Weekend Fare: Baked Blueberry Oatmeal

You know what’s better than a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast? A piece of baked oatmeal! The inspiration for this recipe came from Tasty Kitchen. I “healthy-fied” the recipe and it’s become a breakfast favorite. Most weeks I make a batch and we eat it for 3 or 4 breakfasts. This dish comes with high recommendations from both Jeremy and I!

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1 Tablespoon + 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or butter
2 Tablespoons coconut sugar, sucanat, or turbinado, divided
1 1/2-2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups old fashioned oats (for gluten-free, make sure to be certified gluten-free oats such as Bob’s Red Mill brand)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8×8 pan. Melt coconut oil or butter and pour 1 Tablespoon in bottom of the pan. Pour fruit into the pan and sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a bowl mix together the milk, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla, and remaining melted coconut oil.

In another bowl, whisk together the oats, flax seed, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. Pour mixture over the fruit and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with almonds and remaining 1 Tablespoon of sugar.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until browned on the top and blueberries are bubbly. Cool slightly. Serve with milk.

Baker’s Delight: Peach Pie

Summer fruit pie has been on my mind. So, last week I made three batches of pie crust and froze two. The other one I made into a peach-blueberry pie. Each bite was like a taste of summer!

Since it’s just Jeremy and I here, a 9-inch pie is a little too much for us. I found a lovely 6-inch Pyrex pie plate at the thrift store and it’s become my go-to pie baking pan. One 9-inch pie crust becomes a top and bottom crust for this little pan. When I made this pie, I cut the recipe in half, but aired on the side of a heavy-half. If you want to make the recipe into a peach-blueberry pie, substitute a cup or two of blueberries for some of the peaches.

PEACH (-Blueberry) PIE
(slightly adapted from Pie Pie Pie)
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Basic pie dough for a 9-inch, 2-crust pie (I made a gluten-free pie crust)

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (for gf, use a gf all-purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 pounds peaches, halved, pitted, and thinly sliced, to make about 7 cups fruit
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Roll out half of the dough for the bottom crust and fit it into a 9-inch pie pan. Roll out the remaining dough for the top crust and set it aside on a sheet of waxed paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt with whisk until evenly mixed. Add the lemon juice and peaches and toss until the fruit is completely coated with the sugar mixture. Pile the peaches in the dough-lined pan, mounding them slightly in the center. Scatter the butter over the fruit.

Put on the top crust, then trim and flute the edges. With the point of a sharp knife, cut several vents in the top for steam to escape.

Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F. Bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and you see juices bubbling through the vents.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Off The Shelf: Rustic Fruit Desserts

Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson is a scrumptious book filled with crumbles, buckles, cobblers, pandowdies and more. It’s the kind of book I want on my shelf. And, it’s the kind of book I would cook from as often as my conscience would allow. I think I might just have to put it at the top of my wish list.

The book is arranged by seasons. Take a look at some of the contents: Apple and Rhubarb Pandowdy, Sour Cherry Cobbler, Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie with Fresh Strawberries, Upside-Down Sweet Cherry Cake, Double-Crusted Pluot Crisp, Apricot Raspberry Cobbler, Stone Fruit Slump, Caramel Peach Grunt, Maple Apple Dumpling, Huckleberry Buckle, Pumpkin Custard with Cookie Crumb Crust, Pear Cobbler with Shingled Hazelnut Biscuits, Cranberry Buckle, Apple Cobbler with Cheddar Cheese Biscuit, Caramelized Pear Bread Pudding, and Deep-Dish Winter Fruit Pie with Walnut Crumb.

I chose to try the Blueberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuit. The sweet berries, combined with a not-so-sweet but rather soft and creamy biscuits, were delightful. I even gave in and served the leftovers to my kids for breakfast. Yum!

(Rustic Fruit Desserts)

1 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature, for dish

Fruit filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 fine sea salt
3 dry pints (6 1/2 cups or 2 pounds) blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup cold heavy cream
4 tsp. turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

To make the fruit filling, rub the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the blueberries and toss to combine, then gently stir in the lemon juice. Spoon the fruit mixture into the prepared pan, being sure to scrape the bowl well.

To make the biscuit, whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Add the butter and toss until evenly coated. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the size of peas. Pour in the cream and stir just until the mixture comes together.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces and pat each piece into a 3-inch biscuit. Evenly distribute the biscuits atop the fruit filling, then sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the turbinado sugar on each biscuit.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and the filling is bubbling in the middle. Serve warm.

Storage: This cobbler is best if eaten the day it is made. Covered with a tea towel, any leftovers will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Serves 8.

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Market Fresh: Blueberries

How I love blueberries! They are one of the chief delights of summer, a time when we can enjoy them fresh rather than frozen. 

Some years we’ve been able to go and pick our own. Most years I buy them on sale and freeze them in quart bags, ready to pop into muffins, pancakes, cobblers, and occasionally a blueberry pie (one of my very favorites!). Blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup and butter soaking in is a golden memory of childhood summers at Grandma’s house.

I do like to enjoy blueberries fresh: eaten straight from the bush, bucket, or plastic shell; dropped into a fruit salad with seasonal melons, sprinkled on morning cereal or oatmeal, and enjoyed for dessert with whipped cream. But, blueberries do gain a different level of delicious-ness when cooked, so be sure to buy enough berries for many different dishes.

I was intrigued to find this recipe for Blueberry Salsa and felt compelled to try it. The result: terrific! The sweetness of the blueberries, mixed with cilantro, lemon juice and red peppers, melded nicely with the salty tortilla chips.

(Southern Living, Summer 2010)
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2  cups  chopped fresh blueberries
1  cup  whole fresh blueberries
1/4  cup  fresh lemon juice
3  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
2  seeded and minced jalapeño peppers
1/3  cup  diced red bell pepper
1/4  cup  chopped onion
1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt

Coarsely chop 2 cups fresh blueberries. Stir together chopped fresh blueberries, 1 cup whole blueberries, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, 2 seeded and minced jalapeño peppers, 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper, 1/4 cup chopped onion, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Makes 3 cups.

    (The Cooks Next Door)
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    10-12 oz. mixed greens and spinach (or just one of these)
    1 pint fresh blueberries
    3/4 cup toasted pecans
    3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

    Dressing (adapted from Country Living):
    3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1/4 cup olive oil

    Make Dressing: combine lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, add the oils one at a time in a steady stream. Remove garlic and serve (or store refrigerated up to 1 week).

    Make salad: toss together the greens and blueberries. Just before serving add the pecans and blue cheese. Toss with dressing and serve.

    These amounts feed 8-12 but can easily be halved.

    Gluten-Free Goodness: Desserts

    Today’s post includes two of my very favorite gluten-free desserts. In fact, they are so good, that they are worth making even if you don’t have any gluten-free guests!

    Pavlova is such a versatile dessert. You can invent any sort of filling combination that strikes your fancy. Most often we fill our pavlova with whipped cream and top it with berries like raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries. In the winter you can make a delectable version with poached Seckel (mini) pears and a caramel drizzle set on top of the whipped cream. And for a spring treat try mixing lemon curd with some whipped cream and topping that with fresh blueberries and/or blackberries. (Note: the picture below shows a double batch of the pavlova recipe made into one very large pavlova.)

    (Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, Spring 2009)
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    1 cup superfine granulated sugar
    1 Tbsp. cornstarch
    3 large egg whites at room temperature
    3 Tbsp cold water
    1 tsp. distilled white vinegar

    Preheat oven to 300F with rack in middle. Trace a 7-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper and put on a baking sheet.

    Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.

    Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until whites hold soft peaks. Add water (whites will loosen) and beat until whites again hold soft peaks.

    Increase speed to medium-high and beat in sugar mixture 1 Tbsp. at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute more.

    Add vinegar and beat at high speed until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes (longer if using hand-held mixer).

    Gently spread meringue inside circle of parchment, making edge of meringue slightly higher than center. Bake until meringue is pale golden and has a crust, about 45 minutes (the inside will be like marshmallow).

    Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool meringue in oven 1 hour.

    (adapted from Gourmet Magazine, Spring 2009)
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    2/3 c. granulated sugar
    1 Tbsp cornstarch
    1/8 tsp salt
    1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
    3 large egg yolks
    2 tsp grated lemon zest
    1 cup heavy cream
    4 cups mixed berries

    Stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2-qt heavy saucepan, then add lemon juice and butter. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking, then continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 1 minute.

    Lightly beat yolks in a small bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup lemon mixture, then whisk into remaining lemon mixture in saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until curd is thickened, about 2 minutes (do not let boil).

    Transfer to a bowl and stir in zest. Chill, surface covered with parchment, until cool, about 1  1/2 hours.

    Beat heavy cream until it just holds stiff peaks, then fold 1/4 cup beaten cream into curd to lighten. Spoon lemon curd into meringue and mound berries on top. Serve remaining whipped cream on the side.

    Meringue can be made 2 days ahead and frozen, wrapped well in plastic. Thaw before serving.

    Curd can be made 2 days ahead and chilled.

    Chocolate cake is always a popular dessert. This gluten-free version has intense chocolate flavor which is balanced by the cloud of whipped cream and fruit we like to top it with. The only tricky thing about this cake is the cooking time — don’t be tempted to overcook this cake as it will be dry and rock-like when hard. Pull it out of the oven while it still has a bit of wiggle.

    (adapted from Desserts by the Yard)
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    8 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    8 Tbsp. butter (unsalted)
    5 large eggs, room temperature
    1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
    ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 10-inch fluted tart pan or a 9-inch springform pan. The pan must be at least 1 inch deep or the batter will overflow.

    Melt the chocolate and the butter in a microwave-safe bowl for 2-3 minutes at 50 percent power or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir together with a rubber spatula until smooth.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat together the eggs and the sugar on medium speed until pale and the mixture forms a ribbon when lifted from the bowl with a spatula, about 2 minutes. On low speed, beat in the cocoa powder and the chocolate mixture and combine well. Pour into the prepared pan.

    Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan from front to back and continue to bake for another 8 minutes, or until the cake is slightly firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack to room temperature.

    Top with sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries or other fruit.

    Baker’s Delight: Blueberry Muffins

    We really enjoy having muffins around! They are wonderful as a side dish, for breakfast or brunch, or even for an afternoon snack. My husband loves blueberries, so these are a favorite. I pick and freeze the blueberries in the summer and we eat them all year round. Delicious! I often make a double batch so we can have them for several days.

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    1 c. whole wheat flour
    3/4 c. all-purpose flour
    1/3 c. sugar
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 beaten egg
    3/4 c. milk
    1/4 c. canola oil
    1 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen

    In a med. bowl combine flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well in center of dry mixture; set aside. In another mixing bowl combine egg, milk, vanilla and oil. Add mixture all at once to the dry mixture – stir just until moistened. Fold in blueberries – do not overmix. Spoon batter into greased or lined muffin pan filling 2/3 full (I use an icecream scoop). Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 min. or until golden. Makes 10-12 muffins.