Sunday, March 22, 2009
Something to Hold You Over
Well it seems (from looking at the calendar, not the weather report) that spring is finally here. And although I could have been fooled into thinking it was still February during my shorter-than-short walk to Whole Foods this evening (where else would I be going at 9pm on a Sunday night?), there are indeed glimmers of hope and sunshine.
Most of all though, there are asparagus, leeks, chives, and other green, springy things that are finding their way into my kitchen. OK, so maybe those asparagus were flown into town, and maybe I'm not yet over the whole soup-making thing, but I'm slowly making the transition from winter to spring eating, and it's been wonderful so far.
In fact, I was lucky enough to host a few lovely friends for brunch today, and the set table, with tulips, white linen, and plenty of fresh food, was pure spring. I promise to tell you more about the menu, because a) it was quite tasty and b) I love brunch-time entertaining so much that I can hardly contain myself. The food is simple, yet somehow decadent; the atmosphere is relaxed; and everyone is in a good mood during weekend brunch. How could one not be? Scrambled eggs with a side of sun, streaming in through windows, is about as perfect as it gets.
But for now, it's late, and there's work tomorrow, and I just wanted to give you a little bite to hold you over until we can really sort out this whole brunch thing. It's no secret that I'm a little bit obsessed with granola; eating it, yes, but, more importantly, perfecting my recipe. But alas, the thing about granola is that it's not quite as portable as I'd like it be. Which is where the granola bars come in.
I can't believe I've never thought to make granola bars before, but this weekend I gave them my all and tried to make up for lost time. Three experimental batches later (I hope they keep well, because they'll be lingering here for a while), I've come up with some quite tasty - a touch of sweet, a bit of salty, a little crunch and a hint of chew. They're not perfect yet, but they hold their shape well enough to be thrown into my work bag and hopefully will perform equally well at satisfying my 5pm hunger pangs.
It feels premature to give a formal recipe, since I literally just tossed these together, after having done a little bit of recipe research. But, my basic dry mix consisted of:
1 c. regular rolled oats
1/2 c. sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
1 handful wheat germ
1 handful chopped, toasted almonds
a bit of salt, cinnamon, and ground ginger
raisins and chopped crystallized ginger
I heated a mixture of brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and a touch of almond butter, poured it hot over the dry mixture along with some pasteurized egg white (to help everything adhere), and then packed it tightly into a loaf pan and popped it into the oven.
The resulting bars were dense and hearty, and I'm looking forward to nibbling on them tomorrow. Nothing too exciting, I suppose, but I take a certain pride in creating something that normally just comes from a box. As my granola-bar prowess develops, I'll be sure to let you in on my best recipes. But for now, enjoy!