Granola – The Jazz Riff of Cereals

1 Oct

Hello.  It’s been a while, but you know school happens, life happens, art happens.  As in, I got a membership to the art museum and I spend all my time there instead of writing this blog.  Can you blame me?  It’s perfectly natural to go stare at Impressionist paintings for a few hours a week.  And the Eames/Saarinen chairs.  And the Frank Lloyd Wright Japanese prints.  And the New York photography.

Anyway.

My roommate and I made this granola, and it lasted for weeks.  It makes a ton, okay, so don’t make it if you don’t love granola.

Now, assuming the rest of you are here because you do, in fact, love granola: feel free to substitute whatever nuts and berries you prefer, or add more to the ones called for.  That’s the beauty of granola.  It is essentially the jazz riff of cereals, with endless improvisatory potential.  I recommend more berries, actually, because it’s pretty dry with only cranberries.

We got the recipe from my roommate’s mother, who got it from Casa del Mar (a resort, I think?), so you can thank Mrs. Green.

Now,

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter (yeah, you know this is going to be good)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 7 cups oats
  • 1 cup unsalted cashew pieces
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

 

In a large saucepan, heat the butter, oil, syrup, brown sugar, and orange juice until the butter melts.

 

It looks disgusting, but strangely enough, it smells really good.  I do not recommend tasting, though.  Do not.

 

Toss together the dry ingredients.

 

I am sitting in my living room as I write this, blasting Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and singing along to it really badly.  And I am having such a great time.

Aw yes.

 

I saw the CSO perform it last night, and it was incredible.  That, and Wagner’s Flying Dutchman Overture, and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto (played by Anne-Sophie Mutter, oh my God).

 

Add the melted mixture and spread onto two baking sheets covered with parchment paper.  My roommate said this stuff tends to stick, so we erred on the side of caution.

Bake at 275 for one hour, stirring halfway through.  When you do the stirring, add the berries.

 

Allow to cool, then store in as many containers as you own, because that’s how much granola you’ll have.

 

I am a yoghurt fiend, so this is how I ate it.  For weeks.

Enjoy!

 

 

Well I suppose you want a book recommendation, don’t you?  Whether you do or not, here goes:

I’m actually very excited to recommend the book I’m currently reading, but I’ll wait until I finish it.  In the mean time, I read Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger a few weeks ago.  You probably know her as the writer of The Time Traveller’s Wife, which is such a fabulous fucking book.  I may have cried on a plane over it, no big deal.

Her Fearful Symmetry is not The Time Traveller’s Wife.  Not even a little.  It’s undoubtedly Niffenegger-esque.  More so, even, than TTTW, when you consider the author’s graphic novels.  HFS is creepy.  It’s disturbing and unsettling, and it will make you feel very uncomfortable about very many things.  You can get a plot summary anywhere (like when you go get the book yourself and read the back, for instance), so I’ll just tell you my feelings towards it.

I liked it, my roommate didn’t.  Well, she didn’t dislike, but she didn’t enjoy it much, it seems.  I did, but I understand her opinion.  There are some very fucked up relationships in the book between two sets of twins, and between the younger twins and the other tenants in their apartment.

The younger set, Julia and Valentina, are living in an apartment left to them by their Aunt Elspeth (one half of the older twins), who died and now haunts that apartment.  Valentina starts a relationship with the downstairs tenant, Robert, who is in love with her aunt.  The one who lives as a ghost in the apartment. You can see that this is very strange.  And, naturally, the age difference between Valentina and the downstairs tenant is quite large.  This is not the issue.  The issue is that Robert was clearly still in love with Valentina’s aunt and was searching for Elspeth in the girl, which led him to pursue her inappropriately.  That, though, is why I like this book.

Niffenegger created a bunch of terrible characters who do deeply fucked up things, but who are, at their hearts, pleasant and quite lovely.  I really loved Elspeth, the younger twins, Robert, and especially the man who lives upstairs from them, Martin, who suffers from crippling OCD.  Martin was my absolute favorite, by far.  At the same time, Robert was clearly going mad with heartbreak, Elspeth was far more selfish and vicious than she seemed, and the twins were in a self-destructive, suffocating relationship.  None of this is obvious at first, or even at second or third, which is what I find so wonderful about Niffenegger’s writing.

The ending is predictable and somewhat disappointing, but still hauntingly cruel.  The real appeal to this book is the characters and their horrible relationships, because they all seem normal on the surface and are, in fact, awful people.  But that’s what I love about Niffenegger in general.  Her characters always seem sweet and likable, and they are.  But they’re also dangerous.  She brings together contradictions in personalities that exist in the real world but that seldom find accurate expression in writing, and she always throws in an interesting supernatural twist that somehow seems perfectly normal in the context of the book.  She’s one of my favorite writers, and I very much recommend this book.

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