This marks my 50th post and just a week before my year anniversary of my first post. Time has really flown since I started a website about what I eat for breakfast.
This might be irony, though I’m not sure because I rarely use the term irony correctly, but one thing when I started writing here was that I wanted to show breakfast as something someone with a job can do every morning. I wanted to talk about its benefits and how with a little effort you can eat well in the morning for less than a McGriddle.
Then I left my well paying, full time job to research recipes at Waffle House before moving back here to lay roots and look for work. It sort of sneaked up on me but I’ve found it. Now I’m falling back into the same cycle of bad morning eating that got me started on this whole kick anyway. Cheese curds and coffee do not a breakfast make, and here I am preaching.
All is not lost, however. My recent efforts in the kitchen have been geared at extending the bounty of the summer. Making jams, pickles and sauce kind of burnt me out on cooking for a bit but making preparations for a trip to Worldfest out in Grass Valley got me thinking back on the horse, as they say.
Farmer’s market strawberries are already on their way out and really not a moment too soon. I have already eaten three seasons worth of strawberries and really need to change my relationship with this little fruit.
ENTER THE JAM.
Long time readers may recount my battle with marmalade. While not epic in scale or fraught with setbacks, it was disappointing from a yield standpoint. Jams and preserves have what’s called a “gelling point” and I have a pretty hard time getting there. It occurs when the pectin stored in the cell walls of the fruit skins is in the correct ratio to juice for coagulation. To get there you need two things, heat and time. Oh also a spoon and a freezer.
There’s a million recipes for jam. Some are probably better than mine. I like mine because I made it up. I used some basic ratios found in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and some special ingredients. I also got to enlist some sweet child labor in the chopping and mushing process for the jam. I don’t consider the jam recipe to be proprietary, but I don’t think that its quite ready for the masses yet. What I will share is what I did with it, in preparation for WorldFest. I made more granola.
YET ANOTHER GRANOLA RECIPE (this one is really good though!)
2 cups honey
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds
1 cup filberts (hazelnuts)
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup strawberry/peach/nectarine jam
1/2 tsp cayenne
Often when I read recipes, most of the ingredients makes sense to me except for one. “Why are you putting lychee fruit in this?” “FENNEL?!” Maybe you might be asking yourself why the cayenne in here, particularly such a piddling amount. Now, I’m not a chef but I have put “familiarity with flavor profiles” on a number of job applications and two things that tend to compliment each other are sweet and spicy. Instead of the sweetness kind of dying on your tongue, the little bit of cayenne carries the flavor around the mouth. It’s the difference between something that is sickeningly sweet and something that is sweet but also feels like breakfast. A real breakfast.
How you do this depends on what you have. I have a big nonskillet and an aversion to dishes. If you don’t have the nonstick skillet, proceed in a saucepan and I’ll let you know what to do next.
In your skillet, warm up the honey and when your honey is runny add the vanilla, cayenne and jam. Stir and turn down to low. Meanwhile in a food processor chop the nuts up until there are equal parts big chunks and nut powder. Pour the nuts and oats into the honey mix and stir well with a wooden spoon until its covered.
Now- a matter of taste. Do you like big crunchy clusters and also don’t have that skillet? Grease a cookie pan and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so until the top is a rich brown. Not big on clusters and have a skillet? Keep it in said skillet and bake for ten minutes and stir until brown throughout. Take it out and let cool next to your favorite air conditioning vent.
Anybody been listening to Bonnie Prince Billy? Maybe it was five days in the woods with people from unincorporated Nevada and Plumas counties but this guy is gooder than good.
Happy milestones and solar eclipses, anniversaries and whatever else the last week of July brings you and yours.