Monday, October 21, 2013

Maple Pecan Pumpkin Pie Spice Skillet Granola- I'm Obsessed!

Another obsession of mine- making homemade granola!  It happened out of necessity, as I struggled to find a grocery store granola that wasn't loaded with sugar or artificial ingredients.  And now, I'm hooked and so is my family.

Like many of my recipes, this granola can be different every time you make it, just by changing the nuts, seeds, and fruits you choose to use.  This particular combination is my favorite for two reasons:  first, I've used pure maple syrup as the sweetener instead of my usual organic honey, with absolutely delicious results, and second- because the entire batch is mixed and baked in one large skillet.  Less fuss, less mess, so easy!

Stir fry the ingredients until they are toasty and fragrant!

Ok, so I lied.  There are three reasons.  One of the recipes I'm best known for in my family is my pumpkin pie.  And the best thing about that recipe is the perfect combination of spices.  And so that exact combination is what I have put in this granola:  cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in that order decreased by half.  Trust me, it works.

In our house, we use granola in the traditional way, as a cereal, but my absolute favorite is sprinkled over Greek yogurt.  Ridiculously good. 

Next time I do this, I'm going to drizzle some extra maple syrup over everything.  Mmmmmm!

But don't stop there!  Maple Pecan Pumpkin Pie Spiced Granola is an unexpected yet fabulous topping for vegetables, as I discovered this weekend while creating a side dish for roast pork.

First, I sliced Delicata squash and Bartlett pears, tossed them in olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.  They were roasted on 425 for about 20 minutes.  In the meantime, I mixed a half cup of pure maple syrup with a teaspoon of Ancho chili powder and cayenne (to taste) in a skillet.  When the squash and pears were roasted, I tossed them in a pan with the maple mixture and sprinkled them with crumbled pancetta.  After transferring everything to a serving dish, I topped it with the granola. The spicy sweet veggies and fruit combined with the crunchy granola....   seriously fabulous.

I could eat this every day!

If you think of another way to repurpose this granola, or if you've tried some interesting combinations, I'd love to hear from you!  For this particular recipe, I owe a thank you to Pure Canadian Maple Syrup for the inspiration.  (  I will definitely be using maple syrup to sweeten my treats again!

Maple Pecan Pumpkin Pie Spiced Skillet Granola
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped pecans (or other nuts!)
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds, or other seeds!)
1/4 cup wheat germ (or wheat bran, or even natural coconut!)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup raw virgin coconut oil (grape seed oil, or nut oils work well too)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped dried figs (or other dried fruit!)
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Place oats, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and wheat germ in an oven safe non-stick skillet and toast over medium heat until golden and fragrant, stirring frequently.  You are essentially stir frying the ingredients here.
Sprinkle spices and salt over the mixture and stir to combine.  Pour coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla into pan and mix thoroughly.
Transfer skillet to oven and roast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven, cool slightly, then stir in figs.  Cool completely and store in airtight container.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Cake- a little slice of heaven!

I promised so many people I would share this recipe.  And they ask me so apologetically.  As if I am safeguarding it like it's some kind of family secret.  I will tell you that it is a bit of a finicky recipe.  I've overbaked it and underbaked it and I've also shared the recipe with a chef who had no luck with it at all.  By now though, I've made it so many times that it has become my go-to dessert.  It's especially perfect after a heavier meal as it is light, refreshing, but full of flavor.  Ask Carly about this cake and she will describe it as a religious experience.

To have success with the recipe, I would make the following recommendations:
  • Use enough rosemary.  I've made the mistake of holding back in fear that it would be too savory, but if you don't use enough, you just taste lemon and you don't get that lemon-rosemary-angels singing affect.
  • Use cake flour.  Don't substitute.  I'm not kidding.
  • Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature, especially the eggs.  And I use organic eggs.  Can't say for sure that it makes a difference in the quality of the cake, but it makes a difference to me.
  • Fold ingredients carefully!  Do not overbeat!
  • Watch it carefully.  There is a fine line between a cake with lemon pudding in the center and sponge.  Use a cake tester and don't let it get too brown on top.
I made the mistake of topping it with fruit once.  Never again.  It stands on its own and doesn't need any embelishments.  Would love to hear if you have success with this little gem.  She's pretty special!

Lemon Olive Oil Rosemary Cake

based on an Epicurious recipe
 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (lemon infused, if possible)
Juice and zest of one large lemon
1 cup cake flour
2 Tablespoons very finely chopped fresh rosemary
5 large organic eggs and room temperature (save one white for later use)
1 cup sugar, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter or oil 9 inch springform pan, line with parchment paper, then butter or oil again.
Whisk together cake flour, lemon zest and rosemary.  Set aside.
Beat yolks with 1/2 cup sugar on high speed until thick and pale yellow (about 3 minutes).
Reduce speed and add olive oil gradually and lemon juice.  Stir flour mixture in with a wooden spoon just until combined.
Beat egg whites (4) and 1/2 tsp. salt together in a second bowl at medium high speed until foamy.  Then add 1/4 cup sugar gradually and beat until soft peaks form (about 3 minutes).
Gently fold 1/3 of whites into yolks, then fold remaining whites in gently but thoroughly.
Transfer to prepared pan, tapping sides to release air bubbles.  Cover entire top of cake with remaining sugar (about 1/4 cup).
Bake for about 25-30 minutes.  The original recipe says 45 minutes but that is way too long, at least for my oven!  Again, you will need to watch and check it often.
Let cool for 10 minutes before removing the side of the springform pan.  Remove bottom and parchment before serving.