Yes, you too can make GRANOLA!

My muesli supply was depleted earlier this week and not wanting to make the long trek to my food coop, I needed something beyond fruit to put in my morning yogurt. Decided it was high time to turn to granola. I’m not a big fan generally, and would not choose to order it out. 

Luckily — and now happily! — I came upon consummate baker Irvin Lin’s granola recipe which is actually a framework in which to structure your granola-prep based on what you like and what you have on hand. At least that’s the way it worked for me, happily, this a.m. If I had it on hand, I would happily have included dried apricots and coconut — and some coconut oil — but there’s next time.

I also came upon this definition of granola attributed to the Urban Dictionary, which was amusing: 

“An adjective used to describe people who are environmentally aware (flower child, tree-hugger), open-minded, left-winged, socially aware and active, gay friendly, anti-oppressive/discriminatory (racial, sexual, gender, class, age, etc.) with an organic and natural emphasis on living, who might refrain from consuming or using anything containing animals and animal by-products (for health and/or environmental reasons), as well as limit consumption of what he or she does consume, as granola people are usually concerned about wasting resources. Usually buy only fair-trade goods and refrain from buying from large corporations, as most exploit the environment as well as their workers, which goes against granola core values. The choice of not removing body hair (see ‘amazon’) and drug use are not characteristics that define granola people, and people, regardless of granola status, may or may not partake in said activities. This definition is sometimes confused with hippie.” 


oats, 3 c (350g)  (options: rolled rye, rolled barley)

Nuts, 2 c (125g) — slivered almonds and walnut pieces are good (options include pistachios)

Seeds, 1-1/3 c (200 g) — pepitas. I used less than this quantity and added flax seed meal later with the currants (options: sunflower seeds, chia seeds)

cinnamon, 1 t

Cardamom, 3/4 t

Nutmeg, grated, ~1/2 t or less.   (optional addition: ground ginger, 1 t)

Sea salt, 1 t


Combine in small pot: 

Maple syrup, 1/4 c — suggest Grade B, dark not amber — for more flavor

Dark brown sugar, 1/4 c. (options: coconut palm sugar; or eliminate and double maple syrup)

Olive oil, 1/3 c (option: melted coconut oil)

vanilla, 2 t


Egg whites, 2

Dried fruit for later addition:

Currants, 1-1/2 c (option: dried apricots, coconut, and/or dried cherries as part of a mixture)

Also flax meal to add in later — 1/3 c approx


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Take out large rimmed baking sheet.

In large bowl, mix together oats and other dry ingredients up through salt.

In small pot combine the maple syrup, sugar, oil and vanilla. Heat over medium heat and stir until brown sugar dissolves. 

Pour sweetener on top of dry ingredients and mix. 

Add in egg whites and mix. 

Dump contents of bowl onto baking sheet and spread out. 

Bake for 20 minutes.
Dump dried fruit — and flax seed meal if using — onto middle of baking sheet, and scrape in pan contents over top to mix. Spread out again and pat down.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temp. (If you do not let cool, the granola won’t clump, which is what you want to have happen, particularly for later.)

Store at room temp in covered container. 

Note: this is a close cousin to the crisp topping on fruit crisp, which is delicious served with ice cream melting onto the crisp. So if you like, feel free to use this as dessert with ice cream and perhaps some berries.

Soft-boiled eggs, Indonesian style

Some dishes are definitely sum-is-greater-than-the-parts. That’s the situation with these soft-boiled eggs served in a bowl with soy sauce and minced hot peppers. Amazingly delicious. And as a bonus: low fat. That means you can put as much butter on your toast as you like to eat with these eggs. Credit to James Oseland, former editor of Saveur magazine, who wrote a delightful Indonesian cookbook, Cradle of Flavor.

Soft boil eggs. Boil water in pot, reduce heat to vigorous simmer, lower in eggs (with a spoon is good), preferably warmed up to room temp. Then cook 4-1/2 minutes or so.

Cut up red and/or green fresh hot peppers.

Put eggs in bowl: Get eggs out of shell in your manner of choice. I hold hot egg in a towel, tap around pointy end with knife, and remove that shell, being careful to peel off jagged unattached pieces, which I do not want to see end up in my egg bowl, and scoop out insides with a teaspoon.

Sprinkle on top peppers and drizzle soy sauce.

Excellent with toast. Some recommend “soldiers.”

Brussels sprouts hash

I recently learned a good way to use Brussels sprouts as an ingredient is to blanch them for three minutes (after cutting in half) and then refrigerate for a day or two.

I did this to roast Brussels sprouts for dinner (watch carefully! They are burn quickly!)
Then I had some left over and thought they could reappear as breakfast.

To do this:
Mince brussels sprouts.

Other ingredients:
Jalapeno pepper (or sweet peppers with dried red pepper flakes)
Scallions (or onions)

Sauté in butter and a bit of olive oil or other oil (to prevent burning), adding salt and pepper along with way to layer the flavor.
Try cooking in this order: (for next time, know: cook first the items you least want to see raw!)
brussels sprouts

Serve under fried eggs with toast.
Or poached eggs would not be an unwelcome partner to the hash either!

Late Summer Fruit Salad

Let’s say you want to try to watch your calories/waistline after months of saying “yes” to every ice cream opportunity. Try fruit salad! Fruit is still fresh, local and flavorful in the Northeast. From poaching fruit for apple and pear tarts, I happened to use the reduced poaching liquid for an impromptu fruit salad. Sublime.

Here’s a re-creation:

105 g water (approx 1/3 c.)

15 g sugar (approx 1 T)

juice of ½ lemon, divided

2” piece vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scraped into pot with water, then pod thrown in too


  1. Heat water and sugar in small pot to dissolve. Stir with wooden spoon. Add ½ of the lemon juice and all of the vanilla beans and pod, and cook for about 6 mins. Let sit out to steep or put into refrigerator to cool quicker.
  2. Cut up:

½ melon, cut into large chunks

½ pt strawberries, hulled and cut in half

½ pt blueberries

one apple, quartered, cored, peeled and cut into medium chunks.

  1. Mix sugar syrup, fruit and squeeze lemon onto apple, and mix.
  2. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend. Take out at least ½ hour before serving to warm up a bit; though cooler than room temp is desirable.


Other options to explore:

Omit vanilla; use lemon verbena and/or mint

Try stronger flavoring such as cinnamon stick (& star anise?) with or without vanilla bean

Breakfast tacos

imageSick of breakfast? Same old eat-healthy-yogurt-muesli-in-a-rut a.m. meal?

Try breakfast tacos! Sure, they won’t be the same as Mexico or San Antonio, but they’ll be in your home this a.m. and not a plane ride away.

For one healthy-size appetite.  Double, or triple as needed.


½ onion, large dice

½ red pepper, large dice

2 hot peppers, small dice


2 eggs


Sour cream


Grated cheese – queso fresca, Monterey jack, or cheddar


Corn tortillas


First: Procure your best tortillas. Note bene: these will most likely not be in your supermarket. Mexican grocery in your town? Fancy food shop (Guido’s in western Mass) or coop.


  1. Dice your peppers and onions and sauté. Remove to plate.
  2. Prepare cheese; get sour cream and salsa ready with a spoon in each.
  3. Heat pan and add bit of oil. Warm up tortillas in pan, turning up to three at a time, moving into interior, turning over, etc. Put on plate or baking tray.  Throw into preheated oven (lowest settting, around 170 degrees), cover with towel, and turn off oven.
  4. Cook scrambled eggs, then add in peppers, etc when almost cooked. Cook some more and remove to plate.
  5. Assemble your tacos:

Spread out tortillas flat on plate. Scoop on egg potion. Scatter on grated cheese. Dump on some salsa, then some sour cream. (If watching calories/fat intake, feel free to thin sour cream with water, a la Mexicanos). Eat. Yum.