I know more than a few people who would have teased me for becoming a crunchy San Fransiscan if they saw me this morning. At the store buying ingredients to make my own granola, drinking a cup of artisan, made-to-order drip coffee,
my hair unbrushed and my eyes still fogged with sleep, I filled my basket with wheat germ and rolled oats from bulk bins. I could have gone to the supermarket, but it seemed more appropriate to wander the aisles of the Haight Street Market in the Upper Haight neighborhood where, at 8 am, with the streets cleared of tourists, I felt like it could be 1969.
Or rather, 1978, since this recipe is from a cookbook originally published in that year. The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, which my roommate introduced me to, comes from Moosewood, a restaurant and collective in downtown Ithaca, New York that was founded in 1973 by Mollie Katzen, a chef, cookbook author, and artist. I can’t believe I only recently discovered Katzen and her cookbook-judging by what I found when I looked it up, it has established itself as a staple in many peoples’ kitchens since it was published. It is a treasure of vegetarian recipes and tips, with a set of thoughtful improvisation and pantry notes, all printed in her handwriting and lovingly detailed. I think it also wins the award for the hippie-est cookbook title ever.
I tripled the recipe, added cinnamon and currants, and omitted the sunflower seeds that the recipe called for. The beauty of something this simple is that the quantities are easy to manipulate depending on what you do or don’t like and how much of one thing you want. You could even make just a single serving for one morning. However you change it, your house will smell toasty and sweet.
Adapted from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest (measurements below true to original recipe)
It works best if you use a dutch oven, but a plain soup pot works too.
1 cup raw rolled oats
1/3 cup chopped nuts(I used sliced almonds)
1/4 cup wheat germ or oat bran
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup packed brown sugar, or less
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried currants(or any kind of dried fruit)
2 heaping tbsp cinnamon
1. Toast the oats and nuts over medium low heat, stirring continuously for 5 minutes.
2. Add wheat germ, sesame seeds, coconut, and currants. Heat and stir for about another 10 minutes.
3. Sprinkle in brown sugar and salt. Cook for 2-5 more minutes, still stirring. Remove from heat, cool, and store in an airtight container.