Monday, December 19, 2011

December Secret Recipe Club: Baked Blackberry Oatmeal from Inquiring Chef

It's that time again...time to reveal my blog assignment and spotlight recipe from the Secret Recipe Club. My blog this month is Inquiring Chef. One of the the things I love most about Secret Recipe Club is finding new food blogs and blogger friends...and new recipes to try. I really loved discovering Jessica's blog. She's an American living in Thailand, and she has a zillion fab recipes...and fantastic, mouth-watering pictures. It was so hard to pick just one recipe to try...but I think I made a great decision. I ultimately chose her new spin on a breakfast classic: baked oatmeal.

I like oatmeal perfectly fine...but Michael absolutely loves it! In fact, it's one of his favorite breakfasts. But? He doesn't take the time to make it most mornings. So, I decided to surprise him with a batch of this fruity baked oatmeal this weekend. I figure each batch will make enough for four breakfasts...or after-work snacks. This recipe is healthy comfort food at its best: fiber-rich oatmeal, spices, nuts, and fruit. All the ingredients come together in less than 10 minutes and are baked into a fluffy concoction that's so good that you can't stop eating it.

I made a few modifications to the recipe, because I was missing a few ingredients from Jessica's original recipe. I didn't have blueberries on hand, but I did have a package of blackberries in the fridge. I simply cut them in half to make them about the same size as blueberries. I used pomegranate juice instead of apple juice and a mixture of 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup pomegranate juice for the liquid portion of the dish. I subbed in brown sugar for honey, and I used pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon...just because I had some leftover from Thanksgiving that I didn't want to go to waste.

Baked Blackberry Oatmeal
adapted from Inquiring Chef

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350. Add the following ingredients to a mixing bowl: 1.5 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, and 1.5 cups chopped blackberries. Give the ingredients a stir to combine and pour into a 8x8 pan. 

Step 2:  Whisk the following ingredients together in a large measuring cup: 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup pomegranate juice, 1 egg, and 2 tbs. packed brown sugar. Pour the liquid ingredients over the oatmeal mixture, but you don't have to stir.

Step 3:  Bake until the oatmeal is golden and the berries are bubbly. This took about 45 minutes in my oven. I rotated the pan around in the oven halfway through to make sure it cooked evenly. Let the cooked oatmeal cool for about five minutes, then spoon into individual serving bowls. I like my oatmeal on the sweet side, so I sprinkled about 1 tsp. of brown sugar on top just before eating.

Wow, is this oatmeal fabulous...I can actually see myself whipping up a double batch in a 13x9 pan every weekend! The texture is light and fluffy...and the combination of pecans, brown sugar, spices, and berries is fantastic. The oatmeal is sweet, but not overly so. It's fantastic spooned right our the pan into a small bowl...but I'm betting that it's also great with a bit of milk and butter on top. This would be a very versatile dish using seasonal fruit...I'm thinking that apples or peaches would be fantastic in this oatmeal -- or even dried cranberries or raisins.

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