All images © Valery Rizzo
Today I spent the day with Laurie Pierre, a vegetarian, singer, songwriter and community manager for a social media communications agency, who lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. She is soon to be married next month, to her fiancé Todd beneath the Brooklyn Bridge and the food at the wedding will be from all the local places they love in Brooklyn. I had heard so much about Laurie’s fabulous homemade granola and she was nice enough to share her recipe with me so I could then share it with all of you.
One day while at a birthday party Laurie overheard a woman talking about granola and was immediately inspired to make her own. The first thing I love about her recipe is that the oats, nuts and seeds used to make the granola are toasted on the stovetop instead of being baked. This gives it a natural and healthy flavor instead of the harder version made with more sugar, which is usually baked in the oven. The second thing that I think makes her recipe, is her plentiful use of cinnamon and nutmeg spices. The end result is a mixture of oats, two kinds of nuts (here she used almonds and walnuts), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, dried apricots, spices, maple syrup and canola oil. We paired the granola with some organic hemp milk topped with some fresh blueberries. It was very nutty, crunchy and sweet, but not too sweet and the fruit and spices add a nice tropical taste to it, perfect for summer.
3 cups oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup almonds
½ cup walnuts
½ cup dried apricots
½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup organic maple syrup
2 tablespoons canola oil (which acts as a preservative)
Using a medium bowl mix your oats with your sunflower seeds. Quarter the apricots into pieces. Put your nuts into a bag, you can even use the plastic or biodegradable fabric eco bag you purchased them in and using the flat side of a meat tenderizer or a large spoon break the nuts into large rustic pieces.
Now we want to toast all of our oats, nuts and seeds on the stovetop, using one medium-sized stainless steel pan to toast the oat and sunflower mixture and two small to medium nonstick pans, one for the pumpkin seeds and one for the nuts. Pour just enough of each in the pans so as to coat the bottom and so that they toast evenly. Cook ingredients in batches over medium heat turning continuously so it does not burn and until everything is golden brown and toasted. After each batch has been toasted place into a large bowl and sprinkle with ¼ tablespoon of cinnamon and ¼ tablespoon of nutmeg while it is still warm and toss together. Repeat this same step after each batch is toasted and placed into the bowl. When you have finished you should have all of your oats and sunflower seed mixture, pumpkin seeds, and nuts all toasted and in the large bowl together. Sprinkle any remainder of your cinnamon and nutmeg on top of the mixture while still warm and toss. Then add your dried cranberries, apricots pieces, maple syrup and canola oil then mix well together.
Spread mixture onto a large baking sheet and let cool for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before storing or eating. Can be enjoyed with some organic hemp, soy, rice milk or any milk of your choice and topped with fresh berries. You can even add the granola to your favorite plain yogurt. Kept in an airtight container it will last up to two weeks.
Makes about 6 to 12 servings
All ingredients were purchased at the Park Slope Food Coop.