Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

General Tso’s Oatmeal

December 14, 2017

Never go grocery shopping when hungry. Never go grocery shopping when starving. My third mistake was wandering past the deli section of Safeway in those conditions. Like most supers these days, Safeway Deli has a section of Chinese takeout, so in a moment of weakness I bought a box of General Tso’s Chicken. In deference to my diet (and budget) it was a medium-sized box, only a couple of inches on a side, and only $7.00 worth of food.

And it wasn’t all that good. As with a lot of takeout stuff, it was heavy on the spices, I guess so you could be sure you were getting a properly ethnic meal. A couple of chunks of chicken and spiced cornstarch, eaten with my fingers in the car, and my appetite was suitably suppressed. What to do with the rest?

Two or three chunks of chicken, chunked small, and a couple tablespoonsworth of the sauce looked to be an interesting variant on breakfast. I know it’s chicken, but it was dark meat, and spicy, so I used beef broth.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of beef broth, a quarter cup or so of chopped chicken, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Still too spicy. A grab handful of shredded cheese helped that (paper covers rock, dairy counteracts spice), and the end product was quite good (except it was the first time I’ve had bone fragments in my oatmeal). I’d eat it again (in fact I plan to, as a way of using up the last of the Tso), but I think I’ll stay away from the deli for a while.

Rating: *****

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Vegetable bone broth oatmeal

November 30, 2017

Sooner or later the marketing people get into every thing. Their latest is something they call bone broth, made with beef, chicken, and turkey bones, plus garlic and other ingredients, and served as a sipping broth. Sounds like leftovers to me. Nevertheless, I figured that it was worth a try in oatmeal.

Not. It’s hard to describe, but it didn’t work as an oatmeal broth, even when I add cheese or even curry. It’s not bad, just not very good.

Meanwhile, I’m not all that fond of boxed vegetable broth, either. It tends to taste too much like Knorr soups. That said, I was in a box-broth mode and bought one of each. I wonder what it would be like if I combined the two.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, 1/4 cup of box bone broth, 3/4 cup of box vegetable broth, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Not bad. No, really. The bones and garlic cover up the Knorrishness of the vegetables. Not great, but better than either of the components alone. I think this is what they call emergent behavior. I’ll keep doing it until the broths run out, but probably won’t do it again.

Rating: *****

Egg Sake

November 26, 2017

There’s a short little anime on this season, called Love is like a cocktail. It’s about a house-husband who makes mixed drinks for his working wife. At three minutes, there’s not much time for character development, or even for details on the recipe.

This week he was sick, and she made him an egg sake drink. As usual, they had an ingredient list, but no procedural advice.

玉子 Egg
ハチミツ Honey
牛乳 Milk
日本酒 Japanese Sake

So, I had to go out on the web to see if it was a thing (it is), and how one makes it, because I’m not confident in my ability to make a hot egg drink. Halfway through my search, I realized that it was nothing but eggnog with sake in it. That made things easier. Not because it was easy to make, but because I had a carton of eggnog in the fridge already. Yeah, it’s commercial. Yeah, it’s as much chemical as anything else. But you know, as a child of the 50’s and 60’s, I grew up drinking those chemical drinks, and I kindof like the flavor. Next I’ll be telling you how good Velveeta is.

In any event, I warmed half a cup of eggnog (30sec in microwave) and heated half a cup of sake to the boiling point (~1min in microwave) and mixed them. It actually needed another 20sec to bring the cup up to a salubrious temperature. Of course, by the time one has boiled the sake, there’s not a lot of alcohol left.

Result: very good. Just what one needs if one is feeling a little fragile. It’s like eggnog and rum, except that sake is 15% alcohol, and the Christmas Rum/Brandy mix I tried as a comparison was 30%, so the sake drink was very much milder and smoother. And warm.

I recommend it.

Oatkonomiyaki

November 16, 2017

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese fast food pancake, popular in the Kansai region. Essentially, it’s pancake batter, with chopped cabbage, green onions, tempura bits, and bacon stirred in, with a wide range of toppings, and a sauce that’s more like steak sauce than shoyu. Here’s a basic recipe. And here’s a more detailed discussion.

It was dinnertime. I had some cabbage, some pancake flour, and some pork chunks. I made half a recipe, which was enough for two. Too bad MJ was out. It wasn’t bad, considering that I left out three quarters of the ingredients. Next time there will be more planning, and a trip the Asian market (or maybe something online). I managed to burn one side (5min at medium-high is too much), but the burned bits peeled right off. There were leftovers.

Let’s see what we can do with oatmeal.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of beef broth, two heaping tablespoons of Okonomiyaki (just under a quarter cup), two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the Okonomiyaki with about a minute to go (so you don’t overcook the cabbage), and the potatoes right at the end.

Results: Outstanding. I was shocked at how good it was.

Rating: *****

PinquitOats

November 9, 2017

Pinquitos are a small, pink bean grown only in the Santa Maria Valley of California. Sometimes you can find a can of S&W brand pinquitos in the supermarket, but usually you have to order them. Being a dried bean, they last a long time — we are still using up the many poundsworth that we brought back from our last trip to Santa Maria, maybe ten years ago. Under the best of conditions, they can be a tough bean, but we’ve found the best way to cook them:

  1. Do the usual wash thing (although ours have been remarkably clean)
  2. Put a cup of dried beans in the multi-cooker, cover with a couple inches of water, and pressure cook high for 30min. Let cool. No salt or other additives.
  3. Check to see that you still have a goodly depth of water, and then switch to slow-cooker-high, for another four hours.
  4. Meanwhile, cook up whatever additions you want — onions, garlic, meats, etc. Salt this to taste.
  5. When the four hours are up, decant through a strainer, mix with the mixers, BBQ up a tri-tip, and enjoy.
  6. Oh, yeah. SAVE THE WATER

We had about a cup and a half of beanwater left over. I decided the best way to extend it would be to mix it 50/50 with a box beef broth. That would give me three breakfasts to play with.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth (50/50 bean and beef), two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end. If it looks a little sloppy, add another teaspoon of potato flakes.

Results: Outstanding. Tastes like refried beans. Cheese helped. You can do this with regular canned beans, but I’d like to encourage everyone to try the pinquitos.

Rating: *****

Sweet PotatOats

October 12, 2017

Back to commercially prepared sweet potatoes. MJ had a bag of Alexia Waffle Cut Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries in the freezer. Heated in the oven as per instructions, they taste like a failed attempt at BBQ flavor chips. I wonder how they’ll do in oatmeal?

I thawed out three or four of them, and chopped them up. The waffle cut helped. Heated them an extra 5 minutes in the clove-heavy broth (since I didn’t oven bake them), then added the oatmeal.

Setup: 1/2 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, about a 1/4 cup of chopped sweet potato fries, salt. Cook the potatoes for 5 min, add the oats and cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: Started out as meh, but improved as I ate them. For some reason the oats were a little underdone and needed some time in the hot cup to finally cook. Flavor was most unlike the original fries, but still a little peppery. Might try actually baking them first. Surprisingly, they didn’t mush up like the previous batch did, and ended up looking like chopped carrots.

Rating: *****

Oatmeal Stroganoff

September 28, 2017

This is in the tradition of Rachel Ray’s famous deconstruction cooking. Beef Stroganoff is essentially braised beef with added sour cream and other tasteyizers, like onions, and mushrooms, and dill. I had some pretty good beef broth — good broth is expensive, when you consider the recommendation is 1lb of meat for 1qt of water — so I thought I’d try it.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, two heavy shakes of dried dill, two heavy shakes of onion salt, a couple of leftover mushrooms (chopped),one tablespoon of sour cream, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes and sour cream at the end.

Results: Pretty good. Reminds one of stroganoff made with hamburger. Needs to be a good strong beef broth.

Rating: *****

Corny Oatmeal

August 17, 2017

We had corn on the cob last night. One cob each. They were pretty well gnawed but they still had some kernels on them, and I wondered if they’d make a good broth. Prep was nothing special: two leftover cobs with enough water to cover (just over a quart), along with a couple pinches of salt. Pressure cook on high for 45min.

The resulting broth was clear and straw colored, with a faint corn aroma and a mild corn flavor. One might even use the term delicate. The flavor would probably disappear if you threw the cobs in with a load of beef bones, but it would most likely add a new dimension to a plain chicken broth. Plus, I’m sure it would make the base for an interesting sauce. Meanwhile:

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of corn broth, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Very good. The plain broth was surprisingly foamy when heated, but the mild flavor carried over, and blended well with the flavor of the oatmeal itself.

Rating: *****

UPDATE: Be sure to drain your cobs afterwards. They will absorb up to 45g of water, each, and then drip it into the garbage can if you don’t.

Jalapenoats

August 3, 2017

I’m not a big one for spicy. I can eat spicy food, but I don’t seek it out. Usually. This week, MJ bought some Colby-Pepper-Jack cheese snacks. Smallish sticks of cheese with chunks of jalapenos embedded in them. Mediocre snacks, because of the too much peppers. That didn’t keep me from eating them. And it didn’t keep me from trying them in oatmeal.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of beef broth, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Grab handful of CPJ sticks, call it a quarter cup. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end, and the cheese right before that.

Results: Not quite as mediocre. The cheese melted nicely and the pepper bite got spread out, but the pepper smell/flavor remained.

Rating: ***

Coconoats 2

July 20, 2017

Just over four years ago, I tried coconut milk as the base fluid for the oatmeal. It didn’t go well, even with chocolate helper. This time I thought I’d try it with blueberries, since it’s blueberry season at Follow The Harvest. Keep in mind that this isn’t the coconut water from the immature nut, it’s the organic coconut flesh, ground and processed, with added organic sugar.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of coconut milk, half a cup of blueberries, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the blueberries at the start, and the potatoes at the end.

Results: Keep in mind that the manufacturer is trying to create a milk substitute that doesn’t involve methane farts. They succeeded, and the oatmeal tastes like oatmeal made with regular milk, except that it didn’t want to scald. Additional sweetener was necessary, as was a couple tablespoons of organic non-dairy creamer (I prefer Italian Cream flavor). It was alright, if you’re a normal.

Rating: ***

Four Bean Oatmeal

July 13, 2017

Beanless.

MJ bought a jar of four-bean salad a while back. FBS consists of four different kinds of beans, plus chopped onions, in a sugar/vinegar sauce. Tastes very good, either on its own, or spooned over a standard green salad. In home-made versions, the sugar/vinegar ratio varies widely, but is generally about 1:1. Some home-made recipes call for a small amount of salad oil, as well. Our commercial FBS had no sign of oil.

As you serve it up, you generally leave a lot of the liquid behind. What better use for it than in oatmeal the next morning?

Experiment 1

Setup: 1/2 cup of stone ground rolled oats (to make up for the extra liquid), one cup of broth, two measuring tablespoons of sugar/vinegar mix, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

I slipped up (it was early) and added everything except the potato flakes before the broth had boiled, so the oats had an additional couple of minutes in the pot.

Results: Very good. Very creamy. Very delicate flavor, that didn’t taste of vinegar at all. Was the creamyness due to the acid bath, or to the extra two minutes of cooking? I’ll find out next time.

Next Time: It was the acidity. And three tablespoons didn’t change the flavor.

Rating: ****

Experiment 2

If two or three tablespoons are good, why not a whole cup? Let’s try just dumping the oats into the four-bean-salad jar and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Setup: 1/2 cup of stone ground rolled oats (to make up for the extra liquid), one cup of sugar/vinegar mix, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: This is what I was expecting the first time. Very sweet. Very vinegary. Too much so. And if you don’t absorb/boil off all the liquid, you end up coughing when you inhale over your breakfast. A knob of butter helped.

Rating: ***

Curried Marrow….Oats

June 29, 2017

Using up the last of the marrowbone marrow, I decided to try it with curry. I mean, everything goes better with Golden Curry (well, except beanbroth, but that’s another recipe).

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, 40g of marrow, sliced and fried down, one chunk of Golden Curry roux, one cup of broth, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the broth and curry to the fried marrow (watch for spatters), potatoes at the end.

Results: OK, everything doesn’t go great with curry, but it still goes pretty good. Unfortunately, the curry overwhelmed the essential beefyness of this dish, and came up one dimension short in the flavor profile itself. A fat pinch of shred cheese helped.

Rating: ***

Oatmeal Chili — 3

June 22, 2017

Two and a half years ago, I made oatmeal with some ground beef chili that MJ had made. Half a year ago, I made oatmeal with the liquid from a beef strip chili that MJ had made. Half an hour ago, I made oatmeal with a quarter cup of commercial canned chili.

MJ was off doing all the busy things she does, and we were flat out of dinner fixings. I mean fresh, meat-and-veg style fixings. Fortunately, we have a fairly extensive pantry, so when I got hungry I just opened the pantry drawer and had a look around. First thing in front was a can of Hormel Turkey Chili with Beans. I can tell you that it tastes just like … canned chili. Overcooked, with unbalanced seasoning that tastes like it’s based not so much on flavor as it is on what the linear programming algorithm cranks out as the most profitable mixture of spices. However, if you dump it on top of enough lettuce, and then dump enough cheese on top of that, it will keep body and soul together — and as for your taste buds, two out of three isn’t bad. I mean, it’s 98% fat free, and where’s the fun in that? Needless to say there were leftovers, or as I call them, dregs.

Setup: 1/2 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of clove-heavy broth*, quarter cup of HTCB, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Meh. The ground turkey was detectable only in a granular change to the mouthfeel. Every now and then there was a bean. The overwhelming impression was … the seasonings were unbalanced, and not because of the cloves. Cheese helped a lot, but then, it always does.

Rating: **

*Every now and then I think to add cloves to the pressure cooker when making broth. Unfortunately, those times are far enough apart that I forget how much cloves can dominate. By clove-heavy, I mean six cloves in a quart. You don’t have to follow my recipes slavishly. Two cloves will do, and they won’t turn your broth an evil swamp-water black.

Curried oatbeans

June 15, 2017

One of my favorite broths for oatmeal is beanwater broth. Doesn’t matter if it’s the stuff drained off of a can, or if it’s the top two inches of water in the pressure cooker, it makes for good oatmeal. You know what else makes for good oatmeal? Curry. Specifically the Japanese favorite, Golden Curry. I wonder how they taste when mixed?

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of beanwater broth, a chunk of curry roux, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the broken-up curry slab at the start, and the potatoes at the end.

Results: No better than average. Added cheese helped.

Rating: ***

I couldn’t think of what to do with all this stuff so I stuck it in my oatmeal

June 8, 2017

Sounds like the title of a Light Novel. The other day I made broth with just a slab of cube steak. Tasted OK, but a little thin. So I added an onion and carrot and cooked it again. Now it was mostly carrot and onion-flavored. For breakfast today I took about 40g of marrow (from the broth-before-last), sliced it and fried it down into a puddle. Then I added a quarter teaspoon of garlic. As a side experiment, I had chopped up the cube steak into little, well, cubes — they tasted like crumbly, overdone hamburger, with most of the flavor boiled out of them. I added two heaping dinner tablespoons of the cubicles. And since it was hamburgerlich, I tried a bit with ketchup.

Setup: 1/2 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, two dinner tablespoons of cubed cubed steak, 40g of beef bone marrow, garlic to flavor, salt. Fry the marrow, garlic, and cublics until brown. Add the oatmeal. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: Pretty good, but not as good as the plain marrow-oats. It had a distinct, beefy, hamburger flavor. Ketchup didn’t help, but Worcestershire might. I’m still playing with the cube steak idea, since it’s a lot cheaper than prime rib for making broth. Maybe next time I’ll make it a cheeseburger.

Rating: ***

Marroats

June 1, 2017

Marrow has a long and nutritious history. Some of the little we know about the behavior of our proto-hominid ancestors is based on how they cracked their mammoth bones to get the marrow out. Their knowledge has carried down through the ages: animal bone marrows are best. Vegetable marrows, not so much.

We were out of brothmeat, and almost out of broth, so MJ stopped by the store on her way home and bought a nice package of marrowbones. Although they were big and round and marrowsome, they didn’t have much meat on them — the assumption being that you will roast the marrow and have it on toast. I threw them unroasted into the pressure cooker, along with some carrots and an onion and two quarts of water — and a small slab of cube steak for additional flavor. The resulting broth was mild and inoffensive, and the marrow slid out of the bones in two big tubes. When cooled they had the color and consistency of tallow. A fork would mash them, but not smoothly.

After some experiments, I found that what worked best for breakfast was 30-40 grams of marrow, fried and mashed in the pot prior to adding the broth. After that cook it like any other oatmeal.

Setup: 1/2 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, 30-40g of fried and mashed marrow, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Very beefy tasting. Very creamy. Very good. Makes me want to go out and slay things.

Rating: ****

Amazake Oats

May 25, 2017

Amazake (甘酒 , あまざけ) or “sweet sake” is a non-alcoholic drink made from the lees left over from production of sake. An instant variety (available from Amazon) has a small white slab, about the size of the miniature candy bars given out at Halloween, and which looks and feels like a chunk of styrofoam (it even floats). You dissolve this in a mere 100ml of hot water, less than half a cup. The resulting drink looks a little bit like overly scalded milk: a thin white fluid with a little foam and a few floating fragments. The taste is very sweet, at the Irish Cream level. Just the thing for a cold New Year’s morning. MJ says the flavor is a little like cream of wheat. I think it has a faint tinge of orange. I wonder what it tastes like in oatmeal?

Setup: 1/2 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, one slab of amazake, salt. Dissolve the amazake in the broth before you add the oatmeal. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: Very good. Very…Japanese. The amazake flavor comes through clearly, while the sweetness is just the thing for those who don’t like savoury oatmeal. Maybe a quarter teaspoon of maple syrup.

Rating: ****

Granola Dregs

May 19, 2017

MJ had a bag of Nature Valley Granola Crunch — animal cracker-sized granola tidbits. Thing about granola bars is, they crumble, and the tidbitty things crumble faster. So when she was done with the 21 bars equivalent, she still had a good cup of granola…dregs…in the bag. Of course, granola is mostly oats, the bits that aren’t soy or honey, so it should work well with oats.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of beef broth, quarter cup of granola dregs, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the granola towards the end — early enough to heat, late enough that it doesn’t mush.

Results: Yay! New breakfast treat. Nutty-oaty flavor. Maybe I’ll go buy a whole bag, and a hammer.

Rating: ****

Minty Lamb Oatmeal

April 27, 2017

OK, I lied about the mintyness.

You see, we had lamb chops for Eostre and I boiled the bones to make my broth. Very good, but slightly greasy (but the lambfat solidifies in the fridge, for easier stripping off). I tried it for oatmeal with garlic and oregano (not bad) and fruit and curry (very good). This time I was casting about for some other flavor. One that was lamb-friendly and (more to the point) available. I hit on mint. One always has mint jelly with leg of lamb. Only, no mint jelly. Well maybe then dried mint. No dried mint. No mint extract. No fresh mint. It came down to a choice between toothpaste and Crème de menthe. The CdM was in the fridge, and closer.

Experiment 1:

Setup: 1/2 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of lamb broth, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one quarter teaspoon of Crème de menthe, salt. Bring broth and CdM to a boil, salt. When it boils, pour over the oats and let sit, covered, overnight. In the morning, warm in the microwave.

Results: Zero. Null. Nada. Could not detect even a hint of mint. At all. The dish was noticeably lamblike, but without much in the way of other flavor. I’ll either have to go to a teaspoon or greater, or use something else, like peppermint extract. Or schnapps.

Rating: *****

Experiment 2:

I confess that I violated a basic rule of science and engineering. I modified three variables at the same time. First, I switched to peppermint schnapps. Second, I didn’t let the oatmeal sit overnight, but instead used my standard 10 minute cook time. Third, used a tablespoon instead of a quarter teaspoon. It didn’t help.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of lamb broth, three dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one tablespoon of 100 proof peppermint schnapps, salt. Bring broth and schnapps to a boil, salt. When it boils, add the oats and simmer for ten minutes. Add the potato flakes at the end.

Results: Zero. Null. Nada. Could not detect even a hint of mint. At all. The dish was noticeably lamblike, but without much in the way of other flavor.

Rating: *****

My conclusion is that any degree of heating sufficient to drive off the alcohol will also destroy the mint. I’ll have to go out and buy a jar of mint jelly. Unfortunately, we’re out of lab broth, so I’ll also have to wait until next year.

Three Grain Oatmeal – 2

March 23, 2017

About three and a half years ago I tried mixing corn-off-the-cob with my oatmeal. It wasn’t very successful, mostly because the cornlets stuck to my teeth in an irritating manner. Scrape them off with the pointy end of a fork levels of irritation. Well, it’s been a while, and I’d forgotten all about that. We had some supermarket sweet yellow corn that MJ had scraped off the cob, and I decided to use that. Since much of the midwest is buried under three feet of hail, I suspect this came from Mexico, or maybe Nigeria.

We are still working our way through the quarts of corned beef and cabbage broth left over from St Patrick’s Day, so we had a nice salty broth as a base.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, three fat dinner tablespoons of corn kernels, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Since the corn is already cooked, you add it when there’s just enough time to warm it up, and you add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Very good. No tooth-sticking. Much sweetness. Worth buying corn for.

Rating: *****

ApplesauceOats

March 2, 2017

I’ve been buying more applesauce snack packs recently. You know, six-4oz plastic tubs in a handy cardboard container. I take them to school for lunch, and the nice thing is, if I don’t take one for a couple of weeks, the applesauce is still good, unlike the more economical eco-friendly quart size jars.

If it’s that good for lunch, what about breakfast?

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, one 4oz packet of applesauce with cinnamon, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the applesauce at the end and heat through.

Results: Nothing to write the world about, but not bad. Nice apple-y background to the oats. The container makes it easy to replicate the recipe. This goes on the list.

Note: I used a celery-heavy chicken broth as the base, and I couldn’t tell. Plain water might work as well.

Rating: *****

Just in time for Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2017

Over in Japan, they take Valentine’s Day seriously, with all the high school girls traditionally making chocolates for their boyfriends.

It...It's not that I like you, it's just that I had lots left over.

It…It’s not that I like you, it’s just that I had lots left over.

Over in Japan, they take their curry seriously, with the Japanese Navy / JMSDF traditionally serving curry every Friday, so the ship’s crews can keep track of where they are in the week.

They even have fleet-wide competitions

They even have fleet-wide competitions

Over in Japan, they see nothing wrong with melding multiple traditions to make something new and different and uniquely Japanese.

This is a thing, and you can order it.

This is a thing, and you can order it.

Back home in the NENW, I figure if the Japanese can do it with rice, there’s no reason I can’t do it with oatmeal.

Experiment 1: I started with a cup of clove-heavy chicken broth, added a slab of Golden Curry roux and cooked it down a little. It was still somewhat thin, so I thickened it with flour. Once I had the curry sauce to my liking, I stirred in a quarter cup of Swiss Miss powdered milk chocolate mix. Everything turned nice and dark. It looked a lot like the pictures, and it was very good over rice.

About half a cup of the sauce was left, so I did my overnight-oats thing, using a cup of boiling broth and two fat dinner teaspoons of the chocolate curry sauce.

Setup: 1/2 cup of stone ground rolled oats in a heat-proof container, one cup of broth, two dinner teaspoons of chocolate curry sauce, salt. Boil the broth and pour over the oatmeal, then add the sauce and stir. Let sit, covered, on the counter overnight. In the morning, pour into a bowl and reheat in the microwave (two, two-minute shots, stirring betweentimes).

Results: Not bad, but surprisingly bland. It was a little wet, probably because of the extra liquid in the sauce (enough so that it boiled over a bit on the second microwave shot). The curry flavour wasn’t noticeable, probably because far less of it ended up in two spoons of sauce than normally was in my curry broth. Same for the chocolate. It tasted a lot like vending machine chocolate and not like my usual stand-a-spoon-up-in-it chocolate. Next time, I’ll try making the curry broth the usual way, and putting the cocoa powder in directly. I’ll save today’s leftover sauce for the Valentine’s Day ice cream party.

Rating: *****

Experiment 2: I decided what it needed was a stronger chocolate, and more of it. Once again, I started with a cup of clove-heavy chicken broth, added a slab of Golden Curry roux. Rather than making a sauce and using only part of that, I stirred a quarter cup of Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa mix directly into the breakfast broth.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth with curry, quarter cup of cocoa mix, salt. Cook for ten minutes. Since the cocoa mix thickens the dish, I added it at the very end.

Results: Surprisingly good. Not as wet — more like a gravy, which is what I wanted. The curry flavour just right. Same for the chocolate. This one’s a keeper. Now, if I can only find a romantic partner who doesn’t gag at the thought of curry for breakfast…

Rating: *****

Oatmeal Chili 2

January 12, 2017

Maybe this is becoming a tradition. A year ago, MJ made a big pot of post-holiday chili. This year, she did the same thing, only using beef strips instead of ground beef, and adding assorted cans of beans and spices and things. Very good, as her chili’s are wont to be. Just wet enough that I could scoop up maybe a quarter cup of the sauce without getting too many beans and things. So this is chili for flavor, not an oatmeal extender.

Setup: 1/2 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of beef broth, a quarter cup of sauce from a pot of chili (probably shouldn’t call it chili sauce), two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end. Top with a grab handful of shred cheese.

Results: Notice that I bumped up the amount of oatmeal. Ended up with a pot of dryish oatmeal flakes, so I added another splash of broth. Not using potatoes would probably do as well. Very good. Spicy, but not too. Tomato-y, but not too (’cause tomatoes and oatmeal don’t always work well together). Cheese helped.

I’m willing to try it again next year.

Rating: *****

Almond Coconut Oats

December 15, 2016

MJ has been making goodies for the holidays. Goodies that involve almond milk, and coconut butter, and anchovy paste. Well, two out of three isn’t bad. I started out with plain almond milk.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of almond milk, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: Ugh! Argh! Creamy. Blandblandbland. Needs something. Well, needs more salt. Then what else? How about the coconut butter? Fat tablespoonsworth. Now we have coconut flavored bland that needs salt. Anchovy paste…anchovy paste…maybe we can substitute. How about maple syrup? One dollop of syrup helped. A glug and a half did wonders for it.

Rating: ***** For the original. The maplestuff brought it up to three stars.

An experiment that does not need to be repeated.

Curried Turkey Oatmeal

November 24, 2016

So, it’s late on Turkey Day, and you’re wondering what to do with all the leftovers. We’ve been in that situation many times. This year, in addition to turkey bones and bits, we had some leftover pork and beef bones. No problem. Pile them all in the pressure cooker, along with an onion, celery, carrot, peppercorns, and (why not?) a bay leaf, then fill it right up to the plimsol line with water. Cook on high pressure for 45min and let it sit for about the same amount of time to depressurize before you open it.* Our cooker will hold two quarts, plus a cup, if you haven’t gone overboard on the solids. Pour the two quarts into two quart containers, or a two quart container, and pour the remaining cup into a mason jar or the equivalent, along with half a cup of oatmeal.

Setup: 1/2 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of hot turkey broth, Golden Curry roux to taste, salt. Allow it to sit, covered, on the counter overnight.

Results: Very good. The overnight soak method makes for a creamier oatmeal. If you like, you could add chunks of dried fruit, but those are more common around Christmas. Shred cheese topping is also nice.

Rating: *****

*Some recipes call for running cold water over the pot to cool it down. Ours is electric, and the cord wouldn’t let us reach the sink.

Sweet PotatOats

November 17, 2016

My previous adventures with sweet potatoes and oatmeal have been with what might be called commercial preparations: potato puffs and restaurant chips. This time it was personal. I had just sent MJ a list of thirty-some sweet potato recipes what had been collecting in my RSS feed for the last year or so. She retaliated by making chocolate brownies using a white sweet potato base. They tasted like a wartime substitute but we found that with enough toppings (non-dairy creamer, Irish Cream liqueur, rum liqueur, gin,  etc) we were able to finish them off. That left about half a cup of the original sweet potato, mashed. It tasted more like sweet…potato than sweetpotato.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, two fat dinner teaspoons of mashed white sweet potato, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: A very nice addition to the collection. The sweet potato was mild enough that it enhanced the oat flavor (what little there was) without getting into a fight with it.

Rating: *****

Squashed Oatmeal

September 8, 2016

Summer is coming to an end and the great green and yellow tide of squash is rolling over us. MJ made a nice stir-fry with onion, garden tomatoes, and garden squash, seasoned with ponzu, Worcestershire, and salt-free all purpose seasoning. Very good, and there were some leftovers.

Meanwhile, we had some heavily gnawed pork ribs, left over from when I was away on a trip, and a couple of chunks of unidentifiable fast food chicken parts, covered in special fast food batter, that I combined in the pressure cooker to make broth with. Not bad, but it still had a hint of stale batter.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of fast food broth, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, a quarter cup of squash-based stir-fry. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the squash a minute before you are done, and the potatoes at the very end.

Results: Very good. Onions always work well in oatmeal, the squash still had some crunch, and there were not enough tomatoes to clash with the flavor — in general, tomatoes don’t work in oatmeal, it’s not spaghetti.

Rating: *****

Squash VelcrOats

August 18, 2016

Some dishes, a generic stew for example, are called refrigerator velcro — pretty much anything in the fridge sticks to them. We had half an onion, a couple of Zucchinis (one quite elderly), a summer squash, and about a third of a butternut squash that needed using up. What better way to do that than by munging them all together with some chicken broth and sour cream to make squash soup. So we did. And there were leftovers.

The basic soup was very bland and needed salt. We tried spicing it up with salt, a little too much sugar, ponzu sauce, and way too much Lonnies Wholly Huli Hawaiian BBQ sauce, which is like ponzu, with added pineapple and garlic. It was much better, but it was not what you’d recognize as squash soup.

As presented, the soup was very thick, like a thin applesauce. It was likely that there wasn’t enough plain liquid in it for oatmeal, so I tried 2/3 of a cup of chicken broth and 1/2 a cup of soup. That worked out just right.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, 2/3 cup of chicken broth, 1/2 cup of squashlike soup. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: Acceptable. Still too heavy on the Huli, but otherwise quite tasty. I’ll continue the experiment, later.

Rating: *****

Fruity Oaty Bowls

August 4, 2016

With a h/t to Serenity.

I’ve written before about various fruits in oatmeal — blueberries, bananas, figs, etc. Recently, we had a lot of fresh fruit getting slightly over-ripe. We also had the pressure cooker out after making some Santa Maria beans. So, why not pressure cook a bunch of fruit? So I did. Peaches, banana, blueberries, a different kind of peaches, and so forth. Don’t bother to peel them, just chunk them up and throw them in. I made a couple of batches, one of which included blackberries. Don’t use blackberries. They taste musty, and a half-pound box leaves a pound of seeds in the mix. One batch I tried zotting with the stick blender. Don’t use a stick blender. You get a mix that’s 3/4 sludge and 1/4 juice.

What worked best for me was to put the fruit in the pressure cooker (or a regular pot, if you don’t mind watching it), with enough water to make steam with (say, one or one and a half cups), and maybe some sugar. Pressure cook on high for 20min, or simmer for 45min or so. Let it cool, then strain to separate the wet from the soggy. I ended up with twice the fluid I put into it, plus a nice bowl of soft cooked fruit. The liquid can be used for oatmeal, just like water or broth. The solids can be topping for the oatmeal, or eaten separately with cream or creamer.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of fruity broth, sugar to taste, salt (yes, salt — it’s oatmeal). Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: Pretty good, as long as I only have to eat it a couple of times a summer. Too much of a hot fruit ambiance for me.

Rating: *****

Oat, peas, beans and barley grow

July 7, 2016

OK, so I lied about the beans and barley.

This recipe is a bit of a mish-mash. We had some leftover pork ribs for dinner, and so had some leftover pork rib bones. We also had our first batch of fresh-from-the-garden peas, and they really were alike as peas in a pod. Which means we had a bunch of leftover pods. Toss in an onion, pressure cook for 20 minutes (didn’t want to overcook the pea pods), and we had a quart of porky-pea broth.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of porky-pea broth, three dinner teaspoons of potato flakes (I like peas and potatoes), salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Serviceable. The result was mild and inoffensive and very nearly bland. Adding butter helped, but what it really needed was gravy. I think that the leftover shards and bones from one dinner were not really enough to give it the meaty flavor it needed.

Rating: *****

Corned beef oats

June 30, 2016

This is more variations on a theme, rather than a major new item. I’ve done a number of experiments with corned beef, and cabbage, leftovers in oatmeal. This time we had slow-cooked a corned beef slab, with root vegetables, for eight hours on low, in enough water to just cover. Added cabbage a half-hour before the end. Result wasn’t exciting, but that might have been the cut of the meat, or the cutting of the meat. The broth, however, was great. There was close to two quarts of it. This is my best result:

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of slow-cook corned beef and cabbage broth, a quarter cup of chopped raw cabbage, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the cabbage at the eight minute point, and the potatoes at the end.

Results: Most excellent. Will do this again. Adding a teaspoon of yellow or brown mustard to the broth helped. Or you could add pepper (we didn’t use the spice packet). The only reason it didn’t get five stars is because it didn’t make me do an Aristotle and run down the street shouting “lend me a towel”.

Rating: *****

Lobster Dashi

June 23, 2016

The other day we were in a celebratory mood. Or maybe we were depressed. In any event we needed to treat ourselves, and how better than to buy a small steak and a couple of lobster tails. The steak divided, the lobsters eaten, the only thing left were the shells — to the pressure cooker! I cooked the two shells and other detritus in two cups of water, with a sprig of marjoram, on high for 30 minutes. After the broth had cooled, I put in one two-inch slab of kombu seaweed and let it soak overnight. In the morning, I heated a cup of the dashi until it was steaming, then removed the seaweed. The broth was clearly dashi, but it was distinctly different from the standard bonito-based variety.

The first morning I added a dash of shoyu. The second morning, I added a teaspoon of chopped ginger (from a jar).

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Chicken Noodle Oats

June 16, 2016

MJ was off doing churchly things the other night and I was left on my own, to fend for yourself, as she put it. I’m used to fending, so I dug around the kitchen and found a half-used can of spaghetti sauce and a half-empty box of miniature spaghetti — thin spaghetti noodles about an inch long, terrible for winding on your fork (even if you use a spoon), but good for a quick spaghetti dinner. I ate all the sauce, but there was a cup or so of noodles left. Noodles and sauce are about as hard to balance as milk and cookies. The next morning I mixed about a half a cup of them (it’s hard to measure noodles) with this week’s chicken broth.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, half a cup of leftover miniature spaghetti noodles, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Most excellent. Tasted just like chicken-noodle soup with added oatmeal. You need a good, strong broth though.

Rating: *****

Black Chicken Oatmeal

June 2, 2016

MJ went out to lunch with friends yesterday, and came home with a doggie bag for me — she’s a light eater, and I don’t mind dog food. It was a strangely jarring meal of adventuresome ideas that didn’t quite work. First was the blackened chicken. Blackened, to me, means heavily black peppered, which makes it taste a little hot, but not capsaicined. This time, the chef decided that if spicy was good, then spicy would be even better, and added a generous amount of red pepper. Too, too spicy. Then there were the french-fries, made from sweet potatoes. Normally I like them, but here, the chef remained adventuresome and seasoned them with what I think was cinnamon. Didn’t work. Finally, there were noodles with an unidentified herb, that also didn’t go. It was like this guy was the first one to get dropped on the cooking show Chopped.

Nonetheless, I stood by my motto: If it’s leftover, it’s breakfast. Chopped up the chicken and the potatoes (I’d finished the noodles the night before) and mixed them in with the oatmeal. Kept a handful of shredded cheese and a tablespoon of sour cream on standby for if the heat remained too hot.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, about half a cup of the chicken and sweet potato mix, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Marginal. Still too spicy. Shredded cheese helped, as did the sour cream. Not inedible, but not something I’d serve company. Or the dogs.

Rating: *****

TacOats

May 19, 2016

We were looking for a quick meal the other night and found a package of chicken taco mix in the meat drawer. It’s a pre-packaged package of chunked chicken meat, seasoned with taco seasonings. We didn’t feel like tacos, so MJ made a kindofa chile: can of beans, can of chopped tomatoes, package of chicken taco filling. There was lots, so there was lots of leftovers.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, two fat dinner teaspoons of chicken taco chile mix, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end, plus a grab-handful of shredded cheese.

Results: Pretty good, despite the fact that oatmeal and tomatoes don’t play well together. Not sure why. It’s not just the cooked tomato taste (which I’m not a fan of) because oatmeal and ketchup don’t work either. In any event, the chicken and the spices and the cheese overpowered the tomatoes to make an agreeable meal.

Rating: *****

Savory Azuki Oatmeal

May 5, 2016

This is my second attempt at savory azuki. Last time, almost exactly three years ago, it was complicated — use beef broth to bring out the flavor, wash beans to remove the sweet. This time it’s more ad hoc. I had a marrow-bone and veg broth that was mostly veg, with maybe too much garlic. I didn’t bother washing the beans, just drained the excess liquid off the spoon.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, three dinner teaspoons of beans, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Very good. The residual sweet worked well with the garlic, and the beans worked well with the oatmeal bland. A good way to use up the rest of the bottle of beans.

Rating: *****

Sweet PotatOats

March 17, 2016

Seeing as how today is St Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d add a bit of Irish color. And since my ancestors were Protestant Irish, the color will be orange.

Bought a bag of frozen sweet potato puffs last week. They’re like regular potato puffs — small cylinders of fried shredded potatoes — only, you know, sweet…and orange. Heat them up in the oven for fifteen or 20 minutes and they’re pretty tasty. A bit later, MJ tried frying them with sliced apples, to serve with pork chops. On the one hand, they were delicious. On the other hand, they broke up into tiny fragments, so it looked more like apple slices with some sort of crushed Cheetos topping. I wonder how that would work with oatmeal? Drop them in the broth, break them up as they heat, then add the oatmeal. Let’s try it!

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, four not-quite-golf-ball-sized commercial sweet potato puffs, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes when you start the broth heating and let them break up a little before adding the oatmeal.

Results: Most excellent. Looked like oatmeal with shredded carrot. The broth is a little strong, and kept intruding — it was made from a batch of lamb chop bones, plus some old steak bones we’d been hoarding in the freezer. Very good, but, as I said, strong. The sort of thing you want to dump lots of garlic into when you are sick. Would probably do better with chicken broth. I’m giving it 4 stars despite the broth.

Rating: *****

Curried Oatgurt

March 3, 2016

Being a big fan of curry, and still having a large amount of yogurt left from my previous oatgurt experiments, I decided to try curried oatgurt. I used chicken broth in both of these, because the earlier work had found that chicken worked better with yogurt than beef.

Experiment 1: This was a standard breakfast oatmeal dish, with a tablespoon of yogurt and another tablespoon of Golden Curry added.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one sloppy dinner tablespoon of plain yogurt, one heaping measuring tablespoon of Golden Curry roux, chunked up, one cup of broth, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: Very good, in a creamy curry sort of way. Nothing to write to the world about…um…. It’s something I’ll try again, next time I’ve got an extra half gallon of yogurt I’m trying to use up.

Rating: *****

Experiment 2: This is the overnight approach. It’s exactly like Experiment 1, except I mixed the ingredients in a jar and left it on the counter overnight (about which technique I’ll have more to say in a latter oatwrite). In previous experiments I had included a teaspoon of sugar, but decided that might not work, given the curry.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one sloppy dinner tablespoon of plain yogurt, one heaping measuring tablespoon of Golden Curry roux, chunked up, one cup of broth, salt. Mix in a covered jar and leave on the kitchen counter overnight. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: It actually cooked to a muddy consistency and was sticking to the bottom of my non-stick pan in about six minutes, so I took it off. Excellent flavor. Pudding-with-oat-hulls consistency. Worth buying more yogurt for.

Rating: *****

Cauliflower Oatmeal

February 25, 2016

We had home-made cauliflower soup the other night. Package of frozen cauliflower flowers, roasted; three cups of beef broth (used up all my broth); onion and garlic to taste. Didn’t add any cream ’cause we were out (we’re always out), but I added some kudzu flour to thicken it, then stir-sticked it to death. Very good. Almost as good as the cauliflower risotto that we made almost exactly one year ago. Cheese helped. There were leftovers.

I was out of broth, so I used some ham-flavored broth paste. I figured that ham and cauliflower would go well together.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of ham broth, two heaping dinner tablespoons of leftover cauliflower soup, call it a quarter cup; two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, no salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Not inedible. Sortof. Maybe too much ham paste in the broth. The flavors never blended. The ham tasted burned. Cheese helped.

Rating: *****

Buttercream Oats

February 18, 2016

MJ brought home half a sheet cake the other day, remnants of a going away party. It was moderately fancy, as these things go: two slabs of white cake with pudding in the middle and a black and white buttercream frosting. I’m not fond of these things myself. Too, too sweet, and not enough chocolate chips. But suppose one were to repurpose them. Suppose one were to consider them an ingredient in oatmeal? (You knew that was coming, right? This isn’t a blog where you read “suppose one were to use this to feed the poor“).

I used water instead of broth (sheet cake in beef broth is a topic for another day), and added a standard-sized slab of the cake and icing, about what you’d get on a paper plate at a party with not too many attendees. Then, just for fun, I added a half of a large black buttercream flower.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of water, a 1x2x4 slice of sheet cake with buttercream frosting, additional frosting to taste, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the sheet cake close to the end.

Results: Tasted a lot like a standard sweet bowl of oatmeal. It was a little runny, probably because the buttercream melted down, as did the pudding. Were I to do it again I’d cut back to 3/4cup of water. The ‘black’ frosting turned a lovely Seahawks Blue, so that it looked like I was eating a bowl of blue soup. This one’s a keeper. I might start attending parties again.

Rating: *****

Olive Oats

February 4, 2016

Two years ago, I had a a horrible, terrible, no good at all, experience trying Kalimata olives in my oatmeal. This time I’m trying sliced black olives, the kind you find on a certain style of tacos, or salad, or celery with cream cheese. We had opened a can and had used most of them on tacos, and salad, and celery with cream cheese, but there was about a quarter cup of olive dregs left, along with a half cup of the olive water. It had been long enough ago that the trauma had faded, so I tried again.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, quarter cup of sliced black olives and half a cup of water from the can (probably should use a third of a cup and adjust the broth), half a cup of broth, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, no salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end. Fat pinch of shredded cheese.

Results: Pretty good. A little salty. Olive flavor came thrugh nicely. Were I to do it again I think I’d put the olives in at the last moment. Cheese helped.

Rating: *****

Roast Beef Oats

January 28, 2016

We don’t often buy prepared meats, but the other day, MJ brought home a packet of roast beef slices to make sandwiches with. The sandwich project fell through for some reason, and we were left with an un-used pack of sliced roast beef. They sat around in the fridge for a while, until she was cooking up a slab of bacon and decided to cut them up and fry them in the pan grease. They fried up nice and black and hard, shrunk down to about the size of a cooked slice of bacon, a little bit like jerky. The flavor was excellent, a lot like those overdone bits at the end of a roast that everyone fights over. We’ll probably buy another pack just to try it again.

That’s all well and good, you say, but how do they taste in oatmeal?

 

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, three or four slices of packaged roast beef, fried to a crisp, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Meh. Not bad, but not great. Oatmeal with chunks of meat in it, and the cooking process had softened the crisp and the flavor so that eating it was no longer a unique experience.

 

Rating: *****

Oatmeal And Wilted Lettuce

January 21, 2016

Remember your elementary school cafeteria, where they’d feed you yesterday’s lettuce soaked in boiling vinegar and sugar, with a topping of nice healthy bacon? Suppose you could recapture those memories at breakfast time, so they come back to you all day long? We had some shredded lettuce that MJ bought for taco making, and you know how fast shredded lettuce goes off, so I helped her use up the leftovers, just like the schooldays.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, half a cup of lettuce, chopped and loosely loaded, two tablespoons of vinegar, two packets of sweetener (trying to stay healthy here), and three strips of crisp bacon, chopped up, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the lettuce and the bacon for the last minute. You don’t want it to go all soggy.

Results: Surprisingly good. You’ll have to play with the ingredients to get it to taste the way you like, but it gave a nice, tart start to the day.

Rating: *****

OilyOats – Artichoke Edition

January 7, 2016

In the mad whirl of party that is our end-of-year tradition, MJ made some dips to take. One such included a jar of artichoke hearts in oil. The other was a salmon-kale mix. They ate all of the artichoke dip, and sent the salmon/kale mix back.  Of course the artichoke oil* was left over, and of course I had to try it in my oatmeal.

There were two experiments. One was to just add two tablespoons of artichoke oil (uninspired, just a slight taste of artichoke); the other involved more oil and more cooking. For the second one, I used all of the remaining oil, about three tablespoonsworth, along with the usual cup or so of (rich chicken) broth. At the end of the ten minutes of normal cooking, and after I added the potato flakes, I turned the heat up to high and boiled off most of the rest of the broth. To finish it off, I let it sit on high, unstirred, for 30 seconds.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, three tablespoonsworth artichoke oil, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end, and fry for a minute or so after the potatoes have absorbed the broth..

Results: Nothing burned, but there was lots of oatfrags stuck to the bottom of my non-stick pot. The resulting oatmeal was very good. Nutty tasting. Just a hint of artichoke. This is a keeper that I’ll probably be eating every January.

Rating: *****

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* It’s not really artichoke oil, it’s artichoke-infused sunflower oil: Mezzetta Grilled Artichokes in sunflower oil, to be exact.

Hawaiian Oatmeal

December 31, 2015

We had duck for Christmas. Our traditional Christmas dinner is goose, but those are going for $75 a bird these days. More, I think, than an equivalent amount of prime rib.

MJ did it with a Hawaiian style sauce, essentially teriyaki with pineapple and orange juice, thickened with cornstarch and with onions and mushrooms to give it some bulk. We poured it over the duck, and over the sweet-potato/winter-squash mash. Of course, there were leftovers.

I tried it two ways. First using about a quarter cup of the sauce along with three-quarters of a cup of duck broth. The second time, I used a cup of duck broth and just reheated the last quarter cup of sauce and poured it over the oatmeal in the bowl.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of duck broth, one quarter cup of teriyaki-pineapple sauce, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potatoes at the end.

Results: It was very good, and will be in the lineup whenever fine duck is served, or whenever we get a hankering for teriyaki-pineapple sauce. Of the two methods, I preferred the second one. The first wanted too much of itself.

Rating: *****

Chili Cheese Oats

December 10, 2015

MJ picked up a block of Grafton Village Raw Milk Smoked Chili Cheddar at Safeway recently (and the number of modifiers should tell you everything you need to know). We try a lot of different cheeses for snacking, putting them into the rotation if we think they are tasty. This one isn’t going into the rotation. It is something like a pepper jack, only Cheddar instead of Monterey, and red chili instead of green. Other than that, and the smoke, they are identical. For our tastes, there’s too much chili pepper, to the point that it’s hard to taste anything else. Yes, the smoke flavor comes through, but any cheese flavor is totally submerged. Wait a minute! Maybe it will work in oatmeal?

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth (beef, with mushroom), roughly a tablespoonsworth of Smoked Chili Cheddar  chopped, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the cheese before you add the oats, and add the potatoes at the end.

Results: Nope. Well, not for me. Still too much chili hot. Had to have a glass of dilute drinkable yogurt as a side dish. No smoke and no cheese flavor came through. Others might like it, depending on how much heat they like for breakfast.

 

Rating: *****

KaliOats

December 3, 2015

I’m not a big fan of kale. Any food with ‘dinosaur’ in the name, and ‘massage well’ in the instructions is a little too far out for me. Besides, it’s just as hard to grow in the NENW as its other brassicaid cousins are (and infects the soil just as much), and it tastes like you left the harvest too long. Nevertheless, when a family friend brings some kale salad to Thanksgiving dinner, and gives you a small container of leftovers, you smile and eat and take.

And try in your oatmeal.

The salad was chunks of kale chopped very fine (the way the manuals say you should do with any field-gathered survival food), with some shredded carrots and a light touch of vinaigrette dressing. Nothing to get in the way of the kale flavor.

We had about half a cup of leftovers, just enough for two experiments: one where I rinsed off the vinegar and one where I didn’t. Didn’t make a difference.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth (I used beef), a scant quarter cup of chopped kale, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the kale at the start and the potatoes at the end.

Results: Extremely meh. If you like kale, you’ll like this. Kale flavor came through loud and clear. Didn’t overpower the oats and broth, but you knew there wes kale there.

Rating: ***** if you don’t like kale,  ***** if you do.

Oatgurt 2

November 5, 2015

Experiment 1: What a difference a broth makes. I spent most of last week and last post complaining about the blandedness of oatmeal and yogurt made with either water or store-bought beef broth. This week I tried oatmeal and yogurt in chicken broth. Specifically, in plain old store-bought chicken broth (the plastic bits in the valve on our pressure cooker have disassembled themselves and it’s now only good for slow-cooking, and we are back to the old ways, at least until Amazon comes through with a new lid).

Turns out that the creamy acid in the yogurt is just the thing to set off the chicken-noodle-broth flavor. The only thing I did to it was add some poultry seasoning, and a few grinds of pepper.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of chicken broth, sugar. Let sit at room temperature overnight, salt in the morning.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  No potato.

Results: Smooth and creamy. Not bland. Almost like chicken gravy. This is a must repeat, on days when I have store-bought broth and a spare container of yogurt.

Rating: *****

Experiment 2: What a difference a night makes. For my second experiment, I didn’t let it sit overnight. Instead, I built it first thing in the morning, as per normal. Because I wasn’t trying to feed the little yogurcules, I used a single packet of sweetner, instead of a teaspoon of sugar. As with the first experiment, I added some poultry seasoning, and a few grinds of pepper.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of chicken broth, sweetner, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the potato when you take it off the stove.

Results: Quite different, and not as exciting. Soaking overnight let the oats absorb some liquid, which then helped them break down into something smoother. Without that, there was more of an individual oat texture to the meal, and it was quite a bit soupier. The potato helped it come together, but it was, as might be expected, more like regular oats. What surprised me was how sweet it was. A single packet of Splenda provided a lot more sweet than a teaspoon (well, a teaspoon-sized mound in my hand) of sugar. Where the first experiment tasted like chicken gravy, this one tasted like creamed corn.

I suppose one could try splitting the recipe, and only soaking half the oats in half the broth, etc, but that’s too much like cooking.

Rating: *****

Oatgurt

October 30, 2015

As in oats and yogurt. Inspired by the link, I dashed out to buy a container of plain yogurt. Imagine my chagrin when I found that they only sold plain yogurt in the molto venti size. I lugged it home and started my experiments. These ran from a third of a cup at cooking time, to a couple tablespoons left to soak in the fridge, down to a simple dinner tablespoonful of yogurt added to a cup of broth and oatmeal and left to ferment on the counter overnight. Sometimes I added a teaspoon of sugar, to help the process along and counter the yogurt tang.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of yogurt, one cup of broth, sugar. Let sit at room temperature overnight.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: A different shade of bland. Bland in two dimensions, rather than one. Was smooth, creamy, tangy, acidulous, and needed a whole lot of something more. Using broth rather than water helped, except when the broth clashed with the tang. One time I added blueberries and a couple packs of sweetner, and that was nice. I think it has potential, but I’m not quite sure how I want to progress from here. Meanwhile, does anyone need half a gallon of yogurt?

Rating: *****

BrunOats

October 22, 2015

From Wikipedia entry on Brunost:

Brown cheese, also called whey cheese or red cheese is a caramelised brown Scandinavian whey cheese made from cow’s milk. It is produced and consumed primarily in Norway. Gjetost is a variant made from a mixture of goat’s and cow’s milk.

I found a red cube of the Gjetost in the expensive cheese section of Safeway. The cheese inside is about two inches on each side, and a rich-looking medium-dark brown. It tastes a little like caramel, possibly because it’s made from caramelized milk. It’s good on crackers, but only in a very thin layer. Otherwise it’s like eating a candy bar.

Brown inside yellow inside red

It’s a lot browner than it looks

I used a chunk that was about 3/4″ on a side — call it two measuring tablespoonsworth — sliced into four or five thin wafers. Even so, it took them a while to melt in the simmering beef broth. Otherwise, no special ingredients.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of Gjetost, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of broth, salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the Gjetost at the beginning and let it melt down a bit before adding the other ingredients. Add the potato just before you take it off the stove.

Results: Excellent. I’m thinking this would be a great way to make a superb gravy. A cup of beef broth and a tablespoon or so of Gjetost and maybe some flour to thicken, and you’ll have something rich and flavorsome.

Rating: *****