I went to my favorite kitchen supply store the other day in search of specific items to use in my new nifty range with the dehydrator option. After much time spent researching and reading about best practices for dehydrating food and how best to adapt products for use in the oven, a very clear picture formed in my mind of exactly what I should be getting and pleased that I would be bypassing the purchase of yet another machine to do the work I was intent on doing. The hidden agenda of investing in a more economical solution lurked behind the intent. So imagine my chagrin at discovering that not a single one of the things I came to this store to purchase were available here. The kind clerk pointed me instead to the dehydrator machines for sale. He ignored my irritation and frustration (smile) and proceeded to show me what the store did have to offer, such as stainless steel drying racks and perforated ‘Silpain’ silicone sheets that can be used for baking anything. I resisted for awhile while weighing and measuring the alternative of going somewhere else, or of buying the clunky machine that would become yet another single use thing to find storage space for, and finally selected two racks and two of the silicone mats, and went one more time to stand in front of ‘the machine’ only to realized that the total of the items I would be purchasing actually would cost more than the machine. The clerk magically appeared in this moment to catch my despair. He calmly suggested that the items I selected actually had multiple and long lasting uses, how could I go wrong? He gave me a brief education on the merits of the Silpain silicone sheets and the sense of it all sunk in. I was sold. And even if the reason for being able to shift in that moment wasn’t necessarily clear, being able to recognize and accept that moment was. Feeling confident and full of promise now, I went on to select something I had been functioning without for too long, a small 4 cup Cuisinart food processor to replace my 12 cup master model that died too many years ago. Then went to the food coop where I do my shopping to get some dates.
All this to make the crunchy raw buckwheat granola I have been craving.
A friend shared a package of GoRaw Original Granola when visiting last year and I loved the simplicity of this living food made with buckwheat groats**, flax seeds, raisins, and dates. Discovered that a small one pound bag of this granola costs about $12.00 in the store. Found a recipe online thinking I would make my own version. Went to the store and bought a big bag of organic buckwheat groats. Never made the granola. Moved the two full jars of groats with me to the new house and have now decided it is time to actually use them. After checking out the recipe which includes buckwheat groats, flax seeds, walnuts, almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, sesame a seeds, dried fruit, apples and dates, realize everything is here, I can substitute cashews for walnuts and all I need is dates and a process for properly dehydrating the whole thing.
Which brings me back to arriving home with all my new equipment, and dates, to begin making this granola.
Let me say out of the gate, this is a commitment. The actual recipe I used can be found at http:/www.smallfootprintfamily.com/raw-buckwheat-granola#ixzz2fZma73zi. It is not for the impatient or quick fix. No, it is a process that sucks you in and takes a minimum of fifty six hours to complete. As a new companion for a few days, it invites experimentation and consideration, and adapting to the rhythm of the days it is visiting.
I follow all the directions for soaking and sprouting the buckwheat grouts. After hours of soaking they ooze a glutinous discharge and there is a certain satisfaction to standing at the sink with the soaked grouts in a colander, hands plunged into the slippery mass, swishing clear water through to cleanse and invigorate. I do this at least three or four times during the soaking and sprouting period. Next is soaking the nuts and seeds, and for making the apple date cinnamon purée to hold everything together. Lay the perforated silicone mats on top of the racks, a perfect fit! Spreading the batter, I am pleasantly surprised to see half of what is in the bowl also spreads perfectly on one mat to the desired 1/4″ thickness. Both loaded trays go into the oven for the first round of drying. And the ease just keeps going. Every step of the process feels streamlined and meant to be with these new tools I have just bought, as if they are saying to me, “You have no idea just how adaptable we are!” A day and a half later, I have perfectly dry granola, crunchy and delicious, totally gluten and oil free. A half cup in a bowl with some yogurt and a splash of maple syrup? Divine!!
I am once again left with the feeling of how completely free and inspired I feel after simply adapting with what is there instead of thinking something else is needed or has to be different. Haven’t I already been writing about this for years? But here I am, still catching moments of resistance, and still reveling in the moments of joy that come when all flows beautifully, just for letting go…
Nora has provided some inspiration here too. It is hunting season. For all us dog people living in the country this means never leaving the house without a brilliantly fluorescent orange garment of some sort for both dog and human. It’s not like I waited to the last minute. No, stores of all kind were sold out of any medium sized dog vest that would fit Nora weeks ago. In desperation I bought both a cowbell and a human vest and cap thinking I would figure something out. Each time we get ready for a walk Nora stands patiently while I wrap this vest around her svelt body and endeavor to pin it snugly all in place. Each time it is a different arrangement, a different fit. Then comes the harness, onto which I attach the bell. If I don’t get the leash on and out the door quickly after this, she runs around in frustration rubbing up against the couch trying to peel this ridiculous makeshift getup off. But the minute we get outside all is forgotten and even the crazy ringing of the bell as she races around in the woods off leash doesn’t deter her from her usual enthusiasm. I stand at the bottom of a small hill and look at her in a moment of repose and realize yes, even Nora can adapt and feel the joy of letting go and adapting to the moment….
**(A good source for information about the merits of buckwheat can be found here….http://whfoods.org//genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=11