The Pulp Kitchen is not a fancy blog. I don’t have a professional camera or lighting equipment – my iPhone and Snapseed app work fine. I don’t have an editor, save Derek from time to time. I don’t know what the best time of day to post is or how to get people to pin my dishes. I do this for fun. I do this to keep writing, because I like myself better when I’m writing a lot. I think it’s the expulsion of thoughts and ideas, best when not bottled up. Granted, some production would be awesome, as would a better camera and staging area. But I’m certainly not there yet. Luckily, I have some amazing food bloggers to aspire to, number 1 spot going to Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen.
If you’re a foodie or food blog enthusiast and don’t know who Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen is, then you must be living under a rock somewhere. For a food blogger running her operation out of a tiny NYC kitchen, her cherub of a son in tow, and all done sans assistants and professionals, she has somehow honed in on the secret to a successful blog. I mean, she averages about 300 comments per post, has over 114,000 Facebook followers, and just published a cookbook! I just hit the 100 mark on my Facebook page and I was jumping for joy! In my opinion, her success is a combination of excellent writing and recipes that inspire everyone, from novice to pro, to get their butts in the kitchen. Her writing is eloquent and personal; funny and a little self-depricating at times. We may all laud her achievements, but she is often talking about how un-together she is. Her blog and her writing make you feel like she’s your friend, like she’s writing just to you. If I saw her on the street (and believe me, I was looking around while I was in NYC, as if there aren’t over 8 million people living there) I would totally bear hug her and her adorable son if he was there. In a non-creepy way, of course.
I’m thinking about blogging my way through her entire cookbook (maybe not the cakes though, God knows I don’t need to be making cakes for myself) Julie & Julia style, that’s how much I love this cookbook. So, my first Smitten Kitchen Cookbook recipe is probably the easiest one – homemade granola. I’ve made granola before, a Tyler Florence recipe, but this is by far the easiest and most delicious I’ve had. It’s got that sweet and salty thing going, which makes me swoon. The recipe says it will last for two weeks, but I doubt it will last one. And trust me, after you make this, you’ll never buy store bought again.
Homemade Maple Granola (from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)
- 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
- 1 cup nuts, coarsely chopped (she calls for walnuts, I used pecans)
- 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (use 100% pure)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg white
- 1 1/2 cup dried fruit (she used dried cherries, I used dried cranberries and blueberries)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients but the egg white and dried fruit in a large bowl, tossing to coat evenly. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy, and stir into the granola mixture. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet, in a single layer. She says to bake for 45-55 minutes, but mine was just barely overdone at 46 minutes, so I suggest checking at the 40 minute mark. Halfway through baking, use a large spatula to turn over sections of the granola. When it is evenly browned and feels dry to the touch, transfer the pan from the oven to the cooling rack. Cool completely. Once it’s cool, break up granola and sprinkle in dried fruit.
Makes about 7 cups