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Rockaway sunset by Kirk Schoenherr and nature

Labor Day has passed, and the Northern Hemisphere has officially switched over to fall mindset. Nevermind those 90 degree days coming our way later this week... While writing a heartfelt elegy to Summer 2016 this week sounds like fun (depressing), I would much rather discuss granola and hummus and incense, if I may. Sandalwood cones, anyone?

After being bitten by a hippie bug while wandering the aisles of Northampton's food co-op, there has been a surge in making-it-ourselves in my little Fort Greene oasis. Recipe cards from thoughtful mothers dusted off, cook books dug out of cupboards and blenders put to the test. Good news, Mom: the oven works! It sounds crunchy, but I could pretty much live on hummus and granola- separately- if challenged to. Turns out, we know people who make killer versions of both.

HUMMUS as explained by Aaron

On Saturday night, we tried valiantly to pull off hummus from scratch using a little 80s blender and a lot of intuition. Halfway through the chickpeas later, a smoky smelling motor prevented us from finishing the batch. The official experiment will have to wait til the food processor we ordered shows up on Friday. In the meantime, my friend Aaron, who is one of those guys who happens to love and be patient enough to be good at cooking, explained to me how he makes hummus.

Start by cooking dried chickpeas in a pressure cooker till they are way past cooked.

Blend fresh lemon juice and garlic in a blender. Strain results of chunkies.

Add tahini to blender and whip into a garlic/lemon/tahini sauce.

Into food processor, add chickpeas and tahini sauce in equal parts. Add water or oil as necessary to make super-creamy delish hummus.


The granola Kirk's dad makes is both banging and cost effective- even with Whole Foods pricing. Not heavy on the sweetener, it is some of the best granola I have ever poured hemp milk onto. The batch I just made was pretty janky because I, who am not patient with cooking, started making it at 11:30pm and was missing (kind of) two of the ingredients. The next batch, however, will hopefully hold a candle to the original.

Heat oven to 300.

Mix 4 cups oats w 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/4 teaspoon salt, zest from 2 oranges and 1/4 cup walnut pieces (and 1/4 chia or flax or sunflower, if you're into that).

In pan, heat 1/4 cup butter or oil (This is where I messed up and only had olive oil, which tastes prettttttty weird. Will used coconut oil or canola next time.) and 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup for the fall! (Again, had forgotten to get oranges and wound up juicing a lime into the pan to make up for lost zest.).

Combine dry mixture and wet mixture.

Pour onto rimmed baking sheet and spread evenly. It's okay if it's kind of thick on the baking sheet. Granola is really easy to burn and a thicker batch leaves more room for error. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stir, bake for another 8-12 minutes, keeping a pretty darn close eye on those final minutes, when things are sure to get crispy.

Add 2/3 cup raisins, craisins or currants at the end if you like. They get much crispier than the oats in the oven and can taste a little burnt if you add them earlier.

Last but not least, incense. Does anyone know what incense is MADE of? I have been burning an awful lot of it lately and have no idea what this powdery brown goodness is.

Rockaway sunset, photo by Kirk Schoenherr

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