I’ve come to believe that a few days in bed isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I recently had knee surgery. I was told I’d be fine if I took it easy and faithfully did the physical therapy exercises. Over the years I had seen the range of knee surgery patients—from those who hadn’t bothered with the physical therapy exercises to those who had pushed way too hard (if five repetitions is good, then fifty must be better).
I listened. The first three days I lay around like a woman with a box of bonbons, which meant I had more time than usual to plan the upcoming brunch for our out-of-town visiting family. As I pondered the meal, I was bored with my current repertoire of morning crowd pleasers. Or did all that time on my hands make me want to create new brunch food?
I hoped to develop two new dishes—one sweet, the other savory. For the sweet one I settled on baked oatmeal, both do-ahead and healthy, which was fine for weekday morning breakfast. But this was Sunday brunch. My baked oatmeal needed a naughtiness factor.
The result: Baked Blueberry Oatmeal with Walnut Streusel Topping—healthy on the bottom, party on the top! The oatmeal, moistened with nut milk, sweetened with blueberries and brown sugar, and flavored with cinnamon, orange zest, and vanilla, is almost saintly. The little walnut crumble topping nudges the oatmeal towards dessert.
Maggy was with me when the dish came out of the oven. One bite and she said, “You nailed it. No need to change a thing”
And that’s what happens when you have a few days in bed.
(New savory brunch dish to come next week.)
Baked Blueberry Oatmeal with Walnut Streusel Topping
Serve 8 to 12
Serve with coconut or dairy milk or cream
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (zest of about 1 orange)
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
3 cups almond milk (we used Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almond Milk)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
3/4 cup all-purpose bleached flour
6 tablespoons butter, melted but not hot
1/2 cup coarsely walnuts
Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix oatmeal, 1 cup brown sugar, baking powder, salt, orange zest and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl whisk milk, vanilla, and eggs. Stir milk mixture, then 1 cup of blueberries into oatmeal mixture; turn into a 13- by 9-inch pan; Bake until oatmeal is just starting to set, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix flour, butter, walnuts, and remaining brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Crumble mixture over just set oatmeal, scatter remaining blueberries, and continue to bake until oatmeal is just set and crumble is golden brown, about 20 minutes longer. Serve