So you know that little ditty that goes, "Thirty days has September, April, June and November"? Ha! In food-blog-world, you'd think that November had just one day, the fourth Thursday aka Thanksgiving. So we'd best prepare ourselves for an onslaught of shouting. "Make this! No-no-no! Make this!"
I'm not without guilt myself, it's why A Veggie Venture has this amazing collection of Favorite Recipes for Thanksgiving's Favorite Vegetables. So while it's not yet written down, my Thanksgiving menu is pretty much set. Yours too? So let's concentrate on the other 29 days, shall we?
Let's start with breakfast. Or an after-school snack. Or a pocketful for an afternoon pick-me-up. This is the granola I've made a dozen times in the last year, even my 90-year old father, who looked at it some askance at first, is now happy to see it on the breakfast table.
RECIPE for PUMPKIN GRANOLA
Time to table: 90 minutes
Makes 10 cups (easily halved)
SPICED PUMPKIN: THE "WET"
2/3 cup (155g) canned pumpkin purée
2/3 cup (133g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (135g) maple syrup
3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons (27g) vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
GRANOLA: THE "DRY"
5 cups (400g) old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick or instant)
2/3 cup (100g) raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2/3 cup (100g) pecan pieces (black walnuts are amazing ...)
1 cup dried dried cranberries
Set oven to 325F/160C. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk together the Spiced Pumpkin wet ingredients. Add the Granola dry ingredients. Combine the two, really working the two together with a spatula, you want every single dry surface to be coated in the wet Spiced Pumpkin.
Spread the mixture evenly across the two baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for 20 - 25 minutes, stirring halfway through and checking frequently after 20 minutes. (Timing is a little tricky, you want the granola to be golden in color but also slightly soft straight from the oven since it will crisp up as it cools down. In my oven, 28 minutes yields a very crispy granola, 20 minutes a softer granola; together, they're quite perfect! But I think the sweet spot in my oven is 25 minutes.) If you want "clumps" of granola, let the granola cool without stirring, otherwise break it up once it's cool enough to handle.
After the granola cools, stir in the cranberries and transfer granola to an airtight container. Serve immediately or within a week if stored at room temperature or within two weeks if refrigerated. My favorite way to serve Pumpkin Granola is with half & half or cream topped with a little diced banana. Breakfast heaven ... thank goodness there are 30 days in November.
MAKE-AHEAD Pumpkin granola stays fresh-tasting for several days so go ahead, make a double batch when you've got company coming.
VARIATIONS Darn it all, I thought a chocolate-y version would be wonderful. It wasn't, the chocolate muddled the lovely spices. I'm working on a holiday variation, we'll see!
ALANNA'S TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
MAPLE SYRUP SUBSTITUTE I've also used sorghum, it's wonderful!
PUMPKIN PIE SPICE Use your own favorite mix or if you like, here's mine, it's with my recipe for Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I make a quadruple batch Pumpkin Pie Spice once or twice a year, it works in so many dishes! For your convenience, though, I've scaled it to make just enough for a single batch of Pumpkin Granola. Mix 4 teaspoons cinnamon, 1-1/3 teaspoons (yeah, weird, but it keeps the proportions spot-on) both ginger and nutmeg, 1 teaspoon both allspice and cardamom plus a pinch of ground clove. Soo good, this!
NO OLIVE OIL Olive oil has just too much grassy-ness going on, use a neutral oil like Crisco or canola. Before using the oil, give it a sniff. If it smells at all "off" then you'll want to use a new bottle. I've learned to buy only small bottles of oil, sacrificing price for freshness.
NO SILICONE MATS Use parchment for granola, the dry paper helps the granola dry as it roasts. I find that silicone captures the moisture, steaming the granola into a wet mess.
ONE TRAY AT A TIME Unless you're lucky enough to have two ovens, bake one tray at a time. Otherwise, the timing really gets screwed up; even swapping trays doesn't seem to help.
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OATMEAL FOR BREAKFAST, SO MANY RECIPES!~ Baked Oatmeal with Pumpkin & Pears ~
~ Creamy Pumpkin Steel-Cut Oats ~
~ Savory Oatmeal with Scallions & Soy Sauce ~
~ more breakfast recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Homemade Granola with Almonds & Apricots ~
~ Microwave Creamy Oatmeal with Peanut Butter ~
~ Almost-Chewy Creamy Oatmeal ~
~ Easy Baked Oatmeal with Apples & Walnuts ~
~ more oatmeal recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
SEASONAL EATING: THIS SAME WEEK ACROSS THE YEARSCreamed Turnips Curried Rice “Vegged Up” Chayote Squash East African Pea Soup Gratin of Greens Mashed Potatoes with Vegetarian Apple Cider Ginger Sage Gravy Smothered Cabbage Autumn Sunchoke Salad Fresh Candied Yams Twice-Baked Potatoes Leek & Vegetable Gratin Sweet Potato Casserole Cauliflower Cream Creamy Brussels Sprouts Gratin Cauliflower Mac n Cheese Thanksgiving Succotash Mashed Butternut Squash & Sweet Potatoes Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash, Chard & Cheddar (< this week's favorite!) Savory Sweet Potato Casserole Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry & Orange Simple 'Sweet Potato' Potato Salad with Hardly Any Mayonnaise Three Secrets for Rich & Creamy Mashed Potatoes Thanksgiving Turkey Vegetable Platter
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
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