Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Crunchy Granola and Pretty Good Pesto

Since the streets of Portland are paved with granola, I thought I’d post a recipe. It’s easy, delicious, and relatively low in fat.

Crunchy Granola
4 cups rolled oats (I use thick-cut organic oats)
1 cup chopped pecans (or almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit (optional)

Mix dry ingredients well in a large bowl. Combine oil and honey in a smaller bowl. Pour oil-honey mixture over dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally as it bakes. (Watch it carefully during the last 10 minutes or so, as it will brown very quickly.) Cool, add dried fruit if you wish, and store in an airtight container.

Bonus granola-related trivia. Whenever granola came up in a conversation my dad always used to say, “crunchy granola, sweet!” Years later, I realized that it was a reference to a song by Neil Diamond entitled “Crunchy Granola Suite.” There are lines in that song that go like this:

“Da da da da
Da da da da da
Dee dee dee dum”

And other lines that go like this:

“Deedle-ee deet deet deet deet
Deet deet deedle dee doo.”

I kid you not.

For a while there my dad was way into Neil Diamond. He even had a zip-up brown velour shirt vaguely reminiscent of this.

Here’s my pesto recipe. Sadly, I have no fascinating pesto-related trivia.

Pretty Good Pesto
3 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves (remove any tough stems)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Put basil and garlic in a blender and process until fairly well combined. You’ll probably need to get in there and moosh stuff around to get it properly blended. Turn the blender off while you do this! Add the pine nuts and blend them in. Add the olive oil gradually while processing at a low speed. When the consistency looks pesto-ish, stop blending and transfer the proto-pesto to a bowl or other container. Stir in the Parmesan and the salt.

Makes about a cup to a cup and a half. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for at least a couple of weeks.

Crap. “Song Sung Blue” is stuck in my head now.


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