Coconut Oil Granola

  Photo courtesy of Helen Allen,
If you’ve seen or talked to me in the past month, chances are I’ve mentioned this granola to you.  One of my food52 friends blogged about the recipe in January, and we’ve eaten it for breakfast pretty much every day since, served atop a few spoonfuls of the very sour but delightful whole milk White Mountain Bulgarian Yogurt, sweetened with a squirt of honey. (The yogurt claims to have “up to 90 billion live probiotics per serving”!)  Anyhow- this is the best granola I’ve ever eaten, and it’s wonderfully convenient to make a batch and have it for breakfast for the whole week.  There are, in my opinion, two things that make this yogurt exceptional.  The first is the half cup of extra virgin coconut oil, which lends the granola an incredibly warm, buttery quality.  It’s a little pricey, but I can get a jar for $6.99 at Central Market and that makes 4-5 batches of granola. There’s the added benefit that virgin coconut oil is insanely good for you. The second thing that sets this granola apart is the freshly ground cardamom.  If you don’t want to take the time to pop the cardamom seeds out of six pods and grind them with a bit of salt in a mortar and pestle, you can substitute freshly ground nutmeg- it just won’t be quite as wonderful. 
A note about the recipe:  I make this without the 3/4 cup of maple syrup the recipe calls for.  This makes the granola drier, less clumpy, and more like a deliciously crisp cereal.  I found we like it better this way, and it seems very nearly sweet enough to me with just the brown and muscovado sugars. Plus, 3/4 cup of grade B maple syrup costs nearly $9 at CM, so it’s more economical to leave it out. Completely your call!
Coconut Oil Granola

from Jennifer Hess, with inspiration from Melissa Clark

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw almonds (feel free to substitute other nuts here, or combine almonds with pistachios or another nut of your choosing – I just used what we had on hand)
  • ¼ cup flax seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup toasted wheat germ (I usually omit this)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut (I like the shards)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 cardamom pods, shells removed and seeds ground with 1 teaspoon coarse sea or kosher salt
  • ½ cup organic virgin coconut oil, liquefied (you can substitute an equal amount of extra-virgin olive oil)
  • ¾ cup grade B maple syrup (optional)
  • ¼ cup organic light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup muscovado sugar
  • ¾ cup chopped dried fruit (I always use dried cranberries, but Jennifer encourages you to use a combination of your favorites.)
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the dried fruit in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Spread the mixture on a large, ungreased baking sheet and bake for a total of 45 minutes, stirring the mixture gently at 10 minute intervals.
  3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, scatter the dried fruit over the top, and allow to cool, then transfer to a large air-tight container.
  4. Serve over plain yogurt sweetened with a teaspoon or so of local honey. 


Austin’s Best Queso + Ridiculous Migas from Leftovers

For many Austinites this picture will look all too familiar- it’s chips and green chile queso from Torchy’s (Damn Good) Tacos.  As far as I’m concerned, this is the pinnacle, the apex, the apogee of man’s quest to create the perfect cheese-y dip.  The melted cheese is studded with diced roasted New Mexico chiles and then topped, oh-so-cleverly, with a dollop of guacamole, queso fresco, cilantro, and a shot of Torchy’s habanero diablo sauce.  This stands head and shoulders above the standard velveeta + rotel queso of my youth.  I don’t know how they did it, but Torchy’s queso never congeals or gets a rubber top-skin, even after being refrigerated! They’re mad queso geniuses, I guess.

Anyway, Andy and I live down the road from Torchy’s and thereby eat a lot of this queso.  Usually we’ll have leftovers of both the chips and queso (because we both also order two tacos :/ ), and one day I decided to make migas with them.  This may have been one of my best culinary moments.  I think this migas is  wonderful, and if you ever find yourself with half a tub of leftover Torchy’s queso and some chip remnants, I hope you’ll give it a try!  Here’s how you do it:

Heat some tortillas in a pan.  We prefer Central Market’s flour tortillas, which are practically inedible straight from the bag, but completely amazing when grilled or griddled on both sides until they’re spotted with golden brown dots and puffy. Wrap your tortillas in a kitchen towel or aluminum foil to stay warm while you make the migas.

Crack 4 or 5 eggs into a bowl, and get out some vegetable oil and your leftover chips and queso.

Put a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat, and then crumble in several large fistfuls of tortilla chips.  Toss so the chips are coated in the oil, and cook a minute or two, so that the chips start to toast and turn brown in places.

Beat the eggs and then add them to the pan.  (I usually pull the pan off the heat for this part, so the eggs don’t overcook.) Fold the eggs into the toasted chips and continue turning until the eggs are mostly scrambled.

Add your leftover queso to the pan and toss again, so that that magical queso covers everything.

It’ll look something like this! You could eat it just like this, or serve the migas as tacos in warm flour tortillas. I hope you like it!

Sausage, Biscuits and Green Chile Country Gravy

Hey friends! Did you think I was gone forever? There was a lot of big talk in my last blog post (in, ahem, October) about how I had regained my appetite and was cooking all the time, and would blog about it every day! Well, the appetite and cooking all the time bits were totally true.  I guess I just didn’t feel like blogging about it! I’ve never been good at sharing food. Ask anybody.

Things are really swell over here though! I’ll be 32 weeks pregnant on Wednesday, and our little baby (a boy, by the way!) should be around 3.5 lbs by now.  We’ve been eating really well, too.  We hit up the farmers’ market every Saturday, and buy meat (usually a whole chicken, and some sausage), vegetables (my fave), eggs (Flintrock Hill Farm), whole wheat bread (Sweetish Hill makes the best, imho), and fresh pasta (Pasta & Co). Then we come home and I’ll plan a menu for the week, and buy the filler ingredients from Central Market.  It’s worked out really nicely!

Our lavish breakfast of biscuits, sausage, and green chile country gravy was the result of just such a trip to the farmers’ market.  We bought a couple big green chiles and half a pound of breakfast sausage made from local (and delicious) pigs, and had ourselves a party!

Sausage, Biscuits and Green Chile Country Gravy  

For the Sausage and Gravy

  • 2 large fresh green chiles (hatch, anaheim, new mexico or poblano)
  • 2 tablespoons fat (sausage or bacon drippings) or butter
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • kosher salt

  1. Position your oven rack so that it is 4-6 inches below your broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and put the whole peppers on the sheet. Broil, turning the peppers occasionally, until the skin is charred and peeling on all sides. Remove the peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to steam for 10 minutes. Remove the stems, seeds, and skin from the peppers and dice the flesh. Set aside.
  2. If you’re making this for breakfast, to accompany biscuits and your very favorite breakfast meat, fry up the bacon or sausage in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Remove all but two tablespoons of fat from the skillet. (Or, if you’re making this with butter, skip the meat frying, and just melt two tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat.)
  3. Add the onions to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until they’re soft and sweetly caramelized around the edges. Sprinkle two tablespoons of flour into the pan and stir for about a minute, so that the raw flour cooks off and the roux takes on a golden brown color.
  4. Add the milk to the pan and stir to combine. Add the diced chiles. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the gravy is thick and creamy. Season to taste with plenty of kosher salt (I used a little more than a teaspoon) and enjoy with your favorite starchy treat!

For the Biscuits (from the Barefoot Contessa, natch)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the butter and cut in with a pastry knife until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the half-and-half and combine with a fork. 
  3. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and knead once or twice to bring it together. Use your fingers to pat the dough into a rectangle that’s about 1/2 an inch thick.  Cut out 8 biscuits with a glass or 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter. 
  4. Place the biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with the egg wash.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown on top.