promises, promises (Fermented Cocoa Granola of Awesomeness: a recipe)

granolablogweb

Yes, this is the stuff. Several batches were tested and devoured in record time, so I thought it best to trial the cocoa/maple ratio at double volume before presenting the recipe to you. You really do need to go for quantity here, people. Please, just trust me on this point.

granolaweb

I’ve been making riffs on this fantastic recipe for quite some time, and while we love it with all manner of hearts and rainbows, there was just something missing. One day, as we were at the Co-op doing the usual bulk bin rounds, I realized that we, somewhat absently, tend to get a little chocolate granola for the road on a fairly regular basis. It’s locally made, and it’s delicious, but in my opinion, it’s an out-of-hand treat that is far too sweet for the breakfast table. Also, the price of ready made granola, even out of the bulk bin, can be prohibitive from, say, actually buying in bulk.

granola2

Okay, so don’t cry when you see the list of ingredients. It’s not cheap to make it this way, either. It is, however, far more bioavailable and nutritionally satisfying, not to mention delicious, and I find those benefits to outweigh the initial investment in quality ingredients (which turn out to cost less per pound of finished product than the unfermented bulk bin version, anyway). You should end up with at least 2 gallons of finished product, which you are likely to consume at a slower rate than it’s non-fermented cousin, as this is dense with healthy fat and sustaining calories.

Things you need:

16 cups rolled oats
1 cup butter (I prefer salted) and 1 cup coconut oil, melted together and cooled slightly
3 cups whole yogurt
4 cups water

Things you need to do:

Mix the oats, butter, coconut oil, yogurt, and water together in a large bowl. Cover with a clean towel or cloth and let sit at room temperature for 24-36 hours.

More things you need:

2 cups maple syrup (or a combination of maple syrup and honey…maple flavor compliments the chocolate more favorably than using all honey)
1 1/2 cups raw cacao powder
3 teaspoons sea salt
2+ (to taste) teaspoons cinnamon

More things to do:

Mix the maple syrup, cacao powder, salt, and cinnamon. You made want to heat the sweetener a bit to thin it out for mixing. It takes some doing with a whisk, but perseverance will get all the cocoa powder incorporated and smooth. Add this to your oats and mix well. I mean really well. This is the hardest part and takes some serious elbow grease. Your soaked oats well be a heavy, glommed up mess. Use a wooded spoon to force the sweetener mixture into the oat mixture. You will exhaust your mixing arm, but remind yourself that it will be worth it.

Spread the mixture evenly onto the trays of a dehydrator (my preferred method), or onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Only do this with an oven if you can set it to a really low temperature and you’re around to keep an eye on it.

In the dehydrator, I give it about 24 hours on 115 degrees. In the oven, you’ll have to monitor closely and timing will vary greatly. Report back, if you will, and I can incorporate that info here. You know it’s done when it’s thoroughly dry and will snap apart.

And lastly (also, optionally):

I don’t find this step to be optional, because I think to play with one’s food is an act of virtue, especially when you’re upping the delight factor in consuming said food. Here is where your personal tastes and artistic flair get in on the action…don’t cage that creative beast! I like to add the following:

2 cups shredded coconut, lightly toasted
3 cups sliced “crispy” almonds
2 cups currants, raisins, or juice-sweetened dried cranberries

Pecans and/or walnuts are a fantastic replacement for/addition to the almonds. Goji berries, dried blueberries or cherries, um…apples? Use what you like!

Other flavor options we’ve tried are adding vanilla and/or almond extract, or chili powder in the sweetening step. Oh, and more cinnamon. One time, I had recently dehydrated mint leaves in the dehydrator and didn’t want to deal with cleaning it thoroughly and ended up with a mint-infused cocoa granola, which was quite delicious. Tell me your favorites!

granolakitty

Beezer likes it, too.

I’m a day late, but can I play in the This Week in My Kitchen blog hop? Why yes, yes I can.

Cheers!

the circle game

welivehere

It’s been a wild ride into autumn, life in a constant state of flux-y turmoil sprinkled with the odd joyful moment. The photo above illustrates finding one of those odd joyful moments in a sweet golden hour of the last week of summer, reminding ourselves that we live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Do you remember the 52 Project? It fell off the face of my blog, but not because I’m a slacker. It’s just that this happened, a while back:

birthdayblog

…and The Boy said he didn’t want me to post so many portraits of him in this space anymore.

So, I stopped.

These days, I ask his permission before I publish any posts with his image. He is old enough now to require that consideration and I do my best to respect it. Well, except for right at this moment while he’s in bed, but if he wants me to remove his gleeful splashing face in the morning, I will do so without hesitation. I have a feeling, though, that he’ll really get a kick out of it.

And, remember the One Shot Project? I didn’t discontinue that on account of being a slacker, either. My lens experienced a sudden recovery from its mysterious illness and stopped crapping out after only one shot. Simple as that. I suppose I could have continued with the project, anyway, but it seemed a little…I don’t know…contrived, I guess.

All that said, the only reason I haven’t shared my now-well-tested and ridiculously delicious recipe for fermented cocoa granola is because I’m a slacker. Stay tuned.

recruiting

intimacy

Intimacy

Yo. We’re in our final week of Summer on the Luminous Traces Collective, and I find some relief in our theme of Letting Go. Summer and I, we’re okay and all, but Autumn…well, we’re tight. I’m really looking forward to continuing to host this project through my favorite season in New England, and we’ve got a few spots to fill. If you’re interested in sparking your creative work with a weekly prompt, and sharing your images, please be in touch either here or there! There’s also a FB page, of course, with a magical “Message” button. Use it.

cheese by night (or This Week In My Kitchen, minus the hopping)

cheeeeese

Thank goodness, we finally have a batch of cheese that is not palloumi (what we call our kinda sorta paneer/halloumi hybrid that keeps happening by accident). It’s just delicious, soft goat cheese. Simple. Not perfect. But hey, pretty darn good, anyway.

thecheeseweb

It’s the nighttime routine these days: kid goes to bed, we (he) make cheese or some sort of ferment from our CSA pick up. This week, it’s a bread and butter pickle, but I’m trying a new method.

pickles

Ferment first, with just salt and pickling spices, and then jar it up, replacing the brine with a 50/50 solution of raw honey and apple cider vinegar. After a week or so in the fridge on a slower ferment, they should be ready to eat. Hopefully, this will result in pickles less cloyingly sweet, with the added bonus of not inhibiting fermentation with the raw honey. Stay tuned…

pesto

Aaaaaaaand, I might finally be done with the pesto. Maybe. We lost all of our basil plants, so I’ve had to buy basil from the market. Usually, our crop is ridiculously robust, but the plants all turned brown and crispy before getting productive. This time of year, though, it’s cheap enough at the farmer’s market that I easily filled three ice cube trays with concentrated pesto (I’ll add the parm and more oil when I thaw for use) with a $9 bouquet of six bunches.

Heather’s blog hop isn’t hopping this week, but you know, my kitchen just doesn’t stop.

What’s happening in your kitchen?

late summer

boyweb

river swim

the coolness of yellow painted lines on coal-hot pavement

a red leaf

maybe two, but we pretend not to see them

not yet

one more late morning with no place to be

yes

and one more afternoon to stop and appreciate the randomness of bales in a field

bales

Yarn Along

knitting

Whew, haven’t played this game in a while.

Joining Ginny of Small Things and her sweet Yarn Along, here’s what I have going on in the reading and knitting department this week: a copy of Watership Down that my mum sent me, randomly, in a care package from the home land. It has the flawless, flowing script of her signature in the upper right corner of the front page, and it just so happens that I’ve never read this book, so it’s a Very Nice Thing all around. I happen to be enjoying it very much.

I am also beginning to enjoy my Turmeric Sweater after a brief falling out. Somehow, tinking back 370+ stitches takes about ten times longer than knitting them, but now, the sleeves are separated and the going is simple and steady. The yarn was dyed by the fabulous Adrian of Knittink, and the colorful fabric growing in my hands is playful and happy-making. It’s a nice, seasonal transition piece that will warm me up for the next project, for which I’ll be leading a Knit-Along for the Wonderland Yarns Ravelry group (if you didn’t know, I’m the fiber division at Wonderland/Frabjous Fibers, which is why The Spun Monkey has taken a bit of a back seat).

Even though TSM has been on the backburner, there are several things of note coming up:

On September 5th, I’m teaching a class at Fiber College of Maine called Spinning Your Story. There’s a plethora of amazing workshops, and the whole event is sure to be a blast, so come check it out if you’re near!

On September 6th, and for the rest of the month of September, my work will be on display with other talented area artists at the Crowell Gallery in the Moore Free Library of Newfane, VT for the Windham County Sampler of Weavers and Felters exhibit.

On November 1st-2nd, I’ll be repping the aforementioned fantastically awesome Adrian of Knittink at the Fiber Festival of New England. I’ll have some Spun Monkey goodies there, too, but if you’re worried that she moved away and took Knittink with her, I’ll be ensuring her presence at the FFNE, don’t you fret!

Also, I’ll be scheduling some classes in felting and spinning at Madison Wool this fall, so stay tuned for that.

Heh. Well, that almost looks like a schedule of events! Whew.