(photo credit: Courtesy/MCT)
My daughter tells me that it snowed today in New York where she is visiting, and
the weatherman is predicting zero degree temperatures. I told her to enjoy it
because it’s even colder than her destination – Xenia, Ohio – where zero is just
the average temperature in April. Fortunately I’m here in Tel Aviv, where
save for a few quick showers, the weather is glorious – and it’s already
If you haven’t already done so, autumn is a good time to add
cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger to your shopping list – and to your cooking.
Recent studies show what the ancients knew instinctively that cinnamon (kinamon
in Hebrew) contains powerful antioxidants that can help treat colds and
congestion and help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. I add a whole quill to
rice and grain dishes, cider, chicken and meat dishes, and the ground spice in
baked goods and curries.
Cloves (tziporen) occupy dual places in my home
– in the kitchen and the medicine cabinet. Studies have shown that cloves
contain more antioxidants than most other foods and contain anti-inflammatory
and anticlotting properties.
Use a pinch of the ground spice or a few
whole cloves in conjunction with cinnamon and nutmeg in cider and spiced baked
goods, as well as stewed pears. And if you have a toothache or your gums are
bothering you, rub a little of the ground spice on the affected area to kill the
pain and germs.
Nutmeg (egoz muskat) can be purchased as ground or whole
nuts. Nutmeg helps the digestion of fat and is traditionally added to lamb
dishes, but a scrape or two of the nut is enough to upgrade any dish such as
Indian-style rice and is delicious in cider.
Many years ago I read that
nutmeg can relax and promote sleep, especially when added to warm milk (or other
calcium-containing drinks) and I have used the combination together with a
little cinnamon and honey for flavor ever since, when either one of my girls or
I have suffered from restless nights.
Ginger (zangvil) has been used by
both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to alleviate nausea, and it is beneficial to
the immune system, helping to cope with the onset of cold-weather ills and
chills. Use the freshly grated root in vegetable dishes, soups, in tea
with honey and to add an Asian flavor to most anything, especially
This week I’d like to share one of my favorite recipes with
you – a granola that you can make in a frying pan. There are many
ready-made granolas on the market, but like everything else (especially
breakfast cereals) they are very expensive and offer little value for money. In
addition, most of them are too sugarsweetened for my taste, contain heated oils,
artificial flavor enhancers in the dried fruit and ingredients you may want to
On the other hand, the traditional way of making homemade granola
is rather time-consuming. Preheating the oven is necessary as is frequent
stirring or shaking the contents of the pan for even browning. I used to do it
once in a while, but I never actually enjoyed the process until I invented
“frying pan granola” with no added fat as an answer to a request to create a
healthy super-breakfast muesli or granola-type dish for a TV show. The only
catch was – no oven!
Since then, my maple syrup-sweetened frying pan granola is in high demand around my house, and I’ve created a far less
expensive, healthier version of the commercial product that I can vary according
to my daughters’ desires and what I have on hand in my pantry. It’s fun to make
and even tastier.
For best results, use the largest, widest non-stick
frying pan you have so the oats can toast in a thin, even layer. If not, you may
have to do it in two batches.
You’ll may want to turn on some music while
you stir the oats often so they just turn golden but don’t brown. Use medium-low
heat and be patient. Once they are toasted, the rest of the process takes just a
few minutes. You’ll love the results.MAPLE & CINNAMON FRYING PAN
✔ 3 cups rolled oats
✔ 4-5 Tbsp. shredded coconut
✔ 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
1⁄4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
✔ 1⁄4 cup almonds
✔ 3-4 Tbsp. real maple syrup
✔ 1⁄3 cup raisins or mixed raisins and cranberries
✔ 1⁄4 – 1⁄3 cup
✔ Options: sesame, sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
Spread the oats in
an even layer in a large non-stick frying pan and toast over medium-low heat,
stirring frequently, till just golden and crispy.
Add the cinnamon,
coconut, nuts and any seeds if desired, and toast, stirring about 2-3
minutes. Lower heat.
Pour in the maple syrup equally and continue
stirring for 2-3 minutes till the oats are dry. Add the raisins and wheat
germ. When fully cooled, store in an air-tight jar in the
(If not adding wheat germ, granola may be stored at room