My sisters and I were raised on the More-with-Less, a cookbook written by Doris Janzen Longacre and published in 1976 by Herald Press. The volume contains tons of wholesome recipes, along with tons of wholesome commentary about environmental and social justice issues, true to the spirit of the Mennonite belief system from which its author hails.
I was delighted when Herald Press came out with another Mennonite cookbook in 2005: Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. Both of these cookbooks are standbys for me. They contain basic recipes that turn out great if you follow them precisely, but they’re generally adaptable to what happens to be in the pantry and, well, culinary whimsy.
My all-time favourite recipes from both volumes are the granolas. Collectively, the two books have 10 granola recipes! I’ve made variations on these for years now, and having committed to memory the best collection of ingredients, I’ve long since dispensed with the printed guidelines.
But I have a confession. Recently, I came across a new granola. GASP. I haven’t changed my technique since I was in high school, and this is the first time something else has actually caught my attention. I feel a little bit like I’m cheating on my old standby, but I’ll surely revisit it before long.
You’ll find the recipe on The Kitchn blog (be forewarned: if you’re a sucker for simple recipes, you are going to become addicted to this website). There are three elements to this recipe that I haven’t previously incorporated:
- olive oil: this lends a tangy flavor and lightens the general feel of the granola.
- proportionately more salt: I love the salty/sweet combo, and using slightly more salt actually makes the sweetness more pronounced.
- cardamom: I always amp up the cinnamon and throw in a dash of nutmeg, or even some ginger. But cardamom was new to me, and its subtle, slightly citrusy essence is a welcome addition.
As hard as I sometimes try, I don’t usually end up following a recipe to the ‘tee,’ (or is it ‘T?’) as they say. Here are my modifications:
- Reduce the oats to 1.5 cups, and add 1.5 cups of other stuff (seeds & nuts)
- Add a 1/2 cup of almond meal (I’ve never found it more reasonably priced than at Trader Joe’s)
- Reduce the maple syrup or honey to 1/3 cup, and add a mere 1/2 teaspoon of stevia powder. It still comes out pretty sweet to me, but I’m not a sweet tooth.
It’s a super treat with plain yogurt and blueberries.