Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Granola Visit: Lauren Soloff
Maybe it sounds a bit corny, but there's nothing that makes me happier than watching someone follow their dreams. And my friend Lauren Soloff is doing just that with her small batch granola business. You might know her from an interview she did last spring on Bon Appétempt or from her brilliant Closet Visit with Jeana Sohn.
I've had the pleasure of tasting Lauren's granola and it is truly a thing of beauty - crunchy, sweet and perfectly salty. And she uses fantastic ingredients - really good quality olive oil, local honey and 72% dark chocolate. Her flavors have names like La Dolce Vita (dried fig, pine nut and olive oil), which was inspired by an old lover who sent her a photo of his granola breakfast in Rome (I love Lauren first for her granola and second for her intensity/passion!).
I was curious about Lauren's process so I invited myself over to see what goes on in her kitchen. We had such a cozy morning making granola together. Lauren let me pick the ingredients - I chose a dried montgomery cherry, almond and chocolate blend. So with cups of coffee in hand and PJ Harvey on the ipod, we got going on what I have deemed Granola Visit (a la Closet Visit). To begin, we mix together the dry ingredients - oats, coconut, almonds cinnamon and salt (all the dried fruit and chocolate are added after cooking).
Next up, we put olive oil and honey over some heat and let it come up to a simmer.
(how cute is that heart shaped Le Creuset?)
Once there's a rip roaring sizzle going, you add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and spread the mixture on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Stick that business in the oven.
While it's baking and getting all crispy and sweet, we blitzed up some dark chocolate, ready to be added once the granola is out of the oven and completely cooled.
With ten minutes left to cook, Lauren took me on a bit of a Cookbook Visit, showing me some of her favorites. At this point, the homey smell wafting out of the kitchen was completely intoxicating. Suddenly, all I could think about was breakfast.
Once the granola is golden and out of the oven, we added the dried cherries and combined it all together. All that's left to do now is wait for it to cool, add the chocolate and eat (with milk, ice cream or as I like to do, straight from the bag directly into my mouth).
Many thanks to Lauren for sharing her inspired process with us! I'll be back later in the week with some interior shots of her beautiful Spanish apartment.