Monday, September 23, 2013

A Fall Morning

The change of seasons reminds me of the carefree days of childhood in my mother's kitchen. I used to sit and wait at the table for breakfast before our commute to my school. A big bowl of steel-cut oats prepared in milk and topped with a delectable syrupy fruit compote continues to mark the beginning of a cool and colorful season in our family. 

As a parent, my goal is to start my children's day off with a breakfast that will fuel them until their mid-morning snack. Steel-cut oats and fruit compote are a favorite in the Darling home. The littlest darling flaps his arms in excitement when he sees me drizzle the compote. Izzy calls it "breakfast dessert". I call it happy - happy tummies, happy Mommy, happy mornings! Mr. Darling is just thankful to get a few mouthfuls in before jumping on his bike and heading off to school. He reserves slow savoring for his morning cup of coffee.

The best part about this delicious combination is that you can make the compote in advance, so the only thing you have to prepare in the morning is the oats. If you are pressed for time or simply do not care to stand over the stove stirring ( I don't blame you ... there are many mornings when I don't either) I have found that Quaker Quick Oats or even plain instant oatmeal are perfectly accompanied by the compote as well!

I don't know whether it's the memory of eating breakfast in my mother's kitchen, or the cozy feeling that  a warm breakfast brings, or even that first glance out the window and anticipating the crisp fresh air that awaits me, but there is something so comforting about fall mornings.

I would love to share that feeling of comfort with you! Please check out our fall fruit compote recipes below. Happy eating and Happy Autumn!

With love,
Mrs. Darling

Approximate Time: 30 min
Yield: 8 servings

1 pound large strawberries, hulled and halved
8 ounces cherries, pitted and halved
4 ounces blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons strawberry jam
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
zest of 1 small orange
1 teaspoon rosewater, optional

*In a large saucepan gently mix strawberries and cherries with sugar
*Over medium heat, boil only until juices are released from the fruits, about 10 minutes
*Lift fruits into a strainer and drain for about a minute
*Pour drained liquid back in to pan and add jam, salt and lemon juice
*Boil until reduced and thickened
*Off fire, add orange rind, and blackberries
*Add reserved strawberries and cherries
*Cool and add rosewater if desired
*Refrigerate in an air tight container for no more than three days

Approximate Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

375 ml Muscat
2 cups simple syrup
16 ounces seedless grapes
8 ounces black grapes
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/3 cup jumbo raisins
A pinch of ascorbic acid
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons grape preserve
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Peel of 1 lemon
2 sticks of cinnamon

*Boil muscat, simple syrup, lemon juice, lemon peel and cinnamon sticks for 5 minutes
*Add grapes, cranberries, raisins, ascorbic acid, honey and preserve
*Boil 10-15 minutes. Remove solids and leave liquid in the pot
*Boil to reduce liquid until thickened, about 15 minutes
* Pour 1 1/2 cups of thickened liquid into the solids mixture
*Allow to cool

Approximate Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

2 pounds assorted dried fruit (pear, apple, apricot, prune, cherries)
4 cups apple cider
1 cup sugar
3 sticks cinnamon
4 cloves
lemon peel, thinly slices

*Bring cider and sugar to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer
*Stir in dried fruit, starting with the driest, cook for 5-10 minutes until softened. Follow with the next fruit until all are hydrated
*Add a squirt of lemon juice
*Allow to cool

Our favorite steel-cut oats

I hope you enjoy these combinations as much as we do!

These recipes were created in collaboration with Lory Fleischer, Cook/Pastry Chef, graduate of the FRENCH CULINARY INSTITUTE (Classic Pastry Arts).

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