Elena Clement, Executive Pastry Chef of Chevy Chase (Md.) Club offers practical ways to not only satisfy members, but to help them keep their new year’s resolutions, too.
We are well into 2017 by now. How many of you have stuck to your new year’s resolutions? I am making a concerted effort to stick to mine—smile more and swear less. But you’d have to ask those around me to accurately gauge how I’m doing.
Many people—especially your members—vow to eat better in the new year. It sounds great and we all generally have the best intentions, but it’s far from easy to change eating habits overnight. For some, it can be especially challenging because these new foods are just that: new. For others, it’s easier because they already have a healthy lifestyle that includes smart food choices.
One way we as club chefs can help is to offer our members lots of housemade healthy options or substitutions. One of our member’s favorite options here at Chevy Chase Club is our housemade granola. What I like best about it is that I know exactly what the ingredients are and I can tell any member who asks. It features lots of seeds, pure maple syrup and extra virgin olive oil. We intentionally choose not to include nuts in the recipe so those with nut allergies can enjoy it, too. (However, feel free to change up the seeds with a selection of nuts too, just keep the proportions the same.)
Let’s talk ingredients for a minute since that’s pivotal in a dish as simple and straightforward as granola. Like many clubs, we are constantly striving to incorporate more local ingredients. That’s what led me to Backbone Mountain Maple Syrup. It’s from a farm in Oakland and it’s delicious. It’s thick but best of all, it’s affordable. The flavor is unmatched when it comes to real maple syrup.
We also use a small batch extra virgin olive oil. While not local, it is from a small family producer and according to the owner, the family goes to Greece once a year to harvest and press. The resulting oil is smooth and mild and perfect for granola.
Another important thing to note since many of our members (and I’m sure yours, too) have food allergies or sensativities is that this granola can be made gluten-free. Just make sure you use gluten-free oats. (While oats themselves are gluten-free there is always the possibility of cross-contact with gluten-containing grains during the milling process).
Our members really enjoy this granola layered with Icelandic yogurt—which is thick and made from grass-fed cows and is higher in protein than most other types of yogurt—berries and a scoop of chia seeds. To add an antioxidant punch, add a spoonful of matcha powder to the yogurt. The combination of the yogurt with the brightness of the berries with the crunch of the granola is like a party for your senses.
Here is our recipe for Chevy Chase Club’s Housemade Granola. Want to change it up? Add cinnamon, ground ginger or pumpkin pie spice depending on the time of year or the season season. And feel free to swap out different nuts and seeds – just keep the proportions the same.
Good luck with your resolutions and I hope you—and your members—enjoy the granola!