Posts Tagged ‘oatmeal’

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).

(more…)

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: *****

—————–

* 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: *****

TacOatmeal Boat

September 24, 2015

Last night, MJ made an experimental recipe — half a spaghetti squash shell, used as a baking boat and filled with the squash innards, plus a handful of miniature  frozen Swedish meatballike things, a halfcup or so of salsa, a halfcup or so of black beans, and the remnants of a package of taco seasonings. Baked for a bit, and finished off with a sprinkle of cheese on the top (toasted under the broiler). Most excellent, and there was mix left over.

I used about a third of a cup (minus the meatballs), so that makes it an oatmeal extender, rather than just an ingredient.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, third of a cup of spaghetti squash taco bean mix, one cup of broth (beef), salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: Very good. Put some cheese on top, but didn’t finish it off under the broiler.

Rating: *****

Strawberry-Banana Oatmeal Extender

September 17, 2015

I have written about bananas and oatmeal a couple times before, but mostly about banana chips. What about a real banana? Keep in mind that a real banana is a massive thing, as oatmeal additives go, so what we are really talking about here is using a banana as an oatmeal extender.

MJ had a banana left over from a dog trip. It was exceedingly brown on the outside, and anyone’s guess about the inside. What the heck. Let’s try it.

Turns out, it wasn’t that bad on the inside. A couple of light brown spots, and the texture was crumbly-mashable. Icky to eat in your hand, precarious if you ate it from the peel, good tasting if you ate it on your plate. I put it in a 50/50 mix of apple juice and beef broth. Apple juice wants to dominate things, and it tastes surprisingly sour when cooked.

Halfway through the cooking process, I remembered that we still had a box of strawberries left from our next-to-latest Follow The Harvest delivery (organic freshfruity things hand delivered every week)*. They were pretty far gone, but not inedible. Sort of. I cut up about half of them and dumped them in towards the end. Call it half a cup. Added a tablespoon of sugar. Cooked the whole mess for 15min insted of 10.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one really ripe banana (mashed in the pot), half a cup of really ripe strawberries (mashed in the pot), half cup of broth, half cup of apple juice, salt (yes, it needs salt — it’s oatmeal).  Cook for 15 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: Very good, but it needed something. Maybe cinnamon on top. Came out surprisingly soupy. I guess both the banana and the strawberries had more internal water than I credited them with. Next time maybe just half a cup of apple juice.

Rating: *****

*They only delivered the strawberries, not the banana, sorry.

ChiveyO’s

September 10, 2015

Bought a box of fresh chives a few days ago, for use in some Japanese meals I was trying. Trouble with fresh chives is that they go off very fast, and the remnants in this box were looking decidedly peak-ed. So I took out three or four of them — its a 7″ box with them folded over, so maybe a yard and a half. Using scissors, I cut them into quarter inch chunks and mixed them into some beef broth before putting in the oatmeal.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, a few feet of fresh chives, cut up, one cup of broth, salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the chives at the start and the potato when you take it off the stove.

Results: Very good. Chives in every bite. The chivey-ness was muted, and set off the beef flavor very well. Some added pepper helped.

Rating: *****

Pumpkin Oats

September 3, 2015

This is becoming semi-traditional. Last year I wrote about using canned pumpkin in oatmeal (OK). Two years before that I wrote about pumpkin spice and pumpkin liquer in oatmeal (bad). This year, it’s real pumpkin (pretty good).

We’ve been harvesting our pie pumpkins as the orange comes along. Three of them so far. They are small enough (bigger than a softball, but not by a lot) that you can think of them as single serving. MJ cooked up two of them, flavored with taco spices. Very good. There was a quarter cup left over.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, quarter cup or so of taco-flavored pumpkin, 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 potato when you take it off the stove.

Results: Pretty good. The taco spices added just the bit of zest the very mild pumpkin needed.

Rating: *****

French Onion Oats

August 27, 2015

About three months ago I wrote about using leftover grilled onions in my oatmeal. The trouble is, waiting for leftovers is a mug’s game, and creating leftovers is too much like cooking for my taste. Enter pre-fried onions, as in French’s French Fried Onions, available wherever fine processed foods are sold. I’m not sure what makes them French Fried — they’re really just fried breaded onion slices. In shape, they’re the onion equivalent of mushroom pieces and stems — the detritus left over from making onion rings. But they are flavorsome, and they keep, and they’re handy for breakfast.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two heaping dinner teaspoons of FFFO’s, small grab handful of shredded cheese for the bottom of the bowl, somewhat larger handful for the top, one cup of broth, salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: Quit edible. Not quite French Onion Soup, but close. I guess if you wanted to you could use a slab of cheese for the top, and stick it under the broiler for a second.

Rating: *****

Zucchini Oats

August 13, 2015

Get a cup of coffee, because this will take a while.

It’s high summer and the Zucchini are running, a relentless green tsunami that will soon carry away kitchen counters, refrigerators, freezers, wharfs, boats, and small homes. One can eat only so many Zucchini casseroles, one can add only so many to salads, one can give only so many to friends, and one can take only so many to church on Sundays. Besides, some churches have started warning their parishioners to lock their car doors. What to do, what to do?

Let’s try dehydrating them! Turn them into veggie-crisps! We have this Primo Dehydro thing that MJ uses to turn hot dogs into doggie treats. Let’s use it for other things, like Zucchini.

Easier said than done. Well, than done usefully. If you add oil, as some recipes would have you do, you end up with something best described as vegetable jerky. Like flavored bits of leather. Like, well, dwarfbread. Dwarfbread, for those who don’t know, is Pratchett’s answer to Tolkien’s lembas waybread, and serves the same purpose, as food for travelers. One bite of dwarfbread, and you find you weren’t nearly as hungry as you thought you were. Two bites, and you realize that it’s possible to go all day without taking another bite. Dehydrated Zucchini with oil is like that.

Dehydrated Zucchini without the oil tastes like little rounds of cardboard to which FDA Zucchini Flavor #7 has been added. But remember our motto “No ingredient is so bad that it won’t improve a dish of oatmeal.” So, here’s the plan:

  1. Take a largish Zucchini, say about a pound, and slice it into 1/8th inch rounds. Add a little salt, to bring out the moisture.
  2. Dry on the dehydrator of your choice. Six hours at 125F should do it. Your pound of 2″ diameter rounds is now down to about an ounce of 1/2″ diameter treats.
  3. Dump the treats into a small food processor and run for a minute or two. It will grind down into a granular mix with a largish proportion of 1/8″ chunks.
  4. Dump the grains and chunks into an electric coffee or spice grinder, set to fine. Grind for about a minute. You will come out with something under three measuring tablespoons of fine Z-Dust.
  5. Add this Z-Dust to your morning oatmeal, to taste. Remember, that’s a whole Zucchini’s worth of fiber there, and that it originally held almost a pint of water. Your oatmeal should be a little thin, going in.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of broth, salt, Zucchini powder to taste.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the Zucchini powder about a minute before it’s done, and the potato when you take it off the stove.

Results: Very good. Even my wife liked it. It’s what Zucchini would taste like if it were a root vegetable. A pat of butter helped, and it’s best eaten hot. As it cools, the Zucchini flavor becomes much stronger, and the bitterness of the skin starts to come through. I think it would make an excellent side dish at dinnertime, and you only have to clean four pots and appliances afterwards.

Rating: *****

Curried Date Oatmeal

July 9, 2015

Now, everybody likes a bowl of curried something for breakfast, particularly on hot summer days that remind one of the Raj. I find that curried oatmeal goes best with some kind of fruit or jam. Earlier this year we went on a trail mix kick, but decided that since our car wouldn’t fit on any of the local trails we’d give it up. That left us with some spare fruitlike substances, including an almost full container of date bits. Date bits are to dates as chicken McNuggets are to poultry, except for the deep fat frying part. They’re small, machine-processed, half-raisin-sized chunks of dried dates, with the occasional date by-product. They’re not crunchy, but neither are they raisin-soft. I used a couple of heaping dinner teaspoons, since heaping is the only way the bits fit. Don’t worry about getting too many — they’re like human skulls, in that they don’t stack very well.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, a quarter-inch strip of Golden Curry roux, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, two dinner teaspoons of date bits (carefully screened to remove any stems or palm fronds), one cup of broth (your choice, I used a mix of pork and oxtail), salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the dates when you start and the potato when you take it off the stove.

Results: Very good. The cooking softened the dates to the point that I didn’t notice them, and the date flavor leaked out into the oatmeal so you had a blend, rather than just a date-flavored object in an oatmeal-flavored matrix.

Rating: *****

Low Kaliber Oatmeal

June 25, 2015

Somewhere on the web I saw a pretty favorable review of Kaliber Beer, an imported non-alcoholic beer by Guinness. So, on the basis of something I read on the web, I bought a six-pack, at just over a buck a bottle. Then reality set in.

I was prepared for a milder tasting IPA. I was prepared for a milder tasting Guinness. What I got was something that tasted like a 10:1 mixture of Coors Light and Guinness. Bleah.

So the beer went where all unwanted foods go, into my breakfast. I actually tried two different recipes: 3:1 beef broth and beer, and a 50/50 mix. A word of caution at this point. Beer is carbonated. It foams. When boiled, it foams a lot. Stay next the stove and move the pot on and off the flame, or electrons, or magnetrons, or whatever.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of broth/beer mix (your choice as to the ratio), salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats, and minding the foam.  Add the potato when you take it off the stove.

Results: Too much bitter. Not inedible, but not anything I’d want to order again. I may try adding the beer in tablespoon quantities, but anything less puts us in homeopathic dilution territory. Question for the class, how many tablespoons in the four remaining bottles of beer?

Rating: *****

French Onion Oats

May 28, 2015

It began, as it so often does, with leftovers. We grilled some burgers for Memorial Day, and since there was lots of fire to go around, we sliced up an onion and grilled that as well. The burgers were good (pre-packaged grass fed, not as good as the ones I do from scratch), but the onions were underdone. Not raw, just crunchy. Nice grill flavor. There were a couple slices left over, so I chopped them up for breakfast. Since no French onion soup is complete without a big slab of cheese, I sprinkled a grab handful of mozzarella on top.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of broth, quarter cup of chipped grilled onion. Quarter cup (-) of cheese. Less salt than normal because of the cheese.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the onion before the oats, the potato when you take it off the stove, and the cheese immediately you have dumped it in the bowl.

Results: Servicable. Onions really needed to be more brown. Perhaps next time brown them the rest of the way in butter before I add the broth.

Rating: *****

Fake ShalyapinOat Dregs

May 21, 2015

So, a couple of times now, I’ve talked about an anime called Food Wars (AKA Shokugeki no Souma). It’s about a cooking wizard whose dishes make people’s clothes explode off of them. Last time was about my unsuccessful attempt to recreate a fake version of his Steak Shalyapin (fake, because it used pork instead of beef). Unfortunately, no-one’s clothes exploded, although I did have to let my belt out a notch. Fortunately, there was a lot of rice left. OK, sticky, pasty rice, with lots of fried onions and rather too much post-maillard wine and shoyu sauce, with zero ume paste. A perfect description of dregs if I ever heard one.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, 1/4 cup of the leftover rice  and onions from a Steak Shalyapin, one cup of broth, salt. Add the rice before you add the oatmeal. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.

Results: Very Good. The overdone flavor of the sauce was cut nicely by the broth, the rice added a nice texture to the boiled-plant-seed oats, and fried onions are always welcome in oatmeal. I’ll have it again, next time I ruin a Steak Shalyapin. Maybe by that time I’ll have some ume paste.

Rating: *****

SmokinOats

May 14, 2015

Central to this recipe is the Tale of the Broth. MJ brought home a couple of smoked pork chops. Smelled like bacon, tasted a little like ham, AKA smoked pork. We had one, cut up in a browned onion sauce, over rice. We had the other, cut up in a commercial “Madras Lentils” sauce, over potatoes. The ML sauce was a little like chile. The bones and the ungnawed … ung-nawed … remaining meat went into the pot for broth (you really don’t need a lot of fixin’s for pressure cooker broth), along with the usual celery stalk and carrot, plus the top leaves of a leek that wandered by. The resulting broth had a smoky, BBQlich flavor, the smell of which varied non-linearly with distance.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of smoky pork broth. No 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: Not bad. Smoke came through. Chile taste came through. Pretty good, if you like chile for  breakfast.

Rating: *****

Salmon-Dashi Oats

April 30, 2015

Unlike my first discussion of salmon and oatmeal (which featured a canned salmon sauce), this one is about your actual anadromiliad salmon-type fish, chopped up in the oats. Not only that, but the broth is last weeks real, home-made dashi, to which I added a couple glugs of shoyu, and a teaspoon of sugar – to turn it into teriyaki sauce.

The salmon was leftover from dinner. Nothing special — maybe a quarter cupsworth of broiled salmon, chopped up.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of dashi, a quarter cup of salmon. Tablespoon of soy sauce and a teaspoon of sugar.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the potato when you take it off the stove.

Results: Very good. Needed more sauce.

Rating: *****

Oatmeal Dregs

April 28, 2015

Last time I talked of using brothdregs as an oatmeal extender, I was all about hand-chopping a small amount of the carrots and onions that were strained out of the original liquid. This time we made our broth from two small beef shortribs (it’s amazing how little meat is needed for a quart of broth). Afterwards, MJ ran everything through the food processor — meat scrapings, carrots, onions, the lot (well, not the bones). Came up with something that’s best described as a thick, granular puree.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of broth, two fat dinner tablespoons of pureed broth dregs, 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: Edible. The flavor balance was off a little, and the meat and gristly bits made it feel like you were eating a low quality hamburger. Still, it has potential.

Rating: *****

Daikonoats

April 14, 2015

Time to use up more of that dashi. This time the secret ingredient is the stub end of a smallish daikon radish that I’d made oden with the night before.  Normally, one puts whole rounds of the daikon into a stew or soup and lets them simmer for a couple of hours, to absorb the taste.  No time for that, this is breakfast! So I just diced the daikon, dumped it into the dashi and delayed deploying the oatmeal until steaming.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, inch or so of daikon, chopped, 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 potato when you take it off the stove..

Results:Not inedible. Not exciting. Not blended. The daikon added some crunch to the meal, but it felt like an afterthought, like seaweed sprinkled on your salad.

Rating: *****

Oatmeal Arrabbiata

April 9, 2015

Arrabbiata sauce, or sugo all’arrabbiata in Italian, is a spicy sauce for pasta made from garlic, tomatoes, and red chili peppers cooked in olive oil. “Arrabbiata” literally means “angry” in Italian, and the name of the sauce is due to the heat of the chili peppers.

Wikipedia

MJ had bought a jar of Arrabbiata sauce, which we had over spaghetti (you’re really supposed to have it over penne past). It was pretty good, as I recall, but there was half a jar left, and a month later there was still half a jar left. The nice thing about modern commercial foods is that their constituent chemicals are so inimical to life that they last a long time in the fridge.

Feeling angry one morning, I decided to try it on in oatmeal. I used a rather bland chicken broth that we’d cooked up from some legs, and added two dinner tablespoons of Arrabbiata. Given the way the sauce dominated the flavors, I probably should have just used water.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner tablespoons of Arrabbiata sauce, 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 potato when you take it off the stove.

Results: Pretty good, if you like garlic and chili peppers for breakfast. I forgot that adding additional liquids to the broth tended to make the oatmeal a little sloppy, and had to add a third teaspoon of potato flakes. To maintain tradition, I topped it with shredded Parmesan cheese, but that didn’t really help. What was missing was a nice glass of Chianti Classico ’07.

Rating: *****

False Pho Oatmeal

March 26, 2015

We had three raw chicken legs left over, and don’t you just hate it when that happens?

I didn’t want to make up another batch of chicken broth, because that’s what the rest of the legs had gone for, and we didn’t have that much room in the fridge. Fortunately, I found a Pho recipe online — or it found me, it just popped up that morning in my RSS feed. Trouble is, MJ and I, we’re not big fans of anise nor fennel, nor even cilantro. I know, that closes off whole civilizations-worth of cuisine. So we decided we’d make do with substitutions. And then she went off to a meeting and I got hungry and I decided I’d make do with substitute substitutions. So I made a small batch of pholich broth, using ginger and chopped up onion and chopped up remnant celery, including the leaves. We did have fish sauce, so that was authentic. Slow-cooked it for four hours, and strained off the solids. Left with an unclear broth that tasted vaguely Asiatic, and a cup of boiled celery and onion for dregs.

Next morning I made my oatmeal with the original chicken stock (saving the pho for pho), and added a couple of dinner teaspoons of onion/celery dregs, about a quarter cup.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, 1/4 cup of leftover chopped onion/celery mix, 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 potato when you take it off the stove.

Results: Fair. The celery wanted to dominate. In another recipe I had tried chopped cabbage, to the same effect. The difference being, the dominant cabbage flavor was better than this dominant celery flavor. I guess celery really should be a background ingredient. Soy sauce helped.

Rating: *****

Oats a L’Orange

March 12, 2015

Last time I did oatmeal in orange sauce it was using some commercial sauce for duck. This time it’s semi-home-made. I say semi- because MJ made it for some pork ribs, using a “cup” of those mandarin orange fruit cup snacks you buy at the combini. That, and some soy sauce and browned onions and chicken broth made a very tasty braising sauce for the ribs (which infused it with their own jellied goodness), and gave us a couple of real cups worth left over. I used half a cup of the sauce, and half a cup of the beefy beef stock.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one half cup of broth, one half cup of orange sauce, 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: Very good. The taste of orange wasn’t overwhelming, but it was strong enough to make an impression.

Rating: *****