There are many sweet things about being back in Israel. Tiny countries (or this one, at any rate) have the tendency to feel like an extended neighborhood. There is a sense of one-ness, smallness, and that, “we’re-all-family-here” feeling. Along with that comes everyone treating each other like family, for better or for worse. Shouting at strangers with a vehemence usually reserved for teenage daughters barking at their moms, is not at all uncommon on the streets of Jerusalem. Nor is responding to a stranger’s question with a tone that mixes condescension and playfulness, the way an older relative or sibling might respond. When I’m feeling more Israeli than Bostonian, I find it charming, on days when it is the opposite, well… not so much.
Whatever my mood, the warm weather makes just about any bad day seem a little less so, and good days, even better, as my body continues its great inner-thaw of 2011. And since it is my firm belief (instilled by my dad) that I won’t get very far without breakfast, I must continue to find warm-weather morning-meals, accordingly.
Although I don’t think I’ll ever tire of my favorite granola recipe, it’s good to switch things up a bit sometimes, and with the summer coming a little sooner here, and lasting quite a bit longer than it does in Boston, a lighter, seasonal granola was in order.
Summer Granola, adapted from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, by Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman
While it may be a tad controversial, I admit to subscribing to many of the food-rants in the modern-day vegan manifesto, “Skinny Bitch”. I would like to qualify my appreciation of their book by saying that I do not think it is suitable for young girls in particular, because it does — to my mind — come a little too close to equating being “good” (as in, a good person) with being a healthy eater, which as some of us know is a recipe for disordered eating. That being said, they make many excellent points about health, and expose the nasty underbelly of the meat industry in a way that grabs the reader’s attention very effectively.
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cups chopped nuts (they recommend sliced almonds, I do a combo of almonds, walnuts and either sunflower or sesame seeds)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbs rice syrup (I use date honey, or more maple syrup)
2 Tbs safflower oil, plus more for greasing the baking sheet (I used coconut oil last time, which needs to be melted)
1 cup chopped dried fruit (optional, I don’t like dried fruit in my granola)
Preheat oven to 300°F/149°C
Arrange the oats on a large rimmed baking sheet, stirring occasionally until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine the nuts, coconut, and salt. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the oil and syrups. Stir the toasted oats into the nut mixture. Add the syrup mixture and stir thoroughly to combine.
Grease the baking sheet. Spread the granola evenly on the sheet and bake, stirring occasionally until golden 25-30 minutes. Stir in the dried fruit, if using, and cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.