Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Better baking sets us apart...

from the rest of the herd.

Drag Queen cupcakes. Who'da thunk? Then again,why not? An aging box of mix at a bargain price will produce messed-up cupcakes. I bought several said boxes with the intent of keeping my costs down to grace an art gallery's refreshment table for the town's monthly receptions night.The first batch came out so horribly misshapen, I had to sit down to catch the blurping utterances of hysterical laughter. Better to laugh than cry, they say,....they who say.

If you want serious,uniform cupcakes, sans foof-foof, you would do well to make the batter from scratch. And if you must use a mix, here's a little tip from your Uncle Irv':buy a fresh box. Just when you look here and think to yourself, "Oh,no! NOT ANOTHER CUPCAKE RECIPE",think again. This posting is more than meets the eye. I like to call it Romancing The Roughage. No eyes there,...unless you are very weird.

Granola..... Despite popularly yammered euphemisms, granola is not "hippie food". Like beer is not just a breakfast drink. There are simple pleasures in visiting a variety of food blogs and choosing favorites. One tallies up their features and what the comments from the viewers reflect until it all rolls into some sort of friendly universal hum. One week, it is the common carrot cake, followed the next week by seared scallops in buerre sous, photographed as high art in high-end eateries where most of us would twad our bunnies in a sniggle over the bite-sized portions with a "Bite ME!" price. It's all relative. One wouldn't see David Lebovitz eat a jar of Cheez Whiz unless he had worms. And one wouldn't toss a plate of canned peas to Tartelette and expect her to wax poetic on the virtues of photographing overcooked vegetables that taste like the can they came in. There are...boundaries...of good taste and food that tastes good, after all.

For me, granola is a staple. It is a food. It is an ingredient. It is a topping. And it is a great fix for tasty-crunchy when you want "a little something", as my grandmother used to say.Her "little something" was usually Holland Rusk topped with butter and very thin slices of cheddar cheese, followed by a hot cocoa chaser. Dutch cocoa, of course.

There is something inherently fun about a very large bowl filled with hand-tossing pleasure and then dressing it up with gooey goodness that adds a sheen and shapes it up a bit. Those who are into stocking their kitchens with homemade foodstuffs also have a reverance for the life of the food and the life it sustains. We contemplate how these textures and colors, shapes and flavors all began with a seed or an ovum. And we marvel at how many different ways we can prepare them.Somehow, I doubt that anyone standing in line at Taco Hell ponders these beautitudes. Just rip, chew, swallow and fart. Crap that puppy out and call it a day.

I wouldn't call that Romancing The Roughage. I'd call it something else.

Best Granola
Inspired by David Lebovitz, inspired by Orangette, adapted from "Feast" by Nigella Lawson
I tricked out this recipe for my own taste, where indicated.

Set racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 300 F. In fan-forced, 250 F.

In a very large bowl, mix together:
5 cups rolled oats, or multi-grain flakes
3 cups almonds, chopped (or hand-crunched slivers)
1 cup hulled sunflower seeds (I didn't use)
3/4 cup untoasted sesame seeds
1 cup packed light brown sugar (recipe called for 1/4 cup)
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon (recipe called for 2 tsp.)
1 1/2 tsp. dried ground ginger (recipe called for 1 tsp.)
1 tsp. sea salt

Warm in small saucepan:
1 cup unsweetened applesauce, or another fruit puree (banana is nice)
1/3 cup rice syrup (or agave, or extra honey)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (Lebovitz used 1 Tbsp. plum kernel oil in place of 1 Tbsp. veg. oil)

1. When warmed, stir mixture into dry mixture in large bowl with a big spoon, making sure it is all coated.
2. Line 2 baking sheets (with sides) with parchment paper.
3. Divide and spread evenly on the baking sheets.
4. Bake for about 40 min., stirring and rotating every 10 min. for even browning.
5. Remove from oven, stir it up and let cool.

The granola will keep indefinitely in an airtight container in your refrigerator. You can use plastic zip bags or glass jars. If you like, you can fill glass jars and give as gifts! My use of extra honey and brown sugar didn't make the granola much sweeter. The extra honey does make it less dry. Chopped, dried fruit such as cherries, apricots, dates, plums, whatever you like, and coconut,can be added, but I recommend adding after the granola is baked. Coconut takes only a few minutes to toast and, trust me, you don't want burned coconut.


  1. Hehe drag queen cupcakes would have been perfect for the Gay & Lesbian mardi gras we had a couple of weekends ago!

  2. Hey Lorraine!.. Gay and lesbian mardi gras? Must have been a hoot!...Thanks for visiting. You are officially the first to leave comment.