"From Scratch," Maine Food Workshops + Cranberry Granola Recipe

We're trying something different with our educational programming at work with our new workshop series, From Scratch: Your Maine Kitchen. After the great success of food blogger and author Marisa McLellan's of Food in Jars demonstration in August, we hope to keep the momentum rolling with cookbook authors and local experts presenting on various Maine foods.

So far, we've had two workshops; in November's "From the Maine Wild," author Kate Krukowski Gooding talked about cooking with wild game and prepared a delicious beaver Bourguignon. The recipe is in her most recent cookbook, 50 Ways to Eat a Beaver (and don't worry, she is aware of the wink, wink meaning of the title!). 

Master Food Preserver Karyn Small, who owns Butcher Boys Deer Cutting in Bowdoin, talked about preparing venison and offered samples of her venison jerky. There were a fair amount of hunters in the class, but as someone who doesn't hunt, I loved being able to try wild meats like beaver and deer. 

I taught December's workshop, with my friend and Master Food Preserver Allison Carroll Duffy making an appearance to promote her cookbook, Preserving with Pomona's Pectin. We made one of Allison's recipes, spiced cranberry pear jam, in this Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen class. Running with the cranberry theme, we also made cranberry granola (recipe below), and a cranberry pilaf mix in a jar. The gifts together would make a lovely basket for a friend or, individually, great host/ess gifts at holiday parties. 

Next month, Saturday, January 17th, we have friend of Extension Sheri Fistal teaching us how to make sourdough bread. We'll be baking bread, and everyone will go home with some sourdough starter. Michael Scholz, the miller at Maine Grains, will also be there to tell us all about flour and how it relates to baking - sourcing, storing, different kinds, gluten levels, etc. 

In February, we're learning about winter seafood and seaweed. We've got three instructors lined up: Barton Seaver, a local cookbook author and sustainable seafood expert; Hillary Krapf, seaweed enthusiast; and Maine Sea Grant's Sarah Redmond. I'm looking forward to seeing what "seaweed comfort food" recipes Hillary serves up. 

Other From Scratch topics include "Weird" Maine Fermentables (goat's milk yogurt, water kefir, and tempeh) in March, Maine Cheese Pairings in April, Maine Foraging in May, and Drinking the Harvest (Fall 2015). Workshops are Saturdays from 10am to 1pm and cost $40. Registration is available online. Hope to see you!

Maine Cranberry Granola
Yield: 6 cups

5 cups Maine Grains rolled oats (available at Whole Foods)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg 
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pecans (or any nuts you like)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
1-1/2 cups dried cranberries   

Preheat oven to 300°F. Coat cookie sheet with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients, except dried fruit, on cooking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Once cooled, add the dried fruit and mix well. Store in an airtight container.