It is strange that I have to travel more than halfway across the country from sleepy Vancouver Island to the big city of Toronto to eat breakfast outside, but it’s true.
Our friends Naomi and Ian have the kind of house that made me fall in love with Toronto: full of art and a warm welcome and surrounded by big old city trees.
The first couple mornings of our visit, my husband and I stumble up to the kitchen, dazed by the time change and looking for an easy breakfast. Without fail, I pull open the cupboard and see the familiar square Tupperware container: granola. I smile, spoon some into a bowl and put the kettle on for tea.
And then, right there from the kitchen at the back of the house, I open the door onto a patio that gradually drops down into the park behind them. Naomi is a gardener and for most of the year, there are leafy green things and birdfeeders to watch while we sit at the little table and linger over our breakfast. This is vacation.
Finally, I realized that while I can’t bring their patio back to our tiny apartment, I can make the granola. Naomi gave me the recipe, and she says she got it from someone else. Now, I’d like to pass it along to you.
It’s originally called, “mixed fruit granola” and the two fruit involved are dried cherry and cranberry. But can two fruit truly make something “mixed”? Anyway, I just call it, “Naomi’s granola” and we’re happy.
It’s delicious. Eat it outside when you can. When eating it inside, dream about the summer to come.
A note for the gluten-free among us: This recipe will only work for you if you can tolerate oats. Make sure you find oats that were grown in an uncontaminated field and processed in an uncontaminated factory. My favourite oats come from Cream Hill Estates. Also, make sure to use rice bran, not wheat bran.
3 c. oats
3/4 c. bran (wheat or rice)
1/2 c. almonds, whole or chopped roughly
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. honey
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tbsp. oil, optional*
1/2 c. dried cherries
1/2 c. dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
Mix oats, bran, almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, mix honey, almond extract and oil. Pour over the oat mixture and toss. Spread on sheet.
Bake, stirring every 10 minutes or so until lightly roasted, about 45 to 55 minutes. Stir in fruit. If you’d like the granola to be a bit more clumpy, drizzle a bit more honey over and stir. Cool completely.
* Use a light oil, such as canola, vegetable or grape seed. Do not use olive oil; it will be too strong.