Maple-Nut Granola

maple-nut granola - trust in kim

For breakfast I usually eat a bowl of fruit and homemade yogurt.  It’s so delicious, but I find sometimes it’s not enough to get me through the morning.  I haven’t made granola in ages, so I thought this would be a good time to rework an old recipe. I’ve used maple syrup for a little sweetness, and a bit of olive oil to make it nice and crunchy.  I think the amount of sugar and fat are quite reasonable, especially when you look at the fat and sugar content of commercial granolas.  The nuts themselves have a high fat content, but it’s a healthy fat, and one of the reasons why  serving of granola should be small.

What you need:

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 300F.

2. Combine the oats, almonds, pecans, walnuts and salt in a large bowl.  Add the oil,maple syrup and vanilla to this and combine thoroughly.

3. Spread this mixture evenly on a baking tray.  Bake for 2o minutes.

4. Add the pumpkin seeds and coconut to the baking tray and combine with the other ingredients.  I like to add these later in the cooking process so they don’t get too toasty.

5. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.  You will want to watch it towards the end of the cooking time, just in case your oven in running a little hot.  The granola should be a golden colour, but not browned.  I think it tastes burnt when it gets browned.

6. Allow to cool completely on the baking tray, then store in an airtight container.

Spinach Borek with Apple Tahini Sauce

Spinach Borek is a great little vegan savoury appetizer than you can make up ahead of time, then pop in the oven as guests are arriving.  I made up the filling the day before and filled it right before putting it in the oven, but you could also fill and fold them up ahead of time.  Just put them in the fridge with a slightly damp towel over top.  I found this recipe in Molly Katzen’s ‘Enchanted Broccoli Forest’ years ago and have only slightly modified it.

What you need for the Spinach Borek:

2 packages frozen spinach

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, chopped finely (about 1&1/2 cups)

1/2 teaspoon salt

pepper

3 cloves garlic

1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1/3 cup fine bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind

1/2 cup currants

a little grated nutmeg

1 pound filo pastry

What you need for the Apple Tahini Sauce:

1/2 cup tahini

1/4 cup apple juice, or more as needed

1 & 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of cayenne

How to make the spinach borek:

1. Thaw filo and spinach.  Filo needs a few hours to thaw; read the instructions on the label.  If you have it in the fridge, take it out at least one hour before you plan to use it.

2.  Heat about 1 tablespoon of the oil and fry the onion over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes.  Squeeze the excess moisture out of the spinach and add it to the onions, cooking for a few minutes.

3.  Remove from heat and add all the remaining ingredients and mix them in well.

4.  Lay out the filo and brush a little olive oil over the sheet.  Follow the diagram below to fold them up, then brush on  a little more olive oil before they go in the oven.

5.  Bake at 375F for 30 minutes.  These are great hot, and can also be served at room temperature.

How to make the tahini sauce:

1.  Use electric mixer to beat tahini for about 5 minutes.

2. Gradually add apple juice and cider vinegar.  Add more apple juice if it’s too thick.

Note:  if you don’t add it gradually it will become a blobby mess and the oil may separate, like it did for me.  I spent ages trying to bring it back to the consistency it should be.

3.  Add remaining ingredients and taste to see if you want to adjust the seasonings.

4.  You can keep this in the fridge for a few weeks, but keep in mind that it thickens up when it’s cold.  You may want to take it out of the fridge a while before serving so it has time to soften up.

This sauce is also great for a veggie dip, or a spread for crackers or bread.

Rhubarb Walnut Cake

Mmmm,  just in time for spring.  You’ve got all that rhubarb coming up in your garden (or the grocery store!), and here’s the perfect recipe to utilize it.  So moist, and the tangy rhubarb contrasts well with the sweet sugary-nutty topping.  Either the people I work with are really really nice, or this cake is amazing – I think it’s both!  Thanks guys!

What you need:

1/2 cup butter

1 & 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup plain yogurt (not no-fat)

1 &1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1 cm chunks

for the topping:

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

What you do:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Cream butter and brown sugar, then blend in egg.

3.  Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.

4.  Mix one-third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture by hand.

5.  Add half the yogurt and mix until just incorporated.

6.  Mix in one-third more of the flour, then the rest of the yogurt, then the rest of the flour.  Mix until just combined or it will make a tough cake!

7.  Add rhubarb, then pour into a buttered 9 x 13 inch pan, smoothing the top a little.

8.  For the topping: melt the butter, then stir in white sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and walnuts.  Spread this mixture over the top of the cake.

9.  Bake for around 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

10.  Enjoy!

rhubarb block print