Crunchy Nuts & Seeds Granola

When Gabe and I were recently in London, we were lucky to be able to stay with his older brother and sister-in-law. Aside from the awesome company, one of the major perks of staying with them was that we didn’t have to scrounge around for breakfast each morning. They provided quite a spread of coffee, fruit, cereal, pastries, bread, yogurt, granola, and apricot preserves that I’m still dreaming about.

I quickly grew obsessed with the granola, a savory mixture of oats, nuts, and seeds. The thing I loved most was its delightful crispy crunchiness, which contrasted well with creamy yogurt and sweet fruit. I snapped a photo of the ingredient list on the back of the bag so I could try to recreate it once we got home.

Crunchy nuts and seeds granola

Of course, things in England are a wee bit different from the United States. Despite sharing a language with the mother country, the different names for certain foods left us scratching our heads at times during our visit. We quickly learned that aubergine is eggplant, courgette is zucchini, and yoghurt is… yogurt.

So when we got home and I set out to make this granola, I had to google a few things. Turns out black treacle is molasses and linseeds are flaxseeds. Once my translations were complete, I set to work.

This granola has a number of different components, but it comes together easily and less expensively if you shop the bulk foods section of the grocery store, buying just the amount of nuts and seeds you need. Although the original recipe called for hazelnuts, cashews, and pistachios, I think you can get by with just one of the three, or sub in another nut of your choosing. Coconut oil and a fairly long baking time made the granola nice and crispy, adding a delightful crunch to my mornings now that I’m stateside again!

Crunchy nuts & seeds granola

Crunchy nuts & seeds granola

Crunchy Nuts & Seeds Granola

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried coconut (shredded, flakes, whatever)
  • 1 cup whole nuts of your choice (I recommend hazelnuts, cashews, or pistachios)*
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup golden flaxseeds
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. molasses

Preheat oven to 300° F. In a large bowl, stir together oats. almonds, wheat germ, coconut, nuts, seeds, and salt. In a glass measuring cup, stir together coconut oil, water, honey and molasses. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture and stir well, until the oat mixture is completely moistened.

Pour the oat mixture onto a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the granola is browned and crunchy. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 9 cups granola.

* Make sure all the nuts and seeds you buy for this recipe are unsalted, otherwise you will have a very salty granola!

Source: A Lingonberry Jam original.

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Miso Brown Rice Cakes

When it comes to cooking, I always want to try something new. I rarely make the same thing for dinner twice within a six-month span. I keep a spreadsheet of recipes I’ve tried and loved because I make things so infrequently that I actually forget about them. There are so many amazing recipes out there that I can’t fathom making the same thing over and over again. Not when there are new recipes to try!

I will admit this character flaw trait can be quite annoying. You love something that I cooked for you? Too bad, you probably won’t see it again for half a year. But some recipes are good enough to shake up my system. The minute I took a bite of one of these miso brown rice cakes (which I admit sound totally boring) I immediately wanted to make them for dinner the next night. And the next night. I even ate one cold straight out of the fridge the following day because I couldn’t wait any longer to taste them again.

This recipe has gone into heavy rotation for me, meaning I made it twice within four weeks. The cakes are really savory thanks to mushrooms and miso paste, and a spoonful of spicy mayo kicks up the flavor even more. With a side of sautéed green beans or a salad, you have yourself a hearty vegetarian meal that you’ll want to eat again and again. Trust me.

Miso brown rice cakes

Miso Brown Rice Cakes

  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 Tbs. olive or sunflower seed oil, divided
  • 1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 3 3/4 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • salt
  • 3 Tbs. red miso paste*
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • pepper

Gently remove the stems of the shiitake mushrooms by holding the cap in one hand and pulling the stem with the other, near where the stem meets the cap. Discard the stems and roughly chop the shiitakes.

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 Tbs. oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in a cup of the water or stock and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining water, rice, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer, covered, for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. The rice is done when it’s tender and all the water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together miso paste, green onions, sesame oil, egg and egg yolk, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

Spread the cooked rice onto a rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 15 minutes. Transfer the cooled rice to a food processor (working in batches if your food processor is small) and chop for about 10 seconds, or until the rice is coarsely chopped and the mixture is sticky. Transfer the rice to the large bowl with the miso mixture and stir until everything is well combined. Shape the mixture into eight patties, about 3-4 inches in diameter and 3/4-inch thick.

Place the patties onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until firm.

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Transfer four of the chilled rice cakes to the skillet and cook until browned, flipping once, for 2-4 minutes on each side. Be careful when you flip the cakes, as they can be a bit delicate, so don’t try to flip them until you know the bottom side is nicely browned. Transfer the cakes to a plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 1 Tbs. oil and four more cakes. Serve hot, with a dollop of spicy mayo (see below) on top.

Source: Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.”

* I couldn’t find miso paste at my regular grocery store, so I ordered it online. There are several different types of miso paste so make sure you get the red one; it has a much deeper flavor. Don’t worry if it comes in a large container; the stuff lasts forever in the fridge.

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Spicy Mayo

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl and serve.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.”

Homemade Butter

Ah, yes. You knew this day would come, didn’t you? Actually, I first made homemade butter well over a year ago, but I never got around to posting it on the blog. I was recently inspired to make butter again after Gabe and I flew back from Paris a few weeks ago. We spontaneously upgraded our tickets to business class (honeymoon, right?) and were blown away by the experience. I almost cried when I woke up a bit overheated from a nap and was instantly greeted by a flight attendant passing out cookies ‘n’ cream Häagen-Dazs.

There were so many lovely little touches that will make it very hard, alas, for me to continue the rest of my life as a BOTPP (“Back of the Plane Person,” according to my brother-in-law), but I was surprised that one of my favorite parts of the flight was the butter. Yes, you read that right. Since we flew Air France, we were treated to rich, creamy butter from Normandy that was flecked with tiny crystals of sea salt. I shamelessly spread it on my bread as thick as jam. And then I vowed to make some once we got home.

I don’t have cows from Normandy, but I was able to get a pint of organic heavy cream from the grocery store. And using my stand mixer (set to “super domestic”… I mean speed eight), within a few minutes I had about a half pound of soft, rich, homemade butter. I added extra flakes of sea salt to give it that French flair, bien sûr, and you should too!

Homemade butter

Homemade Butter

  • 1 pint heavy cream (organic, and especially grass-fed, will give you the best flavor)
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste

Pour the cream and 1/4 tsp. salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.* Then cover the entire mixer with a dish towel. I can’t stress this enough: unless you want a kitchen splattered with cream, cover up that mixer.

Turn the mixer to medium high. The mixer will first turn the cream into whipped cream, then it will start to separate. You’ll hear a lot of loud splashing when the solids have separated from the liquids. When you see large chunks of butter have formed and are starting to stick to the paddle, the butter is done. Stop the mixer and use a colander or mesh strainer to drain the liquid into a small bowl. (Congratulations: you have just made buttermilk! Use it for biscuits or pancakes or something.)

Squeeze the butter with your hands and rinse it under cold running water until the liquids run clear. Squeeze as much water as possible from the butter, then taste it and knead in more salt if desired. Form the butter into a ball or sticks and refrigerate. The butter will keep for about a month in the refrigerator, longer in the freezer.

Makes about 8 ounces butter.

Source: Very slightly adapted from Living Well Spending Less.

* I’ve also read that you can use a food processor instead of a stand mixer. I’ve never tried this myself, so please let me know if you try it and it works!