How is it already thisclose to being June? I'm holding tight to the well-worn marks of weekly routines to remind myself of the borders between these days, rather than accepting them as a smear across the calendar.
I am happiest with a schedule, and yet want Monday to feel different than Wednesday. Saturdays are for the farmer's market and tacos for breakfast, Tuesdays are often a standing bibimbap lunch, and Sunday night is when I make granola.
When I was fine-tuning the recipes for my book, certain ones that had always been part of my weekly to-do list became even more so entrenched in the way we do things around here. The soft sandwich bread took over the bread box, instead of sharing the space with the milk-and-honey-enriched loaf that was our alternate. I was giving away jar after jar of the pickled strawberry preserves. I had a freezer's worth of variations on the Walnut, Cherry Butter Tart Pie (there was one with milk chocolate, one with bittersweet, and one with cacao nibs; then one with pecans instead of the walnuts, another with bourbon, and one with dried cranberries, and every permutation in between). The clumpy granola became our one and only, and it was made with such devotedness that there was usually a surplus stashed in the pantry.
Once the book was done and out in the world, I took a break from many of those recipes, first off because—and nobody tells you this—while you're promoting a book you end up doing very little cooking. Then it was summertime, when our schedule had only the loosest of parameters. Slowly, slowly with fall and winter and school and holidays, I found my way again to the little ceremonies of my kitchen.
I'm back to a varied bread baking program, and the yeasted ones from the book are supplemented with a rye-heavy sourdough on the regular. The butter tart pie was was on the table at Thanksgiving, and it'll be shuttled to the cottage this summer.
Now the granola has its antithetical compatriot sharing a shelf. While mine is rough with clusters, this one from Emma Galloway's My Darling Lemon Thyme, is snappy, crackling and light. Hers is a toasted muesli, with a combination of flaked grains, coconut, seeds, and nuts, plus such a collection of dried fruit that each bite is a change from the one before. The kicker really is Emma's ingenious binding agent; tahini, mixed with coconut oil and honey. The resulting syrup is rich without going overboard, and not overly sweet. It is fragrant yet not sickly, evocatively savoury almost. In short, it's compellingly good.
Sarah wrote about this recipe just last month, so I consider this adding my voice to the chorus of praise as this muesli is one for encores.
EMMA GALLOWAY'S TAHINI, ORANGE + COCONUT TOASTED MUESLI
"Muesli-making was always my dad's domain when we were little. Late at night he would set himself up in the kitchen, toasting and chopping like a mad man, before decanting the goods into his giant glass muesli jar. I remember him saying how expensive it was to make but, and this is a huge BUT, homemade muesli beats that store-bought sweetened stuff hands down. This is my favourite version, and it's filled to the brim with the goodness of quinoa flakes, shredded coconut, nuts, and fruit all bound together in a sweet (but not in-your-face-sweet) mixture of coconut oil, tahini, honey, and orange zest. To keep things strictly mean you can use pure maple or brown rice syrup in place of the honey. Also, whole-grain oats can be used in place of the quinoa flakes."
— From My Darling Lemon Thyme: Recipes from my Real Food Kitchen by Emma Galloway (Roost Books, 2015)
Makes 1.5kg | 2 pounds
INGREDIENTS (please see below and the note for my changes)
- 5 cups | 500 g quinoa flakes
- 2 cups |180g unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut (I used both)
- 1/2 cup | 65g cashews, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup | 75g whole raw almonds, roughly chopped (I used flaked)
- 1/2 cup | 65g pumpkin (pepita) seeds
- 1/2 cup | 60g sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup | 35g sesame seeds
- 1/3 cup | 80ml virgin coconut oil
- 1/3 cup | 80ml un-hulled tahini
- 1/3 cup | 80ml honey, pure maple or brown rice syrup (I used maple)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- The finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup | 200g natural raisins or sultanas
- 1 1/2 cups | 165g dried cranberries
- 1 cup | 95g firmly packed dried apple slices, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup | 80g pitted dried dates, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Combine quinoa flakes, coconut, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower and sesame seeds in a large bowl using your hands to combine thoroughly. Combine coconut oil, honey or syrup, tahini, vanilla, orange zest and sea salt in a small pan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring constantly until melted and combined. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well.
Transfer to a large deep baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until toasty and golden brown. Watch those edges like a hawk as they have a tendency to burn. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Stir in the dried fruit and transfer to a large glass jar or airtight container. Will keep for 2-3 weeks as long as airtight.
NOTE FROM TARA:
Instead of quinoa alone, I used 3 cups rolled oats, 11/2 cups quinoa flakes, and 1/2 cup buckwheat groats. I tailored the fruit to my sons' preferences, using 1/2 cup sultanas, 1/2 cup chopped figs, 1 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1/2 cup dried blueberries, 1/4 cup minced candied ginger, and 1/2 cup pitted dried dates, chopped.
Last but not least, thank you for the generosity of your kindness in response to my post about my grandfather. You guys are the absolute best. xo