Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Crunchy Goodness

Monday morning dawned.  Sort of.  The sky lightened to grey.  This was a misty, foggy Sonoma County morning.  And it was still beautiful.  Damp mornings like this invite bread-baking and things done indoors.  They encourage you to listen to the quiet, and every sound seems muffled.  There's always a peaceful feel to the morning air at the ranch, but each season has its own rhythm, it's own feel, it speaks to you differently.

Weed whacking is going to be ongoing for a while, and Monday was no exception.  Back yard and near the barn this time.

I hadn't made bagels in about a week, and the kids were sad and missing them.  This was the perfect morning to start a batch early.  The last time I wrote about this King Arthur Flour recipe, I said I was going to modify it.  I did, indeed, and discovered that sometimes a good thing is best left alone.  I won't change the ingredients in this recipe again, except perhaps to add to it (cheese!).  My previous suggestions about handling the dough are still good.

Cornbread is going to have to wait still.  I went to the regular grocery store to find cornmeal, and there's nothing organic or trusted or guaranteed GMO free, so I will wait until I can get to Big John's and see what they have available.

The chevre turned out so good that I have decided I will not make cream cheese anymore.  Chevre is better!

Since I've skipped cornbread for now, granola is the next recipe in Make the Bread, Buy the Butter.  It looked really simple, and all the ingredients needed were at hand.

Oh. My. Goodness.  I tasted it before I put the granola into the oven.  I could have eaten it all right then!

The house smelled like toasted oats, brown sugar and maple for an hour.  When the granola was done, I couldn't wait to taste the golden brown, crunchy goodness.  Success!  I added 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest to the recipe just because I thought that would be good.  It gives it just a slight hint of orange that goes well with the rest of the flavors.  I skipped the wheat germ and coconut because I didn't have any and I'm not a big fan of them.  The nice thing about this recipe is that it can be tailored to your taste.  Fabulous!

The timing was perfect, and the bagels were ready to go into their water bath immediately after the granola was done.  (I can hardly wait to break out the chevre to top a fresh bagel with.)  Tuesday's venture is going to be yogurt, and I am looking forward to putting some of this granola on top of that!

I brought a quart jar full of the granola in the car when I picked Becca and Sophie up from school.  By the time they got in the car, 1/4 of it was gone.  By the time we got home, only 1/4 was left.  The granola is a big hit, and the kids are talking about selling it at school.

Monday night I did the regular chick head count and again came up one short.  Traz had somehow gotten out of the box, which is more than four times her height, and found her way past the bird netting over the top.  I secured it more carefully with clothespins.  There's a cat in the next room and dogs in the house.  I think Traz doesn't really understand how safe she is in the box.  I'm looking at chicken coop plans so that we can get one built and get the chicks outside when the weather's better.  Now that they are bigger, they are anxious to explore.

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