Fall is here and though we in Colorado are ping-ponging between our first snow last week back to the mid 80’s this week, the season for comfort food has arrived!
I love incorporating seasonal ingredients in classic dishes to give them a twist. Weekday morning breakfasts can be a bit lack luster I find, and perfect candidates for a bit of seasonal tszujing up. Oatmeal for me definitely falls in the comfort food genre; probably more from the childhood nostalgia of it than the actual flavor……since by itself there isn’t any, right?
As I was cooking up the breakfast I’m sharing today I had an unexpected flashback to my childhood remembering a bowl of simple oatmeal served with a pat of butter, sprinkle of brown sugar and a bit of milk that forms a moat around the edge of the oats. There may have been a dash of cinnamon in there too. I think we always had it that way and I loved it!
As an adult however I tend to use a few tricks I learned in college that allow more natural flavors to come through. If you like fruit in your oatmeal, add it when the water is coming to a boil before you add the oats. It’s perfect for firmer fruits such as apples or pears, as well as for reconstituting raisins to make them plump and soft. Adding the fruit when the water is coming to a boil allows the fruits to be soft when the oatmeal is done and release fruit sugar into the water making the oatmeal sweeter naturally.
This oatmeal celebrates autumn with pear, crystallized ginger, golden raisins and pumpkin pie spice. Lightly sweet, it is a filling dish with a naturally sweet flavor (but always could take a drizzle of honey or maple syrup if you are so inclined)! I personally love multiple textures in my dishes so added Candied Maple Pecans chopped up as a topping. The pecans are a fantastic stand alone for snacking, on salads, desserts and are whipped up in about 30 minutes. Two recipes that are great together to kick off your fall mornings!
Pear-Ginger Oatmeal with Candied Maple Pecans
Ingredients for Candied Maple Pecans:
- 2 cups Pecan Halves
- 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter , melted
- ½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
Ingredients for Pear-Ginger Oatmeal:
- 2 ¼ cups Water
- 1 medium-large ripe Pear , cored and chopped into small pieces
- 2 teaspoons Crystallized Ginger , diced
- ½ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ cup Golden Raisins
- 1 cup Rolled Oats (gluten-free or regular) Do not use Instant Oats
Instructions for Candied Maple Pecans:
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place parchment paper on a large baking sheet and place pecans on it. Bake in heated oven for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Remove from oven, set aside to cool slightly and prepare coating.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the maple syrup, salt, butter and cinnamon and whisk until combined and thickened. Add the pecans and using a mixing spoon fully coat the pecans. Spoon back onto the baking sheet along with any remaining coating.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove tray and allow pecans to cool fully (coating will harden as they cool). Chop and sprinkle on the top of oatmeal servings!
Instructions for Pear-Ginger Oatmeal:
- In medium saucepan combine the water, pear, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract and raisins; bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the rolled oats, stir to fully combine. Allow to simmer until reaching the desired texture; 10-20 minutes. Add lid, remove from heat for 5 minutes.