I recently returned from an amazing trip to California to visit some of my closest friends, one of whom is lucky enough to work in King’s Canyon National Park. It was my first experience backpacking (and seeing the West coast), and one I won’t soon forget. One of those things you that can’t imagine, that is only accessible by experience. Of course, I forgot my camera, so if you’re even going to try to imagine, you’re going to have to do it without visual assistance.
One of the unforgettable aspects of the trip appeared in the form of a smoothie. This smoothie was consumed (twice) at the Black Sheep Espresso Bar in the town of Bishop. It was a banana, tahini, maple, cardamom smoothie. Revolutionary. I’ve done banana+peanut butter, banana+almond butter, and banana+sunflower butter, but banana+tahini is a new concept. The flavor of tahini is quite a bit sharper: a very tangy nuttiness (seediness, really) which, in this smoothie, was mellowed out by subtle touches of maple cardamom. When I got home I had to experiment with that flavor combination, and I have a feeling it will feature in a few more creations to come.
We were in need of granola, and I wanted to send some to my California-dwelling friends, since granola is a relatively light and resilient food item to cart into the back country. Also, both of them had also experienced this smoothie, so they will make excellent taste-testers!
The result was definitely a good start. I think the ratio of flavor to things-that-need-flavoring was a little low, but that is a quick fix for future batches.
4 cups of oats
1 cup puffed cereal (I used kamut, you can use whatever you have, or just add another cup of oats!)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup banana chips, chopped (or crushed- it’s easier)
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp cardamom
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine banana with other wet ingredients in a smaller bowl, then slowly add to dry while stirring. Mix until oat mixture is evenly coated. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until desired brownness is reached. Since this recipe doesn’t contain much fat, you’ll probably have to bake it the whole 30 minutes to achieve crunchiness. Let cool on the pan, and store in an airtight container.
Banana’s rocking a brand new style 🙂