It's time to discover Sicilian wines and Homemade Granola

Granola with Almonds, Chia, Flax, and Dried Fruit

On my first trip to Sicily, I didn't know what to expect in the Sicilian wines. It was love at first taste--the reds are bold and fruity and the whites are crisp and complex. I shouldn't have expected less since they've been growing grapes since the 5th century B.C!

Sicily was known for Marsala and bulk wines however, that's all changed. In recent years, there's been a lot of excitement around Sicily's indigenous varietals. Producers are focusing on quality and learning more about Sicilian terroirs. This has increased the number of small quality wineries and they now are showcasing Sicily's incredible variety of indigenous grapes. I'll introduce you to a couple of boutique wineries and taste many more Sicilian wines. The time to visit is now. Join me in May for a delicious Sicilian adventure.

Homemade granola is one of the simplest things to make. I love the mélange of flavors and textures; it's a bit sweet with enough salt to balance the sweetness and bring out the flavor of the nuts, seeds, and spices. It cooks up crunchy and depending on how much you stir it you will have nice clusters too. It's amendable, so tweak it with your favorite ingredients or use what you have on hand. Honestly with the crummy weather we've been having if you're cooped up inside for the weekend, make a batch of granola.

Thick rolled oats are the base and sometimes I substitute rye flakes. For the dried fruit I mostly use raisins, but, you can use dates, apricots, and cranberries. Quite a few recipes use coconut and I was doubtful I would like it, but, once I tried it’s become a must. It’s another layer of flavor so why not give it a go. Ground flax and chia seeds are added for more fiber and nutrition. You can use sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds. Granola is a great way to use up small bits of nuts and dried fruit and it keeps well.
Granola, unfortunately, isn’t a low sugar or fat recipe. Without the sugar and fat it wouldn’t be crunchy or as addictive—it would be muesli. Sugar, oil, and baking are the 3 things that make it toasty and crunchy. I like to use a combination of honey and brown sugar so it’s not too sweet. I use a good extra virgin olive oil. You can change this to another type of oil like safflower.