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.


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.


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


The Versatility of Oatmeal

I Love Oats. 117412834

Have I told you that before?

They aren’t something I’ve always liked. As a kid, I detested them. I still can’t stomach well-cooked oatmeal porridge with milk and honey and raisins. Nope, just can’t do it. In fact, I never put milk in my oatmeal….or raisins. I’m weird like that.

My Dad and Mom used to take a bowl of raw oats, shred some apple over it and eat it with honey and milk. I can’t do that either. Funny how childhood tastes are hard to overcome. Thankfully I wasn’t a very picky eater as a kid. Now I attempt to hide my varied food preferences under the title “sophisticated taste”.

But, now that we got the “how I don’t like my oats” part out of the way…let me tell you how I do like them.

Lately, I’m really digging savory oats.

I love the sweet versions, like my bowl of Cherries, Almonds and Oats , but there are mornings (or afternoons, or evenings…) when I don’t want the sugary and just need the wholesome goodness of oats.

Tonight was one of those times. Home alone, for the first time in a long time, I decided on a quick bowl of oats and some hot sauce spinach chips (close cousins of the famous kale chip). There wasn’t much in the kitchen by way of food, so it was a good choice in more than one way.


A couple weeks ago, I added some shredded cheese to my morning oatmeal, and a dash of hot sauce. It was, and I’m being totally serious here, as good as mac&cheese. Creamy, cheesy, warm deliciousness. Yum.

I was headed in that direction this evening, but I had rosemary on the brain. Don’t ask me why…I most definitely couldn’t tell you.

So rosemary it was. And garlic, and feta and olive oil. Mmmmmm… I wish there were leftovers.

You wanna try it?

Place a teaspoon or so of olive oil in a small sauce pan.

Mince one clove garlic and several sprigs of fresh rosemary. Add to pot and saute on low heat until garlic starts to turn golden.

Add 3/4 c. water and bring to boil.

Toss in 1/2 c. oats and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the oats absorb all the water.

Fold in an ounce of cheese – feta, Gouda, sharp cheddar, whatever you want, and spoon into a serving bowl.

Top with chopped walnuts and roasted pepitas, drizzle with a good quality olive oil and sprinkle on some pepper.

IMG_9454Oh my!

Another savory favorite?

Oatmeal cooked al dente with salt and pepper and butter. Top with a couple over-easy fried eggs, salsa, plain Greek yogurt and, of course, hot sauce. It IS really good. Trust me.

What is your favorite way to eat oats?

By the way, I published a new page for your convenience – theĀ Recipe Index. (You will find the link in the top bar under the blog header.) The title pretty much explains itself, but this page makes it super easy to locate recipes or just browse. I can’t believe how much I’ve used it! There are recipes there that I completely forgot I posted. Now that’s bad!

I also added a place on the right-hand side of the blog to quote chefs, foodies and fellow culinarians. Have something you’d like to submit? Let me know in the comments section!

2011 Culinary Highlights

Is it really, really the middle of January? Wow! 2011 was a great year for me – new adventures, new places, new people and lots of lessons in the journey of life.
And, of course, we can’t forget new recipes!
It was a year ago this month that I started the Penarious Challenge. I’d have to say that the most interesting challenge was the attempt to recreate Heinz ketchup in the kitchen. I learned more about ketchup than I ever wanted to know and came pretty close, but not close enough. Heinz Tomato Ketchup recipe remains a secret.
One of the most exciting moments in my culinary blog world was getting interviewed by Ian Lamont of Slickepott, the fudge sauce company. You can read about all that in this post if you haven’t already.
And, if you haven’t already, click on over to his website and buy some fudge!
Most Complicated Recipe Award goes to the Orange Almond Cream Cake. 
My, was it good though!
Here are the recipes that made the “You Gotta Try” list. No, it’s not every recipe I posted last year either. :D
Sweetness –

Raspberry Cheesecake

Swedish Mazarinmuffins

Cherry Almond Oatmeal

Savory –

Gnocchi with Spinach Cream Sauce


Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Salad

It’s another adventure to take on 2012! I annually wonder what the next year will hold and before we know it, it will all be memories! 
So don’t forget to savor the moments – stop to smell the roses, give a hug, breath in fresh air, try a new recipe, or count your blessings! 
Happy TwoThousandTwelve!