I have to tell you that there's no recipe here for Baked Alaska, or any other flashy dessert. What I do have, though, are two recipes using my favorite hot cereal mix. Are you sufficiently disappointed? You probaby are. But let's keep going, and we can unleash the excitement of nutritious whole grains!!
For breakfast, bread is fairly common. Sliced, toasted and smeared with butter, its the fastest way for me to stop my screaming belly on my way out the door. Somtimes I'll make a big pot of oatmeal or porridge so I have leftovers in the fridge to quickly heat up before I run to work. 7 grain cereal can easily become both.
In the past few months there's been posts about no-knead and 5-minute, so I hope you're not sick of bread recipes since I'm probably already on thin ice today, huh? In my defense, this loaf is a great addition to your bread box. Its as far from squishy as it is from hard. Its not like those supermarket bread-stuffs that pass themselves off as whole grain, and, no, its not like a piece of clay that someone left sitting on wheel too long after pottery class. Its springy and smells almost nutty when toasted. I've heard its a good idea to generously spread it with butter and top it with a dollop or raspberry jam. That's what I heard.
My other suggestion, if you're not in the mood for yeast and proofing, is a simple batch of hot cereal. What makes this special, and, for me, addicitive, is the inclustion of grated apple and dried fruit. Once its cooked and in your designated bowl, gently pour some milk over and top with brown sugar (or maple syrup) and toasted pecans (or almonds) and its as perfect as things can be, before 8:00 AM on a weekday. And if, say, you're out of milk, I've heard its okay to use a drizzle of cream. That's what I heard.
If you think it was cruel of me to lure you into the post with words of scenic beauty, I hope you'll forgive me and pleased with these tasty, and healthy, treats. Healthy as long as you hold the butter and cream.
P.S. Did I mention the amazing dinner that I had for Valentine's day? That's in addition to coming home from a week of travel to a spotless house and a bouquet of flowers. E's not so bad. I think I'll keep him.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, March & April 2006
6 1/4 ounces (1 1/4 cups) 7 grain hot cereal mix
2 1/2 cups boiling water
15 ounces (3 cups) flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
7 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) whole wheat bread flour
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
Place cereal in bowl of standing mixer and pour water over it
Let stand 1 hour or until the mixture cools to 100 degrees
Whisk the flours and salt together in a medium bowl
Add honey, oil, and yeast to cereal mixture
With the dough hook attached, gradually add the flour with the mixer on low
Knead until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides
Cover and let stand 20 minutes
Turn the mixer back on and knead again for 5 minutes
Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface, need briefly, and shape into a ball
Place in a greased container and let rise until doubled, 45-60 minutes
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Lightly grease 2 9" x 5" loaf pans with vegetable oil
Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 9" x 11" rectangle
Cut in half crosswise
With the short side of the dough facing you, roll tightly into a log
Pinch the seam gently to seal
Place the loaf seam side down in loaf pan
Proof the dough, covered lightly in plastic wrap, until almost doubled, for 30-40 minutes
Bake for 35-40 minutes
Remove loaves from pans and cool on a wire rack before slicing
Porridge with Apple and Dried Fruit
This can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for a few days and reheated in the microwave for about a minute.
3 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup 7 grain cereal mix
1 medium apple, grated
1/2 cup dried cranberries, or other small fruit
Assorted toppings such as, brown sugar, maple syrup, toasted nuts, and milk
Bring the water to a boil and stir in cereal
Return to a boil and turn the heat down to simmer
Cook for 7 minutes
Add the apple and dried fruit and cook for 3 more minutes
Take the cereal off heat
Cover and let rest 3-4 minutes
Top each bowl with assorted toppings