Steel Cut Oats with Apricots, Cherries, and Cardamom

It’s been a rough week. A busy week.

My step-grandpa passed away after 91 years of living, so we took a trip to Arkansas for the service and to be with my Mormor. It was a quick trip because we had obligations here to get back to. My mom stayed with my grandma, though, and she and my sister are bringing her down this weekend. It will be good. I think Mormor needs to get away for a little bit. My Swedish grandma has outlived two husbands, and at 93, still loves to shop and swim and hang out with us young(er) ones.

At her age, it has to be terribly hard to feel so alone, but she needs to know she’s not alone. That she can come stay here with us. I hope she accepts that this weekend.

I want to make her Semla for tea one afternoon. And for breakfast, I think she’d like a warm bowl of steel cut oats strewn with apricot pieces, plump cherries, and hints of orange, cardamom, and vanilla.

Sound good? Stick around and I’ll make a bowl for you too.

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Steel Cut Oats with Apricots, Cherries, and Cardamom

  • 1 c. steel cut oats
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 3 T. yogurt, plain

Combine, cover and soak overnight. In the morning, add…

  • 3 c. water
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. cardamom

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, combine and soak…

  • 3/4 c. sliced, dried apricots
  • 1/2 c. dried cherries
  • juice of one orange
  • 1 T. vanilla

After the 15 minutes buzzer goes off, add the dried fruit mixture, along with…

  • 2-4 T. butter

Cook for 5-10 more minutes, or until desired consistency. Serve with raw honey, cream, toasted nuts, and a dash of cinnamon on top.

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Dip your spoon into this creamy, chewy, porridge and let all your worries melt away with the butter.

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Mango Ginger Stilton and Caramel – Together

I learned something new today. I am a Turophile.

Okay, it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s simply a crazy word for a lover of cheese. I mean, I already knew I loved cheese, but actually putting a name to it – like Turophile? Well, that takes it to a whole new level.

Speaking of new levels… the combination of mango and ginger in Stilton cheese? It’s a level 10 out of 10. Amazingness.

I first discovered this cheese in a small grocery store and hardware shop in one of my favorite little towns ever, Georgetown, Colorado.

Kneisel & Anderson.

Photo by Kent Kanouse

We’ve been going there since I was a baby, so it almost feels like part of the family. Or maybe it feels that way because they stock so many Scandinavian foods and the owners are Swedish as well. It’s a connection with my roots.

They carry the big round Wasa crackers, lingonberry jam, teas, chocolates, and everything else you can imagine. Their cheese selection is one that you’d never think to find in such a small town. Havarti Dill, horseradish, soft cheeses with caraway, fruit Stiltons….

But let’s stop right there. I always stop right there. And I say, “Could I get a wedge of mango ginger Stilton, please? No need to wrap it, I’ll eat it on the way home.” I’m kidding about the second part – kind of. I haven’t done that before, but I just might in the future.

This stuff is…I don’t even know how to describe it…sweet, sharp, tangy – incredible. Period.

That is why I was so excited when Uptown Grocery, in my immediate vicinity, actually carries Mango Ginger Stilton!

That could be bad really…I think I might need another job.

It just so happened that our friend, Ian Lamont, over at Slickepott had sent my sister a jar of his new caramel sauce for a sneak peek tasting. You may remember the name from past posts. You also may remember that Slickepott fudge sauce is one of the best Chocolate Sauces out there. And the only reason I don’t say BEST is because I haven’t tasted all the chocolate fudge sauces out there. ( Thank goodness! I think that would be a full time occupation!) I know you remember if you tasted it. It’s just that kind of sauce.

The caramel sauce is pretty much just as delicious.

Do you see the flecks of vanilla bean? Now what caramel sauce do you know of that has real vanilla bean in it? This stuff is legit. I have to tell you though that this sauce won’t be for sale for a few months yet. I suggest you head over to the Slickepott site and tell Ian how much you’re looking forward to it. It just might hurry the process along. Heehee. :D

Suddenly, it clicked. Mango Ginger Stilton with Caramel? Stupid question.

So, I know this is a bit of a rabbit trail, but I was just thinking…did you just pronounce that c-word up there as CARE-a-mel or CAR-mul? I’ve gone on a internet search to see which is correct and find that CARE-a-mel is common in the Great Lakes area and the Northeastern US, while CAR-mul hails from the Atlantic Seaboard and southern states. And just to make you feel better, neither one is wrong. At least it made me feel better!

I’ve always said CARE-a-mel. But when I worked at a coffee shop in the Northwest, the boss told me I had to say CAR-mul (which totally sounds like a good word butchered to me.) because no one would know what I was talking about. I changed it, for the sole sake of good business and, now that I’m home, I find that I stumble all over the word. Do I keep saying CAR-mul, as I am now used to, or do I go back to the good ol’ CARE-a-mel? Argh! The problems of life! Maybe it would be better if one of them was wrong! Then I could pick the right one and be done with it.

The question now is would I rather be a yankee or a rebel?  This test told me I was “44% Dixie – barely in Yankeedom” (as opposed to 56% Yank?). For being born and raised in Oklahoma that’s not too shabby when I’d rather be from the North. Not to be a Yankee mind you, just to be in the mountains.

Back on the original trail!

These hors d’oeuvres, or desserts, or snacks, or however you want to serve them, are fast and easy and super tempting.

Here’s what you need –

2 oz. mango ginger stilton

4 oz. cream cheese

apricots, thinly sliced

Ritz crackers

caramel sauce

Mix the cream cheese and Stilton together with a spoon. Spread a bit onto a cracker. Top with a few slices of apricot and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Done. That easy.

Now, if you live in a part of the world that is deprived of Mango Ginger Stilton cheese like we were for so long, there is hope for you. You just need to make your own. A soft cheese, a sharp-crumbly cheese, minced dried mango and minced crystallized ginger – all mixed together – should do nicely.  I sincerely hope you don’t live in that part of the world though. I know what a lonely place it can be.

Enjoy and thanks for coming by!