It’s Thanksgiving time!
You can hate me for jumping the gun but you know it’s true. Being solidly in November, it’s no longer sacrilege to start talking about what to eat on the big day. Christmas- stay away- it’s SO not time for you yet.
My mom, being the overachiever she is (in more ways than one), has already ordered our turkey, and is no doubt debating the merit of certain side dishes. Taking a page out of her book, I’ve been thinking of Thanksgiving too, and how to make it more globally inspired. Middle Eastern, methinks.
Why Middle Eastern? Well, I’ve been holding on to Ottolenghi’s JERUSALEM for months and hadn’t really had a chance to crack into it, and figured this was the perfect time. Plus, I think that these flavors would meld well with traditional Thanksgiving, making your guests mutter, “Mmmm…” rather than, “What the crap is this?” So, Middle Eastern, we go.
Before we can talk about turkeys and dressing (or stuffing, whatever your vernacular dictates), we need to talk about breakfast. While the focus of the day is always on lunch/dinner, breakfast is oft forgotten, and often leaves your in-home diners wandering around the kitchen, poking at dinner preparations and scrounging for the first meal of the day.
Have no fear, oatmeal is here.
How about baked oatmeal, flavored with classic Middle Eastern flavors to get you in the mood. Pistachios, orange, prunes, honey, cardamom and cinnamon, baked to perfection and topped with a drizzle of honey. Light enough to not spoil an appetite but hearty enough to last more than a bowl of cereal, it’s the perfect way to whet your Middle Eastern palate and have you ready for more. A warm up, if you will.
Top it with a drizzle of honey, a few extra pistachios, a dollop of yogurt or a splash of warm milk. Dealers’ choice.
- 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
- 6 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick (about 2”)
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped of its contents
- 1 TB honey
- 2 eggs
- 3 TB granulated sugar
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 6 prunes, quartered
- 1/2 cup toasted pistachios, shelled
- 1 TB coconut oil (or melted butter)
- To garnish
- Plain or vanilla yogurt
- Warm milk
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the milk, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, vanilla beans, and honey and heat until it's scalding, just below a boil. If you do this the day before, let the whole thing steep in the fridge overnight. If not, carry on by straining the milk mixture of the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and zest, and whisk until combined. Add the oatmeal, pistachios, coconut oil and prunes, and mix to combine. Add the milk mixture and mix well.
- Place the mixture into a greased 8 x 8 oven safe dish, and baked 35-45 minutes until the oatmeal has set. Let cool 5 minutes and serve, topped with optional yogurt, honey, nuts or warm milk.
Written during the CMAs. Drooling over more than this dish.
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