Oatmeal Extenders

It’s the dead of winter, it’s time to talk about ways of making a bigger, heartier, oatmeal breakfast without adding, you know, oatmeal. Something to keep you warm while shoveling that six inches of global warming off your drive. And once again we have our choice of bland or exotic.

Bland: A staple of the mid-America, mid-century dinner was succotash, beloved covered dish of many a church social. Standard succotash is corn and lima beans, but the other day MJ made something special — corn and carrots and peas and onions. Extremely delicious and close enough. The carrots, by the way, were from the garden; the last of the Winter Harvest Crops, and the corn was a traditional fresh-from-the-freezer variety. None of your stick-to-the-teeth garden corn like we produced this year. Despite the starchiness, I still added the potato flakes to thicken it. I thought about using corn flakes, but decided against it.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of broth, a fat dining tablespoon of Succotash a la MJ, salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the SMJ at the start and the potato when you take it off the stove..

Results: Most excellent. I think the onions are what did it for me. And the corn. And nothing stuck to my teeth. We still have a pint or so of the SMJ, left over from the church social, so I’ll be having this a couple mornings in a row.

Rating: *****

Exotic 1: Well, there’s exotic and exotic. Last time we talked about this we used shiritake noodles, which are exotic. Today, well use ramen noodles, which are merely exotic. Why ramen noodles you ask? Why not? They’re readily available, they crumble nicely, they add the bulk that we want in an oatmeal extender, and they’re not something you’d normally eat for breakfast unless you’re a college kid. Let’s take half a serving. That’s one quarter of a standard Top Ramen noodle pack. Their noodle slabs break nicely in half, and somewhat less nicely in half again. This isn’t about ramen flavoring, so we’ll just go with grated cheese.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of chicken broth, a quarter slab of ramen noodles.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the noodles at the start. The way they absorb water, you shouldn’t need any potato thickner, but have a response team standing by just in case.

Results: Didn’t quite work. I think the noodles absorbed too much of the stock too early, so the oatmeal didn’t have enough to cook in. The oatmeal didn’t break down the way it’s supposed to, so I ended up with a mix rather than a meal.

Rating: *****

Exotic 2: So, let’s try again. This time, we wait until three minutes before the end of the cooking before we add the crumbled ramen noodles. That’s the amount of time they’re supposed to cook, and the oatmeal will have had a running start on them.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of chicken broth, a quarter slab of ramen noodles.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the noodles at the seven minute point, or three minutes before the timer goes. Add potato flakes to fit in the interstices.

Results: Better, but it still didn’t quite work. There was more liquid, and the oatmeal was done properly, and the potatoes did their best to make the blend, but I still ended up with a mix rather than a meal.

Rating: *****

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