Where have I been? For at least two months I attempt to answer this question, fill you in on my calamities, felicities, and all the news in between and I realize I am completely stymied. Therefore, I have decided that in lieu of an arduously long post, I will come back into posting little by little. No thick updates. Just some realistic snapshots.
I heard a fantastic program on NPR around the New Year regarding resolutions. (Yes, I am aware that we are now in August and, in fact, closer to next year’s resolutions than last year’s.) The notion of massive, life-changing resolutions fails for most people because the intentions do not become habitual and ingrained into daily life. As an example, the speaker suggested flossing. Many people (your Cuoca Ciccia included) floss intermittently at best. To make this happen regularly, one first must link the activity with something else one regularly does. Second, one must initiate the habit with minimal effort. To begin, he flossed one tooth a day, right after brushing his teeth for a week. Ridiculous sounding? He gradually increased more teeth until it became something he completed in its entirety on a daily basis.
Now I do not mean to compare this blog with flossing because it is infinitely more fun than groggily maneuvering waxed string between my teeth, but I must admit that with all of the changes in my life in the past five months (ahem, yes my littlest boy is indeed the same age), I have gotten out of a regular pattern of posting. The good news is that despite the frenetic pace, I have not gotten out of the habit of cooking.
As you probably guessed from many of the pre-baby posts , I have been extremely excited by whole grain breakfasts. Given that my kids genuinely love breakfast, inventing delectable new whole grain dishes comes with ease. I have a phenomenal new spelt and brown butter waffle for you that I have made about five times this summer, a caramelized nectarine oven pancake with oat flour, and a couple of new whole grain muffins. However, the simplest breakfast, which takes the time it would take to cook Irish/Scottish oatmeal is this baked oatmeal.
I have been eyeing baked oatmeals for a couple of years now and have no idea what has kept me from making them more often. I have finally come up with one that is all mine. The end result is something that honestly resembles a hearty, healthy breakfast version of a cobbler. The caramelized peaches form the base, a custardy oatmeal the middle, and the top of the dish crispens with the crunchy oats and brown sugar much like a granola.
My recipe could be made vegan by either substituting vegan eggs or omitting them altogether and cooking the whole thing with almond or soy milk and a dash of cornstarch. Finally, if you want to make this even easier, feel free to compose the whole thing the night before and cook it in the morning. Your kitchen will be filled with the aroma of oatmeal cookies.
I have really missed posting and hearing from all of you who enjoy food as much as I do. Expect me to ease into this with more snapshots very soon. I want to make this a habit again.
Oatmeal Breakfast Cobbler
1-2 tablespoons melted butter
2 sliced peaches (or other fruit like plums or apples)
1 cup rolled oats
2-3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup berries (I used sliced strawberries this time)
Handful of walnuts (optional)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Organic heavy whipping cream or whole milk for serving (optional)
(Note: If making this vegan, either substitute vegan eggs and almond/soy milk or omit the eggs and whisk a teaspoon of cornstarch into a little water and add to the almond/soy milk before proceeding with the recipe.)
Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Grease a baking dish a small baking dish (I used a 7 inch diameter circular one) with butter or non-stick spray. You can also use an oven safe frying pan. Slice peaches or other fruit and scatter on the bottom of the dish with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Mix the oats, baking powder, 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and salt and then pour on top of the peaches.
In a separate dish, whisk together the milk, egg, vanilla, and half of the melted butter. Pour on top of the oat mixture and then scatter the berries, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and the walnuts, if using. Finish by drizzling the last of the melted butter. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the custard is completely absorbed, the top is golden and crunchy, and your kitchen smells like oatmeal cookies. Let rest for five minutes before serving with a drizzle of organic heavy whipping cream.