Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Homemade Granola

I've made granola from scratch a few times, but this batch turned out particularly well. The truest test of quality granola in my mind is whether you can still stand to eat it after several straight days -- I'm at Day 5 and loving it! It's a take on the version found in Mark Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook, using ingredients I already had on hand.

Starting with fresh ingredients is key not only when we cook but when we bake -- thank you Regan Daley for that lesson! -- so I think a big part of this granola's success is the fact that I'd bought most of the items only a few weeks previous at my local bulk food store for Christmas baking. I had a lot of leftovers of rolled oats, dried fruit, and nuts, so pulling together a decent mix was easy. I think next time I'd go out and purchase specific add-ins to suit my taste. I'm thinking dried cherries, pecans, and even some dark chocolate chips to go with the base ingredients of oats, honey, coconut and spice. And perhaps next time I'd add cardamom instead of cinnamon.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rum-Raisin Bread Pudding

Ok, ok, ok... it's January and I shouldn't be indulging in these kinds of treats so soon after the Christmas holidays, which were laden with cookies and chocolates galore. But I've also deemed 2011 a year of austerity, which means not wasting food, and what else was I supposed to do with the stale half-loaf of challah bread in my fridge?

This recipe is a variation on the Bread Pudding recipe in Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything, a new addition to my ever-growing cookbook collection (I also picked up his Food Matters Cookbook, a collection of healthy and eco-conscious recipes). The thing that's so great about bread pudding is it can be whatever you want it to be based on what you're in the mood for. Craving chocolate? Add some chocolate chunks to the mix. Extra fruit on hand? Add it along with some nuts for added texture.