With school back in swing, mornings are even more hectic than usual.
There’s no excuse to skimp on breakfast, though. Not when you can make a whole-grain one loaded with fiber, protein, calcium, and fruit in a microwave in a flash.
That’s the beauty of “Minute-Oatmeal Puffs with Anise and Grapes.”
The recipe is from “Simply Ancient Grains: Fresh and Flavorful Whole Grain Recipes for Living Well” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. The book is by Maria Speck, a food journalist and cookbook writer who lives in Massachusetts.
As the name implies, this cookbook is all about cooking with grains, many of which are gluten-free, too. Inside you’ll find info on everything from black rice to red quinoa to farro to golden Kamut berries, and delicious ways to enjoy them morning, noon and night. You’ll be inspired to try new grains in dishes such as “Lemon Pancakes with Millet and Amaranth” and “Spelt Spaghetti with Lemony Parsnips and Olives.”
This gluten-free oatmeal puff caught my attention not only because oatmeal is a staple in my pantry, but because of the microwave trick similar to making a mug cake.
Just stir together a simple dry mix of oatmeal, dried fruit, anise, and baking powder. The night before you want to enjoy one, measure out the mix into a mug and add milk, maple syrup and a dash of vanilla extract, and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, stir in a beaten egg before microwaving. The recipe says it takes approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds for the oatmeal to really puff up in the mug. I found mine took an additional 40 seconds to really rise to its full height, but every microwave is a little different.
Surprisingly, the texture is not cakey or porridge-like, but more like a sweet, crustless quiche.
The recipe calls for adding anise and grapes. But if your kids aren’t a fan of that licorice-like taste, omit it or add a dash more of cinnamon instead. Feel free to mix it up with other fruit, too. I used diced summer nectarines instead of the grapes, and dried cherries instead of golden raisins.
No matter what add-ins you prefer, you’ll end up with a filling, nourishing all-in-one, hot breakfast in no time flat.
Minute-Oatmeal Puffs with Anise and Grapes
(Makes 1 serving with enough dry oatmeal mix to serve 8)
For Dry Oatmeal Mix:
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (use gluten-free if desired) or mixed rolled grains
2/3 cup golden raisins
2 teaspoons anise or fennel seeds
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Per Oatmeal Puff:
1/3 to 1/2 cup whole milk or low-fat milk (see Note)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
A few fresh grapes, plus a few for garnish
Ground cinnamon for dusting
To prepare the dry oatmeal mix: Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and combine well with a fork. Transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 4 weeks.
To prepare the oatmeal puff: The night before, combine 1/3 cup of the dry oatmeal mix with the milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in a microwave-safe mug or bowl (11- to 14-ounce capacity) and chill, covered.
The next morning, add the egg to a small bowl and beat with a fork until well blended, about 30 seconds. Gently stir into the mug with the oat mixture to combine. Stir in 3 to 4 grapes.
Place the mug in the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute 20 seconds — the oatmeal will rise beautifully, maybe briefly above the rim, but not spill over. Insert a cake tester or wooden skewer into the center; it should come out clean. Otherwise cook 10 seconds more and check again. Allow to sit for a few minutes; then top with a few more grapes, dust with cinnamon, and spoon in.
Note: Soaking the oats overnight makes for a softer, more appealing texture. Using 1/3 cup milk gives a firmer spoonful while 1/2 cup milk results in a creamier breakfast.
Variations: Try dried figs with fresh pear, or combine dried cranberries and fresh apples, dried apples and fresh blueberries, or chopped prunes with bananas.
From “Simply Ancient Grains” by Maria Speck
More Microwave Fun: Microwave Potato Chips
Plus A Different Way to Enjoy Oatmeal: Risotto of Irish Oats