Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spoons or otherwise

They say you’re supposed to put a spoon under your pillow the night before a storm.

Then, by means of some fortuitous snow fairy, or whatever it is that they say, the next morning every commitment you had will be cancelled. We students call them snow days.

I thought about taking part, and maybe adding in a fork or a knife for some extra good luck, but chose to take my chances in the name of comfort. As it turns out, you actually don’t need to do it. It sounds strange, but when the weather forecast is predicting snow, eight to twelve inches to wit, snow days tend to happen, regardless of the flatwear you put under your pillow, spoons or otherwise.

I remember getting up as a young kid, running down the stairs to the kitchen in the kind of blue-dark that it always seems to be at six in the morning. I’d sit with my dad; as he watched the news, I watched only the list of schools scroll across the bottom, wary not to blink, in case I missed the A’s for Ashford.

With time, I’ve found that getting up before the sun just to see if I would be able to sleep in, ironically enough, defeats the whole purpose. Snow days are days designed, smack in the middle of the week, for lounging and putting off responsibilities and keeping your pjs on for much longer than is generally appropriate. They are also designed, as it happens, for baking. Because if we are being made, forced, to lounge around all day, it would be much better to do that in a house that smelled like cinnamon, roasted nuts, and honey, all baking in the form of granola.

This is a really simple granola recipe adapted from David Lebovitz; I really used it more like a base – you can add whatever fruit and nuts you like, or even chocolate if you want to be decadent about the whole thing (which I highly encourage). And speaking of adapting, I, as you know, probably can’t go an entire paragraph without emphasizing the fact that this is a recipe intended for baking, yet you can mess around with the ingredients to your heart’s desire. That, in my book (or on my blog) most definitely requires one of these (!) or two (!!), or (!!!) just to be sure how excited you know I am about it.

So make this, in sweatpants, and once it cools, pour yourself a big bowl and watch the snow pile up outside your windows.


(adapted from David Lebovitz)

To reiterate: have fun with this. Add whatever kind of nuts you like best, and feel free to play around with the spices a bit too. If you add dried fruit, like I did, make sure you stir it in after the granola has baked and cooled.

5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 ½ cups almonds, coarsely chopped
½ cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
Scant ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Sprinkle of ground cloves
1 tsp salt

¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup (OR 1/3 cup brown rice syrup)
¼ cup honey
2 T vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 300F. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine all wet ingredients in a smaller, separate bowl, then pour them over the dry ingredients and stir to incorporate. Lay out the granola in a relatively thin layer on sheet pans. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown, but make sure to stir and rotate the pan positions every ten minutes. Give a good stir when they first come out of the oven to cool, too. After it is cooled, sprinkle a few handfuls of dried fruit over the top, if using. I did dried cranberries and raisins.

1 comment:

Lauri said...

Ahhhh...the snow day...baking granola, inhaling the aroma, and lounging with a great kind of day....too bad nurses have to work no matter how deep the snow!!