Silan Granola

This is a recipe for people who like very good, but very plain food for breakfast. Rice with a perfectly cooked egg and a sprinkle of togarashi. Sourdough toast with homemade ricotta and honey. Ripe melon with a pinch of salt eaten on the stoop. It’s not for people who love sugar and cinnamon first thing in the morning. It’s not for people who like granola to scream VANILLA!! or PECAN!! or MAPLE!!!!!!!!

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Now, maybe you’re reading this and wondering, WTF is silan? Silan is date syrup and it has kind of the consistency of maple syrup and a really subtle bite like molasses along with a beautiful caramel sweetness that’s somehow not too sweet at all. I cannot press you firmly enough on this matter: you should order silan from Soom Foods. While you’re at it, get a Soom Foods sampler because I would be remiss if I introduced you to the pleasures of silan and not chocolate sesame tahini. Can you use honey or maple syrup or agave instead? Sure!

The only other flavoring in this granola is sesame. For a pronounced sesame flavor, give the seeds a light toast before tossing them with the rest of the granola or add extra toasted sesame oil. The egg white and silan will prevent them from getting too dark in the oven. Oh yes, the egg white! For protein. For crunch. For your beloved clusters. An egg white will work wonders.

Silan Granola
-yields a generous 8 cups

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
3/4 cup walnut pieces
3/4 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 large egg white
2T olive oil
2T toasted sesame oil
2T packed brown sugar
1/2 cup silan
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt*

1. Preheat oven to 300.
2. Mix the first four ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Whisk the oils, silan, egg white and sugar together in a small bowl.
4. Pour the wet mixture over the dry, sprinkling with salt evenly as you go. Stir until very evenly coated.
5. Cook on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 45-50 minutes, stopping to stir every 15 minutes.
6. Don’t touch it while it cools! It’s getting crunchy and sticking together to form your beloved clusters. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

*If you are sensitive to salt, consider knocking this down to 1 1/4 or 1 teaspoon.

CSA week 3 overview

I’m sorry to say I did some impulse shopping right before I picked up this week’s rather bountiful basket and now I’m worried there’s more food in my fridge than I can get through in a week- a challenge I gladly accept.

In the basket:
Lacinato kale
Lettuce
Carrots with greens
Radish with greens
Bok choy
Mint
Garlic Scapes
Sprouts

The plan:
1. There was only one bok choy and I stir fried it to eat over rice with kimchi and an egg for breakfast!
2. Creamed swiss chard with lemony breadcrumbs over grits (or polenta?)
3. Nachos! With quick pickled radishes and carrots.
4. More carrot top chimichurri (add a little mint!) and this time I’ll marinate a whole slab of sheep’s milk feta in it and crumble that generously over the lettuce with little bitty roasted yellow potatoes and dill.
5. One very wonderful glass of Moroccan mint tea (you don’t have to use the green tea and you can sub in honey for the sugar)
6. Picking up some Lillian Street Bread tomorrow and I’ll be dipping it in leftover carrot top chimichurri as well as eating it for breakfast topped with vegan cream cheese and sprouts.
7. Kale pesto, probably destined for the freezer
8. Garlic scape pizza- if you’d like the inside scoop about how I make pizza, consider joining the Patron page of my website where I share all my best tips and recipes. Click here to learn how.

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CSA week 2 overview

A piece of advice regarding leafy things: plan to eat them in things other than salads. If not, you will get sick of salads so fast! This week I’m putting my whole head of lettuce into a pot of creamy soup and turning one head of kale into pasta sauce.

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In the basket:
scarlet kale
lacinato kale
bok choy
carrots with greens
head lettuce
napa cabbage
chives
alfalfa sprouts

The plan:
1. Lettuce Soup
2. Roasted carrots with carrot top chimichurri and yogurt
3. Napa Cabbage pancakes with green onions and kimchi
4. Maybe! Grilled napa cabbage wedge salad with homemade ranch and beef bacon
5. Joshua McFadden’s Kale-Sauce Pasta
6. Pan fried salmon with buttery bok choy and scarlet kale salad (thinking: toss it in leftover chimichurri, add the sprouts, dried cherries, pistachios, puffed rice cereal)

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Golden oat milk successes and failures

If there’s one thing I learned from this year’s annual trip to Chicago, it’s this: golden milk isn’t for your health. It’s for dessert.

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Should you ever find yourself at Mini Mott when golden milk soft serve is on the menu, I expect you will come to the same conclusion.

I went home thinking I wanted to make vegan golden milk panna cotta both because I am very obsessed with Oatly oat milk and because I am learning to use agar agar, aka vegan gelatin. The oat milk golden milk? Success x 100. Oat milk panna cotta with agar agar? A texture in the bizarre no man’s land somewhere between panna cotta and jelly candies. Not creamy. Not good. Many more recipe tests to come. Probably more fails. I do the recipe fails so you don’t have to. It’s my self-described job.

Anyway, there is one big secret to golden milk and it has nothing to do with toxins and everything to do with time. You’ve probably had this problem with ginger already: you added a ton of it and somehow whatever you were cooking didn’t taste like ginger. That’s because ginger takes about 8 hours to really release it’s peak, blazing flavor. So the secret to golden milk is to let it sit overnight before straining. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

Golden Oat Milk
-makes 4 six ounce cups

3 cups Oatly
5 green cardamom pods
2 small cinnamon sticks
12 white peppercorns
1.5 teaspoons ground turmeric
30g thinly sliced ginger (about 2”)
sweetener to taste

1. Give the cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and peppercorns a quick smash with a mortar and pestle. They don’t need to be ground up, only broken into pieces to release their oils.
2. Heat up everything in a pot with your oat milk until it’s simmering. Stir frequently. Oat milk will double in size if it comes to a boil, so watch it!
3. Pour everything into a jar and let it sit overnight, then strain. Sweeten to taste when you reheat or shake over ice.