Well, here I go again, promising to update this site more regularly and then waiting more than a week to add a new post. Sigh. Baby steps, right?
But you should be excited about today’s recipe because it’s easy, healthy and so, so good. It’s become my favorite granola recipe, and I try to bake a batch every few weeks. The recipe began as the “Quick Omega-3 Granola” I ripped from a Bon Appetit magazine a year or two ago, but over the years I’ve tweaked it here and there, and now I think it’s even better than the original.
I love granola sprinkled on yogurt or eaten right out of my hand, but my #1 favorite way to eat this granola is sprinkled on vanilla ice cream. I know, I know — that sort of defeats the purpose, right? Well, the way I see it, I’m just making dessert a little healthier. Because I’m eating dessert, healthy or not, so it might as well have a little fiber, right? Right.
I like to make a big batch and keep a small tin in the cupboard and the rest in a large Ziploc bag in the freezer, which prevents the nuts from going rancid and — horror of horrors — the granola from getting soggy. Every time I reach the bottom of the tin, I refill it with a little more from the freezer. Works like a charm.
Homemade granola also makes a great host/hostess gift when you’re tired of bringing wine or feel like bringing something a little different. It’s the kind of thing your hosts will tuck away for later, only to email you as soon as you get home to say they’ve already eaten half the bag. With granola this delicious, who could blame them?
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I’m not exactly sure when my love affair with ricotta cheese began, but I’m pretty sure it dates back to my infancy. Occasionally for breakfast, my mother would whip up a mixture of ricotta cheese and powdered sugar, and by all accounts, I used to wolf the confection down like an eating machine. Can you blame me? She was basically serving me a baby-proof cannoli for breakfast.
As I grew older, I somehow shifted my affections from sweet ricotta recipes to savory ones, most of which involved pasta and red sauce: ravioli, manicotti, my Aunt Robin’s stuffed shells. Make no mistake: My family is not Italian. We are, apparently, a bunch of ricotta loving Jews. But ethnicity aside, I loved the taste of the soft, mellow cheese up against the tangy tomato sauce.
Many years later, I’ve returned to my sweet-ricotta-for-breakfast roots. But seeing as I now have teeth, I’ve updated the recipe. It couldn’t be simpler, really: fresh, crusty bread topped with ricotta and drizzled with honey. I like to use bread that’s chock full of goodies, something like a cranberry walnut loaf (if you’re in DC, get thee to the Penn Quarter farmer’s market) or this homemade granola bread.
The recipe for this bread is of the no-knead variety, which makes it a snap to throw together. Yes, the no-knead concept has become a little gimmicky, and I will never jettison old school kneaded bread, but just because something is gimmicky doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Studded with granola and perfumed with honey and cinnamon, this bread smells divine as it bakes. Throw some fresh ricotta and honey into the mix and Installment #2 of the “Breakfast Series” might be one of my favorite weekday breakfasts ever.
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In my experience, “Passover” and “delicious” and “weekday breakfast” are not words that belong in the same sentence. On Passover, Jews must remove all grains from their diet, including anything derived from wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt. That means no cereal, no muffins, no bagels, no oatmeal — essentially, none of the staples that get me through my workday morning.
Sure, there are “Kosher for Passover” muffins and cereals made with matzo meal, but have you ever tasted some of these alleged breakfast goodies? Most of them are gritty, tasteless disasters. And of course there is always the taste sensation that is matzo itself, but somehow allowing my stomach’s first encounter with food in more than 8 hours to be an indigestible cardboard-like wafer seems like cruel and unusual punishment.
Friends have told me that breakfast is the “easiest” meal during Passover because you can eat scrambled eggs and breakfast potatoes and omelets. Perhaps these people have time to prepare a leisurely breakfast on your average Tuesday morning. I don’t.
So year after year, I’m on a quest to find quick, tasty breakfast recipes that I can eat during Passover, and this year, I may have hit the jackpot: Kosher for Passover granola. Matzo farfel (basically ground up matzo) stands in for the oats in a nut-filled granola, sweetened with honey and flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg and coconut.
You can sprinkled some over a bowl of Greek yogurt and honey, as I do, or you can eat it with milk or right out of your hand. I don’t think I’ll complain about Passover breakfast ever again.
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