Raspberry Baked Oatmeal

Raspberry Baked Oatmeal

First off, I apologize for the long and unintended blogging hiatus. I stated a new job earlier this year and I forgot how much that can take out of you.

Before writing this post I’ve passed this recipe for baked oatmeal on to at least ten people so I knew that I needed to get it up on my blog for the rest of the world to enjoy.

The raspberry baked oatmeal is an adaptation of a Blackberry and Ginger Baked Oatmeal I found on Babble. I’ll admit that I made the Blackberry and Ginger version first and I love it even more than with raspberries. I tried to change things up when I couldn’t find decent blackberries in the store the one week, but this recipe is flexible and will work well no matter your favorite berry.

It’s great fresh out of the oven, bur reheats nicely in the microwave for about one minute or so. I make it on Sundays and put it in the fridge for an easy breakfast before work the rest of the week. It’s my new go to first meal of the day!

Baked Oatmeal with Raspberries

adapted from Babble

  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus more for top
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 large bananas
  • 2 pints of fresh raspberries

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8” square baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, sugar, ginger, baking powder, spices, and salt.

In a small bowl whisk together the milk, egg, and butter.

lice the bananas and layer on the bottom the prepared baking dish. Spread half of the berries over the bananas. Spoon the oat mixture over the top, and then pour in the milk mixture. Press the remaining berries into the oats, and sprinkle top with cinnamon.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes or refrigerate and reheat leftovers.

Mud Hen Bars

Mud Hen Bars

I’d never had anything quite like a Mud Hen Bar before I made these after finding them on the Two Peas and Their Pod blog (which found the recipe on the Sunday Baker blog) . They’re a layered bar ‘cookie’, but have their own unique qualities compared to other varieties I’ve made or have eaten. Each of tier gives the dessert a mix of texture and flavor that I loved. The bottom layer is a lovely light yellow cake (Two Peas referred to it as a cookie base, but mine out very much like a cake). The middle layer consists of mini-marshmallows and chocolate chips to create a gooey center and the top is a brown sugar meringue which finishes the Mud Hen Bars with a nice crackle and almost caramel-like taste. There is some debate about where the name of these came from, but you’ll enjoy contemplating that while taking a bite of one of these!

Like Two Peas and Their Pod, I left out the nuts from the base layer. Find the recipe here.

 

Lochart’s BBQ, Royal Oak, Michigan

Lochart’s BBQ, Royal Oak, Michigan

The Detroit-area barbecue scene has gotten more competitive recently. My favorite barbecue place, Slows Bar BQ, in downtown Detroit (near the old Tiger’s Stadium) has been given a run for its money by Lochart’s BBQ .

Josh and I recently made a visit to this relative newcomer that opened last year in the hip, artsy town of Royal Oak, Michigan. It’s about a 45 minute trip from our home in Ypsilanti, but they did not disappoint. I would classify the interior of this restaurant as casual, modern industrial. With thick wood tables with natural splits to the exposed brick walls and stainless steel counters, open kitchen and large windows allowing light to pour inside.

The server was well versed on the menu and ready to help with any questions. He also brought out a nice complimentary jar of sweet and fiery pickle chips in a glass jar to start off our meals.

I ordered the Carolina Pulled Pork sandwich which came on a Kaiser roll with the signature Lochart’s signature  barbecue sauce which was smokey sweet with a hint of spicy and topped with coleslaw. The meat was very tender and juicy and I loved the creaminess of the coleslaw as a compliment to the pork. I had my choice of a side and went for their classic mac and cheese which was creamy and had a nice cheesy quality, but still fell a bit short of Slows fantastically gooey, rich version. Josh also loved his go-to choice of a beef brisket sandwich as well.

We had really wanted to try dessert but couldn’t get past the fact that we were filled to the brim with barbecue goodness on this particular day. Sweet endings will have to wait until our next visit. The trick will be to decide on one amongst a lot of great choices, including: Pecan Pie, Berry Cobbler and Chocolate Dr. Pepper Cake.

 

Michigan Sweet Corn
and Red Raspberry Ice Cream

Michigan Sweet Corn <br /> and Red Raspberry Ice Cream

In June, I ordered the recipe book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, from my favorite ice cream store based in Columbus, Ohio. The first recipe I tried was Salty Caramel, one of the top flavors I order when I’m in a Jeni’s store. The at-home version turned out very close to the original I love so much that I was excited to try more recipes from the book.

My second attempt was the Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry ice cream; a sweet corn ice cream base with black raspberry sauce swirled through. I’ve had this seasonal summer version in the Jeni’s shops before as well. It may sound odd to some, but trust me when I say that the sweet corn makes for great ice cream and you can really taste the milky sweetness of the corn.

I used fresh Michigan sweet corn, but was having trouble finding black raspberries so I opted to go with the traditional red raspberries. I knew that my version would lack the deep purple color, but the red raspberries would still give it a nice flavor.

The contrast of the slightly gooey, tart-sweet red raspberry sauce (it doesn’t fully freeze) with the creaminess and soft yellow color of the corn base is delicious. Even my husband, Josh, who rarely steers away from traditional flavors like chocolate, couldn’t get enough of this treat.

Michigan Sweet Corn
and Red Raspberry Ice Cream

Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home,

for the Red Raspberry Sauce:

  • 2 c. red raspberries
  • 1 c. sugar

for the Sweet Corn Ice Cream:

  • 1 ear Michigan sweet corn, husked
  • 2 c. whole milk
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • Red Raspberry Sauce (see above)

Instructions:

Make the sauce:
Combine black raspberries and 1/2 cup sugar in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring, until thick, about 8 minutes; strain and chill.

Make the ice cream:

  1. Prep:
    In a bowl, stir together 2 tbsp. of milk and the cornstarch and set aside. Slice kernels off cob of corn then ‘milk’ the cob by scraping it with the back of your knife to push the liquid into the bowl; reserve kernels and juice. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  2. Cook:
    In a 4-qt saucepan combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn and juices and corn syrup, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl to remove the solids. Return the mixture to the saucepan and slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil over medium-high heat until slightly thickened, stirring with a heat-proof spatula, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  3. Chill:
    Slowly whisk the hot mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon freezer bag, seal the bag and submerge in the ice water for 30 minutes or until mixture is cold, adding more ice as needed.
  4. Freeze:
    Pour the ice cream base into the frozen ice cream maker and freeze following manufacturer’s instructions. Alternate layers of raspberry sauce and ice cream into an air-tight storage container, beginning and ending with the sauce; don’t mix. Press a sheet of parchment paper against the ice cream surface and seal. Freeze at least 4 hours.

 

Brunch at Grange, Ann Arbor, MI

Brunch at Grange, Ann Arbor, MI

One of the best brunch experiences I’ve had was on a recent visit to Grange Kitchen and Bar in Ann Arbor. It’s a sweet little space with an intimate atmosphere with a mix of contemporary and traditional with exposed brick walls, simply framed photos along the wall and antique furniture. They also put a focus on locally sourced ingredients.

The day Josh and I visited I was in the mood for something on the savory side. I asked our waiter for his opinion when deciding between the duck and potato hash and the shrimp and grits. He strongly recommended the duck hash. He indicated that although some places are hit or miss when it comes to preparing this bird Grange does an excellent job.

When our meals arrived I was very happy I followed our waiter’s recommendation. The duck was rich and moist and well flavored with a blend of herbs and a nice textural contrast to the crisp potatoes and sauce-like yoke from the sunny-side up egg when it broke. My dish came with a side of grilled toast, but I’ve never been one to enjoy dipping my toast in an egg dish. I asked if their might be some jam or jelly for it and was pleasantly surprised when the waiter came back with the chef’s recommendation of a side fresh rhubarb compote. It was a lovely sweet and tart accompaniment to the bread.

My husband chose to go with one of their signature brunch choices, a freshly ground burger with bacon jam, roasted garlic mayonnaise and topped with a fried egg. He said it was incredible. I took his word for it as 10am was a bit early in the day for me to think about a burger, even if it did include an egg.

The brunch prices at Grange are in the $10-$15 range which, given the quality of food and service is very fair. We’ve already made the easy decision to return to Grange for brunch.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio is famous for their creative gourmet flavors and use of high quality local ingredients. I am a huge fan of the selection and make a point of stopping there often while my husband and I are in town visiting family. I’ve even blogged about Jeni’s in the past. That’s why I was thrilled to see the release of their new cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, in mid-June. I pre-ordered a copy and received it a day before it’s ‘official’ in-store release.

Last weekend I attempted one of my top-five favorite Jeni’s flavors: Salty Caramel. I was a little intimidated because of a warning on the page about the technique used to create the caramel. I appreciate that they let me know that dry-heating the sugar (without any liquid) makes the process faster, but also more likely to burn the sugar so it requires a very close eye. Despite my reservations the recipe went smoothly thanks to the well written step-by-step instructions.

In general the Salty Caramel ice cream I made in my kitchen was very similar in taste to the shop version. It had rich buttery caramel overtones and subtle salty undertones that complement the sweetness perfectly. The only detail that I felt was missing from the book, were suggestions on the best types of storage containers. I used an air-tight plastic bowl with with fitted lid and I ran into a little bit of an icy texture on top after storing it in the freezer, even after letting it sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before serving (as the book recommends). But, that has not stopped me from enjoying a dish of Salty Caramel goodness for the last several nights!

I was surprised that the book gave away so many of their signature recipes, but I’m also thrilled! I live three hours away from the closest Jeni’s so it’s not always easy to swing by for a scoop and the retailers in the area are a bit costly for a pint. Plus, the enjoyment of making it yourself cannot be replaced.

Rebecca’s in Northville, MI

Rebecca’s in Northville, MI

I’m 34 years old, so I grew up most of my childhood without the internet and I still wonder what we did without it. I’m happy that we have websites like Yelp to find information and great places we might otherwise overlook. Reviews on Yelp were how I stumbled onto a little restaurant in Northville, Michigan called Rebecca’s Family Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor. They don’t have  website of their own, though they do have a Facebook page. Without a review focused website I may never have tried this place.

We arrived on a beautiful Sunday morning just in time to beat the crowd to Rebecca’s. We grabbed a two-person table in the corner near the window as the place was beginning to fill up.

We were greeted promptly by friendly staff. I opted for the much raved about sweet potato pancakes with a side of turkey sausage links. Josh had the buttermilk pancakes and a side of hashbrowns. Despite the busy morning our food came out surprisingly fast and we were not disappointed at all by our breakfast!

The sweet potato pancakes were thick and soft. The spices they used made them almost taste like pumpkin pie! The turkey sausage was nice and flavorful, not greasy and lightly browned. Josh really enjoyed his pancakes and hashbrowns too.

The walls are decorated with sweet Americana merchandise. The diner feel makes for a cozy atmosphere. You can tell that there are a quite a few regulars here as well.

I sneaked a peak at their lunch menu which had some great sounding shakes and tempting sweet potato fries with a brown-sugar glaze – do you a see a theme here? I’ve got it on good authority that the shakes and sweet potato fries are excellent too!

I think we’ve found another breakfast spot to frequent. It’s a little bit further out for us, about 25 minutes, but I will attest that it certainly seems it was worth the trip! We’ll be back for lunch this summer.

What are some of your favorite Michigan breakfast spots?