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A Jack of All Trades...

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

I think by now we've established that I am not a food photographer. I'm not really a photographer, period. I'm a cook and an aspiring writer, amongst many other things. Hopefully, the photographs are good enough to get you interested in reading about the food and what I have to say about it. And even more so, I hope that you are inspired enough by what I show and say about it to try it yourself. Because that is the crux of what this all about.

There is a disturbing trend in the world today that says we should outsource all of our needs. It's done in the name of community and inclusivity and connection. Things I'm all for. But the unintended consequence of this drive is that it ultimately limits your capabilities and drives us to specialize into very tight niches. As we've seen, though, niches come and go. Why this blog is a perfect example. I mean who reads any more? Obviously you do, and I'm so grateful for that, but by choosing this format I've intentionally narrowed my reach. If you notice, everyone else is doing videos...

But I believe in the power of the outlier and in the transitive property of skills. The transitive property of skills? Oh, that just means that a skill while it may not be particularly successful in it's own realm (i.e. good writing in a world that doesn't read) it can have substantial carry over in other realms. I'm an unapologetic generalist.

A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.

And I believe the more things I can learn to do competently the better use I am to my society. Of course the specialist is of great value and if I need heart surgery I want the best heart surgeon I can get. But what if, by pursuing my own general studies I create a life where I don't need a heart surgeon?

Like everything in life, there is a bit of a gamble to this approach. All we know for certain is that the future is uncertain. Don't mistake my musings here for a prescription. I'm not saying you should abandon your specialty, I think I'm trying to explain why I don't have one. Maybe at the end of all this we'll get a chance to compare notes.

Homemade Yogurt and Nut Granola

In the spirit of the above ramblings I offer you this tasty snack, healthy dessert, or yummy breakfast. Enjoy it as you will.

As I continue to explore the power of my Instant Pot I decided to make my own yogurt. If you have an Instant Pot. If you eat yogurt with any regularity. You have to try this. It is so simple. Take a gallon of milk. Go ahead, splurge, get the good stuff. You know that organic whole milk they sell at Whole Paycheck for $5 and change for a half gallon? Yeah, that stuff. While you're there grab a single serving of plain yogurt. Doesn't matter, just grab one you like. Get a good one because it may well be that last time you buy yogurt ever again.

Pour that gallon of milk and the yogurt into your Instant Pot. Whisk it all together. Put the lid on. Close the steam release valve, hit the yogurt button, and set it for eight hours. Walk away.

It's that simple. Eight hours later open that bad boy up and enjoy. Admittedly a gallon of whole milk yogurt might be a bit hard to take in in one sitting, so you might want to grab some jars or other containers to keep the rest of your yogurt in. Store it in the fridge.

Now I know most of you won't be all agog for a bowl of just plain yogurt. I keep mine plain for greater versatility. I can use it in either savory or sweet dishes (ah yogurt, the great generalist) but if you want you could sweeten it with honey, maple syrup, or cooked fruit. To sweeten mine I add the following concoction:



Coconut Oil

Maple Syrup

That's the base anyway. I use whatever nuts and seeds I have on hand. Pictured above is a blend of walnuts, pecans, and chia seeds. My current mix is walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seed, and hemp seeds. Why no pecans? I ate them all in the last batch.

Once I've got my nut and seed mix I stir them all up with enough coconut oil to coat, a pinch of salt, and sweeten with the maple syrup. This then gets spread out onto a sheet pan and popped into the oven at 250 degrees for two hours. Store in an airtight container. I average about a quart and a half with each batch and that lasts two or three days...Don't judge me.

If you like you can add dried fruit to this mix, just wait until after you're done with the oven before doing so. A couple nights ago I added a couple tablespoons of cocoa nibs for an after dinner sweet.

So there you have it. When you're almost out of yogurt save a half to three quarters of a cup to start your next batch. See? You'll never have to buy yogurt again.

If you try this, please let me know how it goes. Comment here, on Facebook, on the Instagrams, or even on LinkedIn. I'd love to hear from you.

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