I would like to make an average meal for my mediocre family --- said no one EVER!
I just can't settle for making an ordinary dinner when I could make an extraordinary meal. Like so many of you, I have an exceptional family and they deserve extravagant meals. Of course, spectacular meals don't happen everyday - let's face it - I'm human. But, I love to see the smiles on the faces of Ben and the kids when I do have the opportunity to make a great meal.
Maybe it's my OCD and my never ending quest for the best recipe but I just can't seem to settle for average. Take granola for instance.
The only real problem that I have with this recipe is that it's crumbly and not really a pick-it-up-in-your-hands kind of food. I like granola pieces that you can hold between your fingers. Not that crumbly isn't delicious when it's sprinkled over yogurt but sometimes, I want to eat granola - without a spoon. I want a crispy little piece of granola that sticks together without crumbling.
I found this recipe in my America's Test Kitchen cookbook. After reading through the recipe, I discovered that I had been going about the granola process completely wrong. I stirred my granola throughout the cooking process to ensure even browning but what that was doing was breaking up all of my granola pieces. Their strategy was to press the mixture into a pan and bake it, undisturbed. It worked - delicious granola pieces! Yup - an extraordinary recipe!
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 cups old fashioned oats
2 cup whole almonds
Fold in oats and almonds.
Let cool and then break into pieces.
Enjoy all by itself or serve with yogurt and fresh fruit.
I've already started to think about how I'm going to modify this recipe. I think I'm going to make it again - without almonds and press it into greased muffin cups to make small granola bowls that I can fill with yogurt and fresh fruit. I'm thinking these would be perfect for our Easter brunch. (I'll let you know how they turn out.)
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