Thursday, December 17, 2009

of mixes and combinations

Renee's pizza rice and beans made me think of a few strange mixes we've been putting together in my house as well. My son is very particular about what he eats, but I've decided that requiring him to eat a certain amount of everything I cook is a battle I'm not going to fight. He does like certain vegetables, and an incredible range of foods, but far from most or all foods. So most of the time, I make sure that at least one part of what I'm cooking for dinner will be to his liking. But the other day, when he had a meltdown over not eating any of what I'd put on the table, he asked for a sandwich with bread, peanut butter, lettuce, carrotts, and cream cheese. I was so amused that I eschewed my normal "I'm not cooking anything extra for you, either eat what's on the table or find something else for yourself" (he's four, what he can find for himself is yogurt)and made it. He ate the whole thing and has taken it to school for lunch every day this week. That got us on a sandwich mix kick, and we started turning our breakfast of eggs and toast into bread, cream cheese, and scrambled egg sandwiches. The other thing he loves to mix is breakfast cereal. Yesterday morning it was yogurt with cocoa bunnies, honey bunnies, and grape nuts. Mmmm. This morning, I convinced him that the granola I'd made was already a mix. I think I hit on a secret of granola-making in this one: cook it less and add the dried fruit at the end. I also think I hit on a local food treasure: maple syrup. We've said many times that we're looking to use as much local food as possible, not only ever local food. And so I really haven't put much effort into trying to get certain basic ingredients--flour, grains, and up until now sweetener--to be local. I buy local honey, but I only occasionally substitute sugar for honey because honey--especially great local honey-- has a such a distinctive taste that it actually flavors most foods. And somehow, I just forgot that in addition to the thing that I love to dribble over my pancakes and hot cereal, maple syrup is a sweetener. Like honey, it does have a distinctive taste, but in a great number of foods I'm looking forward to that one! So, here's a granola recipe that uses a combination of honey and maple syrup for sweeteners. I'm now going to launch into experimentation with making those my primary sweeteners. And I'm ordering salvia for the garden in the Spring for one more option.

Local Sweet Granola

4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit

Preheat oven to 300. Mix together everything except the dried fruit and pour into a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through. After 30 minutes, remove from oven and close oven door quickly. Stir in dried fruit. Return to oven and leave in for another 30 minutes as oven cools. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for a week or two.

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