— Noted.


In my neighborhood, there is this little cafe tucked away on a leafy street that opened a little takeaway store with all kinds of local produce, stock necessities, pretty brown eggs, reliable fancy coffee (my codeword for any kind of coffee that is beyond drip), and amazing biscuits. One day, on a whim, I decided to try their granola, which is offered in one of those bulk bins that (ab)normally makes me shudder with visions of pests and stranger’s germs. [I don’t normally think this way—this is the result of having worked in a gourmet grocery store when I was in college and seeing what they did to the bulk bins after hours.] I had tried the granola in their sit-down cafe before, and figured if it was anywhere close to that, risking the dangers of the bulk bin would be totally worth it.

After two years or so of being on a crack-like addiction to Iris Cafe granola, which quite possibly has something crack-like in it (like butter, sugar, love?) I ventured out on a plan to make my own supply of granola. Like a responsible addict, I researched the possibilities of all the different types of recipes on the internet and what would work best, what would be healthy but also would still fulfill my expectations for reaching a granola high. It turns out, you can really make nearly any version of the the granola recipes out there and it will be amazing. It will be a thousand times better tasting than any brown-boxed, colorfully-pouched, clear-windowed granola out there on the grocery shelf, no matter how home-grown the packaging looks or says it is.

It is super easy and the measurements really do not need to be exact, as I now make it without measuring cups or spoons. I have also discovered that I can get nearly everything I need for it at Trader Joe’s. You can customize it with whatever ingredients and flavors float your boat. My kind of cooking.

All that being said, I’ve mixed and matched various recipes and have discovered that this here is my ultimate version of near-perfect granola. Why near-perfect? Because, like my first high, I do still think about the granola in that little bin at Iris Cafe.



3 cups rolled oats (anything not instant; I also like to use the multigrain which has rye, barley, oats & wheat)

1/2–1 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds (I also suggest mixing in hazelnuts)

dash of cinnamon

1 tsp of salt

1/4 cup coconut oil (you can use vegetable oil too)

generous spoonful of light brown sugar

dash of cardamom (optional, I happen to love cardamom)

1/3 cup of good maple syrup (or agave)

1/2–1 cup chopped dried turkish apricots (or any dried fruit)

generous sprinkle of roasted sesame seeds (or/and flax, roasted pepitas, etc)


Preheat oven to 300°.

In a big bowl, mix together the oats, cinnamon, salt.

In a small pot, warm up the coconut oil on low heat. Add the brown sugar, cardamon and syrup and stir until mixed.

Take off heat and pour over the oat mixture. Mix until thoroughly coated.

Spread over a large baking pan into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, and then stir. Continue baking for another 15 minutes and stir again. Watch oven closely and bake until the mixture is golden brown. Do not burn! There is a quick window when it goes from being the perfect brown toasty goodness, to the point-of-no-return burnt darkness. I like mine well-done, but if you don’t, this won’t be as risky for you.

When it’s done, take it out, let it cool and then add in the dried fruit and roasted sesame seeds. To store, put it in an air-tight container and eat it within the week. A lot of recipes say to store in the fridge, but I eat mine so quickly that I’ve never done this. A lot of recipes also don’t suggest baking the nuts (which can burn quicker), but to me that is the best part. I will also often use less syrup when I know I have good sweet fresh berries or bananas on hand to add in at breakfast time.


DSC_0028-1micro_webUPail-nr2-webshopblacktan_webDensity-clouds2e DJ32Beautiful handmade baskets and bags by Doug Johnston.



Just discovered that Frankie’s Spuntino sells their bright green olives at Cafe Pedlar. These olives are heavenly—super young and not too briny. I first had a similar olive in Spain, where my youngest (and by youngest, I mean oldest) friend and her mother, Tia Maria, took me to buy a large jar from a harvester who sold them in a warehouse where large vats congregated in a dreamy olive heaven. Thankful the jar made it through customs, but this was years ago, and haven’t found that perfect olive since…

Not in Brooklyn? Buy it online here.