Monday, July 9, 2012

blueberry-basil breakfast bowl

I promise these berries are of the blue variety.

Although recently my blog posts have been few and far between, I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I'm the summer kitchen intern (or Kitchen Intern, if I'm feeling self-important) at this great organization called The Nashville Food Project, and although that means I'm working with food all day most days, I still usually want to cook for myself when I come home. I try to get all my cooking done at night, dinner first, then breakfast and lunch to take with me for the next day. This isn't any different from my school-year routine, but because I have more free time now I'm trying more new recipes than usual, including the one you're about to read!

Most of the time "new" recipes that attract me remind me of something I already like. This is a perfect example. Oatmeal is my default breakfast, but when it's 100+ degrees outside it's hard to get excited about a hot bowl of anything. When I saw The Kitchn's recipe for a breakfast blueberry and grain salad, I knew I had to make it. (This epiphany might have had something to do with the 8 pints of blueberries I had just bought on sale at Whole Foods.) So I did, and I ate it every day for breakfast last week. Tonight I decided to make another batch, but I changed a few things: more berries, fewer nuts, basil instead of nutmeg. I think my version is an improvement on the original, humility be damned.

I know the name I gave this recipe has a lot of "b"s--I was always a sucker for alliteration. And blueberries. And, as you probably already know if you know me, breakfast. This hits all three. You can substitute almost any grains, fruits, spices or herbs, and nuts or seeds you want, but make sure you come up with an equally snappy title for your new version, please.

blueberry-basil breakfast bowl
adapted from the kitchn
makes about 8 servings

1 c steel-cut oats
1 c quinoa
1/2 c millet
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 1/2 c water
3/4 tsp salt
2 lemons, zest and juice
1/3 c basil, chopped
1/2 c maple syrup
1 c Greek yogurt
1/2 c pecans, toasted and chopped
3 c blueberries

Mix the oats, quinoa, and millet in a fine mesh strainer and rinse for about a minute under running water. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rinsed grains and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until they begin smelling toasted. Pour in 4 1/2 cups water and stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt and the zest of 1 lemon.

Bring to boil, cover, turn down the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Spread hot grains on a large baking sheet and let cool for at least half an hour.

Spoon the cooled grains into a large bowl. Stir in the basil and the zest of the second lemon.

In a medium bowl whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the juice of both lemons until emulsified. Whisk in the maple syrup and yogurt. Pour this into the grains and stir until well-coated. Stir in the toasted pecans and blueberries. Taste and season with additional salt, if necessary.

Refrigerate overnight (or as long as you can stand it). This will keep in the fridge for several days and also freezes well, if you can't eat it all up in a week.

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