Brunch is probably my favorite thing to make for the holidays. It's easy, delicious, and doesn't leave everyone with a stuffed-feeling that typically comes with eating dinner late in the day by the time all of the cooking is done. What you serve, or how you serve it, can also help elevate the experience to make what you are eating feel even more special. Continue reading for fun ideas for a Christmas weekend or New Years Day brunch for two or a small group.
Posts published in “Breakfast”
Have you tried steel cut oats? Sometimes also called "Irish oats", steel cut oats when cooked generally have a chewy, al dente texture and a nutty taste. They are oat groats, or oat kernels with no husk, that have been cut into smaller, coarse pieces using a steel blade. Size-wise, they remind me of tiny Acini di pepe pasta. Like their cousins rolled and instant oats, steel cut oats are a blank canvas for adding different flavors and ingredients. You can cook steel cut oats longer to make them a little more softer and creamier, as I usually do, but don't expect them to fall apart and turn to mush as instant oats would when cooked. Of course, adding a pat of butter or a touch of cream when cooking would help add creaminess and richness, as well. Much like my recipe for banana-pecan oatmeal, this one requires a couple more steps than just opening a package of instant oatmeal, adding water, and heating—but it's still very easy to make, and the results taste much better than what comes in a package. [caption id="attachment_1091" align="alignnone" width="900"] Raw steel cut oats[/caption]
The combination of bananas, pecans, and spices has always been one of my favorites. When I got back on an oatmeal kick recently, especially with overnight oats, this was one of the first flavor combinations I tried. It's probably my favorite that I make at least once or twice a week. This could easily be made as overnight oats—add all ingredients into a container, stir, and let sit in the fridge overnight—but if you don't have the containers or fridge space, or just don't want to bother, make this as regular oatmeal. It's just as good. Fresher-tasting than a packaged oatmeal, this is cheap and easy to make. To make things faster in the morning, I pre-measure all of the ingredients in a bowl the night before. In the morning, I just add the wet ingredients, heat, and eat.
Growing up, there was a time where breakfast almost every morning consisted of instant oatmeal and cinnamon-sugar toast, usually prepared with love and care by my dear dad. I didn't hate it, but I think the 7 year-old-me would have just wanted cinnamon toast or, even better, a sugary toaster pastry—the furthest thing from wholesome and, even as an adult with the "freedom" to make and eat anything for breakfast that I please, I wouldn't opt to eat to start the morning. I rediscovered and started to enjoy oatmeal again when I started working after college. It was cheap, easy to make at the office, and filling enough to tide me over until lunchtime. By that time, there were also plenty of options beyond the tiny paper packages with the same old fruit-and-cream, apple cinnamon, and brown sugar flavors that I grew up eating on a daily basis. Enter overnight oats, which I have wanted to try for a while. A few things along my 12-hour journey from making to eating told me it would be a success.
A recent trip to the market yielded me tons of gorgeous strawberries and rhubarb that I knew were destined to be a jam. I wanted something different, though, than a standard strawberry-rhubarb preserves. I ended up choosing a recipe from one of my go-to resources for canning, Food In Jars, that sounded incredibly unique -- a rosewater-scented strawberry-rhubarb jam.
I was craving something sweet one afternoon when I thought back to an episode of Barefoot Contessa that I watched a couple of weeks ago. Ina Garten made homemade granola bars for an episode about breakfast. Her bars featured apricots, cranberries, coconut, and slivered almonds along with oats and a base made out of sugar and honey. I was inspired to take a look at what I had on-hand in my own kitchen to make a batch of my own. I always have pantry basics, like oats and dried fruit, on-hand for baking. What I ended up making was something that, for granola standards, was really, really tasty. [wprm-recipe-jump text="Get the recipe below."]