This is the story of Riley and her terrific, delightful, so good, very rad day. Wow, lame sauce. Anyway… I have never in my life enjoyed a Monday as much as I did yesterday. I hold the firm belief that no matter how much you love what you do, waking up on a Monday morning will always suck. I don’t care if you’re the Queen of England, it ain’t all rainbows and sunshine. Waking up yesterday morning was still, as it always is, a hard pill to swallow. But what came later in the afternoon was magical. First of all, we made dessert. You heard it right, folks! Organ meats are so last week. Yesterday was all about meringue and ice cream, and the rest of the week will be consumed by things like mousse, soufflés, and tarts! But here’s the best part – the part that made waking up in the morning bearable. World-renowned chef Jacques Pepin visited my school and did a demonstration in which he showed off some basic techniques (e.g. making an omelet, boning a chicken, CARVING A FLOWER OUT OF BUTTER, etc.) That man is beyond amazing and I still can’t believe that I got the chance to meet him. I’m talking pictures, autographs, and selfies, ya’ll. A few friends from class and I decided that we were hell-bent on getting a front row seat, so as soon as class let out, we ran downstairs to the theater in our full uniforms, carrying our knives and everything (I had a freakin’ sieve in my hand for God’s sake) and found seats right in the middle. Front and center, baby! We meant business. We were in the splash zone. That’s every little girl’s dream, right? To be in Jacques Pepin’s splash zone? No? Well… it was mine. Dream fulfilled. OH. And I didn’t even tell you the best part. I told you something else was the best part but it wasn’t. The knife they gave Chef Pepin was not sharp enough for his liking, so HE BORROWED MINE. Jacques Pepin’s mojo is on my chef’s knife, guys. I’m never washing it again. Some suggested that I sell it on Ebay, but I think I’ll frame it instead. I don’t know what to say about this recipe I have for you today. It’s granola. It’s delicious. It’s easy. It was not made by Chef Pepin, but it’ll have to do for now.
Sweet and sticky cinnamon and maple-flavored granola with toasted almonds, coconut, and dried cranberries
Makes 6 cups
- 3 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup wheat germ
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ cups sliced almonds
- ¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Toss together the oats, wheat germ, maple syrup, vegetable oil, cinnamon, salt, almonds, and coconut and arrange in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and stir in the cranberries. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.