Monday, September 17, 2012

What's Cooking? A High Holy Day

Happy new year, to all of my fellow Semites. Today was the first of two days of Rosh Hashanah, literally meaning the 'Head of the Year.' It is one of the high holy days on the Jewish calendar, preceding the day of atonement (Yom Kippur) by 10 days. This entire period is one of self reflection - looking back on the past year, assessing what one did right and wrong. One of the customs of the holiday, is to consume apples and honey, a symbol of a sweet new year. 

Unlike my usual allusions to Jewish holidays, this time it's not a harvest festival. In fact, the holiday falls around the autumnal equinox and barely precedes the fall harvest festival of Sukkot. Traditionally, the major harvests of wheat, barley, and grapes were essentially completed and the state of the winter larder readily observable. One commentator suggests that only at the end of the harvests did the people of Israel in ancient times know what the year ahead held for them. 

Here in the mid-Atlantic, the emphasis is not so much on these major grain harvests. And this time of year the apples, pears, and winter squashes are just starting to slowly dominate the market. The holiday falls at a time of year when it's hard not to observe changes, and notice what has gone and what is peaking over the horizons. Almost overnight the weather turned from a humid, sub-tropical summer to a crisp and clear autumn. The soft, juicy peaches disappeared only to be replaced by the crisp first apples of the season.

Changin' Seasons Crisp (single serving, gf)
1/2 medium apple, chopped
Splash of cinnamon

2 tbs oats (or multigrain oatmeal cereal)
1 tbs almond meal
1 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp agave nectar
Splash cinnamon
Dash salt

1. Combine topping ingredients until they stick together.
2. Toss apples with cinnamon in a small ramekin.
3. Top with oat mixture. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes until apples are tender and top is crispy. Enjoy warm!

Check out more end of season concoctions on Wellness Weekends. Stay tuned for a Chocolate with a Soul reprisal and a DC State Fair pie later this week!

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