What do granola and cocktails have in common? Nothing. I’d like to change that. The artisanal food explosion and just general food awareness have given us some new ways of watering our mouths. The past few years have proven to us that any category of food can be redefined. Pickles are not just Ba Tampte or Vlasic anymore. We have Rick’s Picks, McClure’s, and Brooklyn Brine. Chocolate went from Hershey’s, Godiva, and Ghiradelli, to Chocolove, Vosges, and Ritual. Cocktails were not left behind: I’m pretty sure bars weren’t serving Rosemary and Gin Tonics, and bevies chock full of a day’s worth of muddled fruits and veggies even 10 years ago.
There is no reason granola cannot jump on this bandwagon! A recent visit to San Francisco proved to me such transformation is possible. There, at the Rainbow Grocery, sat a bulk container full of From the Fields deliciousness waiting to be scooped up: Honey Lavender Granola. My suitcase was jam packed with bags of granola when I returned home. I realize that oats, honey, and lavender are fairly ‘crunchy’ ingredients, but the revelation is in the combination of ingredients we are starting to see. Subtle hints of flavor take the place of chewy raisins and too much sweetener.
It’s no surprise that I am a granola junkie. I was born into a hippie home that owned an organic bakery in Boulder, CO. I had my fair share of flour on my face for the first few years life. Growing up, I was surrounded by health food stores like Wild Oats (they were acquired by Whole Foods in 2008) and Alfalfa’s (alive and kicking in a new incarnation), alternative medicine and spiritual practices, Rainbow People, and just about anything else your mind wanders to when you imagine a western hippie town in the 1980s. I should have “crunchy granola” written allover my face, but I always felt the message of the movement could be better shared if it had more mass appeal (I realize that’s not the point of grassroots efforts, but still…nice aesthetics go a loooong way). Tone down the colors, the swirls, and dream catchers, and I start to breathe again. That goes for the food, too. Just as cocktails got an infusion of intoxicating flavors, I seek a redefinition of granola, both the food and the nickname.
I found a tasty version of the SF granola above, on another food blog, Ginger and Beets. I followed the recipe with a few strays which I have included below.
Lemon Lavender Granola
4 cups of organic oats
1/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped raw hazelnuts (I used pecans and slivered almonds because it’s what I had on hand)
grated zest of 1 large lemon (or 2 small), coarsely chopped
juice of half a lemon
pinch of sea salt
3/4 cup raw honey
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons of dried lavender florets
Preheat oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit and set aside two 9×11″ rimmed baking trays.
In a large bowl, gently combine organic oats, shredded coconut, chopped raw hazelnuts, and grated lemon zest. Set aside. In a small sauce pan melt raw honey, coconut oil, and lavender florets on low heat. Remove from heat once melted, combined, and the scent of the lavender blossoms. Pour over oat mixture and incorporate until everything is well coated.
Divide granola between the two baking trays and spread into an even and thin layer. Sprinkle sea salt and lemon juice evenly over both trays. Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, and until the granola is a nice golden brown. Let the granola cool completely then store in an air tight container.
Best if eaten with Bellwether Farms Sheep’s Milk Yogurt and your favorite fruit. Oh, and I sprinkled more lavender on top.
And… few summer drink links: