SUMMER BERRY OATMEAL BRÛLÉE
Mornings for most Americans are hectic and, although breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, we often skip it. The trick to healthy morning beginnings just could be making a plate that can be served several days in a row--even cold, it is delicious. Shhhh....don't tell! This colorful oatmeal makes a serious dent in the recommended daily allowances for fiber and boasts power house nutrition. Since Paleolithic times, humans have used whole foods like chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds to keep the heart healthy, the brain sharp, and the immune system fighting off disease. Tossed into the cooked porridge, they add a wee bit of crunch without messing with the subtle nuance of the toasted oats. Serve this triple berry breakfast treat as the centerpiece of brunch for a gathering of friends or family. Don't be surprised if pieces of the crackling top appear to be missing before guests have even sat down at the table.
Smaller strawberries look prettier and their bite-size is easier to eat. Using a kitchen torch makes it easy to brûlée just before serving. Pass almond milk at the table for serving. This oatmeal may be made the night before and reheated with great results--the top won't be as crunchy, but the convenience makes up for it. Toasted coconut, mangoes, and dates are also a delicious combination--pass light coconut milk at the table for serving.
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Place the oats on a half sheet baking tray and toast for 5 minutes. Add the sliced almonds and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the oats are golden brown.
3. Bring the almond milk, water, and salt to a boil in a HEAVY BOTTOMED POT. Transfer the oats and the almonds to the boiling water, lower the heat to simmer, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the oats are softened.
4. Stir in the flax, chia, hemp, and sunflower seeds.
5. Transfer the oatmeal to a baking dish and stir in the blackberries, raspberries, and 1/2 of the strawberries. Place the other half of the strawberries flesh side down on the top of the oatmeal.
6. Place the BAKING DISH on the top rack of the oven and bake for 8 minutes, or until the excess liquid has evaporated and the oatmeal is firm.
7. Remove the oatmeal from the oven and turn the oven setting to broil.
8. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top of the oatmeal dish and place under the broiler until the sugar is melted and caramelized--watch carefully this process goes from dark brown to burnt quickly.
SERVES 6 TO 8
2 cups extra thick rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 cups almond milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 pint blackberries
1/2 pint raspberries
1 pint strawberries, halved
1/2 cup sugar