I fall in love with Los Angeles a little more each time I visit. This time we were lucky enough to have some really amazing meals. Many of them were at Bryan’s parents’ house—his mom is a wonderful cook and his dad an excellent sommelier. I came home with great family recipes (and some excellent wine) which I will undoubtedly be sharing with all of you as the year progresses. But we also managed to get out for dinner. Rustic Canyon Wine Bar  in Santa Monica blew my mind early in the trip. The meal was pretty close to perfect and included a beet salad that may be the best salad I have ever eaten in my life. The pear tart and cinnamon sugar donuts were equally exceptional. I also really loved Church & State  in downtown Los Angeles, which some friends recommended. Really outstanding bistro cooking and such a charming atmosphere. If I lived in Los Angeles I would be a regular at both places. If you live in Los Angeles—go!
We returned to Chicago in time to ring in the new year. This year we did it quietly, at home. It remains exciting that it is our home. I can’t believe it is 2010. It sounds like a year out of a science fiction movie. I thought some homemade granola would be a good start to this new decade and so I whipped up a batch of my new favorite granola.
I have tried plenty of granola and granola recipes in my day, but nothing has ever topped this one. Brooklyn’s Early Bird Granola was kind enough to share their recipe for the perfect granola with the internet and now we can make it at home whenever we like. The recipe produces the same granola you can pick up at Brooklyn Flea! Outstanding! It is the breakfast of 2010!
Feel free to play around with this recipe to suit your taste. I happen to like it a little salty, but you might like it sweeter. As written, it is a pretty perfect blend of sweet and salty. Choose your olive oil and maple syrup wisely, make sure you enjoy the taste of them.
I hope that it is an excellent year for all of you. Lets resolve to take what we eat more seriously! to cook more! to have friends and family over as often as possible! and to better appreciate these crazy lives of ours.
I’m looking forward to another year of fun!
Granola (adapted from Early Bird Granola )
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds, hulled
- 1 cup coconut chips
- 1 1/2 cup raw pecans, very coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup, preferably Grade A
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Place oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, pecans, syrup, olive oil, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Spread granola mixture in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to oven and bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until granola is toasted, about 45-55 minutes. It should be nice and golden brown.
Remove granola from oven and season with additional salt, if desired. Let cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container for up to 1 month.