Aimée’s Maple Walnut Granola

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I realize that one can only have so many formulas for granola, and at some point you settle into a regular combination you can mindlessly mix up and bake without much in the way of measuring.

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This is one such recipe. It comes from our friend Aimée, who has written her first cookbook, which focuses on seasonal eating from her urban homestead, and we’re celebrating with a virtual book launch of sorts, a bunch of us food writer friends choosing recipes to make and share this week as it makes its way into bookstores. (Also, I’m traveling a lot this week, and like to have a baggie of granola to take on the plane. I like to at least pretend to be that person as I devour as many packets of Biscoff cookies as I can coax out of the flight attendants.

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Since homemade granola is in constant rotation in our house, I chose hers to give a go; it’s very similar to my default granola, save for the applesauce and maple flakes (which, sadly, are not as readily available in Alberta). I had a jar of my sister’s crabapple sauce on my shelf, pink and sweet-tart, and so mixed some up, subbing sliced almonds for the sunflower seeds I had none of – that’s the great thing about granola, you can mix and match nuts and seeds and add whatever kind of dried fruit you like at the end.

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Cheers Aimée! Your book is beautiful. (And so is the granola!)

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Maple Walnut Granola

Homemade granola is a household staple that tastes better than anything you can buy and is much cheaper to make yourself. Ours is sweetened with maple syrup, while applesauce aids in forming those delicious clusters.

Noah and Mateo like their breakfast version plain, no raisins or other dried fruit, merci, although I shake in a few sunflower seeds and walnuts for texture. For an extra-special version of this granola, I add 1/4 cup (60 mL) organic maple flakes for a burst of sweetness. They’re available from online retailers and some Canadian grocers.

Makes 6 cups (1.5 L)

2/3 cup (150 mL) applesauce
1/2 cup (125 mL) pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) cinnamon
4 cups (1 L) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (250 mL) walnut pieces
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup (60 mL) organic maple flakes (optional)

1. Position oven racks in middle and top third of oven and preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, stir together applesauce, maple syrup, oil, salt and cinnamon. Add oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds and maple flakes, if using. Stir well to combine everything, taking care that the oats are fully coated.

3. Divide the oat mixture between the baking sheets and spread to an even layer. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown, rotating the baking sheets and giving the granola a stir halfway through the baking time.

4. Turn off oven. Dry granola for 15 minutes in the oven with the door slightly ajar, then cool completely on the counter.

Excerpted from Brown Eggs and Jam Jars, by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque (Penguin)

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February 11 2015 | breakfast and grains | 6 Comments »

Ramen with Egg and Cheese

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This is shorter and sweeter than I intended to be tonight, but I need to share my new favourite thing before too much time passes and I forget – it’s instant ramen with a bit of butter, egg poached right in the broth, and melty cheese. Cheese (the processed, wrapped in plastic kind) is a Korean thing, and far more delicious than it sounds – unless you think it sounds delicious, in which case you’re bang-on.

LA food truck chef Roy Choi shared his recipe for doctored-up ramen with the New York Times last year – it’s his staple, his grilled cheese, his bowl of cereal. And although packaged ramen has never particularly been my thing, it kind of is now – I want to go out and stay out late and have too many gin and tonics just so I can come home and make a bowl of this – I imagine it tastes even better at two in the morning. The processed cheese melts into the hot broth, making it a sort of cross between ramen and mac & cheese. Of course as with any noodle bowl, feel free to add any other additions you like – bits of veggies or roast chicken or pork – and spice it up with a squirt of Sriracha.

Just don’t forget the cheese.

Chef Roy Choi’s Perfect Ramen

This is pretty basic ramen – feel free to doctor it up with any additions you like, or spice it up with a squirt of Sriracha.

1 pkg. instant ramen noodles
1 egg
1 tsp. butter
grated carrot, fresh spinach, or leftover veggies (totally optional)
2 processed cheese slices
toasted sesame seeds
chopped green onion

Cook the noodles like you normally would – according to the package directions – when the noodles are about halfway cooked, crack in the egg and poach it in the broth over low heat, basting with broth or covering with a lid briefly to help it cook through.

Carefully pour the lot into a bowl, add the butter and any veggies you like, and immediately top with the cheese slices. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onion and Sriracha to taste and serve immediately.

Serves 1.

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February 08 2015 | leftovers and one dish and pasta | 7 Comments »

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