Living is an inherently emotional business.
-David Brooks ("Social Animal")
I'm home sick with the flu and, even though I realize that whenever you and your body are in pain, you can't help but feel like this is the worst you've ever felt in your life, I really do feel like this is the worst I've ever felt in my life. That is, until the next time, I'm sure. Unless there's not a next time since I'm pretty sure I'll be religiously getting a flu shot for the rest of my life...
I don't have much of an appetite, but the three things I can't seem to get enough of in my general sense of ickiness are 1) Orange juice (and I'm not even a juice person), 2) Tea with honey and 3) Yogurt with granola. Don't worry; I'm also tossing in the occasional piece of fruit into my "Fight the flu" diet, but, let me assure you, it currently seems like it requires an obscene amount of energy to peel an orange or eat an apple.
Don't even get me started on how difficult it is to focus on scholarly books...Sometimes it's best to cut your losses and accept the need for stress-free relaxation.
So, my attention span currently being what it is, instead of trying to ponder the East and the significance of masks, I've decided instead to tell you about granola. I know what you're thinking: "Haven't we been down this road before?" And the answer is yes, but no. Not this granola, in all of its chocolate-y and slightly tart goodness.
You see, I had been planning to make a new batch of granola since late October (!!), when I discovered a recipe for Maple-Almond Granola with Dried Berries in Bon Appetit. But somehow, life being busy, I never quite got around to it, which is nothing short of absurd because, while making this recipe, I was again reminded how ridiculously easy making granola is...not to mention infinitely worth the effort. And La Tartine Gourmande inspired me to abandon my dream of Maple-Almond granola and embrace something a little more like a breakfast fantasy, aka Chocolate Granola. But with the addition of the beloved cardamom pods, dried blueberries and coconut, I even got to be creative. Granola is, after all, entirely a matter of taste.
A little chopped dark chocolate, some almonds, dried blueberries and a mix of pumpkin seeds and oats can go a long way. It's got the appropriate level of crunch and savory/sweet balance. And should you find yourselves as sick as I am, it makes an amazingly healthy and nourishing snack. You may in fact find that it's one of the only things you can tolerate.
Chocolate and Blueberry Granola
Yields 8-10 servings
3 cups oats
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 cardamom pods
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup chopped chocolate (I used Ghiradelli's 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
-Mix first four ingredients in a large bowl.
-In a small saucepan, bring wet ingredients, brown sugar, salt, butter and cardamom to a simmer.
-After simmering, let the cardamom steep for about 5 minutes.
-Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well.
-At this point, feeling nostalgic for my old granola recipe, I decided to sprinkle
in some unsweetened coconut, probably about 1/4 cup.
-Put granola mixture on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper
-Bake for 45 minutes, checking and stirring every 10-15 minutes, so as to make sure that the granola browns evenly.
-Mix in chocolate and blueberries once completely cool.