Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Soaked Oat Porridge

This has become my go to recipe for oatmeal. Mmmm.... The best of both steel cut oats and regular old-fashioned oats. It's a bit more work, but not much.

Soaked Oat Porridge
~Bowl + Spoon

  • 1 c. steel-cut oats
  • 2 c. milk (nondairy is fine)
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 c. rolled grain flakes*
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • maple syrup or honey, for serving
  • milk or cream or creme fraiche, for serving
  • 2 c. sliced fresh fruit or berries (or some raisins/Craisins)
*I use a mix of several rolled grains or just straight up oats; official recipe calls for wheat or rye or a combination

  1. The night before: combine steel-cut oats with water to cover by 2 inches. Cover. You can do this in the same pot you plan to cook in, but it will take some strategy in the morning. I use a separate bowl.
  2. In the morning: drain oats. Warm milk and 2 c. water in medium pot until little bubbles appear on the sides. Add oats, rolled grains, salt, and vanilla. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until desired consistency.
  3. Serve with above mentioned toppings or others of your choice.
~Serves 4

All-Purpose Muffin Mix

Many cookbooks have all-purpose muffin recipes plus a number of variations. I use Bittman's basic recipe all the time (from How to Cook Everything). But it's nice to have a healthy muffin mix on hand, especially when I'm turning the cooking over to the kids! This is one my friend Alondra concocted several years ago. It's low fat, full of whole grains, and adaptable to lots of variations.

All-Purpose Muffin Mix

  • 8 c. flour (we use 3 c. oats, 2 c. white flour, 3 c. white whole wheat)
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. baking powder
  • 1 T. salt
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. shortening or butter*
*You can use either; I prefer butter, but this means during the warmer months, when my house is warmer, I have to store the mixes in the freezer.

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in butter. If you do this in a food processor, your oats will become oat flour. Divide into storage containers or ziplock bags. Makes 4 batches (~2.5 cups mix each).

For baking, add:
  • 1/2 c. applesauce or mashed banana
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 c. milk
  • other ingredients as you wish (nuts, raisins, blueberries, etc.)
Spoon batter in 12 greased or lined muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon and sugar if desired. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cookbook Review: Bowl + Spoon

Bowl + Spoon
Sara Forte and Hugh Forte
Ten Speed Press, 2015

Flipping through cookbooks and "reading" them is something I do to gain new inspiration and just plain pass the time. It's fun. When a cookbook is about something I already enjoy, even better! I've talked about our "bowl" approach to meals before, so when I saw a cookbook that promised mea-in-a-bowl recipes, I sensed a perfect fit.

Sara Forte comes up with new recipes on her blog, Sprouted Kitchen, and her husband Hugh turns them into delectable photographs. With their background, this new cookbook promised to be inventive and beautiful. In that sense, it fully succeeds. On a first "flip through," I dog-eared several recipes that sounded especially delicious. Coffee table book success.

But for a "simple," weekday approach to meals, it doesn't work as well. Forte may believe these are simple, ordinary meals, but for me (and most of my friends), they are too complex for a simple weeknight dinner. I love vegetables, and I'm certainly not averse to the chopping and prepping a reasonably healthy and fresh meal takes. But when a recipe calls for multiple ("simple") steps, it's still multiple steps. Add in multiple dishes to wash, and I'll keep flipping the pages. I think of "bowl" meals as simple fair.

My goal is to try at least 3 recipes before rating/reviewing a cookbook. However, even though I've had this cookbook for a couple of months, I have only tried two. Both were delicious, and the oatmeal has changed the way I cook oatmeal! (Forte combines both steel cut oats and regular, old-fashioned oats for a delightfully creamy, hearty concoction.) I'm sure the rest of the recipes will be just as delicious when I get around to them. For now, though, I find myself trying new things from The Great Big Pressure Cooker Cookbook and others on my shelf.

Thanks to blogging for books for a review copy of this book in return for my fair review.