At times, I wonder if I am the only person who loves to curl up with a bowl of yogurt with granola and peanut butter. I like to wake up, throw them in a bowl and read the news while sipping a cup of coffee. For me, it’s a healthy comfort food and makes me feel at home wherever I’m residing.
Since I moved to China, I haven’t been able to find granola in the supermarket. I’ve gotten used to walking through the cereal aisle, and picking up a bag of Bear Naked Honey Almond Granola. Then, I would walk to the dairy aisle and grab the thickest Greek yogurt. Now, I don’t have those luxuries anymore, but that is okay. I need to find a way to make a new way to make my comfort food.
Last week, I found walnuts and whole oats in the grocery store. I said to myself “This is my opportunity to make the best granola ever!!”. Without doing any research on if it was possible for me to make granola without an oven, I bought a small bag of walnuts and a large container of oats.
After my impulse buy of walnuts and oats, I searched to see if anyone had made granola without an oven. I came across no bake vegan recipes. All of them looked delicious, and I am still willing to try them, but I didn’t have any vegan-friendly ingredients. I decided that I should find steps in granola recipes that didn’t require an oven. Two techniques I found were the toasting of the outs, and the melting of peanut butter and honey. I thought toasting the walnuts and the oats would help create a crunchy texture. Melting the peanut butter and honey together just looked delicious.
Despite some doubts, and dealing with a crappy frying pan, it turned out well. The oats had a nice crunch and the sesame oil gave it a nuttier flavor. It wasn’t too sweet and would definitely pair well with yogurt.
Since I’ve settled into my apartment, I’ve wanted to experiment with some new recipes. There is something about being in a new kitchen that makes me want to grab a notebook and write down ideas for recipes. I’ve wanted to perfect some old recipes as well. I found in one of my notebooks a recipe for teriyaki chicken that I made three months ago. The last time I made it a friend spent the night at my old apartment. So, as soon as I saw it a flood of memories washed over me. That has to be my favorite part about cooking; stumbling upon old recipes.
Also, I’ve been wanting to experiment with new sauces. Originally when I made the teriyaki sauce, I didn’t use cornstarch or any thickening agent. I liked that sauce but it was more of a marinade. I will definitely use it in the future, but it wasn’t what I wanted for dinner. I wanted that thick, sweet sauce that you get at an Asian restaurant in the mall, of course, with less sugar. I decided that the best thing for me to do was to combine the marinade with a thickening agent. I went with cornstarch and the fat from the chicken to give the vegetables a little extra flavor. Plus, I don’t like to waste food. I always try to reuse ingredients and throw only what I need to away.
I found this recipe at just the right time. I needed a chicken recipe that was simple and would challenge me to cook in a different way. It had to last for more than a day and would actually taste good the next day. I hate it when leftovers don’t taste good. It is the worst. I was able to take my old recipe, update it and make enough food to last for three days.