Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Linden's Baked Oatmeal

Well, it's been a while since I posted anything here. This is in part because while at home for six weeks, I fell into the easy (and sometimes very rewarding) habit of letting Papapapa cook, despite my best intentions to take advantage of the free time and deep fryer to experiment. (Well, the other half of that was that it was a time of darkness and allergy testing, which meant I couldn't really experiment.)

But now I am living in Cambridge, and working a standard workweek, and I have returned to my habits of cooking for myself. Now, it's important to recognise that this is a massive endeavor, mostly because of the things no one ever thinks about. I can't have your standard cereal for breakfast, so I have to make my own. I can't eat store-bought bread, so I either have to make my own, or not eat bread (usually the latter) which means that I can't just pack a sandwich for lunch. And, even on the nights I get home late and exhausted, I can't just open a tin of soup or put some pasta on the stove and add ready-made sauce. And store-bought lunches or dinners are right out.

But I have adjusted, and I plan and prepare. It means lots of cooking on the weekends, like Sunday: on the slate was baked oatmeal, and a big vegetable baked ziti (most of which I put into individual lunch-sized containers and froze. Currently in my freezer are ziti, risotto, and quiche, because variety is important).
Let me tell you about baked oatmeal. I had never even heard of it until a few weeks ago, when I came across it during a late-night browse through cooking blogs, which is the sort of thing I do, and it seemed like a reasonable thing to try (partly because it doesn't require expensive nuts and dried fruit). It is super delicious, easy to make, and comes out steaming and photogenic. Also, it survives microwaving very well, which means it does well for breakfasts all week long.

And look how delicious it looks, with it's oatmealy top and gooey fruity bottom.

I am including the recipe here because I think others involved might benefit from this recipe, others in this case meaning everyone. Borrowed from sevenspoons, changed a bit by me.

slightly more than 2 cups large flake rolled oats (not instant)
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
slightly less than 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
slightly less than 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups milk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or honey
2 medium bananas, sliced
1/2 cup blueberries (unthawed frozen or fresh)
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Get out your 8" round baking dish (around 2 quart capacity) and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, vanilla and maple syrup. Set aside.

In the prepared baking dish, spread the sliced bananas in an even layer, then scatter the blueberries over top. Pile the oat mixture to cover the fruit, but do not pack too tightly. Carefully pour the wet milk mixture over the oats; it will look as if there is too much liquid, but not to worry, it will be absorbed during baking. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the oatmeal is puffed and set, with a golden brown top.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, then enjoy.

Makes about 4 hearty servings.

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