Featured Post

bulgogi (불고기) marinade

bulgogi (불고기) marinade for 1# of thinly sliced sirloin or ribeye (or chunks of chicken thighs/breast or halved button mushrooms) 1/3 cu...

Monday, August 06, 2018

bulgogi (불고기) marinade

bulgogi (불고기) marinade

for 1# of thinly sliced sirloin or ribeye (or chunks of chicken thighs/breast or halved button mushrooms)

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup honey (to taste)
  • 1/4 peeled Korean pear, grated OR 1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (rice wine) or white wine, if you have it
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • a few good grinds of freshly ground black pepper (or 1/8 teaspoon pre-ground black pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped
combine in a container and marinate meat or mushrooms for anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours.

to cook meat: remove meat from marinade and either grill or saute in a skillet in a bit of hot oil until cooked (it will cook very quickly).

to cook mushrooms (or other vegetables): strain out marinade (but save it), toss the mushrooms (plus sliced onions and chiles, if you'd like) in a skillet with hot oil for a 5-8  minutes to sear, then pour in marinade and bring to a boil. cook until marinade thickens and mushrooms are tender.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

applesauce cake

adapted from Gale Gand's Applesauce Cake

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar (dark or light), packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour, separated (1/4 cup flour set aside)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce (if you have sweetened applesauce, just reduce the brown sugar slightly)
  • powdered sugar to decorate

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. butter and flour two loaf pans.

in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. add eggs one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, stop mixer and scrape down sides, and beat a bit longer until completely mixed.

toss raisins in 1/4 cup flour in a small mixing bowl and set aside. add 1 cup flour to mixture in mixer, then 1 cup applesauce, and repeat. stop mixer, scrape down sides, start again and continue to mix for another minute, then add flour-coated raisins and mix just until evenly distributed. stop mixer, and divide batter between loaf pans. place in middle of oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until done (a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean). cool in pans on wire racks until completely cooled, then turn out onto plates and dust with powdered sugar to decorate.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

no-knead bread by ingredient weight

I did a cursory google search for "no knead bread ingredients by weight," but didn't find a good reference for the standard (3.5 cups/flour) loaf I usually make, so I weighed it out as I measured it tonight. in case anyone else here also prefers to bake by ingredient weight, here's what I came up with:

  • flour (bread flour or all-purpose): 15-3/4 oz or 450 grams
  • water: 1 oz 1-1/4or 320 grams
  • kosher salt (I use Diamond Kosher salt, which measures a bit differently than Morton's): 1/8 oz or 7 grams
  • active dry yeast (I use Red Star): 1/4 teaspoon (don't bother trying to weigh that; it won't register) 

it's so much simpler to just put the bowl on my scale, zero it out, put in the flour, zero it out, put in the water, zero it out, etc., plus I don't have to wash measuring cups that way. so laziness is my main motivator.

Monday, July 11, 2016

top shelf oatmeal muffins

extra cinnamon + granola topped variation

there is a bakery in Austin that makes what I consider to be the perfect oatmeal muffin -- kind of plain, lightly sweet, a bit chewy with old-fashioned oats -- nothing fancy, but just right. I think I've come very close to cracking the recipes here. these are just as good, if not just a teeny bit better, in my humble opinion. super-easy to make. give 'em a try!

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant!)
  • 1-1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
preheat oven to 400 degrees F. line muffin pan with paper liners (or butter and flour thoroughly if not using liners. add brown sugar and butter to the mixer, and start blending. add eggs one at a time, then add oats and buttermilk. add flour, kosher salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking powder, and finish mixing when just combined (don't overmix). divide mixture into muffin pan wells and bake for 22-27 minutes, until golden brown on top, and done inside (a clean toothpick emerges without batter or crumbs stuck to it). cool on a wire rack and consume in good health! I used to pay over $1 per muffin; this entire batch of 12 muffins cost around $3 total.

variations -- any one or two of these would work well, or even all at once! 
  • substitute yogurt thinned with water or milk to buttermilk consistency
  • use a full teaspoon of cinnamon and add 1/3 cup raisins (golden raisins are especially nice here)
  • add the zest of 1/2 an orange and add 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • before baking, top each muffin with about 1 teaspoon granola

Saturday, July 09, 2016

fully-loaded everyday granola

my favorite way to eat this delicious granola is in a bowl of Greek yogurt, with lots of chopped fresh fruit added, along with a drizzle of honey. it's also fantastic on ice cream.
  • 42 ounce* (large) canister old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
  • zest of 4 oranges (organic preferred)
  • 1 ½ cups extra virgin coconut oil (refined or unrefined; whatever you prefer)
  • 2 cups sweetener (any combination of maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, etc. -- I typically use 1 ½ cups brown sugar and ½ cup honey)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, tart cherries, blueberries, apples, etc., in any combination), chopped if they’re larger than cranberries
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 ½ cup toasted nuts (slivered or flaked almonds, chopped pecans, etc., in any combination)
  • ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
preheat oven to 275 degrees F. line two half-sheet pans (or the equivalent of large baking pans) with parchment paper or foil. place oats and coconut in a large bowl and mix. in large (quart size or larger) glass bowl or measuring cup, combine coconut oil, orange zest, sweetener, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, and microwave for about 3 minutes (alternatively, cook over medium-low heat in medium saucepan, stirring constantly, until all sweetener and oil are melted and warm -- do not boil). pour the oil/sweetener mixture over the oat mixture and combine thoroughly. spread out on parchment-lined or silpat-lined half-sheet pans in an even layer and place in oven for 60 minutes, stirring mixture every 20 minutes & rotating pans on shelves for even toasting. it will turn light golden brown near the end, but won’t crisp up until it starts to cool.

while granola is baking, toast each type of nut and/or seed used individually, in a skillet with a bit of coconut oil, until done to your taste -- do NOT allow them to burn! add them to the bowl that held the oat mixture, and add in the dried fruits and combine.
when oats are done, allow pans to cool on wire racks for a few minutes. tip oats into the bowl with dried fruits and nuts and allow to rest and cool for a few more minutes while you clean the baking sheets (if you let it sit in the baking sheets/pans, it really sticks to them and it's hard to get it all out). stir it all together, let cool completely, and then pack into two gallon-size ziplock bags. I always save an oat container from the previous time and pack the ziplocks in the oat containers to keep them intact.

*note: it’s fine to pull out 1-2 cups of oats to use in a recipe before making granola -- it will come out about the same. I usually take out around 1 ½ cups oats to make a batch of oatmeal muffins.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

cornmeal battered fried tofu for tofu tacos

  • 1 pound firm ("hard") tofu, cotton-type (not silken), cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 1 quart peanut oil, for frying
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (tapioca starch works here, too -- you may need a bit more to get the right batter consistency)
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (or just use another 1/4 cup cornstarch; I like potato starch's lightness but it's not essential if you don't have it on hand)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder (not onion salt)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
line a half-sheet pan (or any large, shallow baking dish) with paper towels or clean, lint-free kitchen towels. lay out the tofu cubes evenly, then cover with more paper towels or another clean kitchen towel. place another half-sheet pan (or similarly-sized large, flat dish) on top, then add a heavy bowl, books, or a few bricks to weight the tofu down. set that aside for about 30 minutes to press out excess water.

heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a large wok or french oven. combine the water, cornmeal, corn starch, potato starch (if used), 1/4 cup of the flour, baking powder, salt, onion powder, paprika and ground cumin in a large bowl, and whisk thoroughly. the batter should be slightly thicker than heavy cream (or latex paint); add a bit more flour if needed. don't let it get as thick as muffin batter, though, or it will be too coat the tofu too thickly and won't cook up right. tip the tofu pieces into the batter and toss them gently with your fingers to coat thoroughly.

when oil is hot, add the battered tofu carefully, lifting out one piece at a time with your fingers (which will automatically let excess batter drip back into the bowl). don't over-crowd the pieces in the oil -- allow a bit of room between the pieces (in my large French oven, it takes about three batches to fry all the tofu). once you've added enough pieces, set a timer for 5 minutes, and occasionally stir through & break apart any pieces that stick together while frying. when done, scoop out with a slotted spoon and drain on a half-sheet pan (or other similar vessel) lined with clean, dry paper towels or kitchen towels.

tomatillo salsa verde

  • 6 scallions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, washed and cut into 1" chunks
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 3-6 seeded, diced hot fresh chiles (a mix of jalapenos, serranos, salsarific, or any other fresh, hot chiles would be welcome. habaneros and/or scotch bonnets would also be good, but be careful not to make it too hot), depending on heat level desired
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 juicy lime), to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste, if needed)
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
in a medium saucepan, saute the scallions in the olive oil with a small pinch of salt, over medium-high heat, until scallions are lightly golden brown and a bit softened. add the tomatillo chunks and water, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cover. simmer for about 5 minutes; until tomatillos are dull green and a bit softened. remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature (if desired, speed up cooling by setting saucepan in a large bowl of ice and water). pour the tomatillos into a blender and add the chiles, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and all of the cilantro; blend until smooth and flecked with dark green chiles and bright green bits of cilantro. taste and add lime juice and/or salt if needed. refrigerate.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

fluffy, ultra-light pancakes

this pancake batter relies heavily on the interaction between acidic buttermilk and alkaline baking soda for leavening, so it needs to be cooked right away. also, the batter will puff up a bit in the bowl, so be sure to leave a little room for that! they will come out light and tender, like clouds, with slightly crisp edges.

makes approximately 10 pancakes, depending on size

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 cups buttermilk (stir, but don't shake before measuring! if you shake it, it gets bubbly and doesn't measure right)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (less if you're using fine salt -- try 1/2 teaspoon to start)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (measured by spooning the flour into the cup measure and leveling off with a knife -- how you measure the flour is very important! don't dip the measure into the flour and level off -- you'll get a lot more flour and the batter will be too thick)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

either pour the melted butter into a medium-large bowl for the batter, or microwave the butter in the bowl to melt it. whisk in the buttermilk, then the eggs, sugar and salt. pour in all the flour, baking powder, and baking soda at once, then whisk in. the batter will form bubbles and foam up a bit -- don't over-mix! you don't want to lose the bubbles. a few lumps are fine. do evaluate the batter to see if it's the right consistency -- add a bit more buttermilk or regular milk if you need to thin it.

to cook your pancakes, heat a griddle or skillet (I like to do two at a time; you do what works best for you!) over medium heat. quickly run the end of a stick of butter over the surface of the hot skillet -- you don't want a lot in there, just a bit. it should foam up immediately, but not burn (adjust the heat if needed). add a scoop of batter (1/2 cup to 2/3 cup per pancake is what I do) and let pancake cook until the edges are set, the bubbles near the edges are set and open at the top, and you can see bubbles throughout the whole pancake. flip with a spatula and check how brown the surface is -- adjust heat if needed. allow the second side to cook for around 1 minute -- to check for doneness, lightly press the edges and middle of the pancake to see if it springs back a bit. if it does, it's done. remove from skillet to a plate, butter the skillet again and continue cooking, stacking them up until you've finished the batter. relax and enjoy with a bit of maple syrup and fresh fruit.

Friday, March 04, 2016

traditional yeast-raised waffles

adapted from smitten kitchen's Essential Raised Waffles, where it was "adapted, only in language from Marion Cunningham's Breakfast Book, where it was adapted from an old Fanny Farmer cookbook" and so on.

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (just shy of 1 packet -- in fact, if you're using the packets, just use the full amount)
  • 2-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (the smaller amount if you're using Morton's, all the way up to 2 full teaspoons if you're using Diamond Kosher salt) (and if you're using fine sea salt or table salt, start with 1/2 teaspoon and work your way up to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (measured by spooning the flour into the measuring cup and leveling off with a knife -- the way you measure flour makes a big difference!)
  • 3 eggs, yolks & whites separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • *optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla, a bit of grated lemon zest, or a few scrapings of fresh nutmeg -- I added a teaspoon of ground Tahitian vanilla bean and it was subtle and delicious; I highly recommend it! you don't want to actually flavor (overwhelm) the waffle batter; just enhance it -- the overnight fermentation gives these waffles plenty of delicious flavor of their own.
the night before you want to make waffles, fetch a large, heavy bowl (that will help keep the batter a consistent temperature through the overnight rise) and use it to proof the yeast in the warm water. add the milk, melted butter, salt, brown sugar, and 2-1/2 cups of the flour, whisking thoroughly to combine. this should yield a fairly dense batter that resists the whisk a bit -- less liquid-y than a pancake batter. if needed, add more flour in 1-tablespoon increments until the batter reaches the proper consistency: thicker than cake batter, much thinner than bread dough, but with qualities of each. as you combine it, you should see the gluten threads forming while you stir. once you achieve the perfect consistency, incorporate another tablespoon of flour, scrape down the sides of the bowl neatly and cover tightly with plastic wrap. you want that extra bit of flour because the batter will soften as it ferments and rises overnight. now it's time to get some sleep. don't worry about the batter being out on the counter overnight, unless you live in an inferno -- if you do, you'll probably need to ferment it in the refrigerator to keep the demons away -- but unfortunately, you'll lose some flavor from doing so. as long as it's below 80 degrees F in your kitchen at night, this dough will ferment safely and deliciously out on the counter.

the next morning, be happy that you used a truly large bowl, as your batter will no doubt have risen right to the top, bubbling away. get your waffle iron out, butter or oil the plates and get it heating. separate the egg yolks from the whites, and stir the yolks into your batter, along with the 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and any flavoring (vanilla!, lemon zest, nutmeg, etc.) you're adding. beat the whites to firm, glossy, but not stiff peaks, and gently fold into the batter. if you think the batter's too stiff/dense/heavy to accept the egg whites easily, you have a few options: you can whisk in a bit of milk first, you can take 1/4 of the beaten egg whites and whisk those into the batter (without fussing over deflating them) to lighten it, or you can both add the bit of extra milk and whisk in 1/4 of the egg whites, all to achieve a smooth batter to which you can then easily and gently fold in the remaining beaten egg white, yielding a gloriously light batter that you just know is right.

you, my friend, are ready to waffle. heat your oven to 200 degrees F. depending on your waffle iron, scoop up the appropriate amount of batter (for example, my Presto Flipside Belgian Waffle Maker utilizes a heaping 3/4 measuring cup of this particular batter per waffle -- you don't necessarily want to fill the waffle mold; you have to allow room for the batter to rise, and this one rises a fair amount). plop the batter into the center of the hot waffle iron and spread around just a bit, then close it and set the timer. if you have a waffle iron that flips (like mine), then go ahead and flip it just for kicks. I'm not convinced it has any real effect on cooking simple waffles like these, but it can't hurt and it makes me feel fancy, so what the heck. make note of the time, and cook the waffle until the steam is almost done coming out of the waffle iron. open the iron, gently dislodge the waffle with a fork, and cut through a piece to make sure it's done all the way through. if not, pop it back in and close it up for 30 seconds or so. once it's done, make note of the total time required to cook the waffle -- now, you can just set the timer for each subsequent waffle. just as each waffle iron is different, each waffle batter recipe is different, and what worked for last week's baking soda-raised cornmeal waffles (3 minutes 15 seconds in my waffle maker) might not be what this particular waffle recipe needs (3 minutes and 30 seconds) to cook them perfectly.

as each waffle is done, relocate it to a heatproof pie plate/baking sheet/etc. that you have cleverly put in your pre-heated oven. this is how you'll keep all the waffles warm while you crank them out; how clever of you! butter or oil the waffle iron every 2-3 waffles (more often if needed) as you go along and crank 'em out.

serve these delicious bits of heaven with unsalted butter, freshly-made strawberry preserves or sliced fresh strawberries, whipped cream or mascarpone or creme fraiche, maple syrup, honey, or anything else you'd like. sigh in pleasure as you enjoy them and accept any well-deserved and hard-earned complements.

variation: reduce the brown sugar to 2 teaspoons (just enough to keep the yeast happy) and leave out any sweet flavorings like vanilla, lemon zest, etc. instead, in hot butter or bacon fat, saute 2-3 de-seeded, finely diced fresh jalapenos and 3-4 finely chopped green onions until peppers are softened, onions are translucent and both are browning around the edges. stir that into the batter and add a nice cupful of grated sharp cheddar cheese. if you want to gild the lily further, throw in the freshly cut kernels from 1-2 ears of fresh corn. cook the waffles the same way as above and serve alongside roasted ham or fried chicken, with chipotle honey butter on the side. now you're livin' the good life.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

granola sans grains

sometimes I yearn for a spoonful of something sweet, spiced, nutty, fruity & crunchy to go with my Greek yogurt. you know: granola. I've been eating it since I was a young child, having been raised by parents who strongly believed in the health benefits of whole grain cereals. I'm grateful for their concerns about my health, though now I find I feel better not eating grains. when I feel that craving come on, rather than give in to the lure of familiar, tasty oat-based granola, I instead eat this equally delicious and nutrient-dense concoction, which totally satisfies that urge. this grain-free granola is comprised of toasted nuts and seeds, flavored with familiar granola-esque sweetness and spice, and enhanced with your favorite dried fruit thrown into the mix for good measure. try a few small spoonfuls to top your morning yogurt; you won't miss the oats for a second.

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons organic, unrefined coconut oil (the kind that smells of delicious coconut)
  • 1 cup of raw, whole almonds
  • 1 cup of raw, whole cashews (or pieces)
  • 1/4 cup raw, hulled sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (raw green pumpkin seeds)
  • optional: 1/3 cup chopped roasted pistachios (if you use salted pistachios, cut the salt way down or leave it out entirely
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter (I used Kerrygold; if you want to keep it vegan, just use a total of 3 tablespoons coconut oil)
  • 1/3 cup honey or 1/2 cup maple syrup; whichever you have on hand/prefer. I used a light clover honey
  • 1/3-1/2 cup palm sugar, coconut sugar or brown sugar. I used palm sugar that I shaved off the pressed disc with my knife, so the measurement is not exact, as irregularly-shaped shavings of sugar are hard to measure perfectly without a kitchen scale (I should get one). I had about 1/2 cup of the shaved palm sugar, and after melting it down with the honey, it all told it came out to ~2/3 cup of liquid sugar. feel free to use more or less of the sweeteners (depending on how sweet you like your granola). if you don't have palm sugar, you can use coconut sugar (which is about 2/3 less sweet) or brown sugar (similar in sweetness to palm sugar, but easier to measure -- 1/3 cup would be about right). I chose palm sugar because it's so delicious
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon good powdered cinnamon -- the best you can buy -- or grind your own (I use and love 24 Mantra Organic Cinnamon Powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon or more sea salt (less or none if you use salted pistachios)
  • 1/2-2/3 cup of your favorite dried fruit -- I used a combination of dried tart Montmorency cherries and dried blueberries -- about 1/3 cup of each
how you make it: melt 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a medium-large skillet over medium heat, and toast the almonds and cashews, stirring fairly regularly, until they're almost as dark as you want them. remove skillet from heat and scoop the toasted nuts out into a big bowl. use a stick blender to roughly chop them into irregular shapes. it's fine if some stay whole, and if some get sort of powdered. irregular is good here. you can also pulse them in a food processor a few times, if you prefer -- that will give you a more even texture. I find the variation of large & small pieces more interesting, but you should make this how you want it. put your chopped nuts in a mixing bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients. 

next, melt 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil in the same skillet over medium heat, and start the sesame seeds toasting, stirring constantly. when they're almost a nice golden brown, add the pepitas and toast everything, stirring all the while, until the pepitas pop/puff up. remove from heat and add to the bowl of almonds and cashews. if you're using pistachios, add them to the bowl

now, add the butter and sweeteners to a microwavable glass measuring cup and microwave the mixture in 30-second increments, until melted (alternatively, melt it all in a small saucepan on your stovetop). be careful -- the melted sugar is hot. stir in the cinnamon and sea salt, drizzle it over your nut mixture and stir it all together. let it form clumps -- those are often the best pieces of granola. if you want, you can spread it all out on an oiled baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees F, stirring every 20 minutes, for about an hour, but I don't bother. maybe I should, but it tastes awesome just the way it is, so... I do it my way. whatever you choose to do -- leave it in the bowl, or bake it to crisp it further -- add your dried fruit after that step. choose whatever you have and love to eat. if it's large dried fruit, like pineapple rings or mango, cut it into reasonably-sized pieces. store it in a covered container and enjoy! use it wherever you'd use regular granola -- on yogurt, in a bowl of milk (cashew milk is particularly good here), etc. -- just remember, a smaller serving will fill you up, so adjust your serving size accordingly. this is very nutrient-dense food, just the way we like it.

*note: this recipe is extremely flexible; it's less an actual recipe and more of a framework for you to use whatever kind of nuts, seeds, fruits, sweeteners, etc. that you like. the proportions of the individual ingredients and the cooking technique is what works to make this taste granola-y. feel free to use pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, etc. whatever you like. sliced almonds are a great choice -- their flakiness reminds me of rolled oats. the seeds are flexible as well: you can certainly leave out the sesame seeds if you don't like them (I love their flavor, and also appreciate their nutritive value), or replace the pepitas with sunflower seeds. I recommend that you do use some seeds; they help bind the granola and replicate the feel of grains. the sweeteners are obviously easily swapped, as mentioned in the recipe. and of course, you should spice it however you like. I like pure vanilla and cinnamon, but you may want to add a touch of allspice or nutmeg, cardamom, or the ever-popular pumpkin pie spice. re: the fats -- I love the combination of unrefined coconut oil and grass-fed butter, but you can use either one alone, or try olive oil for a change of pace! and of course, use your favorite dried fruits. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.