Food To Live By...
|Catchy title, isn't it? I didn't come up with it and I can't take the credit.|
Food To Live By is the title of an awesome organic cookbook written by Myra Goodman (with Linda Holland and Pamela McKinstry) of Earthbound Farm. Earthbound Farm might ring a bell to many of you.. you might see their organic produce in your grocery stores, or if you are lucky, you might have visited their Farm Stand in Carmel Valley, California.
Myra and her husband Drew, started organic farming as a way to make ends meet. Selling the raspberries that grew on their land, eventually grew into a pretty huge organic salad business. As a matter of fact, did you know that Earthbound Farm is the first producer of bagged salads? Yep.. true story.
Drew and Myra, their family and employees are all very passionate about organic farming. There are no pesticides used in anything they grow and they continually strive to produce the healthiest fruits and vegetables possible. From a raspberry to lettuce business, Earthbound Farm is now the leading producer in over 100 different varieties of organic salads, vegetables and fruits. And this has all happened within the past 23 years.
Because the Goodman's use no chemicals on their crops, their fruits and vegetables are sold at the peak of freshness. Most within 24 hours of picking. Today, having an abundance of left over produce isn't a problem.. but back when they were first starting, there was always lots of left over fruit. What else could Myra do, but learn how to cook with these "leftovers" and over the years her passion for cooking with organic foods has led to the writing of this book, Food To Live By.
So why, dear friends, am I writing about the Goodman's and their organic farming? Well two reasons. The first reason came by chance about 2 months ago when a lovely woman, Lilli, decided to write to me about how she enjoyed my lil blog and had enjoyed reading a post I had just written regarding our garden this year. Lilli was working as an intern at Earthbound Farm this past summer and she offered to send me Myra's book. I couldn't have been more flattered. Of course, I accepted.. how could I not? Soon I'd have more veggies than I'd know what to do with it and a cookbook who's theme is fresh vegetables and fruits would be the perfect cookbook for finding just the right recipes to use up our harvests. And so Lilli sent me this book and I sat down with it that night and was pretty much delighted with what I was reading.
So before I go on with my 2nd reason, I want to thank you, Lilli. For introducing yourself to me, for your lovely comments, for this cookbook that I now treasure and for becoming a friend. I look forward to hearing all about your adventures at college! =)
Now for my 2nd reason? Well hey it's time for Weekend Cookbook Challenge No. 20 - this time it's back in Sara's talented hands and this month she's chose the theme of "Show and Tell" which she describes as "Pick a cookbook from your collection that you think we should know about. Your favorite, your funniest, your strangest. Whatever. It's your choice."
So you see.. how could I not pick this book.. you guys SO NEED to KNOW ABOUT THIS BOOK! The recipes are completely droolworthy.. the photos? Amazing. Myra's writing? She makes you feel as if you're a close friend.. it's like she's speaking directly to you and sharing with you her experiences.. it is really one of those books that is entertaining because of both the yummy recipes and a good story to boot!
Although I have made a few recipes by now.. the Ziti with Ratatouille; the Garlicky String Beans; Provencal Tomato, Eggplant and Zucchini Tian; and Homemade Chai - all of which have blown us away.. SO GOOD!! I can not blog about them as per the publisher's instructions, but that's okay! Because I got to try another recipe that I've had my eye on from the night I read through the book, but haven't gotten around to making yet and that is Earthbound Farm's Famous Maple Almond Granola. This recipe is approved by the publisher's so I can share this totally addicting recipe with all of yous. :D
Firstly, I have to say.. I took this opportunity to play a little bit.. 2 reasons again. Firstly, I'm not a huge granola cereal lover. I like granola to snack on, as does Hubbs. Secondly, I've got a boatload of dried fruit in my pantry and a couple other odds and ends that I felt would be just way yummy in this granola. So, I followed Myra's instructions to a T.. but I added a lil extra of my own. :D
One word of advice if you decide to make this.. it makes about 8 cups of granola. Double it. Seriously. I just made it and we've already put quite a dent in it.. it won't last until the end of the week, I can guarantee it. heee!
Earthbound Farm's Famous Maple Almond Granola
Adapted from Food To Live By Myra Goodman
Workman Publishing, 2006
4 1/2 c. (18 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1/4 c. (3 ounces) shelled, raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 1/2 c. slivered or coarsely chopped raw almonds
2 TBS. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 c. pure maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark Amber
1/3 c. canola oil
1 c. raisins
1 c. chopped dried mango
3/4 c. chopped dried pineapple and papaya
3/4 c. dried blueberries, cranberries and strawberries
3/4 c. dried Oceanspray orange scented cranberries
3/4 c. butterscotch chips
3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325º F.
Place the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the maple syrup and oil and stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened.
Spread the granola on a roughly 12 by 17-inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake the granola until it begins to brown, about 25 minutes, then stir with a flat spatula. Let the granola continue to bake until it is light golden brown, dry and fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Stir the granola at least once more as it bakes and watch it carefully during the final minutes because it can burn quickly.
Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack, add the raisins (and other dried fruits & chips if using), and stir to combine. Let the granola cool completely. Transfer the granola to a airtight container. It can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 month or frozen for up to 6 months. You can serve the granola straight from the freezer. It doesn't get hard and it thaws almost instantly - just pour on some milk. Or if you are like me.. graze on it by the handful. *slurp*
I didn't go with the extra bowl, my kitchen is a fakkin disaster area thanks to Hubbs and his chili and stuffed pepper extravaganza last night.. so I just dumped all the ingredients on the baking sheet (and pizza pan) and mixed with my hands - was sticky but much quicker and 1 less bowl to clean! =)
Thanks again.. Lilli! Sara! Myra & Drew! Earthbound Farm!