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.

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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.

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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 – the 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!

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Rosemary Roasted Beets with Honey Balsamic Reduction

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I’ve always wanted to like them. Their brilliant fuchsia color made me pick them up again and again. Surely if I try it enough times, in various different recipes, surely, I’d grow to like beets. I even tried making a beet and cherry cake last year…eh, wasn’t so great. The color was muted and the beet flavor was not. I just couldn’t get past that “dirt” taste…until this year.

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2012 will go down in history as the year I discovered beets with balsamic vinegar…

and that was that!

When I saw these ruby and golden beets at the produce stand, I knew what my next post would be – Roasted Beets with Balsamic Glaze. You’ve got the sweet and the tang and the earthy tones (not to be mistaken for “dirt taste”)  in between. Yum!

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You may, of course, roast the beets in the oven whole, but I wanted to soak up as much color as I could get by quartering. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and rosemary leaves.

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An hour and a half or maybe two, at 350 degrees, makes them soft enough to stick a fork in them. Let cool slightly before removing skins.

Meanwhile, combine 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar and 1 T. honey in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

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Stir until is begins to thicken. Remove from heat and drizzle on sliced beets.

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Enjoy as a side dish on it’s own or serve in a salad of fresh greens and a sharp Vermont cheddar.

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What favorite beet dish would you serve someone if you were trying to convince them to like beets?

Oven Sweet Potato Fries with Rosemary

There were only four of us tonight for dinner. It’s kind of strange. I should be used to anything by now as there is always a different number of people at our table and I never know very far in advance how many it will be. This week it was  5, 9, 7, 3, 9, 12, and 7, respectively.

It’s a grocery shopper’s/ cook’s nightmare. There aren’t that many people home to eat the leftovers either. I love leftovers.

Once.

When I have to eat them 3 days in a row? I’ve got an issue with that.

Ah, the simplicity of the full family table! Now life is more complicated…

So, I should get better about gauging how much food five of us eat, but as you can see, I don’t get consistent practice. :D

Anyway, tonight we had hamburgers – it’s not too hard to estimate quantity there – and sweet potato fries.

I’m not a fan of fast food and will usually eat leftovers 2 days in a row before going out for a burger and fries. I’m very picky about my burger and fries and most fast food places just, well… gross me out. But last week, we went out to Smashburger, a new joint that arrived in OKC just a couple years ago. (Two years in town and I’ve never been before. See? Like I said, I don’t do much fast food.) I was impressed! The burger was delicious and the sides were amazing – asparagus, green beans and carrots, fried pickles, crunchy fried onions (yeah, I’m picky about those, too.) and rosemary sweet potato fries.

In their own words –

EVERY BURGER DESERVES A GOOD SIDEKICK.

Romeo had Juliet. Peanut butter has jelly.
And your Smashburger has tasty signature sides like
Smashfries, sweet potato fries and haystack onions
to keep it company and your taste buds very, very happy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Like I said, I’m picky about my fries, like, I don’t even order them I’m so picky about my fries. I can’t think of the last time I had a french fry that was worth eating. Well, until these Rosemary Sweet Potato fries slid onto the table…

Why, Smashburger? Why?

Since that fateful day, I’ve made my own version of Sweet Potato fries with Rosemary – twice.

It’s just olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper and, of course, sweet potatoes.

Bake in the oven @ 450 for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. These don’t have the crunch that deep frying would give them, but hey, they are WAY healthier!

Enjoy with some homemade ketchup, ranch dressing or a creamy horseradish dip.

And let me know what you think of Smashburger if you’ve tried it! :D