Granola

Granola made at home is surprisingly easy, and in my experience, better tasting and less expensive than anything you can purchase.  This is a classic granola, rich with cinnamon and crunchy with sliced almonds.

granolajar

Granola

8 cups (28 oz) rolled whole oats
3 cups (11oz) sliced raw almonds
2 heaping TB ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) good quality oil*
1 cup plus 1 TB (13 oz) honey**
Option 1: 3/4 cup (4 oz) raw sesame seeds
Option 2: 2 cups large flake dried unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 300.

Heat honey in microwave until it is warmed through and is runny – about 45 seconds on high.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt.  Add warmed honey and oil, and blend until combined.

Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  Spread the granola mixture evenly onto the two parchment lined baking sheets.  Lightly tamp down the granola into the pans into even layers.  Bake for 17 minutes.  At the 17 minute mark, rotate the pans so that the pan that was on the top rack is now on the bottom and vice versa.

Bake for 17 more minutes.  You want the granola to be golden brown and lightly toasty, but not too dark.  Use your nose as a guide – if it smells toasty, and looks golden, then the granola is likely just right.  The granola will become crisp and clumpy after it is cooled.  Don’t worry if it’s a little soft when it’s hot out of the oven.  Allow to cool until room temperature before disturbing the granola to get some nice clumps.  Store airtight.

This granola is lightly sweet, and is great as is or paired with dried fruit.  Add your choice of dried fruit after the granola is baked and cooled.  I particularly love it with golden raisins.  Serve with milk or yogurt for a fabulous breakfast.

* I have experimented with several different oils in this recipe.  My current favorite is Avocado oil because of its creamy mouth-feel and neutral flavor.  I also use a good extra virgin olive oil on occasion, as I like the savory flavor it imparts, but you are free to use any neutral flavored oil in this recipe.

**Different types of honey will contribute different flavors to your granola.  Start with clover or orange blossom honey.

Note:  I find the use of a kitchen scale particularly useful for measuring ingredients such as honey.  It’s easier, faster, and less messy to use a scale.  Click here for the scale I use.

Tahini Lemon Sauce

When I want a simple meal of grilled vegetables, this is my go-to sauce to bring deep flavor  to the table.
Tahini lemon sauce
It goes together in minutes, and will last in the refrigerator for weeks.  The key to great flavor in this recipe is to balance the tangy lemon with sea salt.  Both of these flavors complement the rich, nutty tahini and fruity olive oil.  This sauce is fabulous on grilled eggplant.

Tahini Lemon Sauce

2/3 cup tahini*
juice and zest of one large or two small lemons
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup warm water
1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
sea salt
Aleppo pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper)

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender.  (If you don’t have one of these devices, no worries.  Just get a big bowl and whisk and use elbow grease instead.) Start with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper flakes – you can always add more.   Blend until a smooth, creamy sauce forms.  The sauce should be a light, creamy consistency.  If it is too thick, add a bit more water until it loosens up.  If it’s too watery, add a bit more tahini and blend.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt or lemon or pepper to suit your palate.

I like to serve my Tahini Lemon Sauce with a drizzle of olive oil and a shake of pepper flakes.

Salad dressing note:  This sauce is fabulous on salads as a light dressing.  If desired, whisk in some more olive oil to the sauce to make it a little richer to put on salad greens.

* Tahini is just ground, roasted sesame seeds.  Look for tahini here