Granola: part deux

I’ve been scared to write lately. Too much to say and not enough time to make sense of it all. Writing for me is like chess: I worry there is always a better move and if I think a little harder I might find it. You see, my greatest fear is being mediocre. That’s everyone’s fear you say? Well, my second greatest fear is becoming a cliche. That somehow the world is full of 30-something millennials all looking for the answer to a midlife crisis at the bottom of a kale salad. (A bit prematurely, I realize. We’ve always been a generation ahead of the curve).

I’ve been gone a lot lately, which hasn’t helped me find the time to sit down and write. I was up on Lopez for a few weeks with my mom, down in California for the weekend. Eating out too much and cooking too little. Writing emails instead of stories. Adding more and more projects with the thought that - as long as no one is paying me for my time - my bucket can’t possibly be full. 

Today it finally rained. We’ve had the weirdest winter here. In fact, this is the first real rain I can remember for months. Spring arrived early. The cherry trees have already shed their blossoms, my winter kale bolted, and - wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles! - Norma started laying eggs again. I’ve got seeds sprouting in the sun room and spent last weekend doubling the size of my garden. Now I just have to find time to double the size of my planting and weeding schedule.

But today spring is on pause. I pause tasks and to dos. It’s the first day in a long time I’m home, alone, with not a chore in sight. I did manage to wash the dog, a futile task given the oozy sludge developing in the backyard. (Much like you’d never buy a white rug in a muddy clime like, say, the Pacific Northwest, I can caution against the practicality of an alabaster dog). The rain has given me permission to sit inside, read Ann Patchett’s This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, and hole up and make granola.  

It’s exhausting to live in a world there things change so quickly. The weather goes from Puerta Vallarta to temperate rainforest, we slip from clean bill of health to prognosis unknown, the granola tips from toasty to burnt. There’s not much we can do to stop the deluge of change, though it would do us good to slow down and try to take it all in. In the words of that great 80s icon Ferris Bueller: If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

So today I’m pushing pause and enjoying the rain. The bucket may overfill and slosh over the edges, but my house smells like roasted coconut and crispy oats, raindrops pester the skylight, and Luka is passed out on the bed, blending in to the white sheets, clean and dry and content. 

Granola: Part Deux
Makes 6 cups

Given the rate at which I eat granola, it stands to reason that this will not be the last granola recipe I post here. This version leans toward a maple/pecan flavor profile and uses the addition of egg whites to build up some hefty chunks.

4 cups rolled oats
2 cups chopped hazelnuts and pecans
1.5 cups large flake coconut
1 T finely ground flax seed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil

One egg white, whipped to a frenzy 
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine oats, chopped nuts, coconut, and ground flax seed on a sheet pan (you may want to spread this onto two if things get crowded). Sprinkle with salt. 

Combine maple syrup and olive oil in a small bowl and pour over oat mixture. Stir to combine and coat. 

Whip egg white in a small bowl until frothy. Pour over oat mixture and combine.

Place pan in hot oven for 30-35 minutes. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir granola every 10 minutes for even browning. 

When mixture has cooled, stir in raisins and store in air-tight container for up to 3 weeks.