About this Book
I’ve always wanted to write a breakfast book. It’s the meal we all start with, the meal that ushers us into the day. Even more, I wanted to write a book that reflects the way I do breakfast, acknowledging the fact that what we eat looks different on a cold, gray morning in February than it does on a sunny morning in June. A busy Wednesday brings about different breakfast options than does a leisurely Sunday. Sure, some of that has to do with the available produce. But a lot of it has to do with what we’re drawn to in those different months or what our bodies crave. So I decided to split this book into seasonal chapters and further divide each chapter, noting which recipes are best for busy weekdays, slow Sundays, or brunch. I hope you return to the book as the months pass, the seasons change, and friends and family trickle in and out to join you at the breakfast table throughout the year.
In addition to a seasonal breakfast book, I wanted to write a somewhat personal book, beginning in the San Francisco Bay Area and ending in Seattle. A book that tracks a particular season in my life, as much as the many breakfasts from that time—the story of a high school English teacher searching for a new school and landing in a bakery instead. The story of that accidental baker waking before sunrise to crimp pies and bake granola, finding herself looking at the work of a graphic designer one thousand miles away who might be able to help with branding the business.
That story is obviously mine. And that designer, Sam? It’s now his, too. Sam worked for me for a little less than a year as I began my baking business, Marge. During this time, we met once face-to-face at a little café in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, discussing websites and logos and drinking spicy chai. As was often the case, we fell into our usual digressions about folk music, films we liked, and good cheese. When our client relationship had come to an end, we threw ourselves into much longer phone calls, letters, travels across several states, and more than a few breakfasts together. Then, after too many seasons apart, Sam flew down to help me load a large U-Haul and make the long drive up the coast from San Francisco to a new home in Seattle. Today we share a bright blue craftsman house, a modest garden, and a very large comingled collection of books. While a good handful of the recipes in this cookbook were originally written in my shoebox kitchen in Northern California, many grew naturally from our new life here in Seattle. I think they might travel just as easily to your kitchen, too, regardless of where that may be.
Make-Your-Own Signature Granola
When you start making granola at home, something happens: you begin to develop your own tweaks and preferences, and before you know it you have a signature blend. While we have a set line of flavors and recipes in the Marge kitchen today, here is my formula to tinker with at home using your favorite ingredients. You need oats, sweetener, spices, and a bit of oil to make granola, so that’s your blueprint. Then modify as you like based on what tastes good to you. This recipe is special because it’s made with olive oil, has a little more salt than most granola recipes, and is loaded with good nuts and seeds. It’s nice and toasty, straddling the line between sweet and savory—perfect in the morning or by the handful in the afternoon. For some inspiration on nuts, seeds, and fruit that are great in granola, see Toppings and Stir-Ins, page 44; for tips on making granola, see page 144.
Makes 8 to 9 cups
3 cups / 300 g rolled oats
21⁄2 cups raw nuts or seeds, or a mixture
11⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1⁄2 cup / 120 ml oil (I use extra-virgin olive oil)
1⁄2 cup plus 1 tablespoon / 135 ml liquid sweetener (such as honey or maple syrup)
3⁄4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3⁄4 cup chopped dried fruit
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13 by 18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Mix the oats, nuts and seeds, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom together in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add the oil, sweetener, and vanilla and stir again to combine fully.
Turn the granola out onto the prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Bake until the mixture is light brown and fragrant, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring every 15 or 20 minutes to make sure the granola cooks evenly. (It might not seem as toasty as you’d like it when done, but it firms up as it cools.)
Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the pan. Stir in the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 weeks or in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. The granola also freezes beautifully for up to 3 months.