Buttermilk Granola

Buttermilk Granola | Cravings & Crumbs

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about and been inspired by peaches and cream.  For the Fourth of July I made a fresh peach tart with a graham cracker crust and a light pastry cream.  Next week I’ll be making a peach cake with vanilla ice cream for a family gathering, and for everyday i’ve been eating lightly sweetened Greek yogurt with fresh peaches.  So good, especially since I’ve been waiting about 10 months for good peaches to come back.  

Buttermilk Granola | Cravings & Crumbs

To give my morning yogurt more substance and a little crunch I whipped up a batch of homemade granola last weekend.  I followed a recipe posted recently by Stella Parks on Serious Eats that intrigued me.  She uses buttermilk to soften the oats, then adds the sugar and allows it to dissolve.  It seems counterintuitive to wet your oats just to dehydrate them again in the oven, but trust me the results are worth it.  What you end up with is granola that is a lighter and crispier than you would normally get with an even coating of sweetness.  I prefer my granola with only nuts, but feel free to add any dried fruit as the granola cools after baking.

Buttermilk Granola
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Ingredients
  1. 3 ½ c. old fashioned rolled oats
  2. ⅓ c. wheat germ (optional)
  3. 1 c. buttermilk
  4. 1 stick (8 T.) unsalted butter, melted
  5. 1 c. granulated sugar
  6. ½ t. kosher salt
  7. 1 t. ground cinnamon
  8. ¼ t. ground allspice
  9. ½ c. whole raw almonds
Instructions
  1. In a bowl combine rolled oats, wheat germ, buttermilk and melted butter. Stir to combine and let sit for 20 mins for the buttermilk to soak into the oats.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients and allow to sit for 30 mins for the sugar to dissolve and coat the oats. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread granola mixture evenly onto lined pan. Place in oven and cook for about an hour and 20 mins, stirring every 20 mins, making sure to move the granola from the edges toward the center so they get evenly cooked.
  4. Once granola is golden brown and cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool on the sheet pan for at least 30 mins. Add any dried fruits or other add-ins while the granola cools. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. Feel free to change the spices and granola additions to your liking. This recipe is only a template!
Adapted from Stella Parks via Serious Eats
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Shaved Asparagus Brunch Salad

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

With asparagus in season, so flavorful and plentiful, I’ve been buying so much I’ve been forced to come up with new ways to use it all!  I’m definitely not complaining though, as the necessity led to this brunch salad.  

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

A salad for brunch might seem strange, but hear me out.  Brunch is usually a pretty heavy meal, which is a great, but eat too much and you can count on hours of feeling sluggish and sleepy.  This breakfast is light and healthy, with just enough richness to keep you satisfied until lunch.  Since you’ll feel great after eating it, you’ll have all the energy to go take a hike, explore a new flea market, or whatever other fun plans you have for the day!  For those of you who think it’s not really brunch unless there are mimosas, well, there’s champagne here, it’s just in vinegar form in the dressing…

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

The dressing is based off of a warm bacon dressing you would normally put on a spinach salad.  Personally, a leafy salad isn’t appetizing for me first thing in the morning, but the shaved asparagus is tender with a little bite – perfect.  Add pancetta to the mix for that classic breakfast flavor combo, so feel free to substitute bacon.  The poached egg on top adds the final layer of creaminess to the salad as the yolk mixes with the dressing.  

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

Poached eggs have a reputation for being intimidating, but they shouldn’t be.  At home there’s no need for adding vinegar or constantly swirling your water.  An old friend taught me a trick of boiling water, talking it off the heat, immediately dropping the egg in and covering the pan for 5 or so minutes.  That’s the method I use in the recipe below, but there are lots of other great methods to poach an egg.  If you want more guidance, I found this video by Kenji Lopez-Alt to be really helpful, although I don’t follow all his suggestions.  If you want to cook your eggs in the shell, but still want a perfectly runny yolk, use David Chang’s 5:10 method:  Bring a pot of water to a boil, take an egg straight from the refrigerator and put it in the water and boil for exactly 5 minutes and 10 seconds.  The fact that refrigerators are all within a few degree of each other and water boils at 212°F removes any variation in starting temperature so you can get a perfect egg every time without the guesswork.

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

Shaved Asparagus Brunch Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 5 fat asparagus spears
  2. 1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
  3. ⅓ of a medium red onion, peeled and slivered
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 2 heaping T diced pancetta
  6. 2 T champagne vinegar
  7. 1 T olive oil
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  9. Crushed red pepper flakes
  10. 1-2 slices of your favorite toast (mine is Acme pain au levain)
Instructions
  1. Using a vegetable peeler shave the asparagus into ribbons, saving the tops. The easiest way to do this is to keep the spear flat on a cutting board or countertop as you shave. Place the shavings on whatever bowl or plate you’ll use to serve, and save the tops for later.
  2. Begin bringing a small pot of water to a boil and simultaneously preheat a small frying pan over medium heat on a separate burner. Crack your egg into a small cup or ramekin. Once the water is rapidly boiling, remove the pan from the heat and immediately drop the egg into the water and cover with a lid. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  3. Into the frying pan add the pancetta, asparagus tops, and half the slivered onions. Saute until pancetta is just starting to get crispy and the asparagus tops are tender, about 4 mins.
  4. When your timer rings, use a slotted spoon to remove the egg from the water. The white of the egg should be taught, the yolk should not feel firm, and overall the egg shouldn’t be too jiggly, which would indicate that the whites aren’t fully cooked. When your egg is done remove to a paper towel.
  5. Turn your attention back to the frying pan and add the vinegar, olive oil, a pinch of salt and the remaining onion slivers. Cook briefly, about 30 seconds. (Note: if you substituted bacon omit the olive oil, as bacon has more natural grease than pancetta.) Pour the hot vinaigrette over the shaved asparagus and toss to coat. Add the poached egg on top and season the entire dish with another sprinkling of salt, freshly ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Serve with toast.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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