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Letter from Home: August '23
Summer exits stage right, pursued by whale
Apologies for being less active on The Machine Shop in recent weeks; as you know, all of my keyboard clickety-clacking these days is given over to working on this book — and likely will be given over to that end for the foreseeable future! When you spend all this time chained to the laptop, opening the browser to write more words on to the computer in a different application is a tough sell. And my mind is so much in this book, I’m having a hard time finding stuff that meets the very high standard of content for the Machine Shop. All this to say: hello, sorry for not writing last week.
Summer on the farm has been pleasant, though the last few weeks have been both hot and smokey. Our garden, newly free of the pecking and scratching from the chickens since we installed a new chicken run, has been thriving; we’re now enjoying a nice harvest of cherry tomatoes, basil, carrots, peppers, and a variety of herbs. Carson is currently perfecting her French omelette skills to varying degrees of success. She got the idea from watching the TV show The Bear, a show which we heartily recommend, if for nothing more than their impeccable taste in music licensing.
On the cooking front, I’m reminded, just now, of the granola that I made this morning, which is so delicious that I am often reminded of it throughout the day for no reason in particular. Because you are a beloved subscriber to the Machine Shop, I will give you the recipe here:
Colin’s Famous Granola
(Adapted from the more-famous Eleven Madison Park granola, as featured in the New York Times)
Preheat the oven to 300. Combine the following in a mixing bowl:
275 grams whole oats
100 grams slivered almonds
50 grams pumpkin seeds
I table spoon salt
Mix that up a bit and then add:
1/2 cup brown sugar (115 g)
1/3 cup oil* (60 g)
1/3 cup maple syrup (110 g)
Mix all together and spread out on a sheetpan. Bake for 35 minutes. When it’s done, give it a couple stirs — depending on how chunky/fine you like your granola. Serve with yogurt and berries!
*A note on oil: the Eleven Madison Park recipe calls for olive oil, but I always found that too bold of a flavor in granola. I switched to coconut oil for a bit, which was delicious, and I highly recommend it, but it does make things a bit more laborious — you’ve got to melt down the coconut with the syrup and brown sugar. I’ve since defaulted to canola oil, which works just fine and doesn’t disrupt the salt/sweet flavor of the granola.
I’m not sure what the cup-measurements are for the dry ingredients, but you can work that out, can’t you? Or better yet, get yourself a food scale! They’re ace.
You guys, earlier in the summer, I had a dream. A dream to watch movies on the side of our 120 year-old barn. I’m sure that’s what the Schatzes, the family that erected the barn in the first place, intended for it all along.
I enlisted my friend Jacob to help see this dream into reality. There was much discussion between myself, Jacob, and Carson, as to the design and ease-of-use of this screen and it was some weeks in the making. Finally, the big day came on Saturday. I think Jacob and I were both a bit surprised to see how easily the plan was put into action — and only one extra trip to Home Depot was required. Our inaugural movie night? A showing of William Friedkin’s (RIP) 1977 undersung masterpiece Sorcerer. The kids, who were angling for some kind of animated thing, were chagrined by the choice and angrily defected to some gaming in the TV room. Well, it was their loss. Sorcerer looks and sounds great on the big screen; Tangerine Dream did the soundtrack, ffs! I hear that Hollywood Theater is hosting a screening soon. You should go if you can make it.
This week is given over to writing; next week I’ll be back in the studio, making up for the lost time that my early-summer COVID bout cost me. The material is prepped; the hours are booked. We’re making a record, folks! Watch this space for nuts-and-bolts, behind-the-scenes studio diaries in the weeks to come.
Happy Summer’s End!
Bonus content: Please enjoy this Napalm Death Peel Session from 1987.