Like stepping out of your comfort zone (ok I’m a very visual thinker and when someone says step outside your comfort zone I literally picture stepping out of a small area filled with lots of couches. That’s not the point…)
Earlier this week I took a step out of my comfort zone and told a guy that I could cook for a party of 30 people out of his small galley Boston kitchen. I had been automatically rejecting previous offers to cook for parties that big because I figured it was too big for just me to do, but then I got involved in talking to him and I figured I couldn’t back down.
Long story short – it went amazingly well. People were asking for my business cards (gotta get on that), complimenting me on the food, and expressing surprise that I had made everything myself. I must confess that I couldn’t have done it without Teresa. She was hired separately to help clean up during the party and she was an amazing asset – she helped assemble dishes, take food out of the oven, and clean dishes while I cooked. Without her I would have been there all night and I would have been a lot more stressed about it. I’m very happy with how the night turned out and am grateful I had (and took) the opportunity.
At the end of the night I swore I wouldn’t go anywhere near the kitchen for the next few days, but after a good night’s sleep I felt more refreshed (not ready to cook for another party of course). Since we needed more granola and it doesn’t take too long to make I made some of my favorite breakfast staple. I have adapted the recipe each time I make it, but I have found a few different recipes that I am very happy with. I find in this humid weather though the hardest part is getting it crunchy enough without burning it.
The following is an adaptation of a recipe from my aunt in Hartford. You can use any kind of nut butter and any kind of dried fruit (or leave it out and use fresh fruit). It’s very easy to make and is a great snack. Granola is also relatively flexible so you can easily make substitutions or play with the amounts of dry ingredients if you want it sweeter or something. Because I like my almonds chopped and I already had whole ones, I cut these up, though you could use whole or chopped.
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut
2 cups chopped nuts of choice
¼ cup canola oil or olive oil
¼ cup peanut butter or almond butter
1/3 cup honey
Measure oats, coconut and nuts into a bowl. In a separate bowl, measure oil, nut butter, and honey with a splash of water (1 Tablespoon). Stir well. Drizzle over oats and stir well to coat.
Bake at 275 on parchment paper lined sheets for 20 minutes. Switch the sheet pans for even cooking and bake 20 minutes more. Remove and let cool. Stir in your choice of dried fruit if desired and store in an airtight container. Enjoy with yogurt and fresh fruit or as a quick snack.