Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Off to summer camp

Lovely Santa Fe adobe architecture

I leave in two days to go to Massachusetts for a summer class. For 7 weeks. No oven. I am excited to learn lots of stuff and work my butt off, but sad that I won't be able to bake. Matt suggested that I make him lasagna for when I'm gone so that he can have easy dinners. So in the past few days, I have stocked the freezer with lasagna, chicken pot pies, enchiladas, cinnamon raisin bread, and sourdough bread. I must be nervous or something.

We spent the weekend visiting with some friends in Santa Fe. They were coming from Switzerland for a conference, so se made the (much shorter) 6 hour trek down I-25. Did you know there is a town called Wootton? And a Watraus. Go New Mexico. Our car does not have AC, which was less of a problem on Friday night that on Sunday afternoon. As engineers, we refused to submit to fate and bought a large styrofoam cooler that we filled with gas station ice and left uncovered to absorb heat in the car. When it got really desperate, the person in the passenger seat could even put their feet on it. Good thing, because it was about 95.

beautiful heirloom tomatoes at the farmer's market

We were supposed to eat amazing food there, but rather failed. The dinner place we went to was mediocre at best (and they wouldn't serve my friend's beer on their Swiss ID cards). We did have decent tamales from a food stand and granola at the B&B, but no huevos rancheros. And no green chile. I know, it's pitiful. I did really love the granola, and decided to try to replicate it at home. The lady said she used a mixture of honey, maple syrup, and molasses to get a dark flavor and winter spices for warmth.
Granola from Casita del Toro B&B. Delicious

So here is how nerdy I am. I used my muffin tin to try out 12 different variations on a basic granola mix. I tested spice mixes in varying amounts (cinnamon+nutmeg and cinnamon+nutmeg+ginger) and four liquid mixtures (1/1/1: oil/honey/maple syrup, 2:1:1, 1:1:1 plus vanilla, and 1:1:1 plus one part tahini). I toasted some oats and almonds and mixed two tablespoons with one teaspoon of whatever liquid mixture I was using.

I had twelve lovely variations on granola. And I am embarrassed to say that they all tasted about the same. Experiment failed. So much for my scientific method. That said, I do make some pretty good granola, so here's a recipe.


  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 T molasses
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
*The ingredients are pretty malleable. Replace almonds with a mixture of other nuts (pepitas?). Try different spices. Use different ratios of the sweet liquids. Replace some of the oil with peanut or apple butter.
  1. Preheat oven to 300. Mix oats, coconut, and almonds on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent burning.
  2. Increase heat to 350.
  3. Mix spices, salt, and liquids in a small bowl. Pour over oat mixture and mix well. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Cool the granola completely, then stir in the dried fruit. Cranberries are my favorite, but cherries and raisins also work well. Just make sure you don't bake the fruit, or they'll be bitter.

1 comment:

  1. You know, proving the null hypothesis is not a failure, its just a different kind of success that you didn't expect. Now you know that don't have to measure your ingredients so carefully to get food tasting granola.