Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

When it comes to breakfast, I haven’t an adventurous palate. Sure I sometimes enjoy pancakes and eggs on the week-ends, but on most of the days of the week, for as long as I can remember, I eat a bowl of cereal with milk. Bland and bran and some fruit, that's what I crave when I wake up in the morning. On days I really want to go all out, I will treat myself to plain oatmeal topped with sliced apple and cinnamon.

My perspective on breakfast was forever changed when I went to Europe, and I discovered the excitement and wonder of plain yogurt. Who knew such plainness could equal such goodness? Mixing plain yogurt with muesli and corn flakes, that combination of tangy and crunch, blew my breakfast mind. I still continue to dabble in that meal about once a week, but it's not the same: American yogurts just don’t make the grade.

Since then my breakfasts have continued on with their ho-hum existence...until now. Just yesterday, I have made a new discovery that just might revolutionize my breakfast, my world, my entire life. I am pleased to announce a new addition to my breakfast repertoire...drum roll please...homemade granola!

Granola: Ready for its close-up.

I made my first batch a few weeks ago for my sister-in-law during Cookie Bonanza. She is a pretty healthy, non-cookie eater person, so I searched for a low-fat recipe with no added sugar except pure maple syrup. I gifted half and saved the rest for me, and the mix of baked oats, almonds, dried cranberries and crystallized ginger suited my palate nicely. With tons of leftover nuts, coconut and dried fruit from the holidays, I decided to have another go. This time, I would try a more fun (i.e. more sugary) version from Bon Appétit that had a combination of oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger, honey, coconut flakes, pecans and a mix of dried fruit--I had cranberries and mango on hand.

While it baked, this granola made my apartment smell warm and heavenly that when I finally took it out of the oven, I could barely help myself from snacking on the too-hot-to-touch, caramel-colored flakes. After it cooled down, I had another taste and it was so good that I was disappointed that it was evening and not breakfast time. I reluctantly ate leftover lasagna for dinner, and spent the rest of the evening sneaking handfuls of granola, thinking about granola and dreaming about how great my granola breakfast would be the next morning.

Some very long hours later, after sleep and a workout, it was finally granola time! For this momentous occasion, I thought I should take a picture or two. It was exciting to have some natural morning light to work with, but my pictures weren’t as sharp as I liked so I whipped out my new tripod to get some extra clear shots. Problem is that I am still new to maneuvering the thing, so it took some time to set it up just right. Even though I still wanted to work on getting the perfect granola shot, I wanted to eat the granola more. So my food photography career was put on hold for another day. The granola was as good as I hoped it would be. I paired it with--what else--plain yogurt and fruit.

Now I can’t wait until tomorrow morning.

My first tripod photo shoot. I was too hungry to wipe down the spoon.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my brother Peter!!!


Heather said...

I only eat Captain Crunch. Even today, in every office, there is always someone who has a snarky comment about me being 10.

In Spain, I used to love Sundays because the tradition is churros and chocolate mmmm

Yvonne said...

I Loooooove Cap'n Crunch. But I don't eat it too often. I would like some now.

Ara said...

If you want good yogurt, try a middle eastern store in NY. Or Labne, which is almost has a cream cheese texture but with a yogurt tang.