'halva' energy balls with kasha

today i got a little taste of being a celebrity chef. well sort of. i had the opportunity to be interviewed on natural choice network's radio show! i was joined by carey thornton, an instructor from seattle tilth who teaches all sorts of interesting things and is an expert on all things pickled and preserved. together, we talked about different methods of preserving harvests, the difference between pickling and fermenting, where to buy bulk farm fresh produce, and about foods fit for hiking, camping or any outdoor adventure. you can listen to the full segment via the networks archive (listen here) and as promised, i wanted to share with all the listeners my favorite trail food recipe and share some links for a few of the things mentioned during the show! 

first, let's talk about a typical day hike or full day adventure. most likely, pack weight is not a huge issue in comparison to an overnight backpacking trip where every ounce counts... in those cases, dehydrated food is key. especially if you'll be replenishing your water mid trip. but when it's just a single day, you are going to need adequate hydration anyways - so whether that comes from food or water, you'll be carrying the same water weight no matter what. 

for a typically day hiking around and climbing outdoors, david and i typically hit the trail with: (1) smoothies - packed with frozen fruit so that it stays cold event after we take it out of the cooler in the car, (2) energy balls - recipe below - or some other kind of nut-based snack, like these pecan flour biscuits, (3) salmon jerky - we love loki fish's salmon jerky, an avocado in a tupperware or some hard cheese, and my favorite 'all rye' breaf from tall grass bakery and (4) nuun tablets, which david recently became obsessed with. 

photo/gif by james ransom

i'll also mention my other favorite product for packing snacks. bee's wrap! it's like reusable plastic wrap!!! it's durable, washable, and is perfect for tossing into your backpack! pack it in, pack it out. you can find it on provisions (which by the way, if you want to do me a solid, you can follow this referral link!!! you get a $20 credit and then i get a nice little credit to provisions for purchasing more food photography props for this blog... so please, help a gal clutter up her kitchen even more!) 

and finally. this recipe for my favorite day-hike snack. you can use any type of nut butter really, or any type of dried fruit in place of the goji berries. if using tahini, note that the 365 brand tahini is very runny in comparison to other brands. i'll have to test the recipe sometime with another brand tahini to see if proportions need to change. but the final texture should not be overly crumbly or too sticky. 

buckwheat groats & a snack pack

"halva" energy balls with kasha ~ makes about 15 balls
2/3 cup organic tahini (i used whole foods 365 brand) 
3/4 cup toasted kasha (aka buckwheat groats)
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup dried goji berries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt

in a food processor, combine chopped dates and dried fruit. pulse until finely chopped. add tahini (or another nut butter), honey and salt and pulse to combine. transfer mixture to a bowl and add kasha and chia seeds. use hands to evenly mix. wash your hands (clean hands make it easier to roll the balls), then scoop up about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and roll it into a ball, compressing them a bit with your palms so that the kasha does not crumble apart. set finished balls into a tupperware. store in airtight container in the fridge or freezer. they do not require refrigeration (they are fine for multi-day hikes), but they store longer in the fridge and even longer in the freezer.