Good morning everyone! It's the weekend! More importantly, (around here anyway) It's Maggie's birthday! I wanted to start her birthday off right with a fantastic homemade breakfast. I set to work last week (in secret - it had to be a surprise after all) to find a delicious morning recipe. I found just the thing in (where else?) Jamie Oliver's cookbook.
The Recipe: Blackberry and Apple Oatmeal
Original Recipe Found In: Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals
What You'll Need:
2 Cups Quick Cook Oats (Not Instant)
3 Cups Milk (Soy Milk or Water are also suitable substitutes)
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Honey
6 Oz. Fresh Blackberries
Begin by adding your quick oats and milk to a large pot and set on medium heat. Other than stirring it every few minutes, you wont have to pay much attention to that pot from here on out. Essentially, every time you hear the pot make a thick "gurgle" give it a good stir.
Behold! The tower of quick oats!
Now, turn your attention to the apples. Last week, I picked up an Oxo Good Grips Corer (casually, so I didn't make Maggie suspicious) and it turned out to be a great idea. Simply place the corer over the stem of the apple and give a good push. The corer slides right through the apple and keeps the core intact, making it very easy to slide right out of the apple and get on cooking.
One apple, sans the core
Once cored. Slice your apples into smaller bits. As you are doing this, put one tbsp. of butter into a medium frying pan and set the heat to low. By the time you finish slicing both apples into smaller pieces, your butter should be completely melted in the frying pan. Toss in your apple slices and turn the heat up to medium. Stirring the apples every minute or so, allow them to cook for about 4 minutes or until they are golden brown and soft. If you'd like, you can 'sneak' a freshly fried apple here...they're really good!
When your apples are almost done, add the tbsp. of honey to the oatmeal and stir it in well. I found that my oatmeal was thickening up quite a bit here, so I added an additional 1/2 cup of milk. That all depends on preference, if you like thicker oatmeal - 3 cups of milk should go very well for you.
The last step is to add the fresh blackberries to the oatmeal. Prior to this, I had never had a blackberry before. After washing one off, I popped one of the little purple fruit in my mouth and was amazed. They have an incredible flavor! Why more things aren't blackberry flavored I have no idea. Who ever decided the cherry was so great that it had to flavor everything from cough syrup to popsicles? The blackberry is a semi-sweet, flavorful piece of delicious fruit and has not been given its fair share in the culinary world.
The blackberry, the unsung hero of the berry world
Stir in your blackberries, be sure to squish a few of them up. That releases their juices into the oatmeal - spreading the flavor around (and turning your dish a neat shade of purple). Spoon out the oatmeal into a bowl and top with your freshly cooked apples and -ta da! - a simple and delicious breakfast is ready for you to enjoy!
As I mentioned before, I find the blackberry's flavor to be very enjoyable. In this recipe, that flavor is the dominate one. The honey adds a subtle smoothness to the dish, and the fried apples give a very sweet hint in every few bites, but it is the blackberries that run this dish. The flavors aren't complicated, and the overall taste is fairly simple and 'clean' (coming off as 'fruity oatmeal') but, in the morning you don't want to bombard your taste buds with a barrage of complicated flavor combinations. It's nice to wake up with something simple, yet delicious. This recipe is exactly that.
I don't know if Maggie was 'surprised' per say by her birthday breakfast - but she enjoyed it none the less. I slipped away early this morning (while she was still asleep) to begin preparing the dish, and woke her up when it was ready. All in all it was an early birthday treat to start what I hope will be a great day for her. (Currently she is studying her birthday presents - I got her three books: Cooking with Curtis: Easy, Everyday and Adventurous Recipes for the Home Cook , Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites & The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs She is intensely reading every page, scouring them for more recipe ideas. You can be assured that some of them will be making an appearance in the not-so-distant future!)
That's all we have for you today. Thank you for stopping by today and we hope you give the blackberry and apple oatmeal a try. It is worth the effort. We're back on Monday with a new set of ingredients and hints at next week's recipes. Until then, I hope everyone enjoys their weekends and be sure to wish Maggie a happy birthday!