Monday, May 11, 2009

A concussion, a cold and three Australian citizens

And now to explain my recent absence from this space.

Despite my diligent and organized efforts as the caretaker of this blog, sometimes things happen that prevent me from undertaking my tasks as assigned. And since there is no Stove With A House Around It runner-up to step in should I be unable to perform the duties expected of me, when such things happen the blog remains stagnant, un-updated, lost, lonesome, sad in a way.

As such, you, dear reader, have been forced to read a recipe for honey biscuits each time you've visited this past week. I hope that you enjoy the honey biscuit recipe, but, really, there are only so many times that you can look at it. I have a good excuse for my inaction, though. Actually, five good excuses: a concussion, a cold and three Australian citizens (one in utero). Three of these were way more fun than the other two.

So I fell off a horse. And got a mild concussion. I suppose it had to happen sometime; you can't ride twice a week and expect not to fall off. I now understand that there is a reason I wear a helmet. I did a lot of resting, and Husband did all the lifting -- heavy and otherwise -- while I generally lounged about with a terrible headache. I did not blog while concussed because I like for the recipes to make sense. I'm thorough like that.

But no sooner was the concussion abating that a wicked cold/sore throat thing took hold. And what a shame, too, because I had purchased a pound of ricotta and some lovely basil that I was planning on turning into something magnificent. But I had no appetite and no desire to rise from the sofa.

The larger stress, however, was the fact that in two days our friends Matt and Nicole would be arriving from Australia -- with evidence of their first-born visible as the cutest little bump under Nicole's jumper -- and I wanted to be well to enjoy their visit. Because it's not often that one visits with people from Australia....Oh wait, Matt's mom and dad, Kerrie and Greg, were here last summer. And Mom and I are traveling to Sydney visit all of them later this year. But still: Australian house guests = a big deal! Not a time to be sick.

Thankfully, I rallied. I concentrated really really hard on getting well, sleeping and sleeping and drinking some juice and sleeping some more. Then I cleaned everything and disinfected all surfaces. By the time their plane landed, all that remained of my cold was a messed-up voice, sounding much worse than I felt. I even managed to get some fresh flowers for the guest room and a few chocolate truffles for their pillows.

What I didn't manage to do, though, was bake a nice loaf of bread for their breakfast toast, as I had planned. But late one night, after they had taken themselves and their teeny baby off to bed, I made a batch of granola for them. I hoped that the smell of slowly baking nuts and maple syrup would usher them into a nice, comfy and sound sleep, leaving behind a sweet jar of granola waiting for them in the morning.

It did, and there was.


Adapted from Early Bird Foods & Co.'s recipe

Matt and Nicole ate their granola with milk, in the fashion of cereal. I enjoy it that way, too, but it's also fantastic with a few spoons of Greek yogurt, the yogurt offering a complementary tang to the granola's alternating sweet-saltiness. It's good however you like to serve it.

Update: Since I originally published this post, I have learned from the fabulous Michael Ruhlman that it is easiest to bake a large quantity of granola in a roasting pan, versus a baking sheet. Indeed. It is much cleaner, with much less spillage.

3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c. raw sunflower seeds, hulled
1 c. unsweetened coconut
1 c. sliced raw almonds
1 1/4 c. raw pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 c. pure maple syrup (get the good stuff, not the stuff that's just corn syrup masquerading as maple syrup)
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 t. kosher or sea salt, plus more for seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine the oats, sunflower seeds, coconut, almonds, pecans, olive oil, maple syrup, brown sugar and 1 t. of the salt. Mix until well combined.

Spread the granola in an even layer in a roasting pan (or on a rimmed baking sheet if you don't have a roasting pan).

Bake, stirring about every 10 minutes, until the granola is toasted and a deep golden brown, 40-50 minutes.

Remove from oven and season with salt. Let cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight contained for up to 1 month.

Makes about 7 cups of granola, or more than enough to feed two (three) Australians and two Americans for a week.


Kerrie said...

Oh golly, i had been thinking that i had one little surprise for you when you visit but....
The recipe I use is a little different (good for comparing) Did they mention that they get mine at Christmas time.

Dianne said...

I would LOVE to try your granola! I will most likely forget about it by the time we arrive anyway, so it will still be a surprise. :)

They didn't mention Christmastime granola, but then again they ate breakfast when I was off at work, so I wasn't around for the granola conversation.

Melanie said...

Sorry about your concussion, etc!

The granola looks yummy. I'll have to try your recipe next time I make it!

Dianne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dianne said...

Thanks Melanie! That's what I get for riding bareback.... :)

I hope you enjoy the granola! I really can't get enough of it -- was eating it all afternoon.

Matt, Nicole and Bump said...

Dianne we loved your granola! We can certainly vouch for the wonderful aroma that carried us down the stairs on our first morning.

We also devoured the delicious truffles in NY.

Thank you for a wonderful stay. We look forward to seeing you in August.

Dianne said...

Matt, Nicole and Baby!

So glad to hear from you here...and even more happy that you enjoyed the granola. It was so great having you guys here -- we were so happy you fit us in on your wonderful holiday!

And, yes! Can't wait to see you in August!!!