Myra and I took her birthday beach walk today, and for the first time, we sat on my bench, watching a beautiful sunset over the ocean. It was magical and sentimental and inspired me to write this about granola. Granola???
I hardly ever ate it, despite being a product of the sixties. Then about ten years ago I discovered an amazing granola sold only at a local farmstand near our former house in Carmel Valley. I loved it. And I got addicted. Seriously.
I even put bags of granola in the goodie bags for the out-of-town guests at Daniel’s Bar Mitzvah. Some of them got addicted too and started ordering it themselves.
Very soon after the bar mitzvah, I happened to meet the person who created the granola. And in the way the universe sometimes works, one of my favorite foods was connected to someone who became one of my favorite people: Myra.
She and her husband Drew are the founders of Earthbound Farms. They are the largest growers of organic produce in the world, and the first people who put salad in a bag. To me, all of that pales next to the granola.
Myra isn’t just talented in the kitchen. I ask her advice on everything because she’s one of the smartest people I know. Except for one thing. She wrote a cookbook recently, and she included the granola recipe. And I discovered how EASY it is to make. Even for me.
In 20 years, this could be Myra’s worst business decision–losing me as a granola customer. I’m sure granola sales plunged at Earthbound Farms when I stopped buying it and started making it.
Since lots of people appreciated the pumpkin bread recipe, I asked Myra today if I could give out the granola recipe, and she said sure. (More lost granola customers.)
The granola, and other recipes in Myra’s cookbook represent a culinary breakthrough for me and our whole family. Alli and I bonded over it, cooking meals together (the blind leading the blind). Daniel, the best cook in the family, took a copy to college. My sister uses it even more than I do.
In fact, for the first time in family memory, when we arrived at my sister’s last week for Thanksgiving, the first thing we ate was NOT pumpkin bread. It was there waiting for us, but there was something even better: Myra’s macaroni and cheese. For that recipe, you’ll have to buy the book.
Earthbound Farm’s Famous Maple Almond Granola
4 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
3/4 cup shelled, raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups slivered or coarsely chopped raw almonds
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon ( I use a little more)
1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 325.
Place the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix. Add maple syrup and oil and stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened.
Spread granola on a 12 X17 rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until granola begins to brown, about 25 minutes, and then stir with a flat spatula. Continue baking until granola is light golden brown, and dry, about 15-20 minutes longer. (I like mine crispy so I bake a little longer) Stir granola at least once while it bakes and watch carefully at the end so it doesn’t burn. (Remember that part about watching carefully so it doesn’t burn. I’ve burnt it. More than once.)
Place baking sheet on a cooling rack and stir in raisins.
Keep in an airtight container. It can be stored at room temperature up to one month or frozen up to 6 months. It can be served straight from the freezer. (By the way granola was not involved in my recent freezer disaster. It never would last long enough around here to make it into the freezer.)
Serve with milk, on yogurt or my favorite way, just as it is.
Remember I warned you: it’s definitely addictive. You can blame Myra.