Tap, tap, tap. Clears throat.
Hi! Happy new year! What's new with you?
How's that for sidling back here after 6 months of radio silence? Smooth, right?
So here's where I've been...right here! Trying to get Hugo to practice the piano. Making sure Bruno doesn't electrocute himself since he has a predilection for sucking on electrical cables plugged into sockets. Up to my eyeballs in baby life and parental leave - Max took two months off this summer so we hightailed it to my mother in Italy - and school-kid life, because Hugo started school in September. It's been very busy and satisfying and all-encompassing and wonderful. And Bruno is the sweetest little angel baby, all smiles and soft skin and cuddles. Having him around just feels so good. Next week he turns one and I am totally gutted. Time rolls on and breaks our hearts...
Also practicing the piano!
But you are here for recipes, not for a mother bellyaching about her baby growing up, so let me tell you about this most wondrous discovery I made all the way back in October (but is still going strong in January, locked up in a nice, airtight jar in my pantry): Alison Roman's savory granola, found in the pages of her first cookbook, Dining In (currently, everyone is all in on her chocolate chunk shortbread recipe, which, it being January, just makes me so happy. Piss off, green smoothie cult!).
Try as I might, regular granola, no matter how many seeds or how much olive oil gets thrown in there, just isn't my thing. It's too sweet for breakfast, too rich to start the day. I want to like it and God knows there are enough enticing recipes online to satisfy almost every single person on this planet, and yet it's just...not what I want to eat. Savory granola, though, is a whole other barrel of fish. Salty, spicy and kind of weird, it's kind of brilliant. Alison packs her recipe full of fennel seeds and Aleppo pepper and nigella seeds (kalonji, my favorite word!) and soy sauce and buckwheat groats, for crying out loud. It's nutty and spicy and crunchy, keeps for far longer than the recipe indicates, and tastes fantastic when layered as follows:
Chopped cherry tomatoes and peeled cucumbers, well-salted and generously soaked in really good olive oil; super-creamy plain yogurt (full-fat is the only way to go, folks, but not Greek, at least not for me), then some generous handfuls of savory granola. You want the tomato-cuke juices to pool at the bottom of the bowl with the olive oil, so that each bite is sort of saucy, creamy, and crunchy at the same time. Err on the side of more olive oil in this breakfast bowl, not less.
And for the umpteenth time, let us all give thanks that botanists developed cherry tomatoes to be delicious at all times of the year so that this nice little breakfast can also be enjoyed in the depths of winter. Thank you, science!
The awful thing about not blogging for so long, besides making me feel wracked with guilt and weirdly lazy, is that it makes it extra hard to get back into the saddle again. But I have missed you all very much and I just wanted to say thanks to all those who kept checking in and welcome to all those who found their way here while I was off changing diapers and sleep-training. You're all great. Can't wait to fire this place up again this year.
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Alison Roman's Savory Granola
Adapted from Dining In
1½ cups rolled oats
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup buckwheat groats
½ cup flaxseeds
½ cup black or white sesame seeds
¼ cup nigella seed (if unavailable, use more black or white sesame seeds)
3 large egg whites
⅓ cup olive oil, peanut oil, or grapeseed oil
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup caraway or fennel seed
1-2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, buckwheat, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, nigella seed, egg whites, oil, maple syrup, caraway seed, Aleppo pepper, soy sauce, and salt in a medium bowl and toss to mix until everything is evenly coated. Season with plenty of black pepper.
3. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until everything is golden brown and toasty, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool completely and break any large clumps into smaller pieces before storing in glass jars or Ziploc bags. Will keep for at least a month.