Warm Compote

After the dire predictions, #hellastorm, the monstrous Bay Area storm, turned out to be far less horrendous than we expected, but any excuse for warm breakfast fare was welcome. And I’ve kept up the habit, even though the drought is back and the days are sunny and cool.

My favorite thing for breakfast nowadays is some warm apple compote with a few bits of dried fruit for taste. I make it in the slow cooker, though I’m sure you could make a very decent version on the stove. Here’s how I make enough for the two of us:

3 apples
handful of raisins
2 dried apricots or mangoes
3 cloves

In the evening, chop apples into cubes and thinly slice apricots or mangoes. Place everything in slow cooker, cover with water, and turn on to “low.” Wake up in the morning to a fantastic breakfast.


What a terrific little recipe this is; a mix of fruit salad, an oatmealish-substance without oatmeal, and lots of kick from dried fruit. Makes for an excellent breakfast. Feeds four.

Two red apples
two oranges
five medjool dates
five dried figs
five dried plums
30 almonds
20 macadamia nuts
soymilk or almond milk (plain or vanilla flavored)
orange, apple or prune juice

Soak almonds, macadamia nuts, figs and plums in boiling water first thing in the morning.
Thinly chop apples and oranges. Combine in a bowl with a splash of soy or almond milk and a splash of juice. Strain nuts, figs and plums, and thinly chop or grind. Add to fruit in bowl and mix well until thing reaches cereal-like consistency. Add cinnamon to taste.

Spiced Fruit Compote

This is one of those times in which I wish the internet could convey a sense of smell. I made this compote this morning, and hope to serve it over oatmeal to a brunch guest. I also hope there will be leftovers!

For Chinese medicine buffs: people with “cold” constitutions, who would sometimes find it difficult to eat fruit in the morning, cooking the fruit really helps.

Spiced Fruit Compote

1 fuji apple
2 bosc pears
1 cup cherries
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups apple juice
1/3 cup port wine (optional)
zest from 1/2 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cloves

Core fruit and cut to large cubes. Place in large pot with apple juice, wine, and spices. Cook for about fifteen minutes. Eat over oatmeal or on its own.

The Very Best Bowl of Oatmeal

One of the reasons for the big break I took from posting was feeling exhausted after spending a month and a half flying back and forth between Israel and the US. The constant jetlag, the lack of adequate food, and the stress of travel, took their toll, and the doctor has officially pronounced me exhausted.

In Chinese medicine, exhaustion can be the manifestation of several different conditions, depending on the person involved and the symptoms he or she experiences. But in many of these variations, the issue has to do with a depletion of the body’s reserve of qi, the energy of life. In my case, the exhaustion manifests itself in (of course!) various annoying digestive issues, headaches, tiredness and moodiness, muddled thinking, and a very strained set of back muscles.

One of the doctor’s recommendations for this situation was a bowl of oatmeal every day. Oatmeal is a pleasantly warming and healthy grain, that provides energy, vitamins (particularly B vitamins), minerals (particularly manganese) and an abundance of fiber. Apparently, there are many people who are allergic to wheat but not to oats, despite the fact that both grains contain gluten. Oatmeal with cinnamon and dried prunes and raisins is truly excellent; cinnamon is a very warming spice in Chinese medicine, and if you add a vanilla pod of a drop of natural vanilla extract, your oatmeal will truly rise to unprecedented levels of yumminess.

Now, please give this a try: I know you’re all busy in the morning, but I find that making oatmeal out of steel-cut oats (as opposed to the quick-cooking rolled oats) doesn’t take up a large chunk of time, especially if you lower the heat after a while and let it happily simmer while you take your morning shower. So, here ’tis, and it’s really worth it.

Oatmeal – 1 serving (more can be made by simply multiplying the amounts!).

1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp vanilla
20 organic raisins
3 organic dried prunes, chopped up into raisin-size pieces
a drop of vanilla extract, or 1/2 vanilla pod

Place all ingredients in a small pot and heat up. Do not wait for it to boil – when things start getting warm, lower the heat. Go about your business, stopping by the stove to mix up your oatmeal every 5 minutes or so, so it doesn’t stick. At some point, the oats will change their consistency and the whole thing will be a lot more porridge-like. Spoon into bowl and enjoy.