girl I loved the persimmon fruit from a tree that grew wild at the edge of our yard. It was gangly, never-pruned, pretty much ignored tree that went unnoticed all year until sometime in mid-December when the persimmons would begin to ripen taking on a soft yellowy custard color. The fruit very lush, short-lived and much appreciated. I do not remember Mother ever using them in recipes. We just ate them off the tree like apples.

The “Hachiya” persimmons that have been in the markets lately are not local nor are they the type that grows wild in the South. These persimmons are vibrant red-orange and are very hard, not ready to be eaten. Recently I purchased 5 of these for a photo shoot. We did not use them so I brought them home to ripen in a bowl on the kitchen counter. I got busy and forgot about them for a few days and during this time they ripened to perfection. Curiously I bit into one and was rewarded with an incredibly lusciousness. If I had to describe the flavor I would say it was somewhat like a very ripe mango or papaya or mamay crossed with a banana?

“Hachiya Persimmons”

My tea bread version is adapted from a recipe in Tammy Algood’s mangum opus to Southern cooking, “The Complete Southern Cookbook”.

“A Simple Persimmon Walnut Tea Bread”

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks of butter softened (I used Kerrygold)

1/2 cup Sorghum or Molasses

2 eggs

1 cup Persimmon pulp from very ripe persimmons (core, peel & puree pulp in processor)

2 cups all purpose flour mixed with 1/2 cup ground flax seed & 2 tsp baking powder

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries

1/4 cup turbinado or raw sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease & flour a loaf pan.

2. In a bowl combine the flour, ground flax seed, baking powder mixture with the walnuts & dried cranberries. Set aside.

3.  Using an electric mixer cream the butter & sorghum together. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.

4. Stir in the persimmon pulp until well blended.

5. Add the egg-persimmon mixture to the flour mixture stirring just to combine. Scrape batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle top with a 1/4 cup turbinado or raw sugar to add crunch.

6. Bake for about 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and continue to cool on wire rack.

7. This bread is best served warm or toasted along side a cup of tea or hot milky coffee when you need to sit down, take a break and a deep breath and relax for a  bit. Happy Holidays.

“A Little Holiday Image Gallery”

Little Figurines from Sweden
Amaryllis & Orchid
Food Magazine Paper Chain
Little Glitter House
Squirrel Nutcracker
“Know when enough is enough!” homemade  gift tag from recycled Holiday catalogs.
“Santa Claus with Beer” image from the Santa Pub, Nashville, TN…..don’t forget the cookies!

Enjoy. Share. Keep it Light. Be Helpful……..