When I think of extra virgin olive oil, most times I think of how indispensable it is, in my kitchen. In fact… when a bottle is getting near empty, I almost hit panic mode. I use it for everything…. and I do mean everything!!
|For roasting vegetables|
|And always, always to finish pasta|
At other times, it reminds me of a high school teacher, who, for some reason, was talking about extra virgin olive oil. He, sadly for him, mused out loud… “I wonder what you have to do to become extra virgin…” HA! Imagine the bent-over-raucous-guffaws coming from a class of hormones-in-overdrive-teens!!! I can still see his face, crimson with embarrassment! Then…. there was the time he, again on a verbal boo boo, and this time really big no no, referred to V-Day as V-D Day. YIIIIIKES…….
For some time now, I’ve been using extra virgin olive oil exclusively in my kitchen… right up until I changed my stance on making Garlic Aioli (but that’s a post for another day).
I started using it in unconventional places some time ago… I think it started one day when I was craving granola and didn`t have a ‘flavourless’ oil on hand. As per above, I ALWAYS HAVE OLIVE OIL! Extra virgin, please. Rather than making the trek to the store, I figured…. why not try olive oil… it is, after all, a fruit…. OMG! I figured it might taste different, maybe even a little off some how… I could not have been more wrong. It added a subtle background taste, an extra depth of unexpected flavour – and was absolutely totally delicious.
Some years ago, I had started making my own granola to control what went in it. At that time, most of the store bought varieties had either too much sugar, or fat – or worse – both. So I found a basic recipe and after a few times making it, made it my own. I’ve made it dozens of times since and to anyone that’s tasted it – they`ve absolutely loved it. No one has ever been able to tell about the virtuous remarkable secret ingredient. Most are surprised when I tell them afterwards!
I’ve since renamed the granola, I think quite rightly. It takes very little time to make and you can just keep adding good stuff to boost the nutritional value. Or, leave it as plain as you like. For an over the top, unbelievably tasty, healthy and fab breakfast – layer it in pretty glasses, using yogurt and (seasonal) fresh fruit, more nuts, more dried fruit….
This is so easy and delicious, you’ll wonder why you’ve not tried making your own before. As you’ll see below, many of the ingredients can be altered to your taste – you can soon make it a favourite of whoever it is you’re cooking for. It will last for about a week in an air tight container, but will probably be eaten long before then. Preheat your oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; you’ll have the mix ready by the time your oven is.
The Dry Goods:
4 cups, rolled oats (your favourite kind)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup flax seed, either ground or whole
1/2 cup bran (or combination of the three)
1 cup almonds, sliced/chopped or chopped walnuts – make your fave combo
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup coconut (leave out if you don’t like it)
big pinch salt
The Wet Goods:
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
*1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (or a combination of)
*I’ve also tried it with molasses – very healthy but very strong flavoured
Extras, to add after baking:
1 cup of dried fruit: raisins, cranberries, cherries… or combination of your favourites
In a large bowl, combine the dry goods.
In a 2-cup measuring cup (or small bowl) combine the wet goods.
Add the wet into the dry, and mix to combine.
Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for approx 20 minutes (check half way through and if baking too fast at the edges, remove from oven and stir the entire mix).
Bake until golden brown and remove from oven.
Add dried fruit of your choice and let cool on baking sheet.
Store in an airtight container.