April granola

April

April's Got the Blues

April’s got the Blues first walked through the early morning Providence fog about 3 years ago, making her way along the East Side and over the Point street bridge, Friendship, Elmwood, then cutting over to Potters, and down Cranston.

Then she was gone. We never quite knew if she’d make it back through here again. Until the soulful Allysen Callery wrote a song about her--then we had a pretty good guess.

Sure enough, a year later she ambled through. But she’s strange that way. She takes her time, but you still almost have to run to catch up. If you’re not a granola-of-the month subscriber you might not have known she stopped back in.

It wouldn’t be fair to say she’s shy. Independent, certainly. A little surreptitious. Maybe she just doesn’t need any of us. I know I’ve been so caught up in the craziness of getting our new non-profit, Beautiful Day, started that I almost missed my chance to let you know. But she’s been here. As beautiful as ever, with even more of those bright California apricots complimenting her deep husky blues.

I confess I’m a little in love.

Ingredients: Oats (org), honey (pesticide-free from Aquidneckhoney), apricots (CA sulphured), granulated cane juice), canola oil (org), coconut (org), sesame seeds (org), barley (org), cranberries (w/ sugar, safflower oil), almonds, oat bran (org), pecans, wheat germ, sunflower seeds (org), flax seeds (org), walnuts, dried blueberries (w/ sugar safflower oil), oat fiber, vanilla, cinnamon, sea salt, nutmeg, almond extract.

 

March grnaola

March

Pistachio Cardamom

First things first: March is here, and along with it Pistachio Cardamom, which is already on its way to granola-of-the-month customers.

I really love this recipe. I pan-toasted, hand peeled, and ground the cardamom myself. We used dates, toasted pistachios, pistachio oil, a few drops of rose water, and no cranberries, raisins, or almonds. (Don’t let the rose water scare you. Americans steer clear of flowery smells in their food, but this is nothing like Crabtree and Evelyn. Think of it as summer arriving; a whiff of Newport’s wild roses on a warm breeze. Check the bottom of this post for the full ingredients.

Evon Nano, an Iraqi refugee and one of our first employees, and now our shift manager, collaborated with me to invent this recipe. Last year, when Evon discovered an Egyptian pyramid on the label, I had a bit of explaining to do. Geoff and I had intended a little shout out to the heroes of Tahrir Square. Evon, thankfully, is understanding.

This time we’ve tipped our hats to Evon’s Assyrian ancestry with a rendition of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. For those that don’t know, Assyrians are a largely Christian and historically persecuted minority group who speak a form of Aramaic, the language of first century Palestine. They account for about 5% of Iraq’s population, yet make up nearly forty percent of Iraqi refugees (according to some UN statistics). And they have a long history of suffering persecution—and not just from Saddam Hussein’s regime. By some counts, up to 750 thousand were killed in a genocide by the armies of the Ottoman Empire. (http://www.christianpost.com/news/assyrian-christians-most-vulnerable-population-in-iraq-23863/)

Pistachio Cardamom

First things first: March is here, and along with it Pistachio Cardamom, which is already on its way to granola-of-the-month customers.

I really love this recipe. I pan-toasted, hand peeled, and ground the cardamom myself. We used dates, toasted pistachios, pistachio oil, a few drops of rose water, and no cranberries, raisins, or almonds. (Don’t let the rose water scare you. Americans steer clear of flowery smells in their food, but this is nothing like Crabtree and Evelyn. Think of it as summer arriving; a whiff of Newport’s wild roses on a warm breeze. Check the bottom of this post for the full ingredients.

Evon Nano, an Iraqi refugee and one of our first employees, and now our shift manager, collaborated with me to invent this recipe. Last year, when Evon discovered an Egyptian pyramid on the label, I had a bit of explaining to do. Geoff and I had intended a little shout out to the heroes of Tahrir Square. Evon, thankfully, is understanding.

This time we’ve tipped our hats to Evon’s Assyrian ancestry with a rendition of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. For those that don’t know, Assyrians are a largely Christian and historically persecuted minority group who speak a form of Aramaic, the language of first century Palestine. They account for about 5% of Iraq’s population, yet make up nearly forty percent of Iraqi refugees (according to some UN statistics). And they have a long history of suffering persecution—and not just from Saddam Hussein’s regime. By some counts, up to 750 thousand were killed in a genocide by the armies of the Ottoman Empire. (http://www.christianpost.com/news/assyrian-christians-most-vulnerable-population-in-iraq-23863/)

Dec granola

January

You don’t need to tell me that it’s a very bad habit. I can’t help it. I love it: I climb in bed, half-planning to go to sleep, but then plug in my earbuds, and end up watching a Netscape movie on my iphone. Sometimes half. Sometimes the whole thing.

Sometimes explosions and car chases. This week it was Kiarostami’s Certified Copy (about as awful a title as Abbas Kiarostami is a wonderful name) (and bravo to Netflicks for actually making some interesting stuff available for streaming) (and who are the jerks that gave it 3.5 stars?--Juliette Binoche deserves at least that many just for being Juliette Binoche). Okay, I'm probably being pretentious. I admit I love slow movies and subtitles.

This is a little film. No crashes. No gunfights. Perfect for an iphone with earbuds in bed.

I won’t give too much away in case you watch it, but it does have a long-haired texting teenager, a mediocre bottle of wine, a golden tree before which delightfully superstitious (and impatient) young lovers say their vows. There is waiting and wondering, critiques and interruptions, originals and fakes, walking together and lot of lagging behind. Some memories remembered, others forgotten or lost. There are young lovers and old, believers and skeptics, and one piece of unsought but remarkably astute fatherly advice (this seemed so un-European) from a stranger. (Actually, now that I think of it, there’s some unsought motherly intuition as well—how gratifying when the wise get to share their wisdom, if only by the way they walk and hold each other up.) There’s a secret little prayer (though it’s overseen) whispered in the same church where Juliette removes her bra. (This astounded me: I know next to nothing about Kiarostami, but since when did film-makers start portraying the church as a place to ask for help and experience a little liberation!)

And in each scene, whatever’s going on in the background seems to be what matters most. The foreground—the action, the plot—just keeps getting in the way. Perhaps I should revise my recommendation and caution against a 3.5 inch screen.

What else:

A couple naked statues in a fountain.

Three languages.

Three or four dark flights of stairs.

A marriage bed.

A happy accordion. (While this is no Last Tango in Paris--certainly there’s no wild nameless romanceless sex--there is a top floor, and a Frenchwoman and a Englishman in Italy.)

An open window.

Bells tolling.

An implicit invitation to go ahead and ask for whom they toll.)

There are no refugees, but surely all transplanted people carry some of their loneliness with them. (I just looked him up. Our friend, Kiarostami, is عباس کیارستمی from Iran. No wonder he understands displacement.)

And, no—no granola.

But the reason I bring all this up is that I’ve dared imagine that our January granola wouldn’t be out of place in that little Italian Courtyard.

We’ve named it Amaretto Pear.

Di Saronna Amaretto Pera if you prefer.

Delicate, soft; the sadness of bitter almonds, the sweetness of pears, the wisdom of almond oil.

(And also a few plums, nectarines, and marzipan to keep them company—see below for the ingredients and a confession.)

It comes with artwork by Becky Joy (who gave us her permission to reproduce for commercial purposes her beautiful picture). Check her out via google.

Clearly I’m getting carried away. I will stop. It’s close to midnight. I’m heading to bed. It's late. I have my phone.

One small piece of unsought advice: we made a first batch of 125 pounds, but 80 went out in today’s mail to granola-of-the-month subscribers. You can do the math. We’ll start selling at the farmer’s markets tomorrow. Perhaps we’ll make more. No promises.

Buonanotte.

Oats (org), honey (pesticide-free from Aquidneckhoney), cranberries (cranberries, sugar, safflower oil), almond oil, canola oil (org), granulated cane juice, coconut (org), almonds, sesame seeds (org), barley (org), macaroon paste, pears, oat bran (org), wheat germ, pecans, sunflower seeds (org), flax seeds (org), nectarines, plums, amaretto liquor, oat fiber, sea salt, cinnamon, almond extract, nutmeg, cloves.

Confession: While we usually make every effort to be all-natural, we did include fruit and macaroon paste in this recipe that contain sulfur dioxide or potassium sorbate. The dried fruit is superior quality from Bella Viva Orchards in California. As much as we hate the chemicals, we’ve had lousy luck using (especially stone fruit) without it.