good to the grain {a review}

Good to the Grain

I received Good to the Grain a couple months ago to review from Abrams Books and I’m so sorry that I have been holding out on you, because it really is a wonderful book.  From the absolutely stunning photography of Quentin Bacon, to the range of recipe types, this is a book that should make it onto any adventurous home cook’s shelf.  After many years as a pastry chef, Kim Boyce decided to leave professional kitchens for her own and in the process she began to experiment with many whole grain flours.

Good to the Grain

She has created recipes from the simple Whole Wheat to the more eclectic Amaranth, Teff and Kamut. The book is broken up into sections based on the type of flour, although many of the recipes contain a mix. I will admit that it is a little difficult to causally cook from this book since its hard to stock so many different flours, without letting them go bad. {As you know my freezer space is at a premium.} However, it has been fun to try new flours and work out of my all-purpose/white-wheat box. Take spelt for an example. It is easy to sneak a cup or two into a banana bread or pancake recipe without white flour lovers noticing. I have tried 3 or 4 recipes so far with great success and many, many more are on my to do list (including Cornmeal Blueberry Cookies, Strawberry Barley Scones, Apricot Boysenberry Tarts).

Good to the Grain

I am especially looking forward to working with the Jams and Compotes section now that the growing season has finally reached Chicago. If you are looking for a way to sneak healthier flours into your baking, or just want to broaden your ingredients horizons, this is a wonderful book to add to your shelf. And you don’t even have to take my work for it, Boyce’s wonderful recipes are already making the rounds.

I started out with a recipe that was in my comfort zone, granola. But as a twist, this recipe used barley flakes instead of traditional rolled oats (although they are a perfect sub if you don’t want to go to the store). This granola was awesome. The mix of the maple and the roasted pecans was so good that I finished off the whole batch, without having to give away to friends.

Maple Pecan Granola

Maple Pecan Granola
Recipe adapted from Good to the Grain, Page 72

Dry Mix:
2 cups pecan halves
3 cups barley flakes (or any other oats you like)
2 cups natural unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup wheat bran

Syrup:
1 cup maple syrup, the real good stuff
2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Finish:
1 1/2 cups dried blueberries (or your dried fruit of choice, but blueberry was pretty delicious)

Heat the oven to 325F. Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and toast until light golden-brown, about 10 to 15 mins. The pecans will bake more in the granola so you don’t want them too dark just yet. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough so that you can handle them.

Butter (or use a Slip-Mat) a rimmed baking sheet. Mix the flakes, coconut and wheat bran into a large bowl. Squeeze the pecans with your fingers to break them apart while mixing them into the bowl.

For the syrup: Place the maple syrup into a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan and place over medium-high heat for around 7 minutes to reduce it to 3/4 cup or so. Remove from the heat and add in the butter and salt and swirl until the butter melts. Immediately pour the completed syrup into the granola mixture and stir with a spatula to make sure all the flakes are coated. Pour the granola onto the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 10 mins then remove the sheets from the oven and stir the outer edges into the middle and re-spread out the granola into an even layer. Repeat two more times for a total baking of around 30 mins (if after 20, it is looking dark enough for you, take it out then, this is flexible).

Allow to cool and then toss with the dried blueberries. Enjoy on top of greek yogurt or just eaten with your hands. Will keep about a week or so in an airtight container.

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9 responses to “good to the grain {a review}

  1. Nom – this looks delicious!

  2. this book definitely is making the rounds. i am finally blogging about it for tomorrow, i think, but i’ve made quite a few recipes from there too. the whole wheat chocolate chip cookies are probably my new favorite cookie, and i’m usually an oatmeal raisin girl :)

  3. Thanks for your take on this book! I haven’t heard a bad word about it yet.

    This recipe looks especially amazing…and since I have granola with my Greek yogurt every morning, it seems I’ll have to give it a whirl. Barley flakes in granola! What a cool idea.

  4. Incredibly awesome read. Truely.

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  7. I love maple everything. I think I need to make this over the weekend…

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