Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cooking with GI. Dansk Mjød – Breakfast Recipe

Recipe Pairing Flavors:
Delicately delicious sipping mead, with aromas and flavors of ginger blended seamlessly with honey, that concludes in a minutes long finish full of warming ginger, alcohol and hops.

Want the entrée recipe?
You’ll find it in next Thursday’s post.

Want the dessert recipe?
It’ll be following the entrée recipe post.


Breakfast.  Breaking the fast.  What a great word mashup.  So, how do you like starting out the day?

Tea?  Coffee?  Maybe yogurt or an egg?

Well, back not so very long ago, only about a hundred and fifty years, give or take a decade or two, not quite back to prehistoric times, breakfast was he-man sized and meant to fortify you for either a day of intensely strenuous leisure or grindingly physical toil.

Breakfast, as today, was a meal meant to get you out of that starting gate.  But back then, getting out of that gate meant chowing down on a multi-course affair.  Think you can handle it?  Well, let's get started with three to four eggs, bacon and sausage, followed by beef or chicken, some pink ham and fried fish.

Better open up wide, because breakfast’s not done yet.  Hope you've got some room left for the cooked grains, biscuits, toast, butter and jam.

Sounds like, at least for some, life was short and filling, and perhaps that's why Dr. James Caleb Jackson, director of the water therapy spa, Our Home On the Hillside in Dansville, New York, came to believe that eating less was worth more.

Shunning red meat, tea and coffee, alcohol and tobacco, he fed his patients a vegetarian diet emphasizing fruits, vegetables and unprocessed grains.  In 1863 he developed the very first dry, manufactured cold breakfast cereal that he dubbed Granula, which was made from Graham flour rolled into sheets and baked.

Named after the look of its bran-rich, heavy nuggets of Graham flour, the dense and chewy cereal required overnight soaking in milk before being served.

It was probably still pretty chewy even after overnight soaking, however the patients were happy to chomp away, which translated to a whole lot of dough.  Granula soon became a very lucrative sideline for Jackson’s water therapy spa.

That is, until Ellen G. White, a client of Jackson's sanitarium and sponsor of Dr. John Kellogg, told Kellogg about Granula in 1881.  Kellogg, who was Superintendent of Michigan’s Battle Creek Sanitarium, knew a good thing when he heard it, and promptly created a similar product with the very same name.

Of course, Jackson was enraged and had no intention of just swallowing it, and immediately fired off a trademark lawsuit threatening Kellogg to cease and desist.  Kellogg's product was similar, but not identical, since he’d substituted oats for the Graham flour clusters, which he then steamed and rolled to make them easier to chew.

So, he figured why waste money fighting, when all that was needed was to change a “u” to an “o.”  And that's how Granula became Granola, a name that Kellogg promptly trademarked, which signaled the beginnings of the Cereal Wars.

But, popularity is a fleeting game and both Granula and Granola fell out of favor as other new cereals came along to take their place.  That is, until the health food movement erupted with the Hippie revolution in the 1960s and by 1972, Quaker, Kellogg's and General Mills were pushing granola towards the breakfast table.

Now, you wouldn't think that such a groovy, laid back cereal could be hiding such a turbulent past, but I'm here to restore that calm, by blending granola’s health-driven origins with the pureness of a Danish ginger mead.

The first step is to infuse the granola's raisins with the ginger mead through a lengthy soaking, so that after baking, they're instilled with the mead’s heady flavor.

Then, by blending that soaking liquid with a healthy splash of fresh Mead, you’ll create two layers of honey ginger flavor, that’ll merge with the granola's oats and spices as they toast in the oven while baking.

Full of fresh honey, Ceylon cinnamon, nutmeg and candied ginger, this granola, like the mead, is a taste of autumn, rich and subdued.

Finished with toasted almonds and pecans and the fresh, tart sweetness of dried cranberries, my Ginger Mead Granola signals peace at the breakfast table, by uniting together two great traditions –

A mead full of pure, all-natural ingredients with a wholesome cereal of rolled, nutritious oats.


⅔ cup black raisins
3 tablespoons GI. Dansk Mjød (ginger mead)

5 cups old-fashioned oats
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon
6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ cup canola oil
6 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅓ cup GI. Dansk Mjød

Macerate the raisins and 3 tablespoons of mead for 4 hours or overnight.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg, whisking together to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, mixing well to incorporate before adding to the oat mixture, followed by the macerated raisins and their liquid.

Mix until well moistened and then transfer to a large foil or parchment lined sheet pan.
Press the granola into a thin, even layer with a spatula, then slide the sheet pan into a 325°F oven to bake for 35 – 40 minutes, rotating pan mid-way through baking to ensure it even baking.

Cool on rack for 1 hour.

Break the granola into clumps and add the following:

½ cup almonds (toasted)
½ cup pecans (toasted)
½ cup dried cranberries
¼  cup uncrystallized candied ginger (finely chopped)

Store in airtight container.

Now, here’s a peek at my GI. Dansk Mjød inspired recipe that’s coming up next –

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