Last week it was Edd's hot cross buns, this week it's Nigella's Turkish Eggs, it looks like a lot of tasty food from the U.K. is making its way here. Nigella has a new book called At My Table that comes out here in April and like in all her books, she manages to make tasty food, easy once again with her little kitchen tricks.Read More
Often I’m short on time especially these days as we’re still getting parts of our home remodeled and renovated. There was a time I thought home remodeling and renovations were a breeze (clearly I had watched way too many home renovation tv shows) but reality is a little different. The design part is fun and the final reveal a blast (hopefully), it’s the inbetween that can be a little nuts and it’s often a lesson in patience. It’s also made it a little trickier for me to visit our local farmer’s market and grocery store when I need to. Recently, I got the opportunity to try out the grocery delivery service run by AmazonFresh and it was a great experience!
AmazonFresh carries a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables and produce from local suppliers, along with over 500,000 items (including everyday household essentials) that are available for same-day and early morning delivery. All I needed to do was plan out my shopping list, log into my account and order what I needed and select a time slot for delivery. Everything was delivered to my doorstep before 7am on Saturday morning in Amazon’s reusable thermal bags that kept my produce fresh. This all worked out rather well since I need to cook something for a brunch at a friend’s place last weekend. I typed in my ingredients the night before and set my delivery time so I could prep and cook and take my warm food straight from the oven to my friend’s home. AmazonFresh kept the entire process seamless and stress-free and the ingredients were fresh as promised.
If frittatas were an Indian dish, I think they would have been made this way, at least, I imagine it would. A spicy mixture of chickpeas simmered with bell peppers and onions and later folded into a creamy egg mixture only to be baked with the sweet and tart flavor of goat cheese. You can also serve it with a generous portion of this baked spiced potatoes and though, I say “also” I think you’ll be very happy if you do.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this dish;
You can easily make the potatoes ahead of time and then reheat when ready to serve.
Use fresh ingredients and spices for a full flavor.
This isn’t a traditional recipe for channa masala, I’ve modified it quite a bit to make it work for the frittata but even by itself the chickpea makes a great side (if you just want to cook that for a meal).
You can cook the potatoes a little longer and make them crispy, just watch them so they don’t burn.
channa masala frittata with baked spiced potatoes
baked spiced potatoes
3lbs red potatoes, cut into wedges
2 cups large onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced green bell peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
Place a wire rack at mid-level in the oven and preheat to 400F.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and transfer them to two large baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, tossing the potatoes halfway through baking and cook until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan for at least 5 minutes before serving.
for the chickpeas
1 tablespoon ghee
1 cup white onion diced
1 cup red bell pepper diced
1 cup green bell pepper diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
one 15 ounce can chickpeas
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
one 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Heat the ghee in a large thick-bottomed saucepan on medium-high heat. Add all the ingredients from the onion to the garam masala to the saucepan and stir for 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, spinach, and salt, stir and bring the contents of the pan to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Most of the liquid should evaporate from the pan and the final mixture will be saucy but not runny. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before adding it to the frittata.
for the frittata
12 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons ghee
3 cups chickpea mixture, cooled
4 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
Place a wire rack at mid-level in the oven and preheat to 350F. Whisk the eggs, heavy cream, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl until just combined. Avoid over-whisking the eggs. Keep aside.
Take an oven-safe 12 inch skillet (I used a stainless steel braiser) and melt the ghee on medium-high heat. Spread the melted ghee to coat the surface of the pan evenly. Once the ghee is hot, pour the whisked egg mixture into the pan. Allow to cook for 3 minutes until the egg just starts to set. Scoop and lightly spread the chickpea mixture and goat cheese over the eggs in the pan and garnish with the cilantro leaves. Transfer the entire pan to the preheated oven and cook for about 25 minutes until the egg turns golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving with the country fries.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by AmazonFresh. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
I couldn't be happier, you guys! I found out last night that I'm nominated in the Best Photo based Food Blog category at the International Association of Culinary Professionals for the 2016 awards that are to be held this April in Los Angeles! The past four years have been a blessing. They've been an amazing journey filled with fun and growing pains. From starting this blog to talking about food and through it, my experiences as an immigrant, to learning about photography but also just learning more about myself. I'm thankful for this blog and grateful, that you've been a part of my journey sharing the ups and downs along the way. Thank you!
What better way to celebrate this moment than with a childhood favorite, bread pudding! It took me a while to fathom that bread puddings are usually baked in the United States since my mother always steamed them whenever she made them at home and this is one dish she made often. I love both versions for different reasons. The American version, has a delicious crispy crust while the steamed version is soft and comforting. No matter what you look at it, bread puddings are one of the tastiest ways to use up leftover bread. I think it's the simplicity that makes it so appealing, a few ingredients with endless possibilities. Mom always uses vanilla extract and raisins and slices of milk bread. Bread pudding is breakfast converted to dessert and it's all about comfort.
This version is infused with dried chamomile flowers and long black pepper (which look like little pine cones). There's a creamy sauce that's infused with the spices and a sneaky helping of raisins in that give a burst of sweetness in each and every bite. This is a very simple recipe and you could modify and bake it if you wanted to. I use the bundt pan to steam the pudding and give it a more cake like shape which makes it a little fancier but again it's all up to you. Make it the way you want to and make sure to enjoy it!
A couple of kitchen notes that you might find useful when preparing this pudding;
- My recipe is loosely adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe in the New York Times. His recipe is baked while this is steamed.
- If you can't find long black pepper, you can easily sub 1/4 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper for the pudding and sauce, each.
- I use this bundt cake pan which is also a great pudding basin and you can order the cooling rack and steamer rack to go with it. I just use the cooling rack as the steamer rack all the time and it works perfectly. Another option is to use an English pudding basin like one of those pretty Mason Cash bowls but this bundt pan and it's lid remove all the extra work from making a good seal to prevent water from entering the pan.
- I don't use too much sugar in this recipe, as challah is pretty sweet to begin with and too much sugar masks the flavor of the chamomile and black pepper.
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding
yields: 6 to 8 servings
for the bread pudding
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter + extra for greasing the pan
1/4 cup dried chamomile flowers
4 long black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
4 tablespoons sugar
6 cups challah bread cut into 2 inch cubes (an entire challah loaf)
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons raisins or sultanas
for the sauce
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons dried chamomile flowers
2 long black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
for the bread pudding
1. Place the milk, butter, chamomile, peppercorns and sugar in a thick bottomed medium-sized saucepan. Heat on medium-low heat stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes until the butter melts, then increase heat to medium-high and bring the contents to boil stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled strain the liquid and discard the solids using a fine mesh sieve.
2. While the milk is cooling, grease a 2 quart bundt pan with a little butter. Then place a layer of challah cubes and sprinkle a tablespoon of the raisins. Add another layer of bread and sprinkle the raisins. Repeat until you reach the top.
3. Lightly whisk the eggs into the cooled and strained milk mixture. Pour this liquid over the bread in the bundt pan. Cover the bundt pan with its lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Place a plate or a round cooling rack into a large stockpot, place the sealed bundt pan on top of the plate/rack. Pour enough tap water (at room temperature) to about 1 inch less than the height of the bundt pan. Place a heavy weight such as a bowl or plate over the bundt pan, cover the stockpot with a lid and heat the stockpot on medium-high heat until the water begins to boil. Continue to boil for another 1 minute and remove from stove. Allow the bundt pan to stay in the stockpot for another 5 minutes before removing from the stockpot. Remove the lid and run a butterknife between the edges of the pan and the pudding. Invert the bundt pan over a serving plate and allow to sit for 10 minutes to release. (If it doesn't release using the flat end of the butter knife to loosen the sides).
To prepare the sauce
4. Place the milk, chamomile, peppercorns, and sugar in a medium-sized thick bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium-high, stirring occasionally until the milk just starts to boil. In the meantime, make a slurry of the water and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl. Vigorously whisk the cornstarch slurry into boiling milk and continue to cook until it thickens. Remove the saucepan from the stove and strain the solids and discard the solids using a fine mesh sieve. Pour about 1/2 cup of this warm sauce over the pudding just before serving with a little extra on the side.
Making cereal from scratch is fun! Here is my justification;
- Flavor them in anyway you want
- Spice it up however you want
- Shape it big, small or tiny
- Make cookie type cereal because then you can eat it with or without milk and then think of it as a breakfast cookie
- You can play with the grains or nuts to make the base of the cereal
I guess what I'm trying to say is, making your own cereal gives you freedom to create whatever you want.
Horchata is one of my favorite ways to stay cool in summer. It's a drink, I discovered after I moved to the United States and one that I will passionately drink whenever it gets hot. And now that Califia makes two different types of horchata, one with cinnamon and the other vanilla-coconut, I've been enjoying them often in the hot weather. The horchata also goes very well with these cereal cookie-type bites. The bites are packed tightly with rice, oat and nut flour and sweetened lightly with molasses and brown sugar. Plus a dash of cinnamon for that extra sweet flavor to go with that soft crumbly nutty texture.
These bites are a great breakfast item when served in a bowl of chilled horchata but also make a good snack as is, especially if you're on the go and short on time! Just make a batch ahead of time and eat whenever needed (These guys are also gluten-free and vegan).
Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing these horchata cookie cereal bites;
- Use freshly ground spices and fresh flour when making this cereal.
- The flavor will be fresh and it will also last much longer. I add cocoa powder here for a little color and to bump the cinnamon. Also, cocoa and horchata pair very well together, especially when this is served in a bowl with chilled horchata.
- Some of you might like the cereal cookie bites to be smaller than the sizes I made. If you do decide to make them tiny, adjust the oven cooking time accordingly. You can shape the bites into tinier balls using a pastry bag with a large round tip to get a uniform size or even more simply, with your hands. The texture of these bites is a little soft and cakey inside yet sweet and nutty.
- Califia makes two delicious varities of Horchata , an almond milk one and a coconut flavored one. Either works great in this recipe and even for serving the bites. Just serve the horchata chilled.
horchata cookie cereal bites
yields: about 4 to 6 servings
1 cup (134g/4.73o) oat flour
1/2 cup (61g/2.15o) cashew flour
1/4 cup (35g/ 1.23o) rice flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar (dark or light)
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon (pinch) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 tablespoons molasses (dark or light)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed to liquid state
80mL Califia horchata + extra for serving
1. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Line two baking sheets with a silicone mat and keep aside until ready.
2. In a large mixing bowl, place all the dry ingredients from the oat flour to the salt. Dry whisk to combine evenly.
3. Add the molasses and coconut oil to the dry ingredients and stir with a silicone spatula. Now pour the horchata in a steady thin stream and using the spatula combine to form a ball of dough. Cover the bowl with cling film and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
4. Grease your hands with a little extra coconut oil and shape the dough into either 0.5cm or 0.5 inch balls. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets leaving about 2 centimeters of space between them. Bake one sheet at a time for about 15 to 17 minutes. The cereal bites will be ready when they are dry both outside and inside and are light brown (the easiest way to test this is to take one cereal bite and break it to see if the inside is dry). Allow the cereal to cool to room temperature completely before storing them in an airtight container. They will last about 2 weeks if stored correctly in a cool and dark place. Serve the cereal bites with horchata milk.
Note: This post is sponsored by Califia and all opinions stated here are purely my own.
I'm had a great time with the class audits at the culinary school. Though, I was a silent observer, it was a great opportunity to see how the classes at the school are taught, talk to students in the program and get to know the instructors a little bit. It gave me good food for thought on what culinary school might entail. An extra bonus was to watch some fun and interesting pastry techniques in action. One class was busy preparing laminated doughs for an upcoming test and the students work so fast while keeping the butter cold to get those flaky layers. The advanced class had students making entrements with apples. Making laminated doughs from scratch intimidates me, something I need to tackle at some point!
One of my favorite dishes to order at an Indian restaurant and even make at home occasionally, is saag paneer. That along with a couple of buttered naans becomes be a tasty combination. Typically in Hindi the word "saag" translates to any type of leafy green, in most restaurants unless it says "sarson ka saag" or mustard greens, it will in most situations be spinach. In today's post, I'm using the naan dough as a base for my skillet pizza and then topping it off with the ingredients
I blistered the naan to give it that characteristic charred flavored in the pan before loading it with fresh mustard greens and spices. Paneer is a different from the regular kind of cheese, it holds it shape rather well and does not melt but in this pizza-style dish, you want a little bit of a hot and melty cheese dripping all over in every slice. I added a little mozzarella to get that much desired melt that my taste buds were craving and seasoned the pizza with a few spices, cracked a couple of eggs and stuck it into the oven to bake for a few minutes. Greens, eggs and cheese with a few spices and naan, this makes a good breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Here are some of my tips while preparing this breakfast naan,
- I let the naan dough rise in an oven that was preheated for 10 minutes at 200F. I shut the oven once I place the dough inside.
- You can use any type of green here, kale, spinach, fenugreek etc. By tossing the greens in oil, the leaves will hold their texture and not dry out as much during baking.
- Don't expect the rich creamy gravy from saag paneer here, I've skipped all of that heaviness to make this pizza lighter.
- I've tried mozzarella and gruyere here but feel free to play around with the cheeses.
- You could also use the entire dough and fill a pan up to get a deep and thick crust. I find half the dough per 10 inch pizza to be just enough.
breakfast naan skillet pizza with mustard greens and paneer
yields: 2 X 10 inch naans
2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour + extra for dusting
1 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher sea salt
2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt (full fat 0r 2%)
1 large egg, at room temperature
200mL full fat milk at 100F
2 tablespoons vegetable oil + a little extra for cooking the naans
2 cups mustard greens, cleaned, chopped and mid ribs removed
1 inch piece ginger root, peeled and julienned
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup shredded paneer or 8 thick slices of paneer (if you're using a block of paneer)
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella/gruyere
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
4-6 large eggs (you can play around with the number of eggs you want per naan)
1. Place the flour, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Dry whisk with a fork to mix the ingredients lightly. Attach the dough blade to the stand mixer. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl along with the two tablespoons of oil. Mix the dough on low speed for about 3-4 minutes until the ingredients just come together and then increase speed to medium-high to form one large sticky ball. Place the dough in a large well oiled bowl. Cover the lid with cling film and place it in a warm place to rise for 2-4 hours.
2. Once the dough has doubled in size, remove and transfer the dough to a clean surface (pastry board). Dust the dough with a little flour and using your hands shape it into one large ball. Divide the ball into half. Then take one half and roll it out into a rough 10 inch circle dusting with a little flour. Repeat the same with the remaining half of dough and keep aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, mix the greens with ginger and garlic along with the olive oil. Keep aside until ready to use.
4. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. While the oven is heating up, add a little oil in a large 10 inch skillet pan with a lid on the stove on medium-high. Slap one naan on the hot skillet and cover the pan with a lid for 2 minute. Then flip the bread over and cook for 2 minutes covered with the lid. Remove the skillet from the stove. Layer the naan with half of the mustard greens mixture. Layer with paneer and mozzarella. Crack 2-3 eggs in the center of the naan and add half of the garam masala, coriander and half of the salt. Place the skillet in the preheated oven and bake the naan for another 5-8 minutes depending on how you like your eggs cooked. I like the egg whites to be just set and the yolks runny. Check the oven while the bread is baking. Prepare the second naan similarly. Serve hot.
With only a few days left to the start of the holiday weekend, I should have the usual dishes that are the staple of the Thanksgiving dinner but oddly enough, I have breakfast on my mind. But why not, breakfast needs a little love too during this special time and I have it all sorted out for you.
I'm more of a savory breakfast type of guy and a huge fan of any baked good or pastry that might have some savory component to it. These quinoa flour muffins are easy to make, they're loaded with sweet potatoes and cheese packed with a hint of bright turmeric and seasoned with a little dash of garam masala. Slap a warm muffin with a little salted butter and I'd say you're good to go this week. I was tempted to add a little onion or garlic to these guys but that could be tricky way to start the day with all those potential fiery breath issues!
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find helpful when preparing these muffins,
- You can make you own muffin cup holders using regular parchment paper. Cut out twelve 6 inch squares of parchment paper (for a standard 12 cup muffin pan) and place each square in the center of the muffin pan. Using your hands, press the paper down in the center of the muffin well to create a cup. When you fill the cups with the batter make sure the paper cup sinks and touches the metal pan
- You could play around with the type of cheese, parmesan or gruyere might also work here.
- Once the batter is completely mixed, move quickly and get the muffin pan filled up and in the oven.
- You can bump the heat up in these muffins by adding a little more freshly chopped green or red thai chili peppers.
Here are some fun links that, I've been thinking about all week. Some Thanksgiving themed and others just simply delicious!
savory sweet potato quinoa muffins
yields: one dozen standard muffins
3 large eggs
1 packed cup (4 ounces) of shredded sweet potato, raw
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup (4 5/8 ounces) quinoa flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plain unsweetened greek yogurt, lightly whipped
2 tablespoons melted butter, unsalted
1. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Line a standard 12 cup muffin pan with parchment paper or muffin cups.
2. Place the eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk for about 4-5 minutes using an electric mixer on high speed until they have almost doubled in volume.
3. In a small bowl, mix the sweet potatoes and cheddar together and keep aside.
4. In a medium sized bowl add all the ingredients from the quinoa flour to the baking soda and dry whisk until combined.
5. Add half of the flour mix to the eggs and whisk by hand, until almost combined. Add the yogurt and the melted butter and whisk by hand for one minute, then add the rest of the flour mix and whisk until completely combined. Fold in the sweet potato and half of the cheddar with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.
6. Divide the batter equally between the 12 muffin cup holders in the prepared pan. Top each of the muffins with the rest of the cheddar (divide the cheddar up equally between the 12 muffins) Bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through during baking. The muffins are cooked when the tops are golden brown and the centers have risen and firm and spongy to touch. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Serve warm with butter.
There are mini cakes and now, there are mini parathas, I don't see why not! If you haven't tried a paratha, here's the gist, it's a flaky flatbread made with whole wheat flour that can be stuffed with tasty things or not. Contrary to popular belief, it's rare to see naans being cooked in an Indian kitchen but you'll definitely see parathas being cooked a lot (and rotis too). You can eat parathas at breakfast, lunch, or dinner (it works for every meal) and this kimchi-stuffed paratha does just that!
We live in a part of the city that is considered Koreatown, lots of Korean grocery stores and restaurants but it also plays host to quite a few Indian restaurants. The exciting part about living in a predominantly Asian neighborhood, I get to try and buy a lot of different types of kimchi from the markets, the one I used in this recipe is a Napa Cabbage type but you can use any of your favorites.
Here are some tips;
- Use durum whole wheat flour, it gives the best texture and a softer bread than you would with regular whole wheat flour. It is also sold as "atta flour" in Indian grocery stores.
- Drain the kimchi to remove some of the liquid, it makes it easier and less messy when you stuff the flatbread.
- Greasing your hands before assembling the parathas, makes it easy to flatten the discs.
- You could also flatten the discs of dough with a rolling pin but they can burst and the cabbage releases a lot of juice and I found that technique to be more of a headache for this type of a filling. The dough would rip under pressure from the rolling pin and it is not easy to pan fry flatbread with stuffing falling out.
mini kimchi parathas
yields: approximately 12-14 mini parathas
1 cup kimchi (use your favorite type)
3 cups (14 ounces) whole wheat flour (use the durum kind it gives a softer texture than regular whole wheat flour) + a little more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil or ghee
1 1/2 cups warm water (at around 90 C) * you might end up using less water
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1/4 cup scallions, both green and white bits thinly sliced
4 red radishes, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1. Place the kimchi in a large strainer or sieve over a bowl. Press gently to drain the excess liquid. Chop the kimchi coarsely and keep aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the 3 cups of whole wheat flour and salt. Whisk a few times by hand to mix the ingredients evenly. Add 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and 1 cup of the warm water. Using the dough blade attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed for about 4 minutes to form the dough. If you feel that the dough is not coming together easily add one tablespoon of the remaining hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough with cling film allow to rest for about 20 minutes before using. (You can also prepare the dough a day in advance and refrigerate the dough until ready to use, just bring to room temperature before preparing the parathas).
3. Divide the dough into approximately 12-14 one inch diameter balls. Dust the balls with a little extra flour and keep the balls covered with a clean moist cloth to prevent drying. Before preparing the parathas, grease your palms a little with the oil. Take one ball in the palm of your hands and flatten to form a disc that is about 5 inches wide. Place about a generous teaspoon of the chopped kimchi in the center and bring the edges and seal the top (this is similar to making a dumpling). Flatten the top with your hands and using your fingers flatten to form a disc that is about 6 inches wide. While flattening the disc try to push the filling in the center towards to the side. Prepare the rest of the parathas similarly. (The photograph panel above, has step-by-step figures).
4. Heat a non-stick or cast iron skillet on medium high. Put about 1/2 a teaspoon of vegetable oil in the center of the hot pan and add one paratha in the center. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes until each side is lightly blistered and seared. PlaceCook the rest of the parathas similarly.
5. Serve the parathas with quartered boiled egg slices garnished with a few scallion and radish slices along with a little kimchi on the side. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
I ate a lot of fruit as a kid, I would have gladly skipped a meal to eat fresh fruit. Not that I was a fussy kid when it came to food but I think it probably frustrated the heck out of my poor mother. In Bombay, the weather is generally warm year round and there is always an abundance of some delicious seasonal sort of fruit. Unfortunately, unless you had your own farm or your own fruit tree, you really didn't have much of an opportunity to pick fruit fresh of the tree. Believe me I tried, either the trees were to tall or too high to try partake in any such activities and my parents didn't trust me enough to climb up a tree and come down safely in one piece.
To fill the void left behind by childhood, I started filling up my adulthood with trips to farms. So a couple of weekends ago, we took a trip to one of the farms up in Brentwood, CA to pick fruit. Here in California, stone fruit are currently in full swing, they're literally falling of the trees with no one to pick them up (especially when I look with envy at some of the gardens here).
These trips to the orchards have taught me a couple of things, one, we need to get one of those little wagon/trolleys to haul our stuff while we walk across the orchard and two, both M and I need to consider picking up less fruit. Though, one great outcome of having too much fruit, is the chance for me to can stuff which is fun but I honestly just don't want to can gallons.
We came across so many different varieties of plums, apricots, including pluots, that I was tempted to indulge in every possible shape and color available. Each and everyone of these varieties had a different taste and texture that made each one special (yes, I tried everything). At first, I thought perhaps, I should use one type of fruit in the recipe, in the end I decided that why not just mix things them all up and have some fun!
I've made an apple brown betty redux before and this time I wanted to apply the same concept to the stone fruit we collected. I used oat bran for the base this time and flavored it with chai. This is my new summer breakfast pick-me-up and it's one of those easy recipes without any fuss. There just enough oat bran to balance the sweet and sour flavors of the stone fruit, I ate half of this directly from the pan but I also ended up topping some of it on top of plain Greek yogurt for a snack. Baking concentrates the flavors in the fruit so it's a burst of sweet and tart flavors against the background of the cardamom flavored chai oat bran.
chai stone fruit oat bran brown betty
yields: 2-4 servings
1 cup water
1 tablespoon black tea leaves (I used the Darjeeling variety)
1 1/2 lbs mixed stone fruit (I used plums, apricots, and pluots)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup (2 ounces) raw brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground green cardamom seeds
1 cup (5 3/4 ounces) oat bran
1. Bring the water to a boil on a medium-high flame. Immediately add the tea leaves, allow to boil for 30 seconds and remove from the stove. Allow to sit aside for 2 minutes, pass the liquid through a strainer. Reserve the liquid, keep warm and discard the tea leaves.
2. Wash and wipe the stone fruit clean. Remove any stalks and slice each piece of fruit into half lengthwise. Remove the seed/stone in the center. Keep the fruit aside.
3. Place a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. In a square 9X9 baking pan, pour the warm tea prepared earlier. Add the coconut oil, brown sugar, cardamom and oat bran. Mix evenly with a fork or whisk. Place the stone fruit cut-side facing upwards over the oat bran mixture. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the oat bran is cooked. The stone fruit will brown a little. Once baked, cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
Note: I recommend tasting the raw fruit first, if you find the fruit too tart then add a little more sugar to sweeten things. You could also sprinkle a little sugar before baking over the fruit.