Olive Oil Granola

Happy New Year, friends! Have I ever been away so long? I don't think so. I will not impose on you the litany of all I did or thought about the last three weeks, but it's been rich, full, sometimes quiet, and sometimes crazy. Favorite moments include:

Being at the beach in Bellingham with Pippa and the Johnson family on New Year's Eve day, hard-pressed to take a decent photo because of the blinding sun:


Taking a Christmas Day walk with my Dad and all the Murphy grandkids, seeing Loretta and HannahMae in their riotous color:


Lots of wonderful conversations with Yancey in the car while we drove that stretch of I-5 yet again.


Please do not abandon or malign me because 50% of my posts are about granola. Recipes for this version have been ubiquitous in the blogosphere the last year, but I tended to ignore them. I imagined the olive oil leaving a bitter aftertaste or otherwise wrecking the little bit of sweetness I crave in the morning. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though you have learned to take my pronouncements with a grain of salt, I hope, I'm ready to pronounce that vegetable oil in my granola is a thing of the past.

I blame this new obsession on Melissa Clark's new cookbook. She describes her first sampling of it:

I never would have bothered trying any if it weren't for the hordes yelping with delight as they swallowed their umpteenth portion. I stuck my hand into the fray and grabbed a cup. It was filled with copper-colored oats, pecan slivers, and flat chips of coconut. Like most granola, the first bite was sweet and crunchy. But then the salt hit me, followed by something savory and almost bitter. The sweet-salty-bitter combo was addictive, like a Campari soda and a bowl of salted almonds. I just couldn't stop.

Come on, now. You expect me to resist a description like THAT?

I missed you and wish I could deliver a little bag of this to each one of your doorsteps. Here's to sticking together in 2011.

Melissa Clark's Olive Oil Granola
The version in my photo doesn't have apricots or coconut chips and has the addition of sesame seeds. The important thing is to make sure your ratio of oil/sugar/syrup to oats and nuts/seeds is the same as the recipe, no matter which nuts and seeds you use. And I like cooking it at a lower temp for longer as she does here. Sometimes my impatience with other methods has gotten me into trouble.

3 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 c. raw pistachios
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 c. coconut chips
3/4 c. pure maple syrup
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom or ground ginger
3/4 c. chopped dried apricots

Preheat oven to 300.

In a large bowl, combine everything. Spread the mixture on a large rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and well-toasted.

Transfer granola to a large bowl and add apricots, tossing to combine.