I know it sounds cliche, but a healthy breakfast is still the most important way to start every day. This month, our Field Notes has been focusing on ways to begin the new year right, with healthy approaches to diet and lifestyle. The habits you start now will hopefully carry you along and help create a more active and positive focus for the whole year.
Many years ago, in what almost seems like a past lifetime, I was a professional cook before making the switch to a full-time photographer. My last full-time cooking job was at the (now unfortunately defunct) restaurant Tasty & Sons. But after cooking there, I was lucky enough to be chosen to photograph their cookbook, “Hello! My Name is Tasty.” The book is filled with a panoply of amazing recipes, (and photos!!) mostly originating from chef/owner John Gorham’s childhood all along the Eastern Seaboard.
There are also several recipes that were developed by John’s cooks and chefs, and this specific granola recipe was one of those. Kyle Prewitt, the opening chef at Tasty & Sons was tasked by John to create a light but healthy breakfast dish that John could eat in the crazy-busy early days of the opening of the restaurant that would fill him up and not slow him down.
This is what Kyle created. It’s a simple but very delicious recipe that lends itself to lots of variations as per your personal tastes. I will reprint the exact recipe here from the book, but feel free to make any adjustments you see fit.
KYLE’S HOUSE-MADE GRANOLA
6 C rolled oats (we highly recommend the local brand Bob’s Red Mill)
1 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 C local honey
1/4 C high quality maple syrup
1 1/2 C raw slivered almonds
1 1/2 C raw walnut pieces
2 C light brown sugar
1 T ground cinnamon
1 t ground nutmeg
2 t kosher salt
1/2 C dried currants or raisins
1/2 C dried cherries
Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine butter, honey and maple syrup until butter is melted and the mixture is warm but not boiling.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together oats, almonds and walnuts. Break up any clumps in the brown sugar and add this to the oats as well as the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir well to evenly combine. Pour the warm butter mixture into the bowl and coat evenly with a heavy spatula or spoon.
Lightly butter 2 baking sheets and even spread the mixture between both. Place on separate racks in the oven and cook for roughly 2 hours. It is best to check the granola every 25 minutes, stirring it and rotating the pans to ensure even cooking. After the 2 hours, the granola will still seem a little wet and sticky, but not to worry. As it cools, the granola will crisp up. Most important is to not overcook the granola.
Once the granola has fully cooled, fold in the dried fruit. This mixture can now be stored in airtight Mason jars and kept in a cool dry pantry for up to 1 month.
SUGGESTIONS FOR SERVING:
This recipe will ensure delicious and healthy granola, but we encourage you to take any liberties you want with the recipe. This could include:
*other raw nuts such as pine nuts, almonds or macadamias
*different dried fruit such as golden raisins, blueberries or apricots
*coconut oil in place of the butter or agave instead of maple syrup and honey
This granola is perfect on its own, but can be served with milk, yogurt or fresh fruit as well.
Good Luck and Bon Appétit!
Recipe by Kyle Prewitt.