Caroline Lange

private chef // new york

two obsessions

The first is thanks to A, who always knows what's good. Seriously. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a friend who always knows what to feed you (especially if, like A, they're somehow feeding you exactly what you need at the moment you most need it). In this case, it's chai, a chai so good we've started calling it The Chai. We can't understand just how, HOW it's as good as it is, considering how simple—but there it is. A has been making a batch of it weekly since she discovered it, and I've been making a batch weekly since she shared a jarful with me. 

The recipe is this one, from Bon Appétit. Two notes about it: I grate the ginger using a cheese grater, not a Microplane (the recipe calls for "coarsely grated" ginger, which confused me at first but now I think it's genius). I also tried, once, making it with hemp milk instead of whole milk just to try something a little lighter, but it's really note quite the same flavorwise (the hemp milk is kind of thin and doesn't carry the spices as well) and also, as alt-milks tend to do when heated, it separated. this looked gross but tasted fine (and was texturally non-noticeable). 

I mean, look at this.

I mean, look at this.

Okay. The second thing is something called MILLET-NOLA, which—as Lottie + Doof, who posted the recipe back in July after seeing it on Jessica Koslow of Sqirl's Instagram, writes—"groan." But it gets the point across: It is granola-ish, but made from puffed millet. All my lucky stars aligned today because 1. I had a giant bag of puffed millet I impulse-bought the last time I was at Kalustyan's, 2. I was out of oats, and 3. the job I was supposed to work today was cancelled due to truly disgusting winter weather. Which meant I could finally try this thing.

...and it is GENIUS. Genius, I say. Because instead of just stirring together sweetener + oil and dumping over the dry mix, you make a caramel, then add a bit of baking soda, which makes this not-granola very crunchy and very clumpy, which is exactly what granola should be. Also genius: The recipe never says "make a caramel," which would stop me or any right-minded person in their tracks. Instead, you just heat and whisk and that's it. You're off to the oven, and 12 minutes later, you're done—it's like making caramel corn.

I want to experiment more with this, but so far the formula seems really flexible. I don't love sweet turmeric applications, so I tapped in cinnamon to take its place. I don't have glucose, ever, in my pantry, so I used honey. I traded butter for coconut oil. It all worked. Shout-out to great, flexible, adaptable recipes.