toasted buckwheat granola with tahini and dark chocolate

Buckwheat Granola with Tahini and Dark Chocolate // Image: Olaiya Land

Hello people!

Today’s the day! It's the final post in the holiday blognanza I put together for you with Megan from Cream + Honey! In case you missed them, you can check out our previous posts here:

Every year, I like to share an easy last-minute edible holiday gift recipe with you. This year, I’ve got this Buckwheat Granola with Tahini and Dark Chocolate. This one goes out to all the procrastinators among us (including myself) who are scrambling for a last-minute homemade gift idea. And to all you overachievers who want to spread a little extra holiday cheer! Whichever camp you fall into, you most definitely need to make this granola.

Buckwheat Granola with Tahini and Dark Chocolate // Image: Olaiya Land

In an effort to switch things up this year, I dialed back the oats in my go-to granola formula and decided to throw in a generous amount of lightly toasted buckwheat groats. This turned out to be a pretty good move on my part (thank you Alison Roman for the inspiration) because the buckwheat lent an earthy complexity to this granola and made it extra crunchy and sog-proof. 

I hate getting hungry halfway through my morning, so to make this more filling, I added protein-packed quinoa to the mix. I’ve got hazelnuts in there too because, duh, I AM OBSESSED WITH HAZELNUTS. (I might lay off the hazelnuts in the new year. Can’t make any promises though…). 

Lastly, I’ll admit that the super sexy tahini + dark chocolate combo could be considered showboating (mostly by people who eat bran flakes for breakfast). In my defense, however, it elevates this way beyond your basic bulk-bin affair and turns it into the sort of granola your brunch guests will ooh! and ah! about and your children will fight over. (Don’t blame me, blame the chocolate.)

Buckwheat Granola with Tahini and Dark Chocolate // Image: Olaiya Land
Buckwheat Granola with Tahini and Dark Chocolate // Image: Olaiya Land

This takes about 15 minutes of active time plus 50 minutes in the oven, which gives you just enough time to whip up a batch of Megan’s Amaro Sprtiz Punch and kick the holiday weekend off in boozy style!

I myself will most likely be subsisting on handfuls of this granola over the next 48 hours as I attempt to distribute the last of my holiday baked goods, prep the house for our AirBnB guests (so nerve racking!) and pack my bags for Paris.

Buckwheat Granola with Tahini and Dark Chocolate // Image: Olaiya Land

I’m not sure if I’ll have time to post before the new year, so I’ll take this opportunity to tell you how immensely grateful I am to all of you who joined my workshops, followed my adventures on Instagram and stopped by to read this blog. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! Your kindness and support over the past year mean so much to me. 

I wish you a beautiful, restful and delicious holiday and I can’t wait to see you in 2018!



Toasted Buckwheat Granola with Tahini and Dark Chocolate

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • 2 cups raw buckwheat groats
  • 3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup raw hulled sesame seeds
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ cup avocado oil, refined coconut oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ cup rice bran syrup or agave
  • 6 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shaved dark chocolate (I used Callebaut 60%)

*Note: There are two kinds of buckwheat groats--raw (or lightly toasted) and darkly toasted (also known as kasha). For this recipe you want raw or lightly toasted buckwheat groats since they're going in the oven for quite a while. These will be green or light brown and shouldn't have much of a scent to them. It's pretty easy to distinguish from kasha which is dark brown or reddish brown and has a nutty, toasted smell to it. If you can't find raw buckwheat groats where you live, feel free to substitute more oats or a mix of other dry ingredients like flax seeds, raw sunflower seeds, spelt flakes, etc.


Buckwheat Granola with Tahini and Dark Chocolate // Image: Olaiya Land
Buckwheat Granola with Tahini and Dark Chocolate // Image: Olaiya Land

Preheat your oven to 300° F.

Place the sugar in a small bowl. Using a paring knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the sharp edge of the knife to scrape the seeds from the pod. Add the seeds to the sugar and use your fingers to rub the vanilla into the sugar, breaking up any clumps. Place the buckwheat, oats, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, quinoa, cardamom and salt in a large bowl. Add the vanilla sugar and stir to combine thoroughly.

Combine the oils, syrups and tahini in a medium bowl and whisk well to combine. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until all the dry ingredients are completely coated.

Divide the granola between two parchment-lined sheet pans. Spread the granola out and place the pans in the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating the pans and stirring the granola every 15 minutes or so. You want to remove the granola from the oven when it's golden brown. Don't worry if it's not completely dry; it will crisp up as it sits. Place the sheet pans on wire racks to cool. When the granola is completely cool, stir in the shaved chocolate. 

Transfer the granola to an airtight container (I like a big mason jar) and store in a cool dry place. Tightly covered, the granola will keep for several weeks.

Buckwheat Granola with Tahini and Dark Chocolate // Image: Olaiya Land

alison roman's slow roasted pork with garlic, citrus and cilantro

slow roasted pork // image: Olaiya Land

Hello people!

I’m back with the latest installment of the Holiday-Fun-Time-Blog-Party-Extravaganza Megan from Cream + Honey and I have put together for you!  

This week I want to talk about traditions--honoring old ones, creating new ones and ditching the ones that don’t serve us anymore.

Time-honored rituals can provide a comforting sense of continuity. They remind us of family ties and Christmases past. In the things they include and leave out, they contribute to our sense of identity: Are you the sort of person who strings popcorn on the tree while sipping a mug of mulled cider and singing carols? Or the sort of person who decks a Charlie Brown tree in mismatched lights while getting lit on eggnog and watching arthouse holiday films on your laptop? 

slow roasted pork // image: Olaiya Land

I think traditions are great. As long as they make you feel good! But in observing my own life and those of people around me, I see a lot of holiday ties that bind instead of anchor. The season can be filled with a sense of obligation: We buy gifts because we always have. We cook the same meal because that’s the way we’ve always done it. We schlep ourselves and our families from one gathering to the next with barely any time for real connections.

Here’s my radical holiday suggestion: wipe all the shoulds off the slate and only do the things that really gave you joy. Sledding with the kids on Christmas day instead of driving to the in-laws. Skipping the office holiday party to watch old movies on the couch with your special someone. Hiking to a remote cabin in the woods to spend the day in peaceful solitude. Cooking an elaborate multi-course holiday meal with each dish based on one of the Seven Dwarves. Whatever floats your boat!

I know this might feel selfish to some of you. It certainly did to me when I stopped doing all the things I was “supposed to do” for the holidays: give lots of gifts, bake a million cookies, send cards to friends and family, throw an amazing Christmas party. But I’m a big fan of quality over quantity when it comes to time with loved ones. Quality time can only come when we aren’t frazzled and harried and cracking under the stress of a mile-long to-do list.

slow roasted pork // image: Olaiya Land

This year, I’m giving you permission (because sometimes we need that) to ditch the whole host of holiday obligations. Spend some time thinking about what you’d love to do this holiday--whether it's celebrating old traditions, creating new ones or forgoing tradition all together--and follow that instinct. 

And for those of you looking for something festive and decidedly un-traditional to cook this Christmas, I’m nominating this Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Garlic, Citrus and Cilantro from Alison Roman’s magnificent Dining In. If you’ve been following my stories on Instagram, you know I’m in love with this cookbook. I've been cooking out of it like crazy and gifting it to all my favorite people. (If you’re giving gifts this year and have friends who like to cook, this needs to be at the top of your shopping list!) But back to this stunning roast... It’s easy, can be made in advance and would make a brilliant centerpiece for a California- or Mexico-themed holiday supper. Most importantly, it's crazy-delicious.

For more non-traditional-but-super-sexy holiday deliciouness, click on over to Cream + Honey to check out Megan's Potato, Cheddar and Onion Focaccia.

I’m off to pack up all the holiday cookies I baked (a tradition I realized I love once I stopped forcing myself to do it!). I’ll be back next week with more tips for keeping the season fun and bright!



Alison Roman's Slow Roasted Pork with Garlic, Citrus and Cilantro

  • 1 3 ½ - to 4-pound boneless, skinless pork shoulder
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon neutral tasting high-heat oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 2 heads garlic, halved lenghtwise
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 3 chiles de árbol or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • 4 limes

*Note: Pork can be made 2 days ahead and refrigerated. Heat in a 325° F oven until warmed through.

Preheat your oven to 325° F. 

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. (I used a Dutch oven.) Sear the pork, fat-side down, until it's really well browned, 8-10 minutes. Turn the pork and brown on the other side, another 8-10 minutes. Transfer the pork to a large serving platter or cutting board, and drain the pot of all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.

Add the halved orange and garlic to the pot, cut-side down, followed by the thyme, bay leaves, chiles, and coriander. Cook, stirring for a second, to lightly brown the oranges and garlic. Add the orange juice and 2 cups of water, stirring to scrape up any bits. Return the pork to the pot (the liquid should come a little less than halfway up the pork--add more if it doesn't). Cover and transfer it to the oven.

Roast the pork until it is super tender but not quite falling apart (you want to be able to slice it, not shred it). If you're using a thermometer, this is when the pork reaches around 175-180° F. (Alison states a cook time to 3-4 hours but my 4-pound roast was done in about 2. I'd start checking for doneness at around an hour and a half if I were you.)

Remove the pot from the oven and, using tongs or two large serving utensils, carefully transfer the pork to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Cut the cilantro stems from the tender tops, tie them together with kitchen twine and add them to the pot with the juices. Cook until the juices have thickened slightly then remove the cilantro stems and discard them.

Slice the pork and place it on a serving platter along with the oranges, garlic and chiles (if desired). Pour the juices over the pork. Slice the limes into halves or quarters and arrange them on the platter for guests to squeeze over their pork. Pick some leaves and/or tender stems from the cilantro tops and scatter over the pork before serving.

Adapted slightly from Dining In by Alison Roman

slow roasted pork // image: Olaiya Land

small is beautiful: holiday gift guide

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In my book, there are two kinds of gifts worth giving. First, there is the thoughtful gift that makes manifest how well you know the recipient and understand his or her personal and idiosyncratic tastes. This is the sort of gift that, in addition to being cherished in and of itself, makes its receiver feel seen and in turn cherished themselves. Next, we have the sort of gift that’s perhaps less personal but so delightful no one can resist its charms--like a bottle of really delicious champagne or a pair of 8-ply cashmere socks.

Everything else is destined for the landfill.

I’ll admit that gifts are not my Love Language. But I stand by my assertion that mediocre gifts born out of a sense of obligation are not worth giving. This might sound harsh, but hear me out. My years on this earth have taught me that if someone doesn’t love your present, they will either ditch/return/re-gift it posthaste. Or if they are of a more sentimental persuasion, they will display/use said crappy gift for a month or so before relegating it to a closet shelf where it will gather dust and inspire a great surge of guilt each time its owner stumbles upon it. 

No one wants too much dust or guilt in their lives, so let’s talk about how to give a great gift!

First, check out my recommendations below for creative gifts to give this holiday season. All of them are from small producers and/or purchased from local small businesses. Supporting small businesses who are passionate about what they do and that create products with love makes the season even brighter in my opinion!  

Next, scroll on down for my 5-step guide to becoming a fantastic gift-giver!

Finally, click on over to Cream & Honey for the second installment of our holiday blognanza in which you will discover how to make an old-school Stilton Pear Cheese Ball With Pistachios + Pink Peppercorns (a kickass gift for the cheese lover in your life!) and even more tips on how to throw an awesome holiday party, which will leave your guests with fond memories of that time they got drunk and danced on the table wrapped in nothing but Christmas lights, which is the very best gift of all.

Merry Merry and XO!


Small is Beautiful Holiday Gift Guide 2017

holiday gift guide // image: Olaiya Land

First up we have gifts for those eclectic, hard-to-shop-for souls in your life! 1) Siren Bath Soak from Remy & Roses turns an ordinary bath into a luxurious soak. 2) Danae Vermeil Necklace by Emmanuelle Zysman, Paris. Simple, feminine and falls to the perfect length. I own this and wear it with everything. 3) Sweet Grapefruit Reed Diffuser from P.F. Candle Co. Bright pink grapefruit over notes of yuzu, musk and teak. This diffuser smells both bright and earthy without being overpowering and lasts for months. 4) Espresso cup with saucer in matte white finish from Margarida Fabrica in Lisbon. These handmade cups are my favorite for espresso--they feel perfect in the hand and each one is unique. 5) Tobacco Blossom soap from Claus Porto. I never leave Portugal without stocking up on Claus Porto soaps and this one with notes of tobacco leaf, cinnamon and basil is my absolute favorite. 6) Speckled saucer from Margarida Fabrica. 7) Hera earrings from Inês Telles, Lisbon. All my favorite earrings--and the ones I get the most compliments on--are from Inês. Her work is sublime. (Email for availability). 8) Rose of No Man's Land and Super Cedar fragrances from Byredo. My favorite feminine and masculine scents from this creative, evocative perfume house. 9) Vintage vinyl from Daybreak Records, my favorite spot to buy new and used albums in Seattle. Track down the best record shop near you (it may be online) and grab a couple discs for your favorite audiophile. 10) Hand dyed merino yarn from Madelinetosh. I picked this dreamy yarn up at Tolt Yarn & Wool in Carnation, WA, otherwise known as Knitters' Paradise. Check out both of these sites to find the perfect something for that crafty, DIY-loving friend of yours.

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You knew I was going to talk about edible gifts, right? 1) Zürsun flageolet beans. Yup, beans. But not just any beans. These heirloom beauties cook up silky soft and intensely flavored. They are not cheap and they are worth every penny. The best beans I’ve ever had. 2) Hédène chestnut honey. Rich, woody and complex, this honey from the Tarn region of France renders everything it touches--from a bowl of yogurt to a crackly pork roast--super sexy. 3) Portuguese tinned fish from A Vida Portuguesa. The Portuguese make some of the best tinned seafood on the planet. Your food-obsessed friends will savor these beautiful cans of sardines, tuna, mackerel and squid preserved in gold-green olive oil. 4) Ayako & Family Jam. Ayako makes the best jam in the world. I will hear no arguments to the contrary. All the flavors are fantastic, but the plum jams are transcendent. Buy some for a friend and buy a jar (or 4) for yourself. You're welcome. 5) Jacobsen kosher and flake salts harvested with love in the Pacific Northwest. Because there's no reason to buy that chemically tasting stuff in a big box from the supermarket. 6) Atlas Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This is my go-to olive oil. Inexpensive enough to use for everyday cooking. Delicious enough to eat from a spoon. The cooks in your life will love it. In Seattle, you can buy this at PFI, ChefShop & Vif. 

holiday gift guide // image: Olaiya Land

A short-and-sweet guide to good reads: 1) Bäco: Vivid Recipes from the Heart of Los Angeles by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock. Bright flavors, gorgeous images. So inspiring. 2) A gift certificate to Book Larder bookstore. These ladies carry an amazing selection of cookbooks, new and vintage. If you live in Seattle, head in for a fun browsing sesh. If not, grab a gift certificate and let that cookbook-loving family member order a cookbook or her favorite hard-to-find culinary journal. 3) Dining In by Alison Roman. My favorite cookbook of 2017. Gorgeous photography by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott (my fave food photographers) and inspiring, completely doable recipes. It doesn't get any better than that. 4) Spritz: Italy's Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau. So many fantastic drinks in here! Get this in a cocktail-loving friend’s hand before New Year’s Eve and you’ll reap the benefits. 5) Portraits de Villes from Studio BE-POLES. Photographers and travel lovers will fall for these gorgeous city portraits.

holiday gift guide // image: Olaiya Land

It wouldn't be the holidays without drinks! 1) 2016 Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois Vin De Pays from Vif Wine & Coffee. This gem of a wine shop in Seattle specializes in delicious natural wines (like this one). If you live in Seattle, you need to be buying your wine here! 2) Masala Chai from Samovar Tea. I'm normally not a fan of chai tea, but this blend is amazing! Perfect for sipping around a holiday fire. 3) Methodical Coffee Colombia, Narino. Chocolaty, fruity and sweet, this coffee will please everyone at your holiday brunch. And the gorgeous packaging makes it a great stocking stuffer. If you're in Seattle, you can pick up a bag at Union Coffee. 4) Domaine de Montbourgeau Crémant du Jura. Another great bottle I picked up at Vif. The wine enthusiast in your family will love this sparkling natural white from the Jura. 5) 2016 Domaine Victor Sornin Vin Natur. This easy to drink, subtly fruity gamay is our new house wine. This might be a Seattle- and France-only recommendation since I'm having a hard time finding this online. But Seattle friends can pick it up at the PCC. 6) Bittermilk hand-crafted cocktail mixers. These are made with love in Charleston, SC, a city that knows how to make a fine cocktail. The Oaxacan Old Fashioned and Charred Grapefruit Tonic are my favorites. Pick up a bottle for the fledgling mixologist in your life and one for yourself. The season just got a little brighter!

1) Start early so you have plenty of time to track down just the right gift. Haha. Just kidding. No one does this, ever. Because work and life and Instagram. Skip to step 2.

2) Get out a notebook or a piece of paper (or a list-making app if you must) and write down the names of someone you love and cherish and want to buy a gift for. (Notice I didn’t say to write down the name of your annoying boss or your nosy neighbor? Those people get a tin of cookies if they get anything at all. No wasting your precious gift-giving energy on people you don’t adore!)

3) Now set a timer for 60 seconds and without thinking too much about it, write down everything that comes to mind about this person. Just sort of free-associate: colors, places, feelings, TV shows. Everything is fair game. Repeat with more people you want to buy gifts for, then put your notebook away. (I mean it! The brain does magical things when you don’t force it.)

4) Several hours (or preferably days) later, open your notebook and look at what you wrote. Spend a few moments thinking about all the fun times you’ve had with this lovely person before heading to the shops (online or off). The idea is to let your subconscious do the heavy lifting. Taking the time to think about the essence of the person you want to buy a gift for and what sorts of things they really love will save you hours of sifting through the holiday schlock. When you see the right gift, you’ll know.

5) And last but definitely not least, try to remember that this whole gift-giving/Christmas thing can be fun instead of stressful! Whether you’re looking online or heading out into the mayhem of the shops, treat your holiday shopping more like a spa day than a major battle. Book a babysitter. Meet a friend for lunch. Pour yourself a cocktail or a hot bath when you’re done. Before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to holiday gift-giving. You might even become one of those annoying people who starts their Christmas shopping in July!

Holiday Gift Guide // Image: Olaiya Land