Like Those Women from the Past

I work with a girl who says I remind her of ‘women from the past who would make everything themselves’.  Each time she says it, my mind sees a cabin in the middle of a thick wood and a woman roaming about foraging mushrooms or a woman on a farm carrying a fresh pail of milk.  My sister gave me a book last year called ‘The Homemade Pantry.’  The subtitle is, ‘101 foods you can stop buying and start making.’  This is a book right up my alley because over the past couple of years I’ve learned how incredibly simple it is to make some foods.  For example, ricotta cheese.  Milk (or milk and cream), salt, and lemon juice.  That’s it.  Three ingredients, a little heat, a little cheesecloth.  Some time to strain the liquid.  Ricotta cheese.  Better than any you’ll find in the grocery store cold cases.

Then there’s granola.  There are quite a few on the market and they’re not inexpensive.  But if you make it yourself, you can make add whatever you want.  If you go to a store like Sprouts or Whole Foods, you can buy rolled oats in the bulk section or even if you shop at a typical grocery store, you can probably find the big canister of Quaker Oats on sale.

I made a batch of granola the other night after looking in my pantry to see what nuts and dried fruits I had on hand.  Oats, fruits, nuts, a little oil, a little sweetening, some time in the oven and time to cool.  Granola.  Done.  Ready for breakfast the next morning.

You could even conceivably have granola on top of your ricotta cheese.  With a little drizzle of honey, it would be heavenly.

Apricot and Pistachio Granola

(Adapted from a recipe on Food52)

Makes roughly 3-4 cups

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tbsp light brown sugar

3 tbsp agave

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

2 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup pistachios

1/4 cup pepitas

3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped

3/4 cup dried cranberries

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a rimmed pan with parchment paper.  In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil, agave, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla until bubbling.  In a large bowl, mix the oats, pistachios, pepitas, cranberries, and apricots.  Mix to combine and add the olive oil mixture.  Stir well to combine.

Spread onto the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until golden, turning every ten minutes or so.  Remove from oven, let cool, and store in an airtight container.  

 

granola3.1 Apricot Pistachio Granola

 

Citrus Burst

Los Angeles has been experiencing a cold snap for the past few days.  I’m not talking about a slight chill in the air, but a frost advisory night after night.  The lettuces that were growing in my window box have all but wilted thanks to this weather and I have been wearing layers and long sleeves…and that’s indoors!  Now today, it’s wet and rainy with a canopy of grey clouds.

So in the midst of all this Winter weather, I tried my hand at marmalade.  The grocer’s produce bins have been chock full of citrus fruits.  Navel, Cara Cara, and Moro oranges are aplenty.  With an Ina Garten recipe that was easy as pie, I have two jars of marmalade at the ready–blood orange and orange marmalade from Navels.  I halved the recipe for my use and didn’t let it sit overnight before the second boil.  I let it cool for 5-6 hours only.  My new favourite breakfast is toast topped with homemade ricotta cheese and marmalade.

citrus1 marmalade1.1