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Sunflower Scones & Other Sleepers

Sunflower Scones & Other Sleepers
Sunflower Seed Scones | Delightful Crumb

One of my most important baked good theories concerns what I call sleeper pastries. Do you know them? I’m talking about the not-so-flashy options in the bakery case. The non-Instagrammable ones. The more understated treats looked over in the pursuit of their brighter, trendier neighbors. Things like rustic scones and flaky biscuits; everyday cakes unadorned by frosting swirls and lacking stunning layers; jammy fruit bars with crumble topping; simple biscotti hiding from the masses in a jar by the register. I can spot these quite successfully in cookbooks and bakeries alike, behind the sticky bun embellished with thick toffee and the laminated pastry with this week’s most surprising filling and the chocolate-drenched something-or-other and the towering layer cake. These humble options tend to be my favorites. To a certain degree, this is a matter of taste, but I also believe there is something objectively special about them as well. I am not saying that these are necessarily the very best items on offer (though they might be!). But I think we all know that while flashiness generally gets the most attention, the flashy things of life are rarely the best things.

Lest you think I haven’t thought this through, let me give you some examples. Beginning locally, the oat scone and the chocolate thing at Arizmendi locations across the Bay, Tartine Bakery’s lemon loaf, the cardamom walnut scone at Berkeley’s Fournée Bakery, the apple cake and quaresimale at Crixa Cakes. Back in Grand Rapids, Michigan, my list included the breakfast cookie at the now-shuttered Marie Catrib’s and the trail mix bar and health muffin (health muffin, I know!) from Nantucket Bakery. The whole wheat scone I recently ate at Cellar Door Provisions in Chicago fits the bill, as does the fruit-studded cornmeal cake at Santa Monica’s Huckleberry Cafe. Helen Goh, co-author of Sweet with Yotam Ottolenghi, clearly understands what I’m championing here. She calls the lemon and poppyseed cake in that book the one she’d choose—of all her remarkable creations—if she could take just one cake to a desert island. It is, indeed, a truly fantastic cake that I’d have posted on this blog already if not for the fact that I’ve arguably shared well over my Ottolenghi quota. Despite their fame, Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies are an excellent candidate. Who knew a little chocolate cookie could be so exquisite?! This almond cake is a sleeper, consistently surprising my dinner guests with its deliciousness, as is the first everyday cake I ever met, which remains a favorite.

Look, I won’t push the analogy, but remember how nice it feels to look past the shiny stuff for simple goodness? We’ve maxed out on more, and now all I want is a little less—less noise, less clutter, fewer expectations, quality not quantity. There are reasons why Marie Kondo has exploded (or rather, leapt like a sparkly garden fairy…?) into our public consciousness not once but twice. I’m certainly not the only one tired of feeling that we’re all chasing a series of things we can never have in full—the ideal job, the perfect home, work/life balance, the kids you long for, the partner you need before you can get to that, the right wardrobe not just for you but also for said children, the life you thought you’d have, some elusive idea of happiness or ease. How many times do I need to remind myself that everyone’s life is hard and weird and nuanced? How many times do I need to remind myself that the complication of my own life is okay—human, necessary, interesting, even good? We went on a mini-vacation to LA last week, and I didn’t check either work or personal email and didn’t text people back and it felt amazing. Remember how that used to just be life?

So, yeah, the simple pastries strike a chord.

And all of this brings me to today’s recipe, another sleeper that shouldn’t be overlooked: the sunflower seed scone from Lisa Ludwinski’s Sister Pie. As is obvious, this cookbook, like the bakery of the same name in Detroit, is first and foremost about pie. But there are also recipes for cookies and breakfast pastries and even paczki in its pages. Among the several scones are a jasmine crème fraîche number and one bursting with blueberries and a savory option with cream cheese and dill and radishes. But if you’ve stuck with me thus far, you’ll already have guessed that not only did I look past the pies but also that I chose the least-flamboyant scone to fall in love with: a humble, crumbly, fantastically delicious little number made just tender enough by sour cream, topped with almost too many sunflower seeds and lovely paired with jam.

I’ve not yet made it to Sister Pie but hope to eventually. When I do, I will make it a point to eat some stunning pie, of course, but I’ll be looking for the sleeper to add to my order as well. And as usual, I doubt I’ll be disappointed.

Sunflower Seed Scones

Minimally adapted from Lisa Ludwinski’s Sister Pie

Makes 8 scones

The original recipe calls for spelt flour and all-purpose flour. Finding myself without spelt, I also had good luck with a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. To do the same, substitute 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup of whole wheat for the all-purpose and spelt flours called for below.

Sunflower Seed Scones | Delightful Crumb

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 egg

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup spelt flour

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional

2 tablespoons cane sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold

Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the sunflower seeds until light brown and fragrant. Season with a pinch of kosher salt, toss well and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, gently whisk together the sour cream, 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and the egg.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt, sugar and 1/2 cup of the sunflower seeds. Place the butter in the bowl and coat it with flour. Use a bench scraper to cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes, then break up the cubes until they are lightly coated with flour. Cut the cubes into smaller pieces with the bench scraper. Switch to a pastry blender (or use your hands and work quickly to keep the butter cold) and blend the butter, turning the bowl, until most of it is incorporated but you still have quite a few larger chunks.

Pour the cream mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until there are no pools of liquid remaining. With your hands, turn the dough over and press it back into itself a few times, incorporating any floury bits at the bottom of the bowl. Continue until the dough has formed one cohesive mass.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat it into an 8-inch circle, and use the bench scraper to divide it into 8 wedges.

At this point, you can freeze the scones for up to 3 months (I particularly like to make half the batch and freeze the rest!). To do so, place the unbaked scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour, until frozen solid. Then, wrap them tightly in plastic, put them into an airtight box or bag and return to the freezer.

When you are ready to bake, transfer the scones to the baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between them. Brush the tops and sides liberally with the remaining 1/4 cup heavy cream. Generously pile on the remaining 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds and finish with a few flakes of sea salt. (You might have some seeds left—they’re great on salads or with fruit and yogurt.)

Bake the scones for 18 to 25 minutes, until evenly golden brown and nearly doubled in size. (If baking from frozen, decrease the oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake for 25 to 35 minutes.) Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy the scones warm or at room temperature, slathered with jam and/or butter. They are also more than adequate warmed in a toaster oven on day two.

Another Jam Tart for Springtime

Another Jam Tart for Springtime
Fregolotta | Delightful Crumb

Many years ago, early in this blog’s life, I wrote a series of posts that I called the in betweencalling out the peculiarity of this time between winter and spring. I hold to my evaluation (though I’m embarrassed as anyone to look back at old writing, my youth laid bare on the page for all to read!). These intermediary weeks are strange not just for the ways that the weather can swing back and forth but also for the fact that we arrive at this moment EXTREMELY READY for spring: for rhubarb and berries and bare legs and vacation and all of the glorious green produce. And it’s here—kind of. Momentarily. Maybe.

Life, too, no? I am certainly in some kind of season myself right now, which may or may not be an in-between time—that, of course, depends on what’s next—but at the least, it has been a season of waiting and of listening, trying to discern through the haze, and most assuredly not doing. Perhaps the pause‚ whether seasonal or in life, reminds us to reflect. There’s a line I love in Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion in which the central character captures how reflection itself can be cyclical: “It’s weird,” she said, “the way sometimes you’re in your life, but other times you’re looking back at it like a spectator. It kind of goes back and forth, back and forth.”

We don’t like uncertainty, of course. A recent episode of Invisibilia offers the reminder that this is no fluke. We’re biologically predisposed to be uncomfortable with uncertainty; otherwise, we’d never make any decisions! So at least it’s natural. And while I feel quite ready for some answers, perhaps their refusal to emerge means this particular in-between season isn’t quite over.

And so, pending answers and snap peas and strawberries, I wait—and I bake. Yet in the absence of berries and with the scarcity of rhubarb in these parts, what are we to do? There’s chocolate, yes, and citrus, too. But we’ve been relying on these all winter long. Jam is the answer, my friends!

I posted about a different jam tart in the aforementioned seven-year-old post, compliments of the great David Lebovitz, which remains an excellent choice. I made it at just this time last year, in fact. That jam tart is positively stuffed with jam, with a cornmeal crumb and the option for fancy latticework. But today, I have another tart. And in case you think a person doesn’t need two jam tarts, I am here to tell you that a person does. Or, at least, I do. This one has just a swipe of jam, is fantastically easy to pull together and yields something more akin to a cookie, in the best of ways. It makes a lovely weekend pick-me-up and would be right at home at a dinner party, too. Make the whipped cream—because really, why not?—and have patience. Spring will come. It always does.

Fregolotta – Italian Jam Shortbread Tart

Minimally adapted from Kristen Miglore and Food52’s Genius Desserts (recipe from Cindy Mushet)

Serves 8 to 10

In the tart pictured here, I used apricot jam and chopped almonds. But the template is flexible—use any preserve you like, preferably something not too sweet, and whatever type of nut you have on hand. The original recipe says that you can also freeze the unbaked tart for up to one month. Bake from frozen and note that it might take a couple of extra minutes in the oven.

Fregolotta | Delightful Crumb

3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup (100 g) cane sugar

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 (190 g) all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup (80 g) jam

1/3 cup (30 g) chopped or sliced raw almonds

For yogurt whipped cream (optional):

1 cup (235 g) cold heavy cream

1/2 cup (115 g) plain yogurt (Greek or not, any fat content)

Pinch of sugar

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the center. If you plan to make whipped cream, put the bowl and whisk(s) in the freezer until you need them.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the almond extract and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds more. (You can also do this with a handheld mixer, which will just take a bit more time.)

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add this to the butter-sugar mixture and mix on low speed until the dough is well combined, about 30 seconds. Measure out 1/2 cup (130 g) of the dough and pat it flat on a small plate; put this in the freezer to chill while you complete the next steps.

Using your fingers, press the remaining dough into a 9- or 9 1/2-inch tart pan in an even layer, pressing it slightly up the sides at the edges. Use a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the jam in an even layer over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border uncovered around the edges.

Remove the reserved dough from the freezer and crumble it into small pieces over the layer of jam. Sprinkle the almonds over top.

Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until the topping is evenly golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the whipped cream. Go for your usual version, or add yogurt for a fun variation. Combine the cream and yogurt in the bowl of a stand mixer with a big pinch of sugar. Beat until the cream just begins to thicken, then finish by hand, stopping when you have soft peaks.

Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack before serving—preferably with whipped cream. Store the tart covered in plastic wrap at room temperature.

California | Simple Citrus Salad

California | Simple Citrus Salad
Simple Citrus Salad | Delightful Crumb

This winter, I finally fell in love with California. I fell in love with its weirdly shaped trees and rainy winters, with the dark gray clouds that hover over the hills and the open skies, with the character in the buildings and the earth, reflecting the rough edges and free spirits of the many people who’ve “escaped” over the years to this wild coast. I’m angry about the ways tech and gentrification have smoothed that quirky landscape, always saying how I wish I could have seen this place in the 70s, but if I can get over my righteous indignation, I can see that it’s still there—just hiding a bit, beneath the overabundance of avocado toast and Google buses and extra straight white people, like me.

In the Bay Area, when it rains through fall and winter, the sky is painted shades of gray but everything else is in technicolor—lime-green grass, palm trees, chiseled succulents, smooth white Calla Lilies and otherworldly Birds of Paradise. In November, on a trip to Chicago, I suddenly remembered that there aren’t stucco houses in a rainbow pastel palette everywhere in America.

The first years we were here, the beauty of California felt oppressive. I couldn’t enjoy the Bay Area because everything I’d experienced here felt so hard, so unwelcoming—like maybe California didn’t want me at all. When my life wasn’t going as I’d hoped or planned, all that gorgeousness felt like a smack in the face. Who wouldn’t be happy in a place this beautiful, it seemed to smirk, and my heart kept beating me me me. I’d never lived somewhere like this, in a cool-kid town where the weather was stunning. I guess I thought that might change things—change me.

The truth, as it tends to be, is twofold. Even in California, I’m still me, someone who finds life profoundly complicated. I will never be a person who’s happy all the time; no amount of sunshine can alter my disposition. And I’m not from Oakland. My roots shape me just like this city does its own natives.

And, of course, I’m a multi-faceted human being, not a puzzle piece that either fits or doesn’t. California is beautiful. But we all know that beauty is never enough for true love. My relationship with this state will never be simple; I realize that now.

But I have changed, and some of it is Bay Area specific. I learned to cook with the glorious year-round produce, taking locality much further in my kitchen. In trying seasons between jobs, uncertainty propelled me to the kitchen, where the area’s abundance offered endless inspiration. I’ve become someone who wants to escape to the ocean for respite. Living somewhere so diverse, I’ve been stretched; I’ve dealt with the implications of race more than I ever had to before. I’ve forged beautiful friendships, with people who have changed me. Ben and I grew into partners here, solidifying what it means to be us.

And then there’s all of the other change of these past seven years, which is perhaps more about the passage of time and about growing older, sorting through plans and priorities again and again and again.

There are things you think you’ll never get used to. Some of them, you do, like the lemon tree in the backyard and the proximity of the ocean and the ways the seasons change so subtly you miss it if you’re not paying attention. Others, like earthquakes and the miles between you and your mom, you don’t.

I understand now that like every place, Oakland, too, is just a place—home to some, given or adopted, exotic to others, glorious and boring at once. And beautiful. Objectively so, at the end of the day. After all these years, I see it.

Simple Citrus Salad with Olives & Parsley

Citrus sings California winter to me. This is a template, not a proper recipe, so if you don’t have a particular ingredient—beyond citrus, that is!—just leave it out or swap in something else with similar qualities. A beautiful plate of citrus drizzled with great olive oil and topped with flaky sea salt is alone a delicious thing, so it’s hard to stray off the path here. I’ve given approximate measurements for a little salad for two (what’s pictured is on a small, salad-sized plate), which can easily be scaled in any direction.

Red onion (about half)

Apple cider or red wine vinegar

Fine salt (I use kosher)

A few pieces of citrus (about 3), different varieties if possible

Handful wrinkly black olives, such as Nyon

Extra-virgin olive oil

Fresh parsley, leaves picked

Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Freshly cracked pepper

Start by making a quick pickle of the onion. Cut the onion in half lengthwise. If you’re making salad for two, thinly slice just one half of the onion into half moons as thin as possible. In a small bowl, combine the onion slices with a generous splash of vinegar and a big pinch of fine salt. Use your hands to combine, then set aside while assembling the rest of the salad.

Next, prepare the citrus. Three pieces should be about right for two people. I like to vary both the types (try at least two—here, I used two blood oranges and a tangelo) and the way I prep them. Carefully slice off the ends and the rind and pith. Try supreming one, then take it easy and slice the others into 1/4-inch slices. Save the remnants of the supremed orange. Arrange the sliced citrus on a plate.

Tear several olives, removing the pits, and tuck the pieces around the citrus. Top with as much onion as you like (save the rest in an airtight container in the fridge; you’ll find many uses, from grain bowls to salads). Drizzle generously with olive oil, then squeeze the membranes from the supremed orange over top. Add a good splash of the pickling vinegar, too. Finish with leaves of parsley—as much or as little as you like—as well as a good sprinkling of flaky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Balance & A Good Green Smoothie

Balance & A Good Green Smoothie
Favorite Green Smoothie | Delightful Crumb

January! The time of new beginnings, resolutions, recovery from the holidays and, apparently, polar vortices. This month, nearly over, has been a whirlwind in my little corner of the world. We didn’t arrive home from our holiday travel until a few days into January, which left me feeling like the year had started when I wasn’t quite paying attention. I’ve traveled two of the last three weekends, visiting Seattle and Austin for work events. I love both cities, and the work and interspersed exploration have been inspiring. But my senses are overwhelmed, and I can feel the tug back toward routine and staying in.

Whilst traveling and trying to keep all of the balls in the air—work, life, etc.—my thoughts about the year ahead and unanswered questions about the future have hummed in the background, persistent, like a white noise machine, except that they keep me up rather than lulling me to sleep. Somewhere in there, I also had a birthday, so I am thinking not only about 2019 but about being 32—what does that mean, and what do I want?

I’ve always been an old soul, more easily connecting with friends a few years my senior, appealing to friends’ parents and bosses as mature, more serious and risk averse than my age might suggest. What happens to an old soul as the body catches up? I’m finding myself slightly envious of my friends and coworkers in their twenties these days; in retrospect, I see how everything carries just a bit less weight. Yet I know I’m not the only one who missed that memo, and I can’t help but wonder if I’ll think the exact same thing in 10 years more.

Maybe I’ll give up resolutions someday, but for now, the process of taking stock and being intentional about what’s ahead works for me. My resolutions include little things I want to do, like master cacio e pepe and visit the library more. I always have at least one resolution that reads more like a mantra than a goal: open heart, says the top of my list this year. And in this practice of reflecting and resolving, I also try to acknowledge the healthy patterns and practices I have already: going to yoga and baking and running and reading books and diving deep in relationships.

Because it’s all a balance, isn’t it? Resolving to grow in the year ahead while celebrating the lives we’ve built. Taking things seriously while holding them loosely. Embracing whatever chaos might come but reaching for equilibrium when we can. Asking the big questions but remembering that we have some answers already; we aren’t just lost at sea.

This week, I’m seeking that balance in small ways. The questions might be big, but the helpful everyday habits, it turns out, are small. For me, yoga and evening cups of tea and reaching for my journal and green smoothies are easy ways to sink back into my bones, to feel present in the moment and hopeful for the future. I realized that I’ve never shared my favorite smoothie formula here, and while I know it’s WAY UNDER ZERO degrees in much of the country, I often find freshness welcome in winter, waking up my insides and helping me feel lighter. (Disclaimer: I live in California.) I also think a smoothie is quite excellent alongside something warm—the pairing of bitter coffee and a just slightly sweet smoothie is under-celebrated, if you ask me.

So here’s my go-to formula, with a few adjustments and options for tweaking. If you’re into smoothies, I’d love to hear your favorite combinations! And if you have tried-and-true ways to keep your balance, I’d love to hear those, too.

Favorite Green Smoothie

Makes 1 serving, easily doubled

Key to a great smoothie is finding the texture/thickness and sweetness that you prefer. You can, of course, toss all sorts of sneaky healthful things in once you have the formula that you like. This is mine. I should also note that I have a Vitamix, which was given to me several years ago by a friend with the useful hookup of working at a large food company. But now I am extremely attached. It makes the smoothest smoothies and silkiest soups. If you have a not-so-high-powered blender, stick to spinach rather than a thicker, tougher green like kale.

Favorite Green Smoothie | Delightful Crumb

Big handful spinach (or substitute kale)

1 frozen banana, broken into chunks

Small handful frozen mango (optional)

1 Medjool date, pitted

1 scoop almond butter (1–2 tablespoons)

1/2–1 teaspoon flax seeds (optional)

1 big spoonful Greek yogurt (optional)

Grated fresh ginger, to taste (optional)

A few shakes of cinnamon

Pinch of salt

About 1/2 cup coconut water or filtered water

2–4 ice cubes

Put the greens, banana, date, almond butter, cinnamon, salt and, if using, mango, flax seeds, yogurt and/or ginger in a high-powered blender. Add most of the water (coconut or filtered) and a couple of ice cubes and start the blender. Blend on high speed for a minute or two, tamping down the contents if necessary. Depending on your desired thickness, add more liquid and/or ice. Blend again, until very smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

The Season of Traditions | Savory Granola

The Season of Traditions | Savory Granola
Savory Granola | Delightful Crumb

It’s Christmastime, the season of traditions! Like all other aspects of the holiday, traditions bring with them all kinds of baggage, the good kind and the bad. But in this dichotomy, I think what’s often missed about tradition is the fact that we create it—actively, in the present tense, in small, everyday ways. We think most of the traditions that were created by others, or by our past selves, but the truth is that we’re making our own traditions all the time.

When Ben and I moved to the Bay Area over six years ago, we weren’t running away from anything—not the Midwest or even its snowy winters, and certainly not our families or friends. Rather, we were running to something—possibility, a future we could build ourselves, something fresh and bright and new. That’s honestly what I wanted most: a glimpse of what else might be possible. I understand now that other exciting things would have happened if I’d stayed where I was, but back then it didn’t feel possible to passively wait. I needed to leap, to respond to what I felt deep in my bones. And we needed it—to do this thing, together.

What we got out of this move was what we hoped for and far more—good and bad, easy and hard. But one unexpected gift we’ve ended up with is our own set of fairly robust traditions. We go back every year for Christmas with our families, criss-crossing the state to see everyone, but we don’t leave for Michigan until close to the holiday and often return on New Year’s Eve. We’ve never made it back for Thanksgiving or Easter or any other holiday on the calendar. We also don’t have kids, which I know can be a prompt to make traditions—particularly when children proclaim that something, done once or perhaps twice, is now what we do.

However, what Ben and I do have is me, and I have a profound belief in tradition and celebration. And so, forced by distance and said belief, we have built our own traditions. We’ve carried on traditions we inherited, too, but mixed in are some of our own: the late-December purchase of a big wedge of Brillat Savarin, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Concert, trying some new cookie recipe I’ve found. We always go out for a nice dinner, a quiet, festive moment before we jump on a plane. We’ve found holiday albums and movies that weren’t in either of our childhood repertoires but hold an important place in ours. Several times now, we’ve come home on New Year’s Eve in the interest of cheap flights, arriving within an hour of midnight. We’ve taken to putting a bottle of Champagne and cheese that won’t expire in the fridge before we go and arrive with just enough time to shower and pop some popcorn before landing on the couch to watch the ball drop and quietly ring in the new year, hours after it started back in Michigan, our other home. I’ve found such contentment in that moment—realizing, with some surprise, that we have a home and a life and traditions, built over time with a great deal of thought and also, somehow, none at all.

Traditions mean so many different things. They are a rhythm, a drumbeat to the year. They are a reminder of who we are or where we come from, and sometimes both. They tie us to what matters—faith, family, friends. And they cut through the noise. Because there is so much noise these days, is there not? Stillness and quiet feel elusive, and at times so do joy and gratitude. When I sit by the Christmas tree to wrap presents for people I love or put away my work so that I can have a special dinner with my husband or come up with a recipe to make with my nieces and nephews once we’re back in Michigan (we did it once, and now this is what we do—and let’s be real, I couldn’t be more delighted), some of that noise fades away.

This season, I have on repeat a song by Over the Rhine, from their Christmas album “Blood Oranges in the Snow.” Ben and I went to see them earlier this month. We’d each seen them perform in the past, separately, and it felt significant to see them together. It was festive and beautiful, and when they started singing this song, it hit me in a new way and has stayed with me all season.

Have you been trying too hard
Have you been holding too tight
Have you been worrying too much lately
All night
Whatever we’ve lost
I think we’re gonna let it go
Let it fall
Like snow

‘Cause rain and leaves
And snow and tears and stars
And that’s not all, my friend
They all fall with confidence and grace
So let it fall, let it fall

May we let what needs to fall go ahead and fall this season, my friends, and may we find grace in the space that remains.

And if among your traditions is making a homemade gift or two, I have a recipe here from Alison Roman that you could mix up in these next couple of days for whomever is lingering on your list, or for the host of the next party on the calendar. Alternately, serve this as a unique breakfast for family or friends, or throw it on salad or soup for a surprising crunch. More serving ideas are included with the recipe.

Wishing a joyful season to you and yours.

Savory Granola | Delightful Crumb

Savory Granola

Lightly adapted from Alison Roman’s Dining In

This savory granola is delicious on yogurt for breakfast (serving ideas below) and on top of salads and soups for an alternative to croutons or plain old seeds. It’s great for gifting and a nice savory snack to have on hand if you’re feeling overwhelmed by Christmas cookies and hot chocolate.

Makes about 5 cups of granola

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 cup raw buckwheat groats (if unavailable, swap in more sunflower or pumpkin seeds)

1/2 cup flaxseeds

1/2 cup black or white sesame seeds

1/4 cup nigella seed (if unavailable, use more black or white sesame seeds)

3 large egg whites

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup caraway or fennel seed

2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper (optional)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Line a 9×13 rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Give the egg whites a quick whisk to loosen them. In a large bowl, combine the oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, buckwheat, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, nigella seed, egg whites, oil, maple syrup, caraway or fennel seed, Aleppo pepper (if using), soy sauce and salt. Toss until the mixture is well combined. Season generously with black pepper.

Spread the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until everything is golden brown and well toasted, about 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool completely and break up any large clumps into smaller pieces. Store in glass jars or ziplock bags.

Savory Granola | Delightful Crumb

With Citrus

Slice or supreme or otherwise separate a variety of citrus—oranges, blood oranges, mandarins, pomelo, etc.

Arrange in a bowl with Greek (or other) plan yogurt. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, a big handful of savory granola and flaky sea salt.

Savory Granola | Delightful Crumb

With Cucumbers

Also adapted from Alison Roman’s Dining In

Grate fresh garlic into plain Greek yogurt. Squeeze in some lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.

In a ziplock bag, smash (using a rolling pin or the bottom of a pan) thick slices of cucumbers and thinly sliced scallions, seasoned with more lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Serve the yogurt, cucumbers and savory granola with more sliced scallions, a drizzle of olive oil and flaky sea salt.