steel cut oats, pecorino and poached egg

steel cut oats, pecorino and poached egg www.familystylefood.com

I don’t skip breakfast (or any meal, for that matter); in fact it’s my growling stomach that motivates me out of bed and into the kitchen every morning.

Many days I like to make oatmeal with cherries or blueberries, with some homemade almond milk. Otherwise, I’m a person in search of savories and a soft-boiled or poached egg is usually my go-to. Going out for breakfast doesn’t happen often either, but last time I had a friend visiting from out of town I took her to one of my favorite local restaurants, where we had brunch on a Sunday morning.

steel cut oats, pecorino and poached egg www.familystylefood.com

One of the specials on the menu that day were steel cut oats with olive oil and black pepper; the unexpected twist on a usually sweet breakfast preparation made me very happy. I wondered why I didn’t cook steel cut oats at home regularly..hmm, let’s see. Could it be that 2 minutes in the microwave for rolled oats versus more than 10 times that much on the stovetop has something to do with it? Um, yeah.  [Read more...]

Oatmeal with Amarena Italian Cherries & Almonds

After posting my recipe for homemade oatmeal mix the other day, I remembered that I wanted to share this idea for topping off your morning oats.

Admittedly, it’s a little indulgent. Amarena cherries are a type of tart cherry grown in northern Italy. They’re soaked in grappa or brandy and packed in cherry syrup, and let me tell you they are the Cherry Bomb. I really like their tart sweetness and intense almond-like essence.

It could be that the word “amarena”  makes me think of amaretto. I’m not sure how the extracted almond flavor is achieved; whether it’s naturally how the cherries taste or if they’re enhanced by the type of brandy used – all I know is the cherries work very nicely paired with the crunch of toasted almonds and warm, creamy oats.

I didn’t find much info on how amarena cherries are made;  if you know more I’d love to hear.

They are sweet and rich, but a little goes a long way here. Feel good knowing that cherries are regarded as a superfood with protective benefits against degenerative disease.

Oatmeal with Amarena Italian Cherries & Almonds

Serving Size: makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 cup homemade oatmeal mix
  2. 1 cup almond milk
  3. 1 teaspoon ground golden flaxseed
  4. 1 or 2 tablespoons amarena cherries in syrup, depending on your sweet tooth
  5. 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, toasted

Instructions

  1. Mix the oatmeal mix and milk in a microwaveable bowl; microwave on high heat for 1 - 1/2 minutes or until the milk is absorbed and the oats are thickened to your liking.
  2. Top the bowl with the flaxseed, cherries and almonds. Enjoy.
http://familystylefood.com/2011/03/oatmeal-with-amarena-italian-cherries-almonds/

Homemade Granola

My favorite granola with yogurt


I’d never tasted homemade granola until I was in my early twenties, when my friend Dorie gifted me with some that her mother had made. I remember opening the bag doubtfully, expecting some hard-to-chew cereal product I might be temped to feed to a horse.

Just for frame of reference, this was back in 1980-something, when granola was regarded as an outdated by-product of the seventies, right up there with crocheted plant cozies made from hemp fiber and men sporting four-inch wide sideburns.

But just like Oprah, I had an “Aha!” moment right then and there. Too bad my moment didn’t foreshadow the possibility of making my fortune selling fifteen-dollar bags of granola in fancy food stores, as I’m sure Oprah’s would have.

No, it wasn’t my instinct for making money that was awakened, but my sense of what “homemade” meant. This granola was so unlike the achingly sweet stuff I was used to eating out of a box it was like a different category of food altogether. It smelled of butter and vanilla; each grain and seed tasted fresh and toasted. There were sesame seeds in there, I remember, and nice crunchy clumps of oats. I ate it all and then wanted more.

I begged Dorie to ask her mom for the recipe, but she never delivered it. Apparently that granola was a closely guarded family recipe. What is it with people and their secret recipes? I’ve never understood the urge to protect a recipe. Why not share the love?

I went on a search mission to replicate the granola recipe. I came close with one batch from Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book, but it wasn’t quite the same. I finally settled on the formula below, which is based on one that I think came from an issue of Gourmet magazine circa 1990 or so (since all I have is the an index card, I can’t be sure).

This recipe makes a good-sized batch of granola; you can keep it in a covered container for two weeks or so, or be generous and give some to friends – and don’t forget to pass along the recipe.

And if Dorie is out there, I’d still love to know your mom’s secret!

Granola

4 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup unsweetened dried coconut

1 cup whole almonds

1 cup of your choice hulled raw pumpkin seeds or raw cashews

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1/4 cup raw wheat germ

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/3 cup melted butter or vegetable oil

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, layer all ingredients through wheat germ in order given. Pour maple syrup over mixture and stir upward from the bottom, taking care to coat the almonds. Add the vanilla, salt and butter and stir once more to combine well.

Spread the granola in an even layer on a large rimmed sheet pan, or 2 smaller rimmed pans.
Bake 15 minutes; stir granola and bake 10 minutes more or until mixture is golden and almonds are toasted.

Other FamilyStyle Favorites to try:

Homemade Vanilla Extract
Best Buttermilk Pancakes
Whole Grain Pancakes with Roasted Pears

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