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Paula's Granola

October 14, 2016

When we lived in the West Village a few years ago, our apartment was on the ninth floor of a great building.  We were just steps from Washington Square Park, and, quite literally, steps from the coolest neighbors ever.  There were only five apartments on that floor... and, rarely anyone locked their doors while they were home... hell, some even had their doors wide open.  It was the closest thing to a Friends living scenario that I've ever had.

One of these fabulous neighbors was Paula.  She lived in her apartment since the early days of her young adulthood when she worked in the TV biz (way before I was born!).  She had an incredible view of the Empire State Building... I kid you not, it was an entire wall of small, vintage glass panes... and at nine stories up, the view was just grand.

Credit: Link

She had a passion for interior design (her apartment was impeccable) and a passion for food (she also had a stint in catering).  Every now and again, Paula would ring our doorbell and hand over to me her latest culinary creation.  A container of Matzo Ball Soup, a tub of freshly made pesto, a plate of this or that.  What could I say? She lived alone and I loved being her extra mouth to feed.

One day, Paula handed me a box of something that totally changed my world view... of granola, that is!  She told me I would never go back to store-bought, and she was right! (Except for that one time I had a momentary relapse... forgive me, Paula, I'll never do that again!)

Now, I know that there's a gazillion recipes to make granola... or rather, a gazillion different ingredients... and, they all sound quite yummy... exotic... and, sometimes, a little expensive.  But, this granola is so simple, so lively, so open to collaboration with anything you want to throw at it... that I haven't been tempted enough to try any of the others because Paula's granola is just so, so good.

It's so good that Lil will request this granola with a bit of plain yogurt, fresh, cut fruit (or fruit jam, if we're naughty), and, a little maple syrup, for good measure.

Paula's Granola with Raisins and Walnuts

I like this recipe because I get to control the 'clumpiness' of the granola.  I don't like some of the extra-large tasteless, clumps in store-bought granola... and, the taste is simply so much better than store-bought.  I mix up the types of ingredients based on what I have left in the pantry - sometimes it's honey/agave or honey/maple as sweeteners, sometimes I add nuts or not, or sometimes  dried fruit... or not.  It's just so easy going, this recipe, that it could be all of those other granola recipes if you want to throw anything else in... or not.  It's a great base recipe.  It just goes with the flow...  just like I like it.

Paula's Granola

4 C rolled oats
1/2 C neutral oil
1/2 C sweetener (honey, agave syrup, maple syrup)
dash of spices (ground ginger, cinnamon)
chopped nuts
dried fruit

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 deg F.

2. Pour granola into a large baking tray.

3. Grab a 1 C measuring cup.  Pour in 1/2 C neutral oil and 1/4 C honey and 1/4 C maple syrup.  Mix well.

4.  In a nice toss-and-stir motion, gradually drizzle the mixed liquids into the granola.

5.  Once uniformly mixed, add the ground spices.

6.  Add the chopped nuts, or not.

7.  Pop into the oven for 15 min.  After 15 minutes, take the tray out and stir everything.  Pop back into the oven for the remaining 15 minutes. 

8.  In the last 5-10 minutes, add your dried fruit, or not.

9.  Take the granola out and give it a good, final stir.  Things won't feel too crunchy yet... give it time... it'll harden while it rests... Once rested, the granola will have hardened but all you need to do is to stir it 'round with a spoon.  Pour into an air-tight container, and you're good to go!

Thank you, Paula, for this tasty gem...
It will live on in our morning rituals,
 as will all of our other
memories together!

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